For the past year the original adopters of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform have been waiting patiently for the final update to the platform, 7.8, to reach their handsets. Its not all good news, however, because so far users have been experiencing issues with Zune itself, while others are having issues with carrier compatibility or slow servers. However, get past those minor hurdles and you won’t have to contemplate a WP8 upgrade for some time.
The company last week started heavily punting the update to the Windows Phone OS, the last one the phones will receive as the industry moves on to supporting Windows Phone 8, Microsoft’s new version of the OS supporting newer and better hardware. Owners of the first-generation Windows Phone devices can look forward to a few squashed bugs, an updated lock screen, a different PIN/Password challenger that won’t allow you to completely lock yourself out and the new, revamped Start screen featuring adjustable Live tiles. Those aren’t the same as the Live Tiles in WP8, though, as several of them won’t display the same amount of information, nor will the “Pictures” tile show off new photos added to your photostream.
WP7.8 will still connect to the same services as WP8, but certain things won’t work the same way. Many new apps in the Microsoft store may also be incompatible, as WP8 apps aren’t designed to be backwards-compatible (that’s by design, not a side-effect of the two platforms featuring different kernels).
Windows Phone 7.8 already ships with the Lumia 510 and can be downloaded to any of the other first-gen Lumias using the Zune software. However, a number of users are experiencing roll-out issues thanks to some issues with Zune. You can try follow this process discovered by WP Central to force the update on the phone for other brands. Alternatively, there’s an app called Seven-Eighter that allows you to force the update by copying over the OS files and allowing the phone to flash itself. As a last resort, Nokia Lumia owners can use the Nokia Care Suite to flash their phone using signed images straight from Nokia’s servers.
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