Windows Phone 8 revealed by Microsoft
Get all the details on Microsoft’s next-gen mobile operating system.
Microsoft is having a busy week. In the wake of the big Windows 8 Microsoft Surface tablet announcement the tech giant has now released the first details on its next-generation Windows Phone 8 operating system.
Skype has been integrated into the latest phones
Planned to launch this autumn around the same time as Windows 8 for desktop and the Microsoft Surface tablet, Windows Phone 8 shares the same core parts as Microsoft’s other newbies.
The idea is that they form a fully-integrated Microsoft eco-system, enabling you to use the same apps across all of the devices.
Combine this with cloud-based document storage on Microsoft Sky Drive and you can imagine how seamlessly you’ll be able to go from being in the living room on your tablet to hopping on a train with your phone and working in the office on a laptop, while sharing content between all three.
The apps and documents you see will all be the same no matter what device you’re using, making life a whole lot easier.
Sprucing things up from the off, the Windows Phone Start Screen has had an upgrade. The smart square design has been retained but smaller tiles have been introduced to make better use of the screen and banish the wasted space that ran down the right side.
This makes room for more user-options to customise the screen.
NFC-enabled for payments on the go
The Windows Phone 8 presentation was a teaser so not all the expected changes were shown.
However, Microsoft did reveal some headline new apps. Skype integration is one of the big additions, so everyone gets video and voice internet calls out of the box.
Maps have been improved by effectively ditching Bing and bringing in the excellent Nokia Maps app.
There will also be a handy Wallet app that uses NFC technology to enable wireless chip & pin-style transactions from your phone.
Instead of swiping a credit card you just hold a phone near an NFC-enabled chip & pin scanner and the new Wallet app handles the rest.
On the hardware front, Windows Phone 8 support for dual-, quad- and octo-core processors will be introduced.
Phones will support three screen resolutions: 800×480, 720p and 1280×768. It was also mentioned that you’ll be able to use SD memory cards as removable drives.
These changes mean that existing Windows Phone 7 users won’t be able to upgrade to the new OS when it’s released or access the new apps. But Microsoft is promising to bring many of the new features to existing phones with a Windows Phone 7.8 update – we’d imagine the new Start Screen, Nokia Maps and Skype will be among those available
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