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
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
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.
WP8: Yes, extended commands list
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.
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.
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
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?