Windows Phone 8: What You Need to Know

Today, Microsoft made its latest mobile operating system official–and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. Much like Apple did with iOS and OSX, Windows Phone 8 doesn’t just borrow heavily from its Desktop OS sibling Windows 8; it actually gets its core technology from it as well…and that’s a good thing. Windows Phone 8 is loaded with new goodies–including a new customizable home screen (check the video above), flexible storage, Internet Explorer 10, and one of my personal favorites, Nokia Maps and turn-by-turn nav (why should Nokia owners have all the fun?). There’s tons to see in this latest iteration of Windows phone; so in  addition to the start screen video we’ve embedded above, we’ve included some info from Microsoft’s own Joe Belfiore and his Windows Phone Blog after the jump. If you’d like to head over to the blog, you can do so by clicking here.

Read on…and enjoy!

The power of Windows

If you’ve seen Windows 8, Microsoft’s groundbreaking new release for PCs and tablets, you’ve probably noticed it bears more than a passing resemblance to the look of Windows Phone. Here’s how the Windows 8 Start screen looks in the latest preview release.

The Windows 8 Start screen, as it appears in the preview release.

With Windows Phone 8, the similarity is more than skin deep. We’ve based the next release of Windows Phone on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8. It means Windows Phone and its bigger sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system. That translates into better performance, more features, and new opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster.

This new shared core—along with all the extra work we’ve done on top of it—opens up a new world of capabilities, which you don’t have to be a techie to appreciate. Here’s a taste:

  • Multi-core processor support: As reviewers have noted, Windows Phone runs buttery smooth on phones with a single processor. But piggybacking on the Windows core provides support for multiple cores—so we’re ready for whatever hardware makers dream up.
  • Bigger, sharper screens: Windows Phone 8 supports two new screen resolutions—1280×768 and 1280×720, opening the door to amazing new handsets with high-definition 720p displays.
  • More flexible storage: Windows Phone 8 supports removable MicroSD cards, so you can stuff your phone with extra photos, music, and whatever else is important to you, and then easily move it all onto your PC.
  • NFC wireless sharing: If you haven’t heard the term “NFC” yet, I’m betting you soon will. This emerging wireless technology lets phones share things over short distances. In Windows Phone 8, it helps make sharing photos, Office docs, and contact info easier—just tap your phone another NFC-equipped device. How cool is that?
  • Internet Explorer 10: The next version of Windows Phone comes with the same web browsing engine that’s headed for Window 8 PCs and tablets. IE10 is faster and more secure, with advanced anti-phishing features like SmartScreen Filter to block dangerous websites and malware.
  • Wallet: Windows Phone 8’s new digital Wallet feature does two great things. It can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes, and other important info right at your fingertips. And when paired with a secure SIM from your carrier, you can also pay for things with a tap of your phone at compatible checkout counters.
  • Better maps and directions: Windows Phone 8 builds in Nokia mapping as part of the platform. Our partnership will provide more detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions in many countries, plus the ability to store maps offline on your phone so you can work with maps without a data connection.
  • Cooler apps and games: Basing Windows Phone 8 on the Windows core will unleash a new wave of amazing apps and especially games, for reasons I’ll touch on in a moment.

A new Start

We’re putting the finishing touches on Windows Phone 8 as I write this. It has a ton of great new consumer features that I can’t wait to tell you about in the months ahead. Today, however, I’m going to show off just one: the beautiful, flexible new Start screen.

The new Start sceen in Windows Phone 8 is even more flexible, with more theme colors and three sizes of Live TilesThe new Start sceen in Windows Phone 8 is even more flexible, with more theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles.The new Start sceen in Windows Phone 8 is even more flexible, with more theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles.The new Start sceen in Windows Phone 8 is even more flexible, with more theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles.

The new Start sceen in Windows Phone 8 is even more flexible, with more theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles.The new Start sceen in Windows Phone 8 is even more flexible, with more theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles.The new Start sceen in Windows Phone 8 is even more flexible, with more theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles.The new Start sceen in Windows Phone 8 is even more flexible, with more theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles.

As you can see, we’re making Windows Phone 8 even more personal, with a new palette of theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles, all of which are under your control. We know Live Tiles are one of the things current owners really love about their Windows Phones, and we wanted to make them even more flexible and unique.

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