Thursday, June 21, 2012

Microsoft previews the Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 8 Banner

Microsoft has lifted the curtain and has previewed the next iteration of Windows Phone at the Windows Phone Summit earlier today. They unveiled new platform features that are for developers as well as some end-user features. I’ll tell you more about the end-user features as that’s what matters here.

Windows Phone 8

When Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 7 in 2010, the OS was only limited to supporting single-core devices and since then, the mobile technology has changed so fast. We’ve already seen dual-core and even quad-core smartphones in the last 12 months. It is worth taking note that Windows Phone runs buttery smooth on a single-core processor. But as you know, most if not all people look at the specs and numbers. Finally, Microsoft is bringing multiple core support on Windows Phone 8. What does that mean for the end-users? It means a more fluid, faster, and snappier Windows Phone experience.

Next, the screen. Windows Phone will be supporting HD screens from now on and there will be two new screen resolutions that will be supported – 1280x768 and 1280x720. That means devices with a sharper pixel density and more crystal clear screens for you.

Windows Phone 7 supports microSD cards, but they once it’s in, it becomes a part of the entire system. You can’t just remove and swap memory cards easily. With Windows Phone 8, that has changed. It will now support removable storage which is definitely more flexible. That means you can now easily transfer contents from your phone to your PC.

Windows Phone 8 Hardware

Windows Phone 8 will come with NFC support. You can now easily share contacts, Office documents, photos, and even use it on apps or games! Microsoft showed a demo where NFC is used to pair two devices to play a board game – one running Windows Phone and the other on Windows 8. How cool is that?

Windows Phone 8 NFC

Windows 8 will come with Internet Explorer 10. As such, Windows Phone 8 will come with it too, and it is faster than ever. It uses the same web browser engine used on Windows 8 and includes new security features such as anti-phishing and SmartScreen Filter. Microsoft showed a SunSpider test comparison between Windows Phone 8, the Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC One S, and the iPhone 4S. Just look at how fast it is.

Windows Phone 8 Internet Explorer 10

Microsoft also revealed a new hub, the Wallet hub. It is a place where you can store all of your credit card info, coupons, boarding passes and more. Basically, it’s like Apple’s Passbook app for iOS.

Windows Phone 8 Wallet

Nokia’s mapping technology will also be integrated across the system on Windows Phone 8. It will bring turn-by-turn directions, offline mapping, and local listings for all Windows Phone devices, even a Samsung.

Windows Phone 8 Maps

Native code support is finally here! That means easier development on the developers’ end and even more apps and games for the consumers! Among the upcoming titles are N.O.V.A. 3, Asphalt 7, Draw Something, Words With Friends, and more. I think I saw HALO too, for the hardcore gamers out there.

Windows Phone 8 Native Code

A new redefined Start screen is also present on Windows Phone 8. You can now resize and fill your whole Start screen with live tiles. And it is really more customizable and beautiful than before.

So that’s all? No. This is only a preview of what is coming on Windows Phone 8. Microsoft will announce more of it in the coming weeks and months. They have also confirmed that existing Windows Phone 7.5 devices will not be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8, but they will provide a new 7.8 update to those devices which includes the new Start screen. But since this is just the new features that were announced, Microsoft can’t tell yet the other features that will be part of the 7.8 update.

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