Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8 with IE 10, support for WXGA screens, multi-core CPUs, and more
Almost immediately after introducing the Windows 8-based Surface and Surface Pro tablets, Microsoft made another important announcement: it finally unveiled Windows Phone 8 (initially known as Windows Phone Apollo).
As previously rumored, Windows Phone 8 comes with support for multi-core processors, and multiple resolutions (up to 1280 x 768 pixels – WXGA). Dual-core WP 8 handsets will be available from the beginning (sometime “this fall”), while quad-core models are planned for later.
Windows Phone 8 runs on the same kernel that Windows 8 and Windows NT are using, this meaning it will be a great mobile OS “for businesses.” It comes with an enhanced UI, which lets you resize Live Tiles (in three different sizes). Internet Explorer 10 will be included in Microsoft’s new OS, offering the same rendering engine as the browser’s desktop version, and “4x faster performance compared to Windows Phone 7.5.” WP 8 will use Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps – on all future devices, regardless of the manufacturer.
There is a new hub included in WP8. Called Wallet hub, this will rely on NFC, allowing users to make wireless payments. Orange France will be the first to implement the Wallet hub on its WP handsets. Microsoft is in talks with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to bring it to the US, too, but only starting 2013.
Another novelty: full support for removable Micro SD cards.
The first companies to launch Windows Phone 8 handsets – starting this fall – are: (obviously) Nokia, Samsung, HTC, and Huawei.
Microsoft says it will present more Windows Phone 8 features in the coming months.
The Redmond company also said that its Windows Phone Marketplace now hosts 100,000 applications.
A video preview of WP8 can be watched below:
Those currently having Windows Phone devices will be disappointed to find out that WP 8 will not be available to them – only new devices will get it. Still, there will be a Windows Phone 7.8 update that’s going to be rolled-out to existing devices (or at least to the last-generation ones, like the Nokia Lumia 900). WP 7.8 should offer the same overall feel as WP 8, but will obviously not include all of its features.
For the moment, it’s hard to say how Windows Phone 8 sales will fare compared to WP 7 and WP 7.5. But if this particular new platform doesn’t turn out to be successful, I don’t think Microsoft will have a bright future when it comes to smartphones, ever.