Windows Phone 8 officially announced, hitting new phones later this year

The news about Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system has been doing the rounds for quite a while. Yesterday, the tech giant said that they would offer a sneak peak at what one can expect from their smartphone OS once it becomes available. At an event in San Francisco, the brand officially raised the curtains on their latest mobile operating system and claimed that it is the most advanced mobile OS Microsoft has ever made. This OS will be available on new handsets that will be launched later this year.

According to a blog post, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore claims that many of the new capabilities available on the Windows Phone 8 OS comes from Windows, which is the most successful and powerful operating system on the planet, and one used by more than a billion people. Windows Phone 8 is based on the same core technologies that power Windows 8. As a result, Windows Phone 8 will come equipped with a new wave of features for consumers, developers, and businesses.
Enter the next level in Windows mobility
Enter the next level in Windows mobility

Microsoft claims that with Windows Phone 8, similarities between Windows 8 and this latest smartphone OS is more than just skin deep. He states, “We’ve based the next release of Windows Phone on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8.” Expanding on this, Belfiore states that Windows Phone and its older sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system. These features will translate into better performance, more features, and new opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster.

Here is a look at some of the highlighted features available on Windows Phone 8:

  • Multi-core processor support – Windows Phone was a slick OS that ran smoothly on handsets with a single processor. The latest OS now features multi-core support with Belfoire claiming that they’re ready for whatever hardware makers dream up.
  • Bigger, sharper screens - Windows Phone 8 supports two new screen resolutions—1280x768 and 1280x720, making it compatible with new handsets that will feature high-definition 720p displays.
  • More flexible storage - Windows Phone 8 supports removable MicroSD cards, so users can stuff their phone with extra photos, music, and whatever else is important and then easily move it all onto their PC.
  • NFC wireless sharing - In Windows Phone 8, NFC helps make sharing photos, Office docs, and contact info easier. One can achieve this by tapping their phone on another NFC-equipped device.
  • 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. Microsoft claims that 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 things. It can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes and other important info right at one’s fingertips. And when paired with a secure SIM from your carrier, users 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. This 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.
  • Improved apps and games – Microsoft states that basing Windows Phone 8 on the Windows core will unleash a new wave of amazing apps and especially games.

The Windows Phone 8 OS also comes with a flexible new Start screen. Microsoft states, “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.”

Unfortunately existing handsets will not receive the Windows Phone 8 OS but instead will receive an update to their existing OS in the form of Windows Phone 7.8. (via Tech2)