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Windows Phone 8 to ship on new phones

Windows Phone 8, the successor to its Windows Phone 7.5 Mango mobile operating system, will ship on handsets in the US autumn, according to Microsoft.

Windows Phone 8, code-named Apollo, will feature support for multi-core processors, NFC with a mobile payments wallet and support for three screen resolutions and microSD card slots.

Furthermore, the then Windows Phone OS will share a common kernel with the PC version of Windows 8, which will — again, according to Microsoft — allow for easier cross-platform software development between all versions of Windows 8.

Glimpse of the Windows Phone 8 OS now

Although we're getting a glimpse of the Windows Phone 8 OS now, Microsoft won't release the software developer kit until later.

Microsoft said that partner original equipment manufacturers and operators, like Nokia and Verizon in the US, are excited about Windows Phone prospects, as Microsoft continues a deliberate effort to mature its juvenile OS alongside the much more sophisticated Android and iOS platforms.

The horizon

With quad-core phones on the horizon, Windows phones couldn't remain single core for long. Windows Phone 8 will support dual-core, quad-core and, theoretically, up to 64-core processors. Don't hold your breath for that last one, nevertheless do start looking for the world's first dual-core Windows Phone.

The rumours were spot on. Windows phones will get support for three new screen resolutions: WVGA, WXVGA and "true 720p".

Though Internet Explorer 10 hasn't been officially released but, Microsoft said that the code for IE10's desktop version will be very similar to that on the phone. This will allow the mobile browser to take advantage of the desktop's more robust security features, like its online phishing detector and SmartScreen Filter.

The people have grumbled

The people have grumbled, and Microsoft has listened. In the then and there update, Windows Phones will get support for a microSD expansion slot, which could give phones running its OS a memory boost up to 16GB, 32GB or even potentially 64GB.

Although Microsoft's Metro user interface isn't going anywhere, its start-up screen will get a facelift. With Windows Phone 8, live tiles will fill up a handset's entire screen, instead of being located more to the left.

Smaller tiles are ideal for applications that require a minimum amount of space to convey necessary information. But, individuals can customise the size of each app's tile.

These small and medium-sized tiles can be rendered by default through the OS. But, third-party app developers will now be able to develop the design of how their apps would appear in a double-wide tile format — an option earlier available only to Microsoft Windows Phone, OEMs and operators.

More tile colours and themes will as well be added, to increase the level of personalisation and customisation. And though devices running Windows Phone 7 won't be upgradable to version 8, for the moment the new start screen will be available for these handsets.

Support for nearly-field communication will let Microsoft create its own wallet and mobile payments experience. Microsoft is going afterwards Google and Apple, with plans for an app that will both facilitate tap to pay and store information, passport style. Chase will be one partner.

It's no surprise that Microsoft is leaning towards one platform to rule them all. Windows Phone 8 will share much of the same native code used in Windows desktop, including the file system, networking stack, security model, media pipeline, device drives, networking and graphics codes.

Microsoft said that sharing code resources will make it easier for Windows developers to create and port Windows Phone apps. The same code support applies to Android and iOS developers, which Microsoft as well said will be able to port apps to their platform more quickly and cheaply.

Microsoft will integrate VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calling apps like Skype and others, so that calls placed and answered through these third-party services will look and feel like native phone calls.

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More information: Zdnet.com
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