Windows Phone 7.8 vs. Windows Phone 8 Operating System : What's the Difference?

When Microsoft Corporation officially announced Windows Phone 8 - the latest version of its mobile operating system - in an event in San Francisco USA last June 20th, a lot of current WP handset owners - both in the venue and online - asked if they'll be able to experience all the benefits of the new OS on their smartphones.

Unfortunately, Microsoft's answer was 'no'. But it didn't end there. Quoting Joe Belfiore - Microsoft's VP for Windows Phone, "If you currently own a Windows Phone 7.5 handset, Microsoft is planning to release an update [...] We’re calling it 'Windows Phone 7.8. [...] We care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones fresh."

windows phone 7.8 vs windows phone 8
Windows Phone 7.8 on Nokia Lumia 900 : Coming Soon!

But how exactly is it different from full-fledged Windows Phone 8?

As earlier explained on TechPinas, Windows Phone 8 comes with key features including support for multi-core processors, higher-resolution displays, NFC and expandable storage via microSD card slot, among others.

As you might have noticed, most of these enhancements represent a generation shift in technology, which means that they will not run on existing hardware found on current generation WP releases. For example, even if you bring multi-core chip support on a handset that only runs on a single-core processor, the user won't really notice any difference. Simply put, to fully enjoy the benefits of WP8, you'd have to get it on a phone with hardware that complements it -- and as of writing, we still don't have such smartphone in the market.

What Windows Phone 7.8 does it that brings the look of Windows Phone 8 (and perhaps even features that don't rely on more advanced hardware) to WP smartphones that are already available. To be specific, it will give users the new flexible Windows Phone 8 Start screen, which features a new set of theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles - small, medium and large - all under the control of the user. These live tiles allow WP owners to highlight applications that are most important to them like music, social networking apps and even games, or simply to make their Windows Phone experience more fun and personal.

TP Thoughts:

I'm no marketing expert but I think Microsoft announced WP8 prematurely -- regardless of whether it's just for developers or for end consumers. For one, no handset out in the market can support it and they didn't really disclose the release date or - at least - showed photos of any smartphone that will run the full version of the OS. I mean, what's the point?

I don't really know what motivated them to unveil the OS this soon - maybe they felt compelled to come up with something that can match Apple and Google's "shocking" announcements recently - but I think that the decision is not too mindful of Windows Phone 7.5 handsets that have just been released in various territories.

So there. Let me know your thoughts by leaving your comments below.

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