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Microsoft shows off the new Windows Phone 7.8 Start Screen

When Microsoft took the wraps off Windows Phone 8 recently, plenty of people got excited about what they saw and heard. Of course, plenty of people got upset, too. Why? Because they learned that Microsoft had pulled a RIM and their current-gen Windows Phone devices wouldn’t be getting an upgrade to the next major version of the OS.

They are, however, extending the olive branch. Existing hardware will receive Windows Phone 7.8 instead, which will bring with it a number of new features — like a more customizable Start Screen.

The biggest change here is the adjustable tile sizes. If all you need is an iOS or Android-style icon, small is the perfect fit. Medium takes up four times the area, and provides enough room for Live Tile information to be displayed. Bumping up to large lets an app display as much information as possible right on your Start Screen.

There’s plenty more coming in Windows Phone 7.8, too. Unfortunately Microsoft is keeping things hush-hush for the time being, so we won’t know what the rest of the changes are until developers get their hands on a preview build or additional official blog posts get published.

As for those of you out there still feeling jilted about not having an upgrade path to Windows Phone 8… don’t forget there’s a big shift in hardware coming, too. With the new OS finally supporting higher-resolution displays, there’s every reason to start saving your pennies so that you can pick up a new handset when the OS arrives later this year. That is, of course, assuming you haven’t already angrily sworn to ditch the platform and move to Android or the iPhone.

More at Windows Team Blog

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