Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 8, Unifies Its Platforms

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News Posted: Wed, Jun 20 2012 2:44 PM
Boy, Microsoft is on a roll this week. Shortly after shaking up the tablet market with its new Surface tablet, the company offered up a preview of its latest mobile OS, Windows Phone 8.

Unifying desktop and mobile platforms is clearly the way forward in the computing world, and with the impending release of both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, it looks like Microsoft is about to do a bang-up job of it.

The big change between Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 is that the former was built on the Windows CE core; WP8 will share the same Windows core and drivers with Windows 8. That’s a huge deal, because it makes unifying all your screens and apps simple and smooth. Windows developers are probably crying tears of joy.



In addition to providing a consistent experience between WP8 tiles (which can be easily resized by the user) and Metro tiles, the shared core will help WP8 offer support for IPv6, better Bluetooth and NFC, a Direct3D graphics core that enables hardware acceleration, and C and C++. They even share APIs, and porting games will be very easy.

The platform includes support for some impressive features including hardware-based security; multicore device support (which is currently at the dual-core stage on Microsoft’s end); microSD; and WVGA, WXGA, and 720p resolutions.

Windows Phone 8 will ship with Internet Explorer 10, which features faster JavaScript performance, an anti-phishing filter, and more support for HTML5 features, and Nokia’s map technology is onboard, too. Users will be able to enjoy offline map support, turn-by-turn directions, and more.



Microsoft played up the new NFC capabilities, which will enable everything from mobile payments to loyalty and membership cards to tap-to-pay, and security will come in part in the form of PIN code protection. NFC will also enable pushing content smoothly from PC to phone.

Enterprise features weren’t overlooked; WP8 will have boot encryption and secure boot technology, “more familiarity” with Microsoft Office, and IT can set up apps for users without using the Windows Marketplace via the new Company Hub feature.



Microsoft apparently has an eye toward VoIP calling, because it’s Skype app will have the same UI as the phone app, and calls made with either will purportedly feel the same. For example, VoIP calls can run in the background. The platform also features Audible for Mango (available now in the Marketplace) for voice search and command functions.

Unlike its Surface tablet, Microsoft doesn’t appear to plan to use its own hardware, instead going with the traditional route of working with hardware partners, which include Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC.

Tough luck if you’re hoping to upgrade your current device to WP8, though--the new OS won’t run on them; as a consolation prize, though, legacy devices will get a tweener version called Windows Phone 7.8 that will have some of the new features.

Microsoft is making big moves, and it’s using the launches of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 to do it. Not that we have a horse in the race, but it’s nice to see a giant like Microsoft shake off some rust and step up to compete with the other big players in the market.
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3vi1 replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 3:03 PM

Vindicated: http://hothardware.com/News/Microsoft-Talks-Up-Apologizes-For-and-Prevaricates-Regarding-Windows-Phone-7/

It's fun to pretend to be Steve Ballmer, think of the biggest lie I could tell people vs. what I'd actually do to screw consumers, and continually be proven right.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 3:18 PM

One more thing: This is great news for Android and Apple.

Microsoft has single-handedly tanked their phone sales for the next three+ months. Some people will be naive and buy the soon to be discontinued Win7 phones, a few will wait around for the new phones, but most people will just buy Android or Apple.

I haven't seen a move that bad since Nokia announced no one should buy their phones until they develop a new product.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Marco C replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 3:25 PM

Today’s news may hinder Windows Phone sales for the next few months, but they weren’t selling anyway.

This is HUGE news no matter how you slice it, and I think it puts Microsoft in an EXCELLENT position moving forward. The number of apps for the platform is going to explode in the next few months and over time, I think consumers are going to want a consistent experience across their phones / consoles / tablets / and PCs. Microsoft just did that, and laid the groundwork to leapfrog Apple and Google in the process.

Marco Chiappetta
Managing Editor @ HotHardware.com

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JDiaz replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 7:20 PM

Uh, how is this any different from what is usually done with most iOS and Android devices?

How many old phones do you see with ICS for example? Smart Phone market is geared for replacing phones every two years, if not sooner and the Android market especially is very fragmented because of this as there are phones that don't even have Gingerbread still being sold.

Mind the older Windows Phone devices don't have the hardware to fully take advantage of WP8. Like some don't even have a microSD because of the previous mounting issue problems. While it's not like the older phones will just stop working and just like the older Android phone users people can continue to use them until they are ready to upgrade.

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karanm replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 8:38 PM

I totally agree with Marco, apple and google is trying the same thing with their cloud services but Microsoft has taken it one step further.

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 9:40 PM

>> Uh, how is this any different from what is usually done with most iOS and Android devices?

Every time Apple made a hardware announcement that antiquated there current model, the new model was on sale within just a couple of weeks. You generally don't see any major Android phone announced unless the manufacturer is shipping, or doesn't have a current handset on the market.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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RiCoFrost replied on Wed, Jun 20 2012 11:35 PM

This is a great move by MS. Both my wife and myself have moved away from apple to use Android which we both find so much better and easier. I was about to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy 3 but i will wait now for this windows phone because it looks like it would be very good for my needs.

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JDiaz replied on Thu, Jun 21 2012 2:17 PM

Most people don't buy on what's coming out but what's there in front of them at the store. While prices of Windows Phones have already started dropping and the new phones will likely cost significantly more when they come out.

Also the release of WP 7.8 means older users aren't being immediately dropped as is usually the case with other Smart Phones when the new model gets introduced.

Besides, it would have ticked off their customers more by doing it at the last minute and they're still trying to grow customer loyalty, which can be more important than any temporary drop in sales. Along with the fact it means more people will be ready to get the WP8 phones when they come out and that's also more important than continuing to sell the older models.

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