Microsoft shows off the new start screen for WP7.8 on the Lumia 900

Microsoft has had a big day, today, and announced a plethora of new features coming to Windows Phone 8. The company also announced that current handsets won't get Windows Phone 8, but will get a subset of supported features, including the new home screen. 

AnandTech reports that Greg Sullivan, senior product manager for Windows Phone showed off what the new start screen looks like in action on his Lumia 900 running Windows Phone 7.8, and maybe it's not so bad after all. Microsoft is pretty tight lipped on what's actually coming to Windows Phone 7.8, but here's hoping it's more than just the new start screen.

No word on release date for either Windows Phone 7.8 or Windows Phone 8, but we've got a slew of new features that have been announced for the latter, anyway. Are you excited for the new OS?

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Paul Thurrot calls out 3 definite features that WP 7.8 will get. They include:-
- New Start Screen
- Tile Customisation
- Windows Update - Will be delivered OTA instead of USB/Zune.
http://www.winsupersite.com/ar...ows-phone-78-preview-143476

Let's hope that's not all though. It would not be beyond them to include IE10, deep Skype integration, Nokia maps (for non-Lumias), and the updated XBOX Live Games Hub.

I wonder if 1st gen devices will still get the 'Tango' bits before 7.8?

i cant wait for 7.8 on my lumia 800, looks good, looking at that makes me agree that the single tile sizes currently used are to big for some info, like phone displaying missed calls needs only a small tile same for e-mail etc. More stuff fittable to ya screen means less scrolling around.

To ~Neowin~ all pre WP8 phones, will get this update

Microsoft really messed up the marketing and messaging for WP8. How they could be this daft after all these years when it comes to promotion and communication about products is amazing.

Maybe they need to take a page from Apple and STOP letting the geeks with no social aptitude be the ones talking about products, especially when they themselves have a myopic view of the product based on only the area they specialize in.

There are brilliant people at work at Microsoft, but communications is not an area they do well in. Microsoft seems to think everyone is like Gates and has great public presentation and hard technical understanding, and that is rather rare.

They should have called the 7.8 update Windows Phone 8, and just stated that unless you have the new hardware you will not get access to some of the new WP8 applications.

Which is essentially what is happening as the OS platform layer is being revamped to match WP8 from the startscreen even down the included Apps. There is also application parity with WP8 and WP7, where developers shifting between WP7, WP8, and WinDesktop8 can essentially release the same App.

If a developer uses a WP8 specific feature like Native code or one of the frameworks from the desktop, then it will not run on WP7; however, this does not it cannot still be made available.

Writing for WP8/Win8 and moving to WP7 is not hard for 99% of the applications out there, it is only the higher end applications and games that wouldn't run on WP7 hardware anyway that is an issue.

So if you have WP7, don't get too alarmed that Microsoft is leaving you behind, they aren't but their ability to communicate this is alarmingly bad. You will not get the NT kernel, but you will get a majority of the OS and App features from WP8.

They also have missed the technical 'selling' of Windows 8 and WP8 completely. They haven't stressed enough what having the NT kernel and core OS at the heart really means for consumers, and the features and power this offers end users, developers, and hardware MFRs.

People still think Windows RT is some 'different' OS, and even WP8 is getting sold as a 'different OS', and they are NOT different, they are the SAME OS that everyone will be running on their desktops and even servers.

And Microsoft still hasn't had any serious discussions about the core technology advances in Windows 8 that would be of interest and affects end users.

There is no discussion of the NT side of things and the changes that happened in Windows 8. (Go look up videos of people running Windows 8 in 128mb of RAM)

Microsoft has only under their breath said anything about the new minimal RAM mode, and the really cool kernel level changes.


There is some impressive technology that should be talked about in Windows 8, and this is all left unsaid and everyone is still just talking about the things they can see on the screen.

