Windows Phone 7.8 coming to handsets in early 2013

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Microsoft is rolling out its long-awaited Windows Phone 7.8 operating system to users in early 2013, offering them the likes of resizable live tiles.

Last night’s announcement could be seen as a disappointment to some owners of Windows Phone 7 devices, who had been expecting the update this year. Early adopters of Microsoft’s smartphone OS were told earlier this year that they would be unable to upgrade to Windows Phone 8, which launched last month.

However, the 7.8 version of the operating system shares some of its features, including the ability to change the size of the live tiles on a home screen. It also doubles the number of theme and accent colours to 20 and adds lock screen features such as the Bing picture of the day and password protection. It also said apps such as Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars will come to the operating system. Microsoft said it had increased the number of countries where consumers can buy apps and use the Xbox services by more than 30% to 95.

Terry Myerson, corporate vice-president for Windows Phone, said: ‘We know you’re eager to get the Windows Phone 7.8 update, and we want you to know that we’re working closely with our hardware and carrier partners to get it tested, approved, and rolled out to as many devices as possible in early 2013. As we work to quickly get this in the hands of our loyal users, we’re also striving to deliver a high-quality release and ensure a smooth transition for our widely expanded services.”