From Windows Phone 7.8 to Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 7.5 is the version of Microsoft's mobile operating system running on the first generation of Nokia Lumia. For me, it was on a Lumia 800. But Nokia Connects sent me a Lumia 520 running Windows Phone 8. My experience haven't changed that much, but I was glad for the improvements Microsoft and Nokia has made.
As I have my Lumia 800 updated to Windows Phone 7.8, I have the same homescreen that we found on WP8 with three different sizes for the tiles and for the applications menu, nothing has changed either. But the first difference is not there, it's the animation, they are like..smoother/nicer.
One of the first things I've tried when I've put my sim card in the Lumia 520, was to dial an USSD code #1234# and it worked ! My operator is Orange Senegal and I was living without that with the Lumia 800, having to call 604 for services...Orange France I think had this problem too. So you know how I felt after this discovery, much much happyness :)
It's this kind of little things that make a huge difference !
ps: I can do screenshots with Windows Phone 7 but not on a native way. My phone is developer unlocked (I have a dev account) so, I have sideloaded Screen Capture app and I take screenshot with it.
The Music+Videos app has changed too, no more Zune (even the PC Application is now useless, houray!!) and is branded Xbox Music, and visually, the background is grey, not black anymore or artist pictured, it's nice..I really love the UI. I've said Zune PC application is now useless, it's because you can access the phone through the Windows Explorer, phone being connected in MTP mode and only 5 folders are available:
- Documents: Where you put your documents (obviously) so apps can open them.
- Music: just drag and drop your songs and you're good to go :)
- Pictures: with subfolders Camera Roll for pictures taken by the phone's camera, Saved Pictures is for edited pictures, Screenshots and Sample Picture folder which contains the pictures you'll find on every Windows Phone device by default.
- Ringtones: another good thing that come with Windows Phone 8 is the ability to use your own songs to make them your ringtone. No more "Ringtone Maker" app from Nokia, just copy your files to this folder and select them in the phone's settings.
- Videos: same as Music, just drag and drop. It can play Avi and MP4 files but not MKV (only those three I've tried but I'm sure wmv is compatible too)
This is a huge step for Windows Phone but still the minimum requirement for us, longtime Nokia users. Now I'd love to see apps to have the ability to browse in the phone's memory and access to files, Adobe Reader will be again my exemple...so I want a File Manager for Windows Phone, that would be awesome !
You have noticed the Screenshot subfolder, yeah, unlike WP7 you can take a screenshot just by pressing the lock button and the windows button simultaneously, but the screenshot sound (like a camera sound) is not disableable, even when the phone is in vibrate mode.
Another cool addition is Storage Check, which you can find in the setting on the very bottom. I really like this, WP7 doesn't have it so I couldn't know which app is using how much space, and on a 8Gb of internal storage, you'll really need to know.
The WP8 keyboard has evolved since WP7, it's more "intelligent", trying to guess what your next word will be. I'd love the keyboard to add "predicted words" when pressing the space bar though, that would be "more intelligent". But the small change made in the french keyboard, the switch of the comma and the langage selector is so much disturbing. I couldn't help pressing the comma instead of the space bar when texting, don't know why it's happening...I'm typing quite fast though. With the Lumia 800, I don't have that problem. New things, the new emoticones, see by yourself picture below :)
They are not all available for texting but, on Twitter for example, they work well and it's nice to have them :)
On the list of thing that has been upgraded, the Internet Explorer has been made better. With WP7 for example, accessing touch.facebook.com bring you something, hmmm, something you don't want to see. Hopefully that's no more...see this:
So I've made an html5 test to see numbers...lol, the score doubled+ from WP7 browser to WP8's. Internet Explorer was indeed improved, I have forgot to do a browser comparison (and now the phone is gone) but keep in mind that IE wasn't that bad on WP7 ;)
Automatic upload to SkyDrive of pictures now became just useful now. Photos are not downsized anymore (exit lame pictures) as they are now uploaded at their full resolution. Wonder why Microsoft didn't do that in the begining. Anyway, this is great as I always forgot to copy them from phone to laptop. With Zune, I didn't have to do that neither, just plug the phone to the PC and Zune does the job.
There's a part I didn't like on the Lumia 520, the camera app: it is poor. Only lenses and the video option are available and the setting had not much things. it may be because the phone is a "low end" but fortunately, I am not a camera guy, so it didn't disturbed me that much.
If there's something I'm recommanding when it comes to the camera, it's SophieLens. It's THE lens to use, I just love it. Sad WP7 doesn't have it.
There's another annoying thing, a missing feature that Windows Phone is lacking since WP7: the ability to share a music. But with WP7, Nokia released an app for file sharing called Bluetooth Share. With that app, you can share pictures and songs..and that's it. On WP8, I couldn't find that app in the Nokia Collection from the store, so I really couldn't send something. See picture below, you can see on the left, the option to share and on the right, when I tap on it, the only possibilities...meh!
Two weeks that my sim card was switching between the Lumia 520 and my Lumia 800. The Windows Phone experience is great for me, it is stable and really smooth, and I like WP8 more than the WP7. i wouldn't be normal then ;) it was improved.
Applications are for the majority on WP8 and WP7 still lake many of them. No more updates, the new Facebook app has been promised to come, maybe when the one on WP8 will be as good as the one on Android or iOS ? WP7 is still usable, proof: I haven't upgraded. But it's a matter of time before I do. Lumia 800's screen became really small to me and I want game such as Temple Run or Amazing Spider Man. Those big title not coming to WP7.
Windows Phone is really becoming great, there are some features missing, not apps but features. As Microsoft is planning big updates, we're waiting for them now.
A question that 3 persons asked me: "Would I ditch my Lumia 800 for the Lumia 520?" No I won't. The Windows Phone 8 on the 520 is better than WP7, but the hardware of the Lumia 800 is the thing that I can't get rid of (the dual led flash that can be used for a flashlight, the better screen tech, and the average feel of the phone). I am more looking at the so beautiful Lumia 925, the best Windows Phone to date and the most beautiful phone ever (my opinion!)
If you own a WP7, you definitely have to upgrade, you'll enjoy Windows Phone even more ! And for what Nokia has proposed, the choice is wide.