Microsoft showed off the Windows 8 Consumer Preview today in Barcelona on the third day of Mobile World Congress. As the PCWorld phone editor, the whole event felt incredibly familiar. XBox live support? Apps that work together? A dynamic start screen? It sounds a lot like Windows Phone.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that MWC is a phone-centric show, there wasn’t a single smartphone in sight. Despite the fact that many of the Windows 8 gestures seem incredibly phone-like (“pinch to zoom,” swiping to close apps, etc.) and features like the Hubs and tiles are already on Windows Phone, Microsoft did not mention anything about Windows 8 availability on phones during the press event.
While Windows 8 has a lot in common with Windows Phone, there are some features I’d love to see on Microsoft’s mobile phone platform. For example, I love the People and Photo hubs‘ integration with Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Flickr. I also like the way Windows 8 handles multitasking via the compared to the current Windows Phone method. Additionally, being able to use the same app store for both your tablet and your phone–and be able to share and sync between the two–would be an awesome feature.
The Windows Phone presence has been pretty quiet so far at the show. Nokia announced another addition to its Lumia family, the Lumia 610. The lower-end phone is running a modified version of Windows Phone designed for phones with limited power and capacity. Microsoft’s goal is to expand Windows Phone across multiple audiences, from power users to first-time smartphone owners. The only other Windows Phone we saw was the ZTE Orbit, another entry-level phone for Europe.
The Windows Phone Mango update was announced in May, but didn’t go out to Windows Phone owners until September 2011. Windows 8 is set to officially launch in Fall of this year. Will there also be a Windows Phone 8 update? I hope so.