Windows Phone 7.8 rolling out to Windows Phone 7.5 in early 2013

Windows Phone 8 tiles
Familiar Start screen comes next year

Though Microsoft has moved on to bigger and better things with Windows Phone 8, the company hasn't forgotten about the phones that preceded the new operating system.

In fact, Microsoft announced plans Wednesday to bring some of the highly touted features of Windows Phone 8 to its Windows Phone 7.5 devices like the Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 900.

Originally speculated to arrive as early as today, Microsoft released a status update on the anticipated Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade.

Microsoft said it plans to release Windows Phone 7.8 for remaining 7.5 users in early 2013, bringing along a bevvy of features designed to keep the older OS looking brand new.

New apps and themes

One of the biggest changes coming with Windows 7.8 will be the Windows 8 Start screen, which will allow users to enjoy the resizable Live Tiles prevalent in the latest OS.

The number of themes and colors will double to 20, and there will be new lockscreen features like the Bing Picture of the Day and a password lock to help prevent accidental swiping.

Microsoft also promised highly popular apps like Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars are on the way as well.

The Softies are also planning to ship new Windows Phone 7.8 devices around the world soon, allowing the Redmond-based company to expand into more markets.

Though the update won't arrive as soon as hoped, at least now Windows Phone users have a more concrete timeframe to bank on.