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Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8 – What’s the Difference?

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Microsoft’s announcement of Windows Phone 8 got many tech fans a little hot under the collar; that is until they dropped the ball and announced that the new OS wouldn’t be coming to existing Windows Phones, such as the Nokia Lumia range.

Windows Phone 8 signals a second generation of phones using the Microsoft platform, but it added the saving grace of Windows Phone 7.8 – an update to existing phones to add some of the features from WP8.

Windows Phone 7.8 will bring features such as the rather awesome looking customisable tile sizes on the homescreen, but what else? Will owners of the current range lose out on much, or is it a decent update? Here are the differences in full.


WP8: Internet Explorer 10

WP7.8: Internet Explorer 9

IE10 boasts faster speeds in javascript and HTML5 tests, which in more simple terms means that webpages will load lightning fast – even interactive content such as videos, GIFs, and games. IE10 also has an inbuilt anti-phishing feature for security. IE9 will still be a speedy and capable browser, Microsoft has just toted faster speeds and extra features in IE10 to impress ahead of Windows Phone 8.


WP8: Integrated

WP7.8: Separate App

Microsoft bought Skype last year and we’ve been waiting for them to make the obvious move of integrating it into Windows Phone. Skype is available as an app download now for Windows Phone 7.5, and that will remain the case for 7.8. With new devices on Windows Phone 8 however, the app will be a part of the operating system right out of the box.

Over The Air Updates

WP8: Yes

WP7.8: No

One of our gripes with Windows Phone is that it will only notify you of a software update; you then have to connect it to a PC or Mac via USB and install the old-fashioned way. Windows Phone 8 eliminates that by bringing in the ability to update over the air using Wi-Fi.

Voice Command

WP8: Yes, extended commands list

WP7: Yes

As with many features, Windows Phone 8 will benefit from more powerful apps or additional options. Both software versions will feature voice control, but Microsoft says that you’ll be able to tell your phone to do more with WP8.

Cloud Storage and Sync

WP8: Everything Syncs

WP7.8: Office OneNote, 365

Cloud integration is going to be big in WP8 thanks to Microsoft’s SkyDrive service. Whereas only Office OneNote and 365 will synchronise documents with the cloud on WP7.8, the entire device can be synchronised and effectively backed up to the cloud in WP8.


WP8: Integrated

WP7.8: Separate App

Microsoft introduced a neat app to help you monitor your data, sms, and call usage. As with Skype it’s going to be baked into the OS in 8, but will be available as a separate app for 7.8.

Home Screen

WP8: Resizable Live Tiles

WP7.8: Resizable Live Tiles

One of the most impressive additions to WP8 will make it to the 7.8 update, thankfully. The colourful and interactive Live Tiles on your homescreen will be resizable between small, medium, and large, effectively allowing you to create a mosaic of apps and options on your homescreen.


WP8: Yes, Wallet App Included

WP7.8: No

NFC is one of the main features added in Windows Phone 8, but unfortunately existing Windows Phone users will be stuck without the hardware to use this new contactless tech. Windows Phone 8 will include a digital wallet feature that allows you to make payments and bookings using a touch of your phone.

These are the key differences, but Microsoft says there are over 200 new features in Windows Phone 8, so we’re bound to learn many more as we get to grips with the software.

What do you think of the update to Windows Phone 7.8? Is it enough or will you be forced to either get a Windows 8 device or jump ship to another platform?

Let us know your thoughts on our comments below or via our @Gadget_Helpline Twitter page or Official Facebook group.