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Windows Phone 7.8 update dated for Q1 2013

The first hint as to Microsoft's plan for owners of last-generation Windows Phone 7.5 handsets has been provided by the company's Brazilian arm, suggesting that an upgrade is due early next year.

Windows Phone 7.5 dates back to 2011 and introduced numerous new features to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform ahead of the launch of Windows Phone 8. Those who had upgraded were hopeful for an eventual transition to the newer Windows Phone 8 OS, but those hopes were dashed by Microsoft's announcement that Windows Phone 8 would be exclusive to new handsets. Instead, Windows Phone 7.5 users are to be provided with a 'stop-gap' upgrade, Windows Phone 7.8, which back-ports some of the new features of Windows Phone 8 to older handsets.

Originally, Microsoft had planned to launch the Windows Phone 7.8 update alongside Windows Phone 8 in October, but that date has been and gone with no sign of the software for existing Windows Phone users. Microsoft has been silent on the reasons for the delay, and had yet to publicly comment on a revised launch schedule for the software until the company's Brazilian arm broke cover with a promise that the update would be launched by early next year.

Answering a customer's query as to the status of the update via microblogging site Twitter, the company explained that Windows Phone 7.8 will be launching in Brazil in the first quarter of 2013. With Microsoft originally planning a US launch for the software and then an international roll-out over the weeks following, it seems likely that Windows Phone 7.5 users should be offered the update by March next year at the latest.

Still to be announced, however, are the features from Windows Phone 8 that will be coming to older handsets as part of Windows Phone 7.8. Although a new start screen with customisable tiles is known to be part of the update, the remainder of the features are being kept under close wraps by Microsoft until closer to launch.

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