One month with the Windows Phone 7.8 Update

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In December 2012 we saw mention on the internet that we could take Windows 7.5 Nokia Lumia devices to local Nokia Care Centres to have the Windows Phone 7.8 updated flashed on. When we tested the rumour before Christmas it proved to be correct.

Since then we have been running a Nokia Lumia 900 on Windows Phone 7.8 and loving it. The basic change log which has been posted around the web is true, with the most obvious change being the new Start Screen with resizable tiles. We have noted that the amount of live information presented on the different tile sizes varies from app to app. The good news is that the e-mail and messaging apps provide the number of unread items on the smallest of tiles saving screen real estate. The biggest issue we encountered with the new Start Screen was deciding how to lay it out mixing all tile sizes.

Accessing the ”lock + wallpaper “ settings screen provides the ability to change from having a user selected picture as the lock screen wallpaper to using the daily updated Bing image instead. Sadly there is option for additional information displayed on the lock screen as provided on Windows Phone 8 devices. All we can hope is that this will come in a later OS update based on Nokia’s previous statements about future support and updates for Windows Phone 7.x devices.

Although there have been claims on other sites that a version of Nokia’s Ringtone Manager app has been released for Nokia Lumia devices running Windows Phone 7.8 we have proved this wrong. We have however been able to install and run Nokia’s Bluetooth Sharing app, though it does feel somewhat limited, only supporting image and music files, with a further limitation that all files are listed in a flat structure and can only be transferred one at a time.

We are unsure of the implication as yet, but we are noting many new accessories appearing in the Bluetooth connection list within “Bluetooth” settings. An example of this is the Polar Sports Tracker HRM belt although we have been unable to gain a response from the Sports Tracker developers as to if this means they will be releasing an update with heart rate functionality provided on other platforms.

We are hopeful that a degree of the changes provided by this OS update are beneath the hood, supporting possible future app releases. One off our biggest hope is that the shared map data between Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps flows over from Windows Phone 8 to Windows Phone 7.x next as the Start Screen has.

Conclusion

We love the new Start Screen with it’s Windows Phone 8 resizable tiles and beautiful daily Bing Lock Screen images and are optimistic about expanded Bluetooth support. It does feel, however, like the update is more aesthetics than  functionality driven. It currently feels a little like a new Start Screen theme and Lock Screen Wallpaper, but we hope to be proven wrong by evidence of deeper improvements appearing in the longer term.

We look forward to seeing what Nokia Specific apps and app updates will release next utilising the under the hood changes proved by the OS update.

Keep an eye on “Phone Update” in settings as formal update role out starts today according to Nokia Conversations.

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