Microsoft officially launches Windows Phone 8

Microsoft officially launches Windows Phone 8We first met Windows Phone 8 way back in June, with Microsoft revealing a bunch of technical details about the operating system, including support for multi-core processors and microSD cards.

With the first handsets landing in a matter of days, we’re finally – finally – hearing more about the actual features of Windows Phone 8, thanks to the official launch thingy in San Francisco.

Microsoft will be hoping Windows Phone 8 ultimately propels them into double figure smartphone market share, and one of the features it hopes will aid in its quest is, er, Kid’s Corner.

“What the furg is Kid’s Corner?!” I hear you scream. It’s essentially a safe mode for kids, allowing parents to restrict app access, with email, calls and texts all disabled, too.

Why? Well, Microsoft says two-thirds of parents give their smartphones to their kids when they can’t be bothered dealing with them. Or words to that effect.

Rooms, meanwhile, introduces an invitation-only environment for groups, such as families and local sports teams, and allows them to share information including calendars, notes and pictures. Maybe a bit optimistic to think that entire groups will adopt Windows Phone 8, but a nice idea, nonetheless.

Skype, bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion back in May, will finally be able to run in the background in Windows Phone 8 – something not possible in Windows Phone 7.5. Previously, calls would end if you left the app.

Skype in Windows Phone 8 can also run in sleep mode when the phone is locked, with incoming calls waking the app. Essentially, you're always reachable.

As for Internet Explorer 10, Microsoft reiterates claims that it’s the fastest browser on any mobile. Take that Safari, Chrome, Dolphin, Opera...

Other Windows Phone 8 features? It’s less reliant on Zune (it’s even compatible with iTunes using Microsoft’s desktop companion app); Windows Phone 8 devices can be accessed as external storage with drag and drop support; and there’s finally the addition of OTA (over the air) updates.

As we heard back in June, there’s also a Windows Phone 8 Wallet app with NFC (Near Field Communication), while Microsoft’s mate Nokia will provide Windows Phone 8's Maps.

The biggest cosmetic change for Windows Phone 8 (over Windows Phone 7.5) is the new home screen, with resizable Live Tiles.

In the app/gaming world, Microsoft promises that Windows Phone 8 will boast 46 of the top 50 apps from rival platforms, including games like Temple Run and the imminent Angry Birds Star Wars.

Windows Phone 8’s Data Sense (initially exclusive to Verizon in the States) automatically compresses webpages to save on data use, and will reportedly allow up to 45% more browsing on the same data package. There’s also a Data Sense Usage Overview screen, with a full breakdown of – yep, you guessed it – data use.

And that's Windows Phone 8 in a nutshell. We'll inevitably have more in the next few days as more is uncovered. Interestingly, there's nothing more on Windows Phone 7.8 at this stage. Oh dear.

What do you think? Are you ready to throw your Android/iOS/BlackBerry phone in the bin, or shrugging nonchalantly?

Read more about: Windows Phone

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9 comments

Pondlife  Oct. 29, 2012 at 19:53

Hmmm oh well.
Hope the tiles are more resizeable than they are on windows 8, oddly looks like they are.
Have Nokia just supplied apps, or sat nav features too?

SpeedyG  Oct. 29, 2012 at 19:53

Shrugging nonchalantly. See myself going back to Android next year.

Just maps I think Pondlife, they'll keep a few others for their own handsets.

Jelly Beans seems tastier.

Reser  Oct. 29, 2012 at 20:14

Hmmm oh well.
Hope the tiles are more resizeable than they are on windows 8, oddly looks like they are.
Have Nokia just supplied apps, or sat nav features too?


Just noticed that too. Windows 8's "Modern UI" would be a lot more useful with more resizing options other than "small" and "large"

Pondlife  Oct. 29, 2012 at 20:28

Yeah and won't even let me make one of them large.
At least you can move them I guess.
Don't like that Chrome and Firefox get grey tiles either.

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Makes sense for Nokia keeping satnav but wonder why ms went for just maps if that's the case.

Reser  Oct. 29, 2012 at 20:34

Yeah and won't even let me make one of them large.
At least you can move them I guess.
Don't like that Chrome and Firefox get grey tiles either.

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Makes sense for Nokia keeping satnav but wonder why ms went for just maps if that's the case.


Yeah I hate how unless its one of their "Apps" it looks plain awful on the metro screen. I hope they let developers make their own Metro icons for stranded desktop applications eventually.

And give us the sizing options the phone version seems to have going by that picture. There is at least 4 sizing options for the phone. Dragging it to size we want would be best option.

equ  Oct. 30, 2012 at 08:54

Ballmers job is one the line on this one. Microsofts shareholders are upset with the amount of money being poured in but sales of WP7 were worse that WM6. WP8 has to get 10% market share to justify the money.....

B1zarr0Prim3  Oct. 30, 2012 at 09:23

Does WP8 allow custom ringtones?
Not much of a dealbreaker as i've had my heart set on a Lumia 920 for months now.

Edit: Just read that it does. Had to check though because you never know with Microsoft.

Pondlife  Oct. 30, 2012 at 12:04

even wp7 did, just via pc software not on the device itself.

Pondlife  Oct. 30, 2012 at 14:30

I really want to know what the 46 apps are, found what the four are, instagram, viber, pinterest and Wells Fargo?!?
Which sure don't seem significant.

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