The long wait for Windows Phone 7 .8 to hit Windows Phone 7 devices looks like it might be coming to an end a little earlier than expected for a select group of Nokia Lumia 800 owners in Europe. According to a Dutch Windows Phone blog, the 7.8 update has already started arriving on Lumia 800 devices in the Netherlands — despite Microsoft previously saying the 7.8 update won’t arrive until Q1 2013.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft for confirmation and will update this story with any response.
Nokia would not confirm whether the 7.8 update has started to roll out to Lumia 800 owners, but a Nokia spokesman noted that the 7.8 OS is starting to ship on the budget Lumia 510 in select markets, which would indicate that the update is good to go. He added that “rollout dates will be communicated nearer to availability” — and provided the following Nokia statement
With Windows Phone 7.8 beginning to ship pre-loaded on Nokia Lumia smartphones, we will naturally be deploying the software to our factories for product rollout. At present we have no more information we can give about wider availability of the update for phones running Windows Phone 7.5.
Microsoft announced that it is working closely with hardware and carrier partners to get it tested, approved, and rolled out to as many devices as possible in early 2013.
Windows Phone 7.8 is the last official update for the older generation 7.x Windows Phone OS — now that Microsoft has transitioned to Windows Phone 8, which is built on an entirely different kernel to Windows Phone 7, meaning WP7 has no forward compatibility for apps.
The Dutch blog posted the following screengrab of the Windows Phone 7.8 update process on the Lumia 800 — noting that once the update had completed homescreen Live Tiles can be resized and the Xbox Tile is “now fully Windows Phone 8 style”