It's been a huge week for Microsoft news. On Monday, the company unveiled a new line of Surface tablets, one of which will run a full version of Windows 8. Today, at the Windows Phone Developer Summit in San Francisco, Microsoft provided details regarding the upcoming Windows Phone 8 operating system.
The next version of the mobile OS promises to provide deep integration with the Windows 8 operating system, meaning that the next generation of Windows devices, from PCs to laptops to tablets to mobile phones, should interact very nicely. Microsoft's keynote at the Windows Phone Developer Summit was exciting for app developers, too, as the new "shared core" between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 should provide a lot of benefits when it comes to cross-platform development.
Along with its "shared core" announcement, Microsoft announced new additions and tweaks to its next-generation mobile OS, including a revamped user interface, built-in Nokia Maps, support for multicore phones and MicroSD cards, and improved support for various display resolutions.
For PCWorld's complete coverage of Microsoft's Windows Phone Developer Summit, see the links in the "Windows Phone 8 Details Revealed" sidebar box to the right, or visit the story links below.
Microsoft announced today that its forthcoming mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8, will become closely linked with desktop PCs and tablets running Windows 8.
Windows Phone 8 is expected to go into general release with the Windows 8 operating system this fall. The first Windows Phone 8 phones will come from Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC, and will be built with chips from Qualcomm. Microsoft rolled out the new features in a Windows Phone platform preview for developers (who need to know the new features early) at the Windows Phone Developer Summit held in San Francisco today.
With many wondering about the fate of Windows phones in an iPhone world, Microsoft is effectively linking the fate of its mobile operating system to the success of its PC operating system, which is currently used by 1.3 billion people worldwide. It is Redmond's second big announcement this week: The Microsoft Surface tablet event happened Monday.
"The future of Windows 8 is a 'shared core' between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8," said Windows Phone 8 product manager Joe Belfiore. This means that the two operating systems will share the same kernel, plus the same files system, multimedia apps, and graphics support.
For users, this integration means that apps that work on Windows phones will also work on desktop PCs and tablets, and they will find it easier to share content and apps seamlessly between their Windows Phone and their Windows tablet or desktop PC.
Nokia's maps will bring turn-by-turn directions to all Windows Phone 8 devices, as well as offline support and better local information. That means you'll be able to save maps for times when you don't have a data connection, and Local Scout (a feature introduced in the Mango update that shows local venues) will be improved with new information from Nokia maps. Developers will also benefit from the inclusion of Nokia's maps and will be able to create apps that take advantage of the robust mapping API.
By bringing better mapping software to Windows Phone, Microsoft has thrown its hat into the ring with Google and Apple to see who can build a better mobile map experience. Only time will tell who will win out in the end, and we'll have to wait until the first Windows Phone 8 phones begin rolling out before we can test them out ourselves. Stay tuned to PCWorld for more news out of the Windows Phone Developer Summit.
If you own a Windows phone today, you won't be able to get all the hot new features and Windows 8 integration announced today in Windows Phone 8 without buying a new Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, or HTC phone.
The good news (well, sorta good news) is that you will be able to get the newly revamped "live tiles" design on the home screen of your WP7 phone via an update to Windows Phone 7.8.
Microsoft explains that the new cababilities and features that come in Windows Phone 8 reach deeply into the guts of the phone, and require new phones with new hardware to support them.
For instance, Microsoft says, WP8 is designed to run on next-generation phones that have multi-core processors, new graphics engines, higher screen resolutions, microSD storage, and near field communication radios (for mobile wallet functions). The one thing that existing Windows Phone 7 phones can handle, apparently, is the new user interface on the home screen.
The Windows Phone 8 Start Screen is Microsoft's “marquee feature,” the company said Wednesday, as it unveiled the latest iteration of the screen in Windows Phone 8 and 7.8.
The Start Screen with Live Tiles was already one of my favorite features of Windows Phone, but this new version is so much better. In fact, I’d go as far to say that it is the best looking Start Screen across the platforms.
I got a close-up look of the new Start Screen running Windows Phone 7.8 on a Nokia Lumia 900 at the Windows Phone Developer Summit here in San Francisco. Unfortunately, I can’t get my hands on Windows 7.8 quite yet, but I did get some good first impressions.
I love that you can easily resize tiles depending on how “important” they are by simply tapping an arrow icon on the corner of the app. You can choose from three different size options--small, medium or large--depending on how important that tile is to you.
Seeking to drive greater compatibility between smartphones and PCs, Microsoft is planning to base its upcoming Windows Phone 8 OS on the same OS core as its Windows 8 software for desktop and laptop computers, the company said Wednesday.
The move marks a major change for Microsoft, which used the Windows CE core as the basis for its current Windows Phone 7 OS.
"As phones get more powerful, we have been feeling more and more that phones could benefit from an upgrade at the core," said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft, speaking at a developer presentation in San Francisco.
"For consumers, this new shared core is going to mean a much greater choice in hardware and some new experience that cross over between phone and PC," said Belfiore.
Microsoft said the switch would mean several changes, including greater support for NFC (near field communications) wireless technology for mobile wallet applications and the ability to easily support ports of Windows games to Windows Phone 8.
Microsoft announced today that its new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8, will become closely linked with desktop PCs and tablets running Windows 8. The announcement was made during a Windows Phone Developer Summit in San Francisco.
We also expect Microsoft to give developers a clue about some of Windows Phone 8's new features and to showcase tools for creating apps using the new mobile OS.
This event is a lot like Apple's iOS 6 announcements at WWDC last week--targeted at developers, but interesting for tech enthusiasts.