On the 22nd of January, the Windows Phone 7.8 SDK was released.
The SDK update adds Windows Phone 7.8 emulator images, and adds Live Tile options for Windows Phone 7.8.
These new tile templates will allow Windows Phone 7.8 applications to look as beautiful as those on Windows Phone 8, therefore bridging the gap in terms of Start Screen experience. This can be tested on the new emulator images, which will enable one to see how their Windows Phone 7 app works on the new Start Screen, especially with the new ability to make the app’s tile smaller.
With Windows Phone 7.8 about to roll out for older devices, and more and more devices coming out with Windows Phone 7.8, it is important to refresh your app to be ready for users who would no doubt love a great Start Screen experience, which could very well be the difference between pinning your app to the Start Screen and not.
You can get the Windows Phone 7.8 SDK Update here.
If you are having to maintain a WP7 and WP8 version of your app, it might be difficult to have different coding for the Start Screen.
Fortunately, Rudy Huyn, creator of the famous Wikipedia and 9Gag apps on Windows Phone, has created a solution. Mangopollo introduces classes and launches that mimic WP8 functionality on WP7, therefore having no need to have different coding between versions.
You can check out the project on CodePlex here.