Eight things you need to know about Windows Phone 8

Eight things you need to know about Windows Phone 8Last night in San Francisco, at the “Windows Phone Summit”, Microsoft surprised approximately zero people by lifting the lid on Apollo - or Windows Phone 8 as we’re now supposed to call it.

There’s tons of stuff to digest, so what better way to sum it up than by listing the eight (see what I did there?) most important Windows Phone 8 features.

Essentially, Windows Phone has been dragged, kicking and screaming, up to par with its rivals. For serious.

Behold, bad news first:

1. Not compatible with Mango handsets

That’s right, it’s been rumoured for a while, and unfortunately it was confirmed last night: the existing range of Mango handsets, including the likes of the Nokia Lumia 900, won’t be upgraded to Windows Phone 8.

They will, however, receive a delicious slice of something called Windows Phone 7.8, that welcomes a few of Windows Phone 8’s less demanding features. Included will be the new Start screen with support for three tile sizes.

Interestingly, Microsoft promises Windows Phone 7.8 will be rolled out directly to users, without the usual carrier nonsense. That ought to ease the pain a little.

2. Up to 64 cores

If you were thinking Windows Phone 8 might simply extend the hardware ceiling to accommodate dual-core, you’re in for a shock. Windows Phone 8 can support, in theory, up to 64 cores.

Of course, there won’t actually be any 64-core Windows Phone 8 handsets any time soon, but the support is there.

3. Increased resolution

Gone are the days of Windows Phone being restricted to a relatively modest resolution of 800 x 480. Windows Phone 8 will happily support up to 1280 x 720, or the less common 1280 x 768.

4. NFC/contactless payments

While Android has Google Wallet and iOS has Passbook, Microsoft last night introduced its own contactless payment type stuff for Windows Phone 8.

It’s described as “The Most Complete Wallet Experience”, but it’s not clear what it’s actually called. Windows Phone Wallet, maybe?

Interestingly, we’re told that the security side of things will reside on the SIM as opposed to the phone, and there’ll be support for credit and debit cards, as well as ‘Tap to Pay’.

5. Expandable storage

With Mango handsets largely weighing in at 16GB, Windows Phone users have been screaming out for microSD support, and – with Windows Phone 8 – their prayers have finally been answered.

6. Nokia Maps

Another Windows Phone 8 rumour that turned out to be entirely true. Yep, Nokia Maps will be baked right into Windows Phone 8, complete with offline map action, and turn-by-turn navigation. Good for Nokia, or one less reason to buy a Lumia?

7. Enterprise support

Microsoft promises enterprise-ready security with Windows Phone 8. Admins will be able to restrict apps, and – here’s the best bit – manage them remotely. “Hey, what happened to Angry Birds?!”

There’s also fancy encryption, yadda yadda yadda.

8. It’s cross-platform

When it boils down to it, Microsoft is essentially running the same operating system across all its next gen devices – desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. That means it’ll be significantly easier for developers to port content between devices. No arguments here.

Windows Phone 8 will land in autumn, right around Microsoft Surface time. Phew, that was a busy freakin' week for Microsoft.

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6 comments

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 21, 2012 at 11:58

=> 8) <= seeing is believing.

equ  Jun. 21, 2012 at 12:04

Re:1
As you say, not surprising. The hardware and RAM on the Wp7 phones were far off cutting edge.
You didnt mention apps, it was expected wp8 apps would not run on wp7 devices, has this been confirmed?
Re:6
Nokia maps is very good so that is a plus point.

Re:8
Other than the name the phone os on arm is not compatable with the desktop os on x86

Otherwise it is shows how poor and unready the wp7 platform was at launch.

lcurdie / MOD  Jun. 21, 2012 at 12:10

You didnt mention apps, it was expected wp8 apps would not run on wp7 devices, has this been confirmed?

From ZDNet:

“We are designing Windows Phone 8 with the goal of allowing all existing applications in the Windows Phone Marketplace to work on Windows Phone 8 devices. We will also be working closely with key developer partners to create versions of applications that take advantage of some of the new features available in Windows Phone 8.

“New applications compiled specifically for Windows Phone 8 will not be made available for Windows Phone 7.x devices.”

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 21, 2012 at 12:15

You didnt mention apps, it was expected wp8 apps would not run on wp7 devices, has this been confirmed?

From ZDNet:

“We are designing Windows Phone 8 with the goal of allowing all existing applications in the Windows Phone Marketplace to work on Windows Phone 8 devices. We will also be working closely with key developer partners to create versions of applications that take advantage of some of the new features available in Windows Phone 8.

“New applications compiled specifically for Windows Phone 8 will not be made available for Windows Phone 7.x devices.”


We have seen with the pathetic number of Honeycomb 'ready' Android Tablet apps (not just upscaled phone apps) how little those words mean when app developers do not feel it is worth the effort to adapt and port applications.

satchef1  Jun. 21, 2012 at 13:04

The current thought in the dev community is that we should continue with Windows Phone 7 for now, benefitting from the forwards compatibility and larger install base. It's easy enough to add in enhanced WP8 features at a later date anyway. As the number of WP8 users grows, and the number of active WP7 users drops, we will move over to primarily developing for WP8.

That isn't taking in to account Windows 8 compatibility though. The jury is still out on that curveball; if it's challenging to take a WP7 app to Windows 8 via WP8 then there's every chance WP7 support will plummet rapidly.

Re:8
Other than the name the phone os on arm is not compatable with the desktop os on x86


All Metro apps are compatible across all versions of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, it doesn't matter if the architecture is ARM or x86. WinRT, Win32's replacement, is platform agnostic. WinRT applications are either cross-platform or (in the case of applications designed for the desktop) could be made cross-platform easily. Win32 applications are incompatible with ARM.

supadupasumo  Jun. 21, 2012 at 13:40

Windows 8 wallet should clearly be called Wall8.

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