Windows Phone 8 will share a common core of code with Windows 8 on desktops and laptops, much as Apple has used OS X as the core for its iOS software. The new smartphone software makes it easier for developers to create one app for both platforms while also adding additional hardware features to let Microsoft better compete in the heavily contested smartphone market, Microsoft corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore, said at the event.
Windows Phone 8 will also offer support for more heavy-duty hardware, shared drivers with Windows 8 graphics and media components, and more gaming-friendly features.
Faster app processing and multitasking will be possible on WindowsPhone with support for multi-core processors. Currently, all Windows Phone smartphones run on single-core processors; the addition of multi-core support means we'll finally be seeing Windows phones with dual-core (and perhaps quad-core) processors.
A major change has been made in the start screen. The Live Tiles remain but will be resizable. Users can set their tiles to large, medium or small the OS will be available with a wider variety of colors and themes. The new OS will support three screen sizes: the existing 800 by 480, 1280 by 720, and 1280 by 768.
Microsoft announced that Windows 8 will omit Bing Maps in favour of Nokia Maps. (Nokia Maps are generally considered to be superior to Bing Maps.) This feature will include turn-by-turn directions and the option to save maps for offline use. In addition, all upcoming Windows Phones -- not just ones made by Nokia -- will use Nokia's maps with WP8.
Another feature added to the Windows Phone is of Mobile Wallet and Near- Filed Communication (NFC). With NFC support making into WP8, the users will have access to a new feature called Wallet. The 'mobile wallet hub' on WP8 will allow users to pay for goods and services from the phone itself. Along with storing financial information, the wallet will integrate apps as well.
The first set of Windows Phone with WP8 operating system will be built on Qualcomm chips and will come from big names like Nokia, Samsung, HTC and Huawei. It also revealed that from now on, all updates to the Windows Phone OS will be over-the-air, so that it will no longer be necessary to plug in your Windows Phone to your computer to upgrade.
To sum up, the updates are precisely what Microsoft needs to help kickstart its Windows Phone sales in the currently Apple and Samsung dominant market. The early handsets have earned solid reviews, but are taking a long time to gain both market share and mind share.
April 22, 2013, 5:55 am UTC
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