Okay we could write about a thousand articles about Microsoft’s Windows Phone Summit or we could summarise it as best we can. We’ve summarised all the key points of the new Windows Phone 8 platform below for you.
Introducing Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone Apollo is the second major redesign by Microsoft (following the move from Windows Mobile 6.5 to Windows Phone 7) and switches the focus to sharing “core technologies” between the Phone and Desktop (Windows 8 ) platforms allowing for tighter integration between the two.
Some of the shared technologies include networking, security, media, web browser technology and file systems which should also make it significantly easier for developers to convert apps from Windows 8 to Windows Phone 8.
Here’s some of the key features of the new platform;
- Multi-core processor support: As reviewers have noted, Windows Phone runs buttery smooth on phones with a single processor. But piggybacking on the Windows core provides support for multiple cores—so we’re ready for whatever hardware makers dream up.
- Bigger, sharper screens: Windows Phone 8 supports two new screen resolutions—1280×768 and 1280×720, opening the door to amazing new handsets with high-definition 720p displays.
- More flexible storage: Windows Phone 8 supports removable MicroSD cards, so you can stuff your phone with extra photos, music, and whatever else is important to you, and then easily move it all onto your PC.
- NFC wireless sharing: If you haven’t heard the term “NFC” yet, I’m betting you soon will. This emerging wireless technology lets phones share things over short distances. In Windows Phone 8, it helps make sharing photos, Office docs, and contact info easier—just tap your phone another NFC-equipped device. How cool is that?
- Internet Explorer 10: The next version of Windows Phone comes with the same web browsing engine that’s headed for Window 8 PCs and tablets. IE10 is faster and more secure, with advanced anti-phishing features like SmartScreen Filter to block dangerous websites and malware.
- Wallet: Windows Phone 8’s new digital Wallet feature does two great things. It can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes, and other important info right at your fingertips. And when paired with a secure SIM from your carrier, you can also pay for things with a tap of your phone at compatible checkout counters.
- Better maps and directions: Windows Phone 8 builds in Nokia mapping as part of the platform. Our partnership will provide more detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions in many countries, plus the ability to store maps offline on your phone so you can work with maps without a data connection.
- Cooler apps and games: Basing Windows Phone 8 on the Windows core will unleash a new wave of amazing apps and especially games, for reasons I’ll touch on in a moment.
New Start Screen
One of the BIG changes to come out of the Windows Phone 8 announcement is the introduction of a new Homescreen layout, offering the chance to resize live tiles as well as pack up to four tiles (depending on size) in a single row.
Here’s a gallery of the new Start Screen;
New features include:
- Colours: There are now more theme colours to choose from
- Live Tile Size: Live Tiles can now be one of three sizes, allowing you to customise the homescreen as you like.
Here’s a video introducing the new Windows Phone 8 Start Screen;
Here’s the big question; with all the new changes, will Windows Phone 8 run on existing Windows Phone devices? Sadly, the answer is no but existing devices will get a Windows Phone 7.8 update which will feature all the non-hardware associated features of Windows Phone 8.
Business customers are another of Microsoft’s focuses with the Windows Phone 8 platform, having been left out of the Windows Phone 7 OS and they can look forward to:
- Device encryption: To help keep everything from documents to passwords safe, Windows Phone 8 includes built-in technology to encrypt the entire device, including the operating system and data files.
- Better security: Windows Phone 8 supports the United Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) secure boot protocol and features improved app “sandboxing,” so the phone is better protected from malware with multiple layers of security.
- Remote management: With Windows Phone 8, IT departments can manage apps and phones remotely, with tools similar to ones they now employ for Windows PCs.
- Company Hub and apps: Companies can create their own Windows Phone 8 Hub for custom employee apps and other critical business info.
Here’s some of the remaining changes to the Windows Phone 8 platform;
- Firmware Updates: all firmware updates will now be Over-The-Air, meaning no more syncing to Zune to update your device.
- Update cycle: Microsoft has announced that from Windows Phone 8 onwards, all devices will receive firmware updates for at least 18 months which represents a clear strategy for customer satisfaction.
So in a nutshell, the Windows Phone 8 platform is a complete redesign and rethink of their mobile platform with lots of user comments and suggestions acted upon.
Unfortunately for existing users, you won’t get Windows Phone 8, instead you’ll be getting a Windows Phone 7.8 update that brings the “non-hardware limited” features of Windows Phone 8 to your device.