The Windows Phone 7.8 update for "legacy" Windows Phone devices should start rolling out on January 31st 2013.
Windows Phone 7.8 is an update for devices running Windows Phone 7.5. These devices will not be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8, but through 7.8 will receive a UI and branding update to make the look and feel more similar to WP8.
There has been no official announcement from Microsoft regarding the Windows Phone 7.8 update further than one about an "early 2013" release. Manufacturers have been similarly cagey about the rollout, but some network operators have been more forthcoming about it.
Last week I contacted the network operator I use for my personal device, Three UK, and got an informative response. ( Three UK Tweet )
There have been similar responses from network operators and retailers globally, as reported by wpcentral.com.
My personal speculation on the matter is that the update is currently being tested by network operators and that Microsoft wants the WP 7.8 rollout to be as smooth and fast as possible. I don't think MS wants to split their smartphone ecosystem more than it already is or have consumers complaining about "Windows Phone Fragmentation". Here's to hoping the update is pushed out as soon and quickly as possible.
Do you have a Windows Phone 7.5 Mango or Tango device? Do you have or are you looking forward to the official release of the Windows Phone OS update? Let us know what you think in the comments.