So we see people talking about if Tiles are too big as the main topics, and these are the same people that didn't a few more lines from the article to see that they could change the size of the freaking tiles.

thenetavenger said,
Microsoft really messed up the marketing and messaging for WP8. How they could be this daft after all these years when it comes to promotion and communication about products is amazing.
<snip>

Thanks for filling us in on some of the behind the scenes details. Definitely appreciate the in-depth insight of the MS ecosystem that you bring here. Maybe you should have been on stage today!

thenetavenger said,
They should have called the 7.8 update Windows Phone 8, and just stated that unless you have the new hardware you will not get access to some of the new WP8 applications.

I was thinking along the same lines initially, but quickly thought it's better having the different versions to lessen later confusion.

Apple can give the same version to their OS despite missing features on prior devices without producing much, if any, confusion, because their devices are few and also versioned. There would generally be little trouble getting the latest device from Apple, and I think most purchasers at launch would be thinking in terms of devices -- looking for the latest iPhone, rather than a phone with a specific version of iOS.

However, if someone wanted to purchase a Windows Phone 8 device, they could very well end up with one of the prior generation devices (due to a mistake on their part or on the part of a carrier representative), because, hey, it runs Windows Phone 8. Then they're angry that their phone won't receive updates other Windows Phone 8 devices will, or is incompatible with certain things due to lacking functionality. If MS made their own phones, and no one else did, I think the "one version" strategy would be ok. But, for a multiple manufacturer device ecosystem, I think it's better to differentiate the versions (also simpler to differentiate the supported APIs this way). I do think they could have communicated better -- either by just saying current devices will receive 1 more update (7.8) which will include some features from WP8 (more details on this as we near release), or provided more details about what would be in the update today, rather than simply emphasizing the inclusion of the Start screen (and associated experiences). This would've prevented recent purchasers thinking the Start screen was the only thing in the update. They also didn't mention (that I remember) Tango rolling out to devices, which would've highlighted that 7.8 would be the second update to be released for the latest devices like the Lumias, not the first. Many people seem to have forgotten about that, as well as new apps in the pipeline like Smart Glass.

Overall, though, people should base their purchases on what a device currently offers, not what it could offer later.

I am really digging the updates showsn so far about Windows Phone 8. Hoping Verizon gets some new WP8 phones to their network in the next year or so. I'll definitely be interested in picking one up sometime early next year. The HTC Trophy they had was OK, but the screen is too small and doesn't support 4G.

dbam987 said,
I am really digging the updates showsn so far about Windows Phone 8. Hoping Verizon gets some new WP8 phones to their network in the next year or so. I'll definitely be interested in picking one up sometime early next year. The HTC Trophy they had was OK, but the screen is too small and doesn't support 4G.

From what I understand Verizon is finally fully on board with Windows Phone 8. Thank God, I was beginning to get frustrated with Verizon's blind faith to Android...

The update is really nice but I do not like all that clicking noise they added. Why would Microsoft have the phone make all that noise?

Enron said,
The update is really nice but I do not like all that clicking noise they added. Why would Microsoft have the phone make all that noise?

That is a DSLR camera taking pictures of the phone, not the phone. A Canon by the sound of it I think.

Depicus said,

That is a DSLR camera taking pictures of the phone, not the phone. A Canon by the sound of it I think.

I didn't see a camera in the video. I just saw the phone and it was definitely making a horrible clicking noise. Go watch the video again. Whenever he wasn't touching the phone screen, it would make that execrable clicking sound.

Enron said,
The update is really nice but I do not like all that clicking noise they added. Why would Microsoft have the phone make all that noise?

The clicking noise? In the video? You do know that's the media taking pictures, right? DSLR in burst mode? Surely you're talking about something else.

Enron said,

I didn't see a camera in the video. I just saw the phone and it was definitely making a horrible clicking noise. Go watch the video again. Whenever he wasn't touching the phone screen, it would make that execrable clicking sound.

The camera is not in the view of the video camera. It would be silly for it to make noise when he's not even touching the phone... when it's just sitting there. You can also see the occasional flash from other cameras.

I really like it. The chap who did some mock ups a few weeks back got the design nearly spot on! Bravo.

Although I'm a little sad to see the arrow go, I've spent so much time aimlessly pressing it and going back and forth between the Homescreen and the App List. Its exclusion makes me feel as if all that time was wasted.

