As if the Surface announcement on Monday wasn’t exciting enough, today Microsoft announce that Windows Phone 8 will be coming this fall. That itself is great news, but the features coming were like confetti flying in all different directions. Given this speed I couldn’t capture every feature they covered. A summary of what I did capture is listed below starting with their eight main features.
The first thing that they covered is that Windows Phone 8 will share a core OS with Windows 8. It will also run natively on multiple cores. They mentioned that they have run it on up to 64 cores to this point. The phones as you might expect will at least start as dual core. If you remember there were metrics saying that Windows Phone 7 performed operations faster on a single core than other platforms did with dual cores. The metrics they showed here indicate that Windows Phone 8 runs faster on comparable dual core hardware than other platforms.
New Screen Resolutions
Screen resolution has never been an issue for me, but it has been a criticism of Windows Phone 7 in the media. Windows Phone 8 will supports three screen resolutions: WVGA 800 x 480, WXGA 1280 x 768, and 720 1280x720. Hopefully this makes pixel counters a little happier.
This was one of my pet peeves when I got my Samsung Focus. With Windows Phone 8 the operating system will support adding MicroSD cards after initial setup. Of course this is dependent on the hardware company on implementing it, but I think we have seen that even feature phone manufacturers have not had a problem supporting this in the past.
NFC has been an anticipated feature for some time. What Microsoft showed today included the fact that they didn’t just want it to be for the phone. There is cross platform NFC functionality between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. The demos , while possibly a bit fanciful, showed would could be achieved even in a retail environment. We are getting closer and closer to a Minority Report world with these technologies.
Windows Phone 8 isn’t the first platform to have a wallet concept. What they have done to differentiate themselves is to make it so that it is not dependent on a SIM type chip like other platforms. They have also expanded the concept beyond just banks to other types of credits such as airline miles.
People have been envious of the Lumia phones having the Nokia mapping software. Now all Windows Phone 8 devices will use NavTeq data and will have the capability to run in an offline fashion. This is a major step forward from the Bing “touch for the next turn” maps.
The lack of features for enterprise administration and deployment was a complaint even before the Windows Phone 7 was released. With the Windows Phone 8 release such features as Bitlocker and Secure boot will be baked into the OS. We will also have the ability to privately sign and distribute applications.
Changing Start Screen
Joe Belfiore made a big deal about this aspect of the new release. Users will have more color themes available to them and the live tiles will be highly customizable. You will have the ability to resize and organize the tiles in a more dynamic way. This allows for less important tiles or ones with less information to be made smaller.
And There Is More
So what other tidbits came out of the presentation?
Later this summer the API for WP8 will be available. There will be developer events coming to a city near you. Another announcement of interest to developers is the ability to write applications at a native code level. This is a boon for game developers and those who need highly efficient applications. As a topper on the cake there was mention of in app payment.
On the consumer side we also found out that all updates will be available over the air. Along with this came the fact that Microsoft will support all devices with updates for at least 18 month and you will be able to subscribe for early updates.
Update coming for Windows Phone 7.5 customers to WP7.8. The main enhancement will be the new live tile features. The big bonus is that the update will bypass the carriers. I would assume though that you will be brought up to date with all previous patches that your carrier may not have released.
There is so much more, but that is enough for one post. Needless to say, EXCITING!