Microsoft plans to start rolling out a software update for Windows Phone 7.5 devices in early 2013, bringing improvements to the home screen, lock screen, and other areas. While Windows Phone 8 will never be able to run on phones like the Nokia Lumia 900 which shipped with Windows Phone 7.5, the new operating system (called Windows Phone 7.8) will bring some of the most noticeable features of WP8 to those devices.
For instance, the software update will give users the ability to resize the Live Tiles on their home screens, so that some Tiles may take up just a tiny 1 x 1 square while others run from one side of the screen to the other.
This lets you fit more tiles on the screen at once and see the information that’s most important to you at a glance.
Microsoft is also updating the lock screen to make it harder to accidentally wipe a device connected to an Exchange account and with an option to display the Bing photo of the day.
All told, this sound like a much smaller update than Windows Phone 8… which is already available. So I kind of wonder why Microsoft isn’t releasing Windows Phone 7.8 until the new year. For now, the company says it’s testing the software with hardware and wireless carriers.
Microsoft says we’ll also see new, inexpensive handsets shipping with Windows Phone 7.8 soon.