Does anyone know if you can assign different colours to individual tiles?

Godlike_Ape said,
I really like it. The chap who did some mock ups a few weeks back got the design nearly spot on! Bravo.

Although I'm a little sad to see the arrow go, I've spent so much time aimlessly pressing it and going back and forth between the Homescreen and the App List. Its exclusion makes me feel as if all that time was wasted.

Does anyone know if you can assign different colours to individual tiles?

I doubt that you'd be able to with the way that theming works on WP, but they haven't said, and likely won't until the next WP event

Godlike_Ape said,
I really like it. The chap who did some mock ups a few weeks back got the design nearly spot on! Bravo.

Although I'm a little sad to see the arrow go, I've spent so much time aimlessly pressing it and going back and forth between the Homescreen and the App List. Its exclusion makes me feel as if all that time was wasted.

Does anyone know if you can assign different colours to individual tiles?

I never used the arrow, I find it easy just to swipe to the sides.

Godlike_Ape said,
I really like it. The chap who did some mock ups a few weeks back got the design nearly spot on! Bravo.

Although I'm a little sad to see the arrow go, I've spent so much time aimlessly pressing it and going back and forth between the Homescreen and the App List. Its exclusion makes me feel as if all that time was wasted.

Does anyone know if you can assign different colours to individual tiles?


I hadn't even noticed the absence of the arrow... I kind of like this though. People can just swipe, it's not as big a learning curve as Microsoft treated it...

oliver182 said,

I never used the arrow, I find it easy just to swipe to the sides.

I never actually use it when I want to find an app, but there's something exceptionally satisfying about pressing it, watching the screen move and the arrow flip, pressing it again and so on.

Give it a try and submit!

Sraf said,

I doubt that you'd be able to with the way that theming works on WP, but they haven't said, and likely won't until the next WP event

This is what I expected (on both counts), but I hadn't read about it being an option anywhere else. Thanks!

Godlike_Ape said,

I never actually use it when I want to find an app, but there's something exceptionally satisfying about pressing it, watching the screen move and the arrow flip, pressing it again and so on.

Give it a try and submit!

Yep I like the feel but I think its for the best, now we'll have full screen start screen

This is the worst feature. Its a mess. They must have brought native app support feature not this. I like the old screen better much cleaner. All Lumia 900 users should sue Microsoft and Nokia for False advertising and disrespecting customers.

S3P€hR said,
This is the worst feature. Its a mess. They must have brought native app support feature not this. I like the old screen better much cleaner. All Lumia 900 users should sue Microsoft and Nokia for False advertising and disrespecting customers.

Just don't resize the tiles then.... done

oliver182 said,

Just don't resize the tiles then.... done

Too complicated, must sue company for providing update. /s

S3P€hR said,
This is the worst feature. Its a mess. They must have brought native app support feature not this. I like the old screen better much cleaner. All Lumia 900 users should sue Microsoft and Nokia for False advertising and disrespecting customers.

Stuff doesn't automatically pin to the start screen, unless they changed this in the new version. If you want something small then you can make it small, if you want it to look just like WP7.5 then you can.

Current users get a partial upgrade. This is pretty much an industry standard. Unlike Apple they are being up front with us about the upgrade and not acting like you can upgrade your phone to the most recent OS. We may not get all the backend improvements from the new kernel but we're getting the UI improvements.

S3P€hR said,
I like the old screen better much cleaner.

LOL, then don't use the Small Tile Size, and stick to the Large Square and Rectangles. Everyone's happy.

S3P€hR said,
This is the worst feature. Its a mess. They must have brought native app support feature not this. I like the old screen better much cleaner. All Lumia 900 users should sue Microsoft and Nokia for False advertising and disrespecting customers.

Now, where's that Picard facepalm meme when I need it?

What is it with the burst shooting sound?!
It's an almost static phone! it ain't no speedy chita....

I love the new look and i think now that it is using the whole screen it is much better.

eladbs said,
What is it with the burst shooting sound?!
It's an almost static phone! it ain't no speedy chita....

I love the new look and i think now that it is using the whole screen it is much better.

Sounds like an SLR firing in burst mode