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For quite some time, the race of the mobile operating systems has only included Android and iOS, as fans of both the OSes vehemently give their opinions on why their preferred choice is better than the competition. Personally speaking, I own devices that run both Android and iOS and can pick a long list of pros and cons with both. I personally prefer iOS, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Android and recognize the benefits that it brings in an industry where we need diversity. Those two platforms still remain dominant, but it looks like Microsoft is ready to give a big push to Windows Phone and I’m secretly hoping that it gets the attention and success it rightly deserves.

With the first wave of Windows Phone 8 devices being announced, it is an exciting time for Microsoft and the manufacturers who are partnering with them to produce the hardware. On the downside, existing Windows Phone 7.x users will not be able to benefit from a software update that gives them the new major release of the operating system. A separate device purchase that is built containing Windows Phone 8 will be needed for that. Existing users will however get an upgrade in October that will take them to Windows Phone 7.8, and although it won’t be as functional as the new release it will still bring a new set of capabilities.

The fear had been that Microsoft would only ring in a small amount of change for existing users of the platform and instead choose to concentrate all their efforts on the new generation. The good news is that a number of reports and word coming out of the Tech Ed conference in New Zealand has confirmed that those Windows Phone 7.x users will get a host of new features and menu items, as well as the new redesigned home screen that is a part of Windows Phone 8.

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When launched next month, it’s likely that the Windows Phone 7.8 will bring the new and improved home screen tiles that offer users the ability to flick through varying sizes to create a unique setup on the display. It is also being rumored that the camera app will get a significant makeover, bringing with it the ability to use self-timing captures and group shots as well as capturing panoramic views. In addition to Windows Phone 7.8, it looks like device manufacturers will actually be responsible for pushing out their own updates to users to bring additional feature sets, but until then, it appears to be relatively good news for existing Windows Phone 7.x users.

(via Neowin)

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