After unveiling Microsoft Surface a few days ago, the company’s first Windows-based tablet, Microsoft on Thursday introduced Windows Phone 8 during the Windows Phone 8 Summit event. Alongside the recently announced iOS 6, WP8 will the main adversary of Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. That’s why we’re going to take a look at the main 8 features of WP8, as presented by Microsoft’s engineers and see what this next-gen mobile platform will have to offer.
After that, we invite you to answer our newest poll – are you impressed with Windows Phone 8?
Before we delve into the main Windows Phone 8 features, you’ll have to know that there’s a big difference between Microsoft’s mobile OS and the competition. The company has developed a Shared Windows Core comprised of certain components including the kernel, networking support, file system, multimedia, graphics support and others, which will be similar for various Windows-based devices, whether notebooks and destops, tablets or smartphones. In other words, Microsoft’s mobile and desktop operating system are a lot more intertwined than Android and Chrome or iOS 6 and OS X.
With Shared Windows Core, Microsoft hopes to offer similar experiences for end-users, developers and hardware makers alike, allowing them to make a smooth, easy transition from a Windows 8 device to a WP8 device. With that in mind, let’s take a look of what WP8 will have to offer!
Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5 smartphones have been optimized to support only devices ready to abide to a strict Microsoft hardware cookbook. By imposing certain restraints on OEMs when it comes to hardware choices, Microsoft tried to make sure upcoming WP smartphones would be upgradeable to future software versions and prevent the kind of software fragmentation seen in the Android ecosystem. That meant, among other things, that OEMs were only able to use single-core processors on their WP7 or WP7.5 smartphones and offer only one kind of display resolution.
Starting with WP8, Microsoft will support dual- and multi-core chipsets, therefore future WP8 devices will probably be similar to current Android and iOS devices when it comes to hardware choices. Moreover, Microsoft will offer support for two additional resolutions, 1280 x 768 and 1280 x 720, in addition to the default 800 x 480. Old and new apps will work on any kind of display, no matter whether developers adapt their graphics to support the higher resolutions or not
Finally, WP8 will support memory upgrades via microSD cards, a feature plenty of WP users are probably looking forward to.
Microsoft says the browser is faster than similar products from competing devices including the Samsung Galaxy S3, the HTC One X and the iPhone 4S.
Windows 8 and WP8 will share a common platform which developers will be able to use in order to create various apps that would work out-of-the-box on both operating systems. The feature will be all the more important for game developers which will be able to sell their creations to both Windows 8 and WP8 device owners. The native code feature will certainly help Microsoft increase the number of applications available in its WP digital store, as well as decrease the workload for developers interested in bringing their iOS and Android products to Microsoft’s platforms.
Both Windows 8 and WP8 will support DirectX and common gaming drivers, which means, at least in theory, that graphics-rich apps and games should work flawlessly both on PCs and on phones.
WP8 will come with NFC support, but the technology will not be used only to enable mobile payments (more on that later) but to let users share stuff between their devices thanks to near field communication tech. NFC support will allow app developers to add another layer of interactivity to their apps and users will only have to tap their devices to initiate apps and games or share content with others.
Microsoft seems to believe that it can do mobile payment a lot better than everyone else in the game and the company is ready to work with carriers to support various mobile payment solutions.
WP8 will support credit and debit cards, loyalty and membership cards and it will keep a history of your saved deals in an attempt to replace your physical wallet. Moreover, the wallet will offer third-party apps integration and it will deal with WP8 apps and in-apps purchases. The Wallet Hub will be available on all WP8 device henceforward, but it’s will be up to carriers to provide secure SIMs that will enable actual NFC-based mobile payment functions. ISIS support is coming in 2013, although Microsoft is not willing to share more details at this time on the matter
Just like Apple did a few weeks ago for iOS 6, Microsoft has announced its own mapping application for its next-gen mobile OS. Unsurprisingly, the map app will be provided by Nokia. The WP8 maps app will support global NAVTEQ Map data, offline maps and turn-by-turn directions, while developers will get a “map control” feature that will let them integrate offline WP8 maps in their apps. In case you were wondering, 3D maps support will not be available at this time.
Apparently Microsoft is aware that WP handsets are not popular in the enterprise environment, and that’s why the company plans to bring several business features to WP8 including encryption and secure boot, LOB (line of business) app deployment and device management support. Its suite of Office apps should also come in handy to business users.
