Yesterday, WP Central reported that the Windows Phone 7.8 update would be made available to Nokia Lumia 900 owners on AT&T by the end of January. This update, first announced last June alongside the Windows Phone 8 announcements, will bring several features to the Lumia 900 handset that are standard on new Windows Phone 8 devices like the Lumia 920.

This update comes nearly 7 months after it was first announced but this confirmation is only for Lumia 900 devices on AT&T. There is no word on when the update will be available for other Windows Phone 7.X handsets.

My question though is this update too little and too late for those users.  If you browse around sites like WP Central and on Twitter you will find the Lumia 900 users are not a very happy bunch right now and they haven’t been for – oh about 7 months.

The Nokia Lumia 900 was launched on AT&T as the flagship Windows Phone for that carrier with a huge marketing campaign and was made available to the public in late April 2012. On 20 June 2012 Joe Belfiore, the Windows Phone Program Manager at Microsoft, announced a brand new version of the Windows Phone operating system which was known as Windows Phone 8.

This new version of the OS took advantage of more advanced hardware opportunities and brought several new elements of functionality that were not possible on previous Windows Phone 7 handsets due to the more advanced hardware requirement for WP8.

That meant that anyone who purchased the Lumia 900 at its release time was told that their handset was stagnate and not upgradeable less than two months after making that purchase. Of course, many purchased that handset at a reduced cost by entering a new two year contract with AT&T to get the subsidized price which pushed their opportunity to benefit from the advances in Windows Phone 8 at least 18 months down the road.

So at the same time they announced the new Windows Phone 8 OS and its capabilities they also threw in a tidbit about this Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade that would work on current Windows Phone 7.X devices and bring some of the features that were going to appear in Windows Phone 8.

That was about it for details on the upgrade and we did not hear much more from Microsoft, Nokia or AT&T about it. It did get some attention back in late November on the official Windows Phone Blog when an update on Windows Phone 7.8 was provided by Terry Myerson. He is the Corporate VP for Windows Phone. That post provided a peek into a few of the features 7.8 would have and promised that it would be rolled out to as many devices as possible in early 2013. The overwhelming theme within the over 200 comments on the post was disappointment at the delay.

So now we arrive in January 2013 and the somewhat official confirmation that the update will be available to Lumia 900 users and that it comes 7 months after it was announced and just 9 months after many of those Lumia 900 users went on release day and purchased their phones.

Now we come to my original question – is the Windows Phone 7.8 update too little too late? Is this just a measure to give those users who jumped first on the Lumia 900 something to tide them over until they can get out of their current contracts with a possible early upgrade at 18 months. Based on the time frame that 18 month window opens in October of this year if they purchased on release day in April 2012.

The real answer to this question will be from the users who are still on their Lumia 900’s. With October 2013 being 9 months away you have to wonder if this upgrade will hold them over until their upgrade windows opens up.