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Windows Phone 8 Roundup: New Features, New Start Screen, Upgrades (Images and Video)

June 20, 2012 9 Comments

Microsof today shared alot of information about the future of Windows Phone at the Developer Summit today. Most of it though was alot of back-end developer information and they really didn’t dive into too much user features.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • 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.
  • Native code support: 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.
  • In-app payments: In Windows Phone 8 we make it possible for app makers to sell virtual and digital goods within their apps.
  • Integrated Internet calling: In Windows Phone 8, developers can create VoIP apps that plug into our existing calling feature so Internet calls can be answered like traditional phone calls, using the same calling interface.
  • Multitasking enhancements. Windows Phone 8 now allows location-based apps like exercise trackers or navigation aids to run in the background, so they keep working even when you’re doing other things on your phone.
  • 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 are a few screenshots of the new start screen with re-sizable tiles (click to enlarge images)

Current Windows Phone devices will NOT be getting Windows Phone 8 due to the hardware incompatablity between the two technologies. Microsoft has a fix though to show current users the love they deserve. They will be making an update available for current handsets called Windows Phone 7.8 that bring as many of the features possible, like the new start screen shown above.

The new Start screen is so useful and emblematic of what Windows Phone is about that we want everybody to enjoy it. So we’ll be delivering it to existing phones as a software update sometime after Window Phone 8 is released. Let me repeat: If you currently own a Windows Phone 7.5 handset, Microsoft is planning to release an update with the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen. We’re calling it “Windows Phone 7.8.”

Some of you have been wondering, “Will we also get Windows Phone 8 as an update?” The answer, unfortunately, is no.

Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware. BUT we care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones fresh, so we’re providing the new Start screen in this new update.

How do you guys feel about that? Is it enough? I was upset at first but if the platform is to grow, changes need to be made.

Here is a nice little video showing off the new start screen:

What do you guys think?


Source: Microsoft


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