Review: Windows Phone 7.8



You can check out the original blog post here if you'd like. :-)



Windows Phone 7.8 is an update for existing Windows Phone 7 Series phones (heh, had to put that in there for nostalgia) that's coming out next January. Yesterday, I was surfing the Information Highway when I found a Windows Phone 7.8 ROM (albeit a custom ROM) for the HD7. I decided to load it up on my old flat-battery prone phone to see how it performed.

The Start Screen

Boom.
New Start Screen (by the way: brace yourself, this is pretty much the only meaningful change).
The basic idea of this new Start (sorry, I'm terrible) is three things: specifically, the three sizes. There's a large tile, a medium tile and a small time. The People app (Hub) is demonstrating the large tile size above, while the Messaging, Me and Live Tile Countdown apps are showing off the medium tile size. Lastly, we have the Calendar, Email, Internet Explorer, and Music+Videos apps showing off the small tile size.
The App List, which has been untouched in this release, is still alive and well.

Lock Screen

Bing Background Lockscreen
The "Live" Lock Screen's from Windows Phone 8 have been brought over. Well, kind-of.
It's true that there's the new Bing Lock Screen, but there's currently no apps that support it. It's also unlikely that the SDK for Windows Phone 7 will be upgraded for this release, meaning that Bing will probably be the only one we've got. (Bummer)

Re-Brandings

Multiple things have been rebranded in Windows Phone 7.8 to look like they're the same as their Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 counterparts (hint: they're actually not (another hint: the only app that's actually changed in any way whatsoever inside the app is Office)). Here they are in beautiful screenshot form.

"Games"

The Games (otherwise known as Xbox) icon has been re-branded in 7.8, but no actual changes have been made to the actual app. The app now also supports the "large" tile size.


"Music+Videos"

That's right, this app hasn't even be re-branded as Xbox Music and Xbox Music, as the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps have been. The only thing that's changed here is the presentation of the tile. (I don't actually listen to rap, I just needed a song to demonstrate the tile)


"Marketplace"

No updates except for a new logo.


"Office"

This app actually changed in some way! What's that some way? A new logo inside the app and on the tile. That's all. This is getting pretty disappointing, right?


My Opinion

I can expect a few people thinking "Wait, what about the other new stuff? There's other stuff, right?" Well, no. This update was meant to be an update to show Windows Phone 7 users that Microsoft didn't leave them behind because they wanted to, but because they had to. Well, I'm sorry to report that they've failed pretty badly at that.
I bought a Lumia 800 a few weeks back knowing that it wouldn't be supported (I love it because of the hardware, review coming soon). However, at that time I thought that Microsoft had a few unreleased goodies that they hadn't revealed yet. Turns out I was wrong.
If there's a ton of people who know about Windows Phone 8 and are expecting an awesome update with every change that could've been brought over there, they're going to be really disappointing. And I'm sorry to say: I'm pretty disappointed as well.

Disclaimer: I own a Lumia 800 and a HTC HD7, and I'm getting a Surface RT. Therefore, it's pretty sad that even I'm disappointed with this release.