Microsoft Corp today launched Windows Phone 8, the latest version of the company’s smartphone operating system. Microsoft claims that Windows Phone 8 offers a truly personal phone experience, connecting you to the people and things that matter most.
As part of the announcement, Microsoft revealed new features, including Kid’s Corner and Rooms. Details and pricing for a range of new smartphones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC were revealed. Each of these smartphones have their own differentiated designs, colours and features. Windows Phone 8 devices will go on sale in November through carriers and retailers around the world. However, it is still too soon to tell when these devices would be launched in India.
“We can’t wait for the world to meet Windows Phone 8, the most personal smartphone there is,” said Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of the Windows Phone Division at Microsoft. “Windows Phone 8 comes on a range of phones that are stunning, colorful and unique.”
Microsoft states that Live Tiles are the core of Windows Phone. Users can arrange the iconic Start screen whichever way they like by pinning people, apps, music, games, photos and other tiles. One has the option of customising the Live Tiles and there are three different sizes and 20 different colours of tiles to choose from.
Windows Phone 8 offers a range of new features:
Live Apps - This feature brings information right to the Start screen, such as the Groupon deal of the day, flight information, and news headlines. Live Apps such as Facebook can deliver real-time information right to your lock screen with an updated wallpaper.
Top apps - The Windows Phone Store has 120,000 apps to choose from, with hundreds added every day and hits coming this holiday, such as Angry Birds Star Wars, Cut the Rope Experiments, Disney’s Where’s My Water, LivingSocial, Temple Run, and Urbanspoon. Today, Microsoft announced that Pandora is coming to Windows Phone in early 2013, with one year of ad-free music.
Kid’s Corner - Exclusive to Windows Phone 8, Kid’s Corner is a worry-free way to share your phone with your kids. Parents can now hand over their phones to the kids without worrying about deleted photos, misdirected emails, unapproved purchases or accidental phone calls. After a simple setup, parents can activate a specialised place on the phone for kids to play — complete with their own customisable Start screens, where they can access only the apps, games, music and videos picked by parents.
Rooms – This feature allows you to create private groups of people who have Windows Phone 8 such as your family members, friends or fantasy football league. Users can chat, share calendars, shopping lists or photos in an ongoing conversation where only those invited can join in. You can share some aspects of Rooms with friends and family on other smartphones as well.
Data Sense - This new feature helps you surf more and do more, without worrying about going over your data limit. Data sense helps conserve your data allowance by compressing Web images, deferring data tasks to free Wi-Fi and automatically adjusting your usage as you get closer to your plan limits. Data Sense also shows how much data is used per app. As you approach your limit, Data Sense notifies you so you can get the most out of your plan. Data Sense will roll out to select mobile operators this holiday and additional partners next year.
Wallet and near-field communications - Windows Phone 8 brings together the new wallet technologies, including payments via near-field communications (NFC). The Wallet can also store your debit, credit, loyalty and membership card information on your phone.
Always-on, Skype experience - With the new Skype app, coming soon to Windows Phone 8, you can make and receive Skype calls just like a regular phone call. Simply tap a friend or family member’s contact card in the People Hub, or just pick up when the phone rings. Skype is always on and available so you can choose how to connect with people.
Leading up to today’s launch of Windows Phone 8, Nokia, Samsung and HTC have announced a range of phones for Windows Phone 8 that Microsoft claims features large screens, new camera innovations, NFC capabilities, and bold colours. Each phone offers unique features and comes in a variety of price points.
Here is a quick look at some of the new Windows Phone 8 handsets:
The Nokia Lumia 920 offers great photography that fits in your pocket and it is the world’s only smartphone to include Optical Image Stabilization. The Nokia Lumia 822, 820 and 810 offer a ClearBlack display and removable back exchangeable shells in a range of colors. Both the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 offer wireless charging.
Microsoft states that the Windows Phone 8X by HTC was designed with lines and colours to match Windows Phone’s new Live Tiles. This phone also features great optics with 1080p video recording, a f/2.0 aperture and a dedicated HTC ImageChip on the main 8-megapixel camera and an ultrawide-angle lens on the front camera that lets you fit up to four people in the frame for a good Skype experience. The 8X and the recently announced 8S, both boast of a great music experience with Beats Audio and exclusive built-in amps that pair perfectly with Xbox Music.
The Samsung ATIV S brings a big screen to Windows Phone, as it features a large 4.8-inch touch screen and large battery for extended battery life. Having a brushed aluminium finish, the ATIV S balances high-end materials and technology with a slim design and light weight. The ATIV Odyssey was announced today as the latest Windows Phone from Samsung.
With a similar look and feel, the same technology core, and the same built-in SkyDrive cloud service, Windows Phone 8 is built to work well with Windows 8 PCs, Microsoft Surface devices and the Xbox 360 console. One can now you edit a document on the go with Windows Phone 8 and pick right up again on your PC, or access your music including your albums, songs and playlists, wherever and whenever on Xbox Music. Apart from this, a user can also create a playlist from their PC, walk out the door and cue up that same list from your phone.
Stay tuned to know more about the pricing and availability of these handsets in India.