Microsoft could start rolling out Windows Phone 7.8 at the end of this month according to a report from WP Central.
Recently a number of official channels from Twitter accounts for U.K. carriers to Microsoft’s Official Windows Phone Facebook page in Colombia stated the update will roll out soon. All of the accounts either say the update will come before the end of January or identify January 31 as the date for the update.
Assuming all of the statements are true, Microsoft will begin the update process to Windows Phone 7.8 at the end of this month. That doesn’t mean, however, that all phones will get the update right away.
After Microsoft begins the update program the carriers have to approve and send the update out to its users. In the U.S. that will likely take a long time depending on the phone. More popular phones such as Nokia’s Lumia 710 and 900 will likely receive the update earlier than less popular devices like the Dell Venue Pro, for example.
T-Mobile typically pushes out these updates before its competitors, but none of the major carriers in the U.S. have announced their plans for rolling out Windows Phone 7.8 yet.
The Windows Phone 7.8 update brings a number of Windows Phone 8 features to earlier devices. The biggest added feature is the new Start screen which lets users change the size of any app’s Live Tile. The new Start screen helps makes older Windows Phones look like current Windows Phones, even if they don’t have the same functionality.
Windows Phone 7.8 doesn’t make any drastic changes to the OS, so older phones will remain incompatible with some Windows Phone 8 apps. With the switch to Windows Phone 8 Microsoft decided to use the same code base it uses for Windows RT and WIndows 8, which means some newer apps built specifically for those devices won’t work on Windows Phone 7.8 or below.