Windows Phone 8 Unveiled: Hot New Features
Microsoft hosted a press event today to give a sneak preview to to future for Windows Phone. Joe Belfiore took charge and has provided a lovely presentation. The presentation is still in progress and this post will be updated as it proceeds. Microsoft says there will be 8 platform announcements based on their new shared core feature tonight.
The new WP8 Home screen: Familiar but Refreshing
With Windows Phone 8, MS introduces shared core. This means that the core is shared with Windows 8 itself, making it easy to port apps between the OSes.
Dual Core Chipsets
Microsoft plans to have the latest and greatest hardware on their new phones, and that includes dual-cores and more (read, multi-cores).
3 Screen Resolutions
WP8 will no longer be restricted to the lowly 800×480 (by today’s standards). Coming forth are 2 new resolutions, HD (1280×720) as well as WXGA (1280×728). The second resolution spec is particularly interesting. WXGA keeps direct aspect ratio compatibility with WP7′s WVGA screen resolution.
Micro SD Card support
Not having Micro SD slots was a bummer with Windows Phone 7 as that pretty much limited offline storage capacity. Most phones were stuck with 8 GB of storage (less than 6 GB useful most of the times). For an office guy, it might be enough. But start to take pictures and carry them around, store music and apps and you would soon be running into tight spots. We are glad MS addressed this petty problem with WP7 and is introducing the feature (finally) with WP8.
Internet Explorer 10
IE 10 with it’s Metro UI (sleek interface) and smooth operation would most probably be the most ideal browser you could ask for in a phone. However, the lack of flash is a bit disturbing (since despite flash being announced dead and all, it still powers a huge chunk of the internet, and is only ever-expanding).
Gaming was a definite setback on the WP7 platform. Powered by old Adreno 200 chips, there weren’t many graphically intensive or for that matter many titles on the first release of the platform. Even WP7.5 Mango didn’t bring that much of a (needed) change. WP8 aims to change that, bringing a common development platform as well as direct API access (similar to how it is on the Xbox 360).
NFC technology will also make it’s way to WP8 which can be a handy feature (as we have seen with Nokia’s use of it as well as with Google Wallet already).
Something similar to this was introduced in the iOS features presentation only a few days back. Nevertheless, nice to see it here too.
We all pretty much saw this coming. Nokia’s excellent map solution, now integrated into the OS can only be seen as a remarkable addition to the WP8 feature list. Few will complain here. Offline navigation, a feature which has been quite popular with Nokia Maps for some time already will also be present. Cheers to that!
WP8 aims to appeal to those users who store sensitive data on their smartphones. Featuring Secure Boot and Bit-Locker encryption, we can only see them as too happy.
Apps and Tiles
WP8 will be fully compatible with WP7.5 apps and tiles, which can only bring more cheers from the crowd. Despite shifting to a new kernel, Microsoft has retained compatibility. Good job with that. The tiles now get more sizes, as well as a wider choice of colors too.
Tiles here tiles there, Tiles Everywhere!
Full Skype Integration
Again not a surprise, a completely welcome addition to the arsenal of features.
Ask me, this was a much needed feature. Glad to have it onboard.
More Countries, More Languages
In their continued expansion, Microsoft highlights the number of different countries and languages in which their apps will be available.
Another business-related application integrated by Microsoft. A company can use this to highlight their works only.
Overall, this press event has turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise as Microsoft announced some features that we wouldn’t think were actually present for the next iteration of the Windows Phone OS. We finally got a glimpse at the new homescreen that WP8 has in store for us. Not radically different, nothing ground breaking, just more of that smooth and slick interface and more of that blue that we have slowly started to grow fond of.
Images Credit: GSMArena
Preetam Nath actively follows mobile technology. He has been following computer hardware keenly since 2007, only to start digging more into mobiles ever since the smartphone revolution. Studying his Engineering at MIT Manipal, Preetam devotes most of his time to update himself with the latest happenings in the technology sphere.
20 June, 2012