Microsoft and Nokia held a developer event in Singapore recently that focused on platform development and the advanced functionality available for app / game creation in Windows Phone 8. According to a tip from an attendee of this event (who wishes to remain anonymous), the Head of Nokia Asia Pacific Developer Relations informed the audience that Windows Phone 7.8 has been RTM (Released To Manufacturers) this week.
Should what the Nokia employee stated be true, we are to expect the much anticipated update to be rolled out to eligible hardware within the next couple of weeks (no markets were named). This would go against what we previously expected in that Windows Phone 7.8 would be released in Q1 2013, to provide Windows Phone 8 ample time to build strong foundations with new hardware launching in numerous markets. We'd like to add a note to this rumour that it should be taken with a massive quarry of salt since we've not received any information to corroborate these details.
While the information provided could well be accurate, we have received reports that the update will be arriving late, and we'll remain skeptical that anyone will see the update prior to the new year (especially if carrier evaluations and certifications need to occur). Our tip also contained details regarding Internet Explorer 10 which he stated will not be coming to Windows Phone 7.8 at all. The reason? IE10 takes advantage of some hardware acceleration that current hardware can't support. So IE9 it is.
It's also worth noting that Windows Phone 7.8 has also been confirmed to include the new start screen with expanded Live Tiles configuration, more available themes for further customisation, Internet Explorer updates, and better ringtone support. The leaked Nokia presentation slides listed lock screen wallpaper improvements with Bing being made available when choosing new wallpapers.
As well as the Windows Phone 7.8 information, the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 are both slated for November 27th in Singapore with both Windows Phones being available for purchase by early December - both devices will be multi-band capable. As mentioned above, we're not entirely sure what to make of this. While Microsoft could have kept Windows Phone 7.8 under wraps (especially with the launch of Windows Phone 8), we'll remain on the skeptical side.
Big thanks to our tipster for the information!
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.