Microsoft Corp. this week debuted Windows Phone 8, the latest version of the company’s smartphone operating system. Windows Phone 8 further enhances Microsoft’s mobile platform and finally brings the core of Windows for personal computers into smartphones and similar devices. The new breed of Windows Phone 8-based products further boosts functionality of phones.
“We can’t wait for the world to meet Windows Phone 8, the most personal smartphone there is. Windows Phone 8 comes on a range of phones that are stunning, colorful and unique,” said Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of the Windows Phone division at Microsoft.
Microsoft Reveals Windows Phone 8
As part of the announcement, Microsoft revealed new features, along with details and pricing for a range of new smartphones from various manufacturers, each with their own differentiated designs, colors and capabilities. Leading up to today’s launch, Nokia, Samsung and HTC have announced an array of phones for Windows Phone 8, featuring large, vivid screens, new camera innovations, NFC capabilities, and bold colors such as red, yellow, blue, black and white. Each phone offers unique features and comes in a variety of price points. Windows Phone 8 devices will go on sale in November at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S., as well as at carriers and retailers around the world.
With a similar look and feel, the same technology core, and the same built-in SkyDrive cloud service, Windows Phone 8 is built to work seamlessly with Windows 8 PCs, Microsoft Surface devices and the Xbox 360 console.
Windows Phone 8 and the operating system for PCs will share common networking, security, media and Internet Explorer 10 web browser technology, and a common file system, which will translate in a PC user experience on a mobile phone. In addition, Windows Phone 8 will support multi-core microprocessors to boost performance and improve multitasking; higher resolution screens - 1280x768 and 1280x720; removable MicroSD cards; UEFI boot protocol to enhance security; support for encryption of the whole device; remote management; NFC wireless sharing for photos, Office docs, and contacts; Wallet application to keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes and other important info; improved maps and other useful features.
Windows Phone 8 has full C and C++ support, making it easier to write apps for multiple platforms more quickly. It also means Windows Phone 8 supports popular gaming middleware such as Havok Vision Engine, Autodesk Scaleform, Audiokinetic Wwise, and Firelight FMOD, as well as native DirectX-based game development. Since WP7-generation phones do not support C/C++, they will not run apps designed specifically for WP8 and better devices.
Windows Phone 8 will support a total of 50 languages; Windows Phone Marketplace, the store for apps and games, will support app downloads in over 180 countries.
Pricing and Availability
Major mobile operators in the United States will start selling Windows Phone 8 in the coming weeks:
- Verizon Wireless will carry the Windows Phone 8X by HTC for $199.99 with a two-year contract, and the Nokia Lumia 822, exclusive to Verizon, for $99.99 with a two-year contract. Both will be available by Thanksgiving. In addition the Samsung Ativ Odyssey, also exclusive to Verizon, will be available in December.
- T-Mobile will carry the Windows Phone 8X by HTC starting at $149.99 with contract for the 16GB version and the Nokia Lumia 810 from $99.99 with contract. T-Mobile is expecting customers to be able to purchase these Windows Phones on November 14, 2012.
- AT&T will carry the Nokia Lumia 920, the Lumia 820 and the Windows Phone 8X by HTC, all going on sale in November. AT&T will have more to share on prices in the coming weeks.