Microsoft has officially launched
Windows Phone 8, the OS it hopes will create a viable and successful third-alternative to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
Indian fans will get to play with the new smartphone OS later this month, with Nokia’s Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, Samsung ATIV S and HTC’s 8X and 8S all scheduled to enter the market. HTC’s 8X and 8S will be launched in India next week.
So what’s new in Windows Phone 8? Here’s a quick look at some key features:
Support for dual core and multi-core processors: This is one step that Microsoft should have taken long ago especially with Samsung and HTC, releasing smartphones with quad-core processors. According to Engadget, Devices running the OS will start out with dual-core Snapdragon S4 processors, although quad-core processors could soon be on the way as well.
A faster processor is definitely good news for users who would like to try out something other than the Android and iOS experience. But it’s certainly not enough for Windows Phone 8 to become a success.
Apps: This is one department which could prove to be Microsoft’s undoing. But the company has promised that the 46 of the top 50 apps available on Android and iOS will be available for Windows Phone 8 and the Windows Phone Store now has 120,000 apps. It also has top game apps like Temple Run, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope etc.
Microsoft’s Build Windows conference for app developers is also currently underway (29 October to 2 November),and this is similar to Google’s I/O conference and Apple’s WWDC. There’s no doubt that Microsoft is trying very hard to get app developers to take to its new mobile platform.
The app store for Windows Phone 8 will support app downloads in over 180 countries.
Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft, talks about the Facebook feature of Windows Phone 8 during Microsoft’s special media event . AFP
Support for bigger screens:Smartphone screens aren’t getting any smaller. The popularity of ‘phablets’ like the Galaxy Note means that a 4-inch screen is almost a given for any high-end device. And with a bigger screen, the screen resolution has gotten better as well. Windows Phone 8 will also support two new screen resolutions — 1280×768 and 1280×720, thus catching up with all those high-res smartphones already available in the market. NFC wireless sharing and Wallet: Near-Field communication technology is being used by all major mobile manufacturers for their flagship devices. From Samsung’s Galaxy SIII to HTC’s One X, they all have NFC capabilities. Finally Windows Phone 8 will also support this capability.
Microsoft is hoping to capitalise its mobile venture, by launching the digital wallet feature. It will store important user information like debit/credit cards, coupons, boarding passes and other important information. It can also be used to pay for mobile purchases. This is essentially Microsoft’s response to Google Wallet and Apple’s Passbook.
Kid’s Corner: This is a rather cool feature, especially for all those parents whose toddlers can’t keep their hands off smartphones. This will let parents activate a specialized place on the phone for kids to play — complete with their own customisable Start screens — where they can access only the apps, games, music and videos picked by parents.
This will ensure ensure that children don’t end up deleting office email, send random messages etc while they play a game.
Watch the video to know how to get started on a Windows Phone 8 device