“The sexiest thing in Windows Phone 8” is the Start screen according to Microsoft’s WP guru Joe Belfiore, the engineer that unveiled WP8 on stage during the media event. The company decided to change the Start screen in WP8 and offer users and even better overall experience. The Start screen, that uses the live tile-based Metro UI, has been redesigned to accommodate even more tiles. How did Microsoft pull it off? Users will be able customize the size of the tiles and personalize the Start screen in order to better accommodate their needs.
Belfiore made it clear that there are plenty of other features we won’t see at this time, so in case WP8 sounds interesting, you’ll have to wait for the company to ship it. The bad news for existing WP7 and WP7.5 device owners is that they won’t be able to upgrade to WP8 when it’s finally launched. Instead they’re going to be able to upgrade to WP7.8, an OS version that will bring them only certain features from WP8.
We have no actual release date for WP8 at this time, but we do know that Nokia, Samsung, HTC, and Huawei are among the OEMs that will launch WP8 handsets this fall.
Are you impressed with the new Windows Phone 8?
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as a business phone i feel that it will do muc better than android. wheter or not they pull it off is another matter.
Nothing MS ever shows up as first advertised..
I think it looks cool. I would probably buy one if it allowed me to dual-boot with Android(I know, kind of lame of me, but I would like a WP phone, and I cannot give up Android.)
Much better than any “improvements” Apple made in iOS 6
Personally I feel that Windows Phone 8 it will do better than Android section. I hope that Windows Mobile 8 will further develop.
Windows Mobile 8? Doesn’t exist.
Oh shit, it’s sir Sherlock.
I’m pretty impressed. What I was really hoping for thought was something like the Atrix with a desktop experience in addition to the phone experience. Motorola tried to push that as the business solution, but obviously failed. If Microsoft put their muscle behind it, it would work. I for one would love to have a phone that worked awesome as a phone, but once I got to where I needed to be it would just drop into a dock and become a little desktop with a good browser, and Office.
crow-sourced? They’re going to get the data from crows? D:
its interesting for sure and it will bring some more competition but i dont see anything about it that makes me wanna change. I mean id actually rather get an iphone simply knowing that i could jailbreak it and then be almost as happy as i am with my android.
Long live android. Met this guy today and he was showing me all the features of his wp, so i whipped out my tmo gs2 running cm9 and nova launched and dazzled him with all the customized shizz, could tell he was wondering if his phone could do half the stuff lol. If u like to tinker with yo phone android is the way to go. Slam dunked with Swype
the bad thing about it. when you do shell out the hundreds on this phone. you will have to wait atleast a month to protect it.. I found out why the otterbox’s are being “coming soon”, because of the apple lawsuit. otterbox stopped development and production for the g3. I guess if apple can’t stop the sales of the galaxy, at least they can break the phone’s once they are sold.. fuckers..
I don’t really see the need to shove a case on a Nokia phone. The Lumina 900 can be used to hammer nails into a board with the glass screen. Your phone isn’t going to break, so why case it?
Not Lumina. Doesn’t exist. Lumia.
Oh no, sir Sherlock strikes again!
WP8′s features have certainly made it a good choice for a secondary smartphone for me. Actually, if it had multitasking like Android or Symbian wherein it’s available for all apps, I might even make it a primary. But sure, WP8 impressed me enough, where using WP7 for a month as my primary irritated me a lot with its limitations. Nice to see MS doing away with some of them. But like someone else said, I can’t give up Android and its functionality. But again, bring on WP8!
Looking forward to Windows Phone 8. Not really happy with the way androidOS updates are handled. Another aspect that turns me of to androidOS is the memory leaks that occurs
What I’d really like to know is the degree of support and details thereof the OS will bring for external devices through either Bluetooth or the USB port. For example, you so need an external keyboard to really use the Office suite efficiently. Losing that support when I went from my old Motorola Q9c to my HTC Trophy was an unpleasant surprise and, as much as I like the virtual keyboard for some things, it just doesn’t work for others.
Windows Phone 7 is extremely poor and limited in these things, yeah. Seriously hope WP8 adds lots of features including support for external devices like keyboards which allow WP devices with qwerty keyboard inbuilt, because WP7 is an extremely limiting experience. :|
Very impressive article. I have read each and every point and found it very interesting
Motorola tried to push that as the business solution, but obviously failed. If Microsoft put their muscle behind it, it would work