Microsoft has debuted Windows Phone 8, the latest version of the company's smartphone operating system. Microsoft - in a major effort to improve its flagging mobile market share - yesterday unveiled the latest iteration of its Windows Phone software.
The company talked up a number of new features - along with details and pricing for a range of Windows Phone 8 smartphones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC - each with their own differentiated designs, colors and features.
Microsoft revealed new features including Kid's Corner, Rooms and Live Tiles. As noted above, Redmond highlighted a number of new features during its presentation, including Live Apps, Kid’s Corner, Rooms, Wallet and NFC and an upgraded version of Skype.
Live Tiles allows users to rearrange the Start screen, pinning favourite people, apps, music, games and photos and comes in three sizes and twenty colour choices including cobalt, crimson and lime. Essentially, live apps can best be described as a feature that displays relevant information right on the Start screen, such as the Groupon deal of the day, flight information, Facebook feeds and news headlines.
In addition to Live Tiles, Windows Phone 8 features Live Apps which bring information to the Start screen, and Rooms, which allows users to share and chat with one group and create private groups of people who have Windows Phone 8 to easily connect with them.
Meanwhile, Data Sense helps conserve user data allowance by compressing Web images, deferring tasks to free Wi-Fi and automatically adjusting usage as you get closer to your plan limits.
The Data Sense feature enables users to surf the web without worrying about exceeding their data limit by deferring data tasks to free Wi-Fi and automatically adjusting usage as the user gets closer to their data limit.
The new OS also supports a Wallet and near-field communication (NFC) and a new Skype app. And last, but certainly not least, Windows Phone 8 offers full support for new wallet technologies, including payments via near-field communications (NFC). Essentially, the Wallet can be used to store debit, credit, loyalty and membership card information on your phone.
Nokia, Samsung and HTC have announced an array of phones for Windows Phone 8 including the Nokia Lumia 920, 822, 820 and 810, the Windows Phone 8X by HTC and the Samsung ATIV S and ATIV Odyssey, which will launch in the coming month. The new software is designed to work seamlessly with Windows 8 PCs, Microsoft Surface devices and the Xbox 360 console.
Major mobile operators in the US will start selling Windows Phone 8 in the coming weeks. Verizon Wireless will carry the Windows Phone 8X by HTC for USD 199.99 with a two-year contract and the Nokia Lumia 822 for USD 99.99 on a two-year agreement, both available by Thanksgiving. The Samsung ATIV Odyssey will be available exclusively at Verizon in December. AT&T will carry the Nokia Lumia 920, 820 and Windows Phone 8X by HTC, all going on sale in November. T-Mobile USA will carry the Windows Phone 8X by HTC starting at USD 149.99 for the 16GB version and the Nokia Lumia 810 for USD 99.99, with both devices expected to launch on 14 November.
The devices will be available in November at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the US, as well as at carriers and retailers around the world.