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According to a report over at WMPowerUser, the long-awaited release of Windows Phone 7.8 is almost upon us, so those rocking one of the older WP7.X devices will be able to get something of a taster of Windows Phone 8.

Upon showcasing the brand new Windows Phone 8 earlier this year, Microsoft stated it would not be including the older devices such as the popular Nokia Lumia 800 and 900. The news was a great disappointment to some, but it was a move the Redmond company had to make in order to advance its fledgling software platform.

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Short of leaving those users completely in the cold, the software maker did pledge a reasonable upgrade in the form of Windows Phone 7.8, and although the company explicitly stated it would not offer all of the goodies packed into Windows Phone 8, it would offer some of them – notably the Start Screen.

Updates since have been rater scarce, but as Windows Phone 8 finally begins to trickle out via devices like the HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Nokia Lumia 920, it would seem Windows Phone 7.8 has been released to manufacturing (RTM). Those familiar with the movement of Microsoft’s software will know that can mean only one thing – the end user release is imminent.

Reports previously indicated the release wouldn’t be arriving until early 2013, but at a private meeting betwixt Microsoft and Nokia in Singapore, attendees are said to have been informed that Windows Phone 7.8 had already released to manufacturing. If that is indeed the case, we could well see a public release beginning before the end of the month.

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Windows Phone 8 has already been about for three or so weeks, but the devices running it have only just begun to hit the market. HTC has a competitor for both Nokia’s high-end Lumia 920 and mid-range 820 in the form of the 8X and 8S respectively, and it will be very interesting to see which, of the two, early Windows Phone 8 adopters take to.

As well as the aforementioned Lock Screen, Windows Phone 7.8 will also offer new theme colors for your Home Screen Live Tiles, and if you feel like turning one of your favorite songs into your ringtone, you get that, too, along with Bluetooth file sharing and IE9 security improvements.

(via WMPowerUser)

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