Microsoft has confirmed that the Windows Phone 7.8 operating system upgrade for handsets that launched earlier this year will be available from early 2013.
Rumours have abounded in recent weeks that the update was imminent for devices such as the Lumia 800 or HTC Mozart, but in a blog post the corporate vice president of Windows Phone, Terry Myerson, confirmed it will be early next year before it is available.
"We know you're eager to get the Windows Phone 7.8 update, and we want you to know that we're working closely with our hardware and carrier partners to get it tested, approved, and rolled out to as many devices as possible in early 2013," he said.
The update will offer several different capabilities available to Windows Phone 8 users too, including the capability to re-size the live tile screens on the device.
"Windows Phone 7.8 also includes some other cool stuff. It doubles the number of theme and accent colours - to 20 - so you can make your phone even more personal," he said.
"There are also new lock screen features: the option to automatically display the Bing Picture of the Day plus the ‘A1B2C3' PIN/password challenge to prevent accidental device wipes on phones connected to Exchange accounts."
Myerson also touted the ongoing growth of apps available for the Windows Phone platform, citing some popular games such as Words with Friends and Draw Something that are now available after their huge success on iOS and Android.
Elsewhere the chief executive of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, announced on Wednesday that sales of Windows Phone 8 devices are four times as high first version devices launched last year.
Numerous sources cite Ballmer as making the claim at the firm's annual shareholder meeting in Seattle.
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