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Microsoft launches Windows Phone 8: details

One OS to rule them all, no joy for Windows Phone 7 users

Microsoft tonight announced details of its upcoming Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system and its Windows Phone Developer Summit in San Francisco. Here are full details of Windows Phone 8.

 Windows Phone 8 will be deeply integrated with Windows 8 and Windows RT, the two new operating systems for tablets, and PCs and laptops respectively. There was bad news for existing Windows Phone 7 users, however, as they won't get an upgrade to Windows Phone 8. See also: Windows Phone reviews.

Further information:

Windows Phone 8: one Windows for all

Tonight's announcement means that Microsoft is, in effect, creating a single platform for smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs. Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 will share the same kernel, the same file system, apps and graphics support, said Windows Phone 8 product manager Joe Belfiore: "The future of Windows 8 is a 'shared core' between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8."

So users will be able to access the same content and work across all devices, and apps written for Windows phones will work on laptops and tablets.

Windows Phone 8: app developers

Meanwhile Windows 8 suddenly looks a lot more interesting to app developers - rather than a minor mobile OS, apps written for Windows Phone could potentially sell product to Windows' 1.3 billion desktop users. Windows Phone 8 supports the same web-page rendering engine as Windows 8, so developers can create web pages for Windows 8 devices in confidence. Developers can also develop games for both phones and PCs using native C++ code and a set of common APIs.

Windows Phone 8: for users

Windows Phone 8Microsoft tonight announced a few major developments for users in Windows Phone 8, including a redesigned version of the tiles user interface for Windows Phone 8. The tiles are now live, able to show various types of updated content at different times. Windows Phone 8 gets support for standard 720p, WXGA 1280 by 768, and WVGA 800 by 480 displays, as well as microSD card support. A big announcement was that Windows Phone will have built-in Nokia mapping technology.

Windows Phone 8 will include a mobile-wallet hub, via which users will be able to store financial information including bank and credit card data, frequent-flyer memberships, loyalty cards and coupons. Business features include support for Bitlocker encryption, secure boot, flexible app distribution, and device management. Indeed, Microsoft claims that IT managers will be able to run a fleet of Windows 8 phones, laptops, tablets and desktop, with a single administration interface.

Microsoft had bad knews for owners of Windows Phone 7 phones, however, as they will be able to upgrade to WP 7.8 but no further.

Windows Phone 8 is expected to go into general release with the Windows 8 operating system this Autumn. There's still no date for launch of Windows 8.

See all: Windows Phone reviews

See also: Microsoft Surface Tablets launch: As it happened


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