Microsoft Announces Windows Phone 8

· · · Software

Earlier this morning, Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 at the Windows Phone Developer Summit. Before I start, existing Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) users will not be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8 due to hardware differences and hence they will be getting a minor update dub Windows Phone 7.8 in a few weeks time that bring some changes to the start screen for existing users.

Windows 8 Start Screen
Windows 8 Start Screen

My summary of Windows Phone 8 from the summit:
Hardware

  • Windows Core – WP8 will share the same Windows Core as Windows 8
  • Supports Multiple Cores – Supports dual-core, quad-core, octo-core and in theory up to 64-cores
  • 3 Screen Resolutions Only – WGA (800×480 15:9), WXGA (1280×768 15:9) and 720p (1280×720 16:9)
  • MicroSD Support – You can store music, photos, videos and even install apps onto it
  • Native Code (Games) – Common gaming platform based on DirectX
  • NFC – Sharing content (think Android Beam), playing game, e-payment
  • Enterprise Support – Encryption and secure boot, Line of business (LOB) app deployment, remote management
  • In-app payment – Ability to purchase virtual contents within apps
  • Integrated Internet Calling – Skype will be tightly integrated but remains the flexibility of a separate app
  • Multitasking enhancements – VoIP and location apps can now continue to run in the background

Software

  • Internet Explorer 10 – Faster JavaScript and HTML5 performance, SmartScreen Anti-phishing
  • Wallet App – Storing credit/debit/loyalty/membership cards information, supports NFC payment, access deals
  • Nokia Map – Built-in to WP8, using NAVTEQ map data, offline map support and turn-by-turn navigation
  • Revamped Start Screen – Live tiles now comes in small, medium and large sizes and you can resize all tiles to suit your liking
  • Company Hub App – For enterprise customers
  • Compatibility – WP7 apps will run fine on WP8
  • Zune – Is dead
  • Nokia Lumia – PlayTo (NEW)- DLNA app, allows you to share music and video wirelessly to DLNA devices
  • Nokia Lumia – Nokia Counters (NEW) – Monitor data usage, allows you to set data limits as well
  • Nokia Lumia – Camera Extras (NEW) – Extension to the camera app, allows you to do self-timer, action/panorama/smart group shot

Existing Users
As mentioned earlier, if you an existing Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) user, your phone will not be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8, but instead Microsoft is “kind” enough to port some of the features including UI changes of the start screen from Windows Phone 8 to Windows Phone 7.8 and you will be able to get WP7.8 soon. Take a look at Engadget’s article preview of Windows Phone 7.8 running on Nokia Lumia 900.

If you are intending of getting any WP7.5 phones now, I suggest you wait till WP8 is out, if not your phone will be Dead On Arrival (DOA).

Microsoft tries not to make the same mistake for WP8 and they are promising updates for at least 18 months.

For more detailed preview on Windows Phone 8, check out The Verge article entitled, Windows Phone 8 in detail: new Start Screen, multi-core support, VoIP integration, and NFC.

Official Blog: Announcing Windows Phone 8

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