Microsoft presented its new Smartphone OS last night at the Windows Phone Developer Summit in San Francisco. Windows Phone 8 was shown off to the crowd and the most important new features and tools for developing on the new OS were discussed. The new system has updates and tweaks all the way through it from the interface to the hardware support providing new capabilities to this breed of smartphones.
There are quite a lot of significant upgrades from the existing Windows Phone 7.X and the best way to pass on so many changes and updates is in a list, like below;
Key Windows Phone 8 features
- A new Start Screen with more colours, more Live Tile sizes and more personalisation options.
- A common core with Windows 8. Microsoft says “Windows Phone 8 has full C and C++ support, making it easier to write apps for multiple platforms more quickly. It also means Windows Phone 8 supports popular gaming middleware such as Havok Vision Engine, Autodesk Scaleform, Audiokinetic Wwise, and Firelight FMOD, as well as native DirectX-based game development.”
- Nokia Maps for everyone, including other handset vendors.
- Wallet; a digital wallet for credit card and NFC payments.
- Integrated VOIP calling that act just like traditional phone calls.
- Better multitasking.
- Device encryption; built in technology encrypts the entire device including the OS and user data files.
- Language support, a total of 50 languages including more Middle Eastern languages.
- Over-the-air updateability.
- Multi-core processor support for up to 64 cores.
- As well as the current Windows Phone standard 800x480 resolution phones may now have screens at 1280x768 and 1280x720 pixels.
- MicroSD card storage support.
- NFC wireless chip support.
What about current Windows Phone owners?
People with current Windows Phone devices will not be able to update their phones with the new Windows Phone 8 operating system. However Microsoft will make available an update to Windows Phone 7.5 devices that will brings them the new Start Screen interface from Windows Phone 8. This update will be called Windows Phone 7.8. The company hopes this will placate current owners.
What new phones are on the way?
At the Windows Phone Summit, as a developer show, Microsoft really concentrated on the software and the new Windows Phone capabilities that brings but there are of course new phones in the pipeline to make good use of the new OS. Joe Belfiore on the Windows Phone blog said “We’re really excited about the strong line-up of hardware partners who are putting their support behind Windows Phone 8. The first wave of devices for Windows Phone 8 will come from Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC, all built on next-generation chips from Qualcomm.”