Microsoft Debuts Windows Phone 8

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Posted 5 years ago

With superstorm Sandy causing havoc on the East Coast, and resulting in Google cancelling their scheduled Android event, the eyes of the tech world were solely focused on Microsoft and their Windows Phone 8 event yesterday.

At the event in San Francisco, Microsoft highlighted five new handsets from Nokia, HTC and Samsung, each boasting a new 1.5GHz dual-core processor that is available in 50 languages and with apps available in 151 countries.

The phones themselves threw up no surprises; Nokia, HTC and Samsung have each unveiled their phones to the world weeks ago, so it was more exciting to see what Microsoft was going to do with the apps on the new Windows Phone OS.

Apps have always been the biggest downside to Windows Phone and the OS has struggled to compete with iOS and Android. With the introduction of Live Apps at the event and several partnerships, Microsoft looks to be stepping up its game.

Better apps

Live Apps will be able to integrate into the wallet and other apps and the new lock screen is expertly powered by the new feature. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was also keen to highlight the partnerships that would improve and enhance the user experience on WP8.

One of the most intriguing partnerships involved a dedicated Skype app for the new OS, one which uses new architecture to improve the calling experience and saves on battery life by running without code in the background.

Also announced were new versions of Twitter and Facebook, which will allow users to make the lock screen update with photos from the site. Popular internet radio app Pandora will be another big arrival, coming to Windows Phone in 2013 and offering a whole year of free music with no ads.

A feature of the new OS that will appeal to heavy data users is Data Sense, a feature that lets users browse the web without using as much data. Data Sense does this by compressing web data and searching for available Wi-Fi hotspots.

In his closing statement, Steve Ballmer said: “Windows Phone 8 is truly the smartphone designed around you.” He believes it. I believe it. But will consumers believe it?

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile will carry the new range of phones and shipping will begin in the U.S in November. It is then that we will see just how much interest Windows Phone has generated.

– Anthony Carter

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