Microsoft announces Windows Phone 8

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

At its Windows Phone Summit today, Microsoft gave the press a sneak peek at the future of Windows Phone, their mobile smartphone operating system. The new Windows Phone operating system will be called Windows Phone 8.

Although there will be many new end user features in the new version of the operating system, Microsoft is focusing on some of the features that developers would care about in this announcement.

A large change in the latest version of Windows Phone is that the new OS will be based on the same core as the desktop version of Windows, so it should be easier for developers to write apps. This will also add some security features.

The latest version of Windows Phone will support a new hardware standard. In the past, Windows Phone only supported single-core processors. In this new version of the OS, dual-core devices are now supported. Windows Phone 8 will also support new screen resolutions, like WVGA (800x480), WXGA (1280x768), and 720p (1280x720). And finally in this category of hardware support, Windows Phone 8 will now support removable microSD cards, which will allow users to store photos, music, videos, and apps, and add more storage space to your device.

The latest version of the operating system will come with the latest version of Internet Explorer (IE), IE10. This version of IE will provide new performance and security features.

The new Windows Phone start screen
A new feature in Windows Phone will make it easy for developers to port there apps that they already wrote for other platforms. So expect more apps and better games.

NFC, a technology that allows users to transmit data from one device to another wirelessly (usually used to transmit money), will now be supported natively.

Windows Phone 8 comes with a wallet feature. This feature allows users to save and use their credit, debit, loyalty, and membership cards. The wallet feature will take advantage of the built-in NFC to allow tap-to-pay transactions.

Maps will be built in to Windows Phone 8, using Nokia’s mapping technology. Offline map support is built, as well as turn-by-turn navigation.

Microsoft is also adding many new features for businesses, including encryption, secure boot, device management, and Office.

The start screen, probably one of the prettiest features in Windows Phone, will receive an update as well as part of Windows Phone 8. The icons on the start screen now can come in three sizes; large, medium, and small. Microsoft has also gotten rid of the right rail on the side of the screen, so you have more  space for apps and live tiles.

This update will be released in the fall, and, although current Windows Phones will receive an update adding some new features, the full upgrade will not support any existing Windows Phones.

In conclusion, this seems like a great update for Windows Phone. Although we don't know too much about the features an end-user would care about, we do have an idea of what the future of Windows Phone will look like.


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