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Jun 21, 2012

A Closer Look at Windows Phone 8’s New Features

Windows Phone 8, the next-gen mobile platform from Microsoft, was finally made official. Those of you who kept an eye on our latest news on the matter are fully aware of that.

It is also known that the platform was unveiled with a nice range of improvements over the previous versions, and that the most important of them involves support for better hardware configurations. While Windows Phone Tango brought along support for entry-level devices, Windows Phone 8, codenamed Apollo, will arrive with support for high-end smartphones. Built on the same core technology that powers Windows 8, the platform will be loaded on multi-core handsets, so that hardware makers would have a wider range of options when designing Windows Phones. The same networking, security, media and web browser technology packed inside Windows 8 will be available to Windows Phone 8 users, for better performance capabilities, a host of new features, and support for more, better applications.

Moreover, the new OS will offer support for more screen resolutions. Windows Phone came along with support for only one of them, but two more have been added to Apollo, opening the door to HD experiences: 1280 x 768 and 1280 x 720. There is also support for MicroSD memory cards, so that owners could expand the available storage as they please, whenever they please. Through NFC capabilities, sharing content and making mobile payments will work like a charm on Windows Phone 8, Microsoft suggests.

New and better software coming to Windows Phone 8

A variety of modifications were made to the software that people will access on their devices. New applications, improved existing ones, along with various other software enhancements are certain to appeal to all users. For navigation on the web, the platform will provide them with Internet Explorer 10, featuring the same browsing engine as on Windows 8. Fast and more secure navigation will be possible through features such as SmartScreen Filter. For making mobile payments, there will be a Wallet application included right from the start, with support for keeping debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes, and more. Through integrated speech recognition features, users will be able to interact with their devices without even touching the screen. Microsoft will have Skype integrated in the new platform release, so that owners could enjoy better VoIP capabilities on their devices. Skype calls will be treated as phone calls, and users will be able to put them on hold, switch to another call, or even view content while the conversation is in progress.

Windows Phone 8 will also arrive with better maps and directions capabilities. Built on Nokia’s mapping service, these features include more detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions in a series of countries, as well as offline mapping, for navigation even without a data connection. In fact, Nokia also announced that they are updating some of the applications they already have available on Windows Phone, and that they would be releasing new ones for all Apollo users. According to Microsoft, the tight relation between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 will also open the door to a new wave of great applications and games for the platform. And there’s also the new Start screen, which Microsoft claims that can make the phone even more personal than before, turning it into the companion that any user would dream of. 

“As you can see, we’re making Windows Phone 8 even more personal, with a new palette of theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles, all of which are under your control,” Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore notes in a blog post. “We know Live Tiles are one of the things current owners really love about their Windows Phones, and we wanted to make them even more flexible and unique.” Windows Phone 8 is expected to hit shelves this fall on devices coming from mobile phone makers such as Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC. They will be powered by next-generation chips from Qualcomm. Additional info on this will be released closer to the launch date. At the moment, you can learn more on the new platform by having a look at the Windows Phone 8 launch event video, embedded below.


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