Windows Phone 8: What Windows Phone 7 users need to know

Windows Phone 7 users will be left out in the cold for most of the features

When Windows Phone 8 debuts this fall it will feature a slick new camera app, Internet Explorer 10, near-field communication, Nokia Maps, Direct X support for advanced gaming and multicore processor support. That's the good news. The bad news is current Windows Phone 7 users will be left out in the cold for most of these features, including recent buyers of Nokia's Lumia 900 handset.

But don't lose heart Windows Phone fans, because Microsoft is still throwing you a bone and delivering a few Windows Phone 8-like changes for you. Following the release of Windows Phone 8 this fall, Windows Phone 7 users will receive an update called Windows Phone 7.8 that includes the new Windows Phone 8 start screen.

[RELATED: Windows Phone 8 Will Be Deeply Integrated with Windows 8 OS]

If you're a current Windows Phone fan with no immediate plans to upgrade to a new handset when Windows Phone 8 comes out later in 2012, here's what you need to know about Windows Phone 7.8.

Goodbye Wasted Space

Take a good long look at that long black strip on the right of your phone's start screen, because that wasted space is gone in Windows Phone 7.8. Instead, the tiles will stretch out to create a full-screen view of Windows Phone's start screen.

Resizable Tiles

Now you can personalize the size of every tile on your start screen to stress what's most important to you. Want to shrink the phone icon and stretch out the calendar? No problem. There will be three different tile sizes to choose from: a small square, a medium-size square and a large rectangle.

Apps for Lumia

Nokia Lumia users will be getting a few new app upgrades including Camera Extras, which brings new Windows Phone 8 features like a self-timer and panorama mode. There's also a feature called Smart Group Shot that takes several pictures in quick succession and then automatically creates a composite photo taking the best features of each individual shot. Smart Group Shot helps avoid photo-taking hazards such as a person blinking when the shutter closes and motion blur. Research in Motion in May announced a similar, albeit manual feature for the upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS.

18 Months of Support

Your Windows Phone 7 handset may be getting a minor update, but the good news is your next Windows Phone comes with a guarantee of at least 18 months of support from Microsoft. That means going forward, Windows Phone 8 handsets will get over-the-air updates directly from Microsoft for a year and a half. That's not so bad considering the average carrier contract is 24 months, so you'll only have to survive 6 months with an outdated phone.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter andGoogle+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?