Microsoft Windows Phone 7.8 Gets Its Own Site

Microsoft has created a site where it will share news of Windows Phone 7.8’s features. Nokia, Samsung and HTC Windows Phone owners, among others, are hoping there’s more to 7.8 than 8.0’s Start screen.

Microsoft€™s Ben Rudolph posted a short video to the Windows Phone Blog June 25, trying to build excitement for Windows Phone 7.8€”a version of Windows Phone that signifies the end of the road for smartphones currently running version 7.5. While Windows Phone 8 was shown off at the Microsoft Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco June 20, Microsoft and Nokia broke the news that Windows 8 was a fresh start€”based on a new kernel€”so its early supporters would receive the compensation of 7.8, since the phones were unable to graduate to WP 8.

Rudolph wrote that he€™d €œsnuck over€ to the engineering building to borrow a Nokia Lumia 900 running an early build of 7.8.

€œIt€™s pretty awesome; being able to resize tiles to S/M/L gives a whole new dimension€”no pun intended€”to personalization and customization,€ he added.

In the video, Rudolph demonstrated the ease with which users can change the size of the titles, in addition to deciding where the tiles should go, what color they should be and what should in fact be represented with a tile.

Rudolph also announced the creation of a new page on where Microsoft will post news about new features for 7.8, including €œall of the killer new apps that are coming to Nokia Lumias.€ These include Words with Friends and Draw Something.

There has been considerable backlash against Nokia and Microsoft, with early supporters of Windows Phone feeling betrayed. The news of 7.8 as a stopgap has also been framed as Microsoft throwing Nokia under the bus. The announcement surely hurt summer sales of devices such as the Nokia Lumia 900 and at a time when Nokia can ill afford it.

But if Nokia has been unhappy with slow Lumia sales, neither was Microsoft happy, MarketWatch€™s Therese Poletti wrote in a June 26 article.

€œIts software changes are being made to make its Windows Phone even more competitive with Apple Inc.€™s iOS and Google Inc.€™s Android,€ Poletti continued. €œSo its actions€”even though hurtful to its partner€”are all about driving more revenue.€

While Nokia has tied its fortunes to Microsoft€”which is now even rumored to be working on its own smartphone€”the software giant, Poletti added, €œappears to have a more cavalier attitude to its partnership.€

Or, partnerships. Nokia is not the only manufacturer now facing unhappy customers.

€œWhat about the Samsung customers? My Focus S hasn€™t received one update, and no new developing apps from Samsung at all,€ a commenter using the handle CodyNunes wrote below Rudolph€™s video blog post.

Another commenter, Rodney E. Jones, agreed.

€œThe treatment of Samsung Focus owners of all types has been ruthlessly pathetic,€ he wrote. €œEspecially considering that many of us are early supporters of the platform. We have shown off our phones to thousands, flaunted WP T-shirts €¦ yet all we hear is how Lumia users get to have all the €˜fun.€™€

While a number of commenters agreed that the new Start screen is lovely, many wondered what else 7.8 includes. Or rather, hoped it includes something more.

€œI own an HTC Radar, bought January 2012 with a contract for 2 years. I paid 200 euros for it,€ wrote Cosmin Petrenciuc. €œCan you please tell me what I will get from WP 7.8 aside from the new start screen, which by the way does not interest me at all?€

So far, the new 7.8 blog page mentions the Start screen, the 100,000 apps in the Windows Phone store and €œMore love for Lumias.€

The creation of the new Web page at least suggests that, as users of WP 7.5 are hoping, there€™s still more to share about 7.8.

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