Microsoft launches Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.8
Just days after announcing its first tablet computer, the Surface, Microsoft Corp. revealed Windows Phone 8, a dramatic update to its phone software, one that won’t be available to current Windows Phones.
If you’re currently holding a Windows Phone device, don’t worry you’d get the Windows Phone 7.8.
The hardware requirements for WP8 preclude its running on any current WP device – not even the Lumia 900! The software will bring Windows phones closer to PCs and tablets running the company’s upcoming Windows 8, which is also scheduled to launch later this year. To ensure current Windows Phone users stay happy: a few software benefits will be included in WP8, and a hearty helping of these killer features (such as the new Start screen) will be available to legacy devices in the form of Windows Phone 7.8. There’ll be support for three tile sizes, with the smallest being fingertip size (a quarter of the standard square). The update will be delivered directly to users, sidestepping carriers, and can be done over WiFi.
Windows Phone 8 requires multi-core processors (up to 64), displays up to WXGA (1280 x 768) and external storage on SD. This better, faster hardware will enable new, faster games and other demanding apps which, for the first time, can be written in native code. (C/C++) All this will run on a kernel shared with Windows 8 and Windows RT. In other words Microsoft has managed to get one platform running on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, the idea being that apps can be more easily ported from one to the next, promising “games we’ve never seen before” running on your phones, with popular titles like Gameloft’s Nova 3 and Zynga’s Draw Something also coming to Windows Phone.
There’s also a new wallet functionality thanks to the NFC support, but reliant on an augmented SIM, not hardware on the phone itself. Nokia maps is now built into the OS, including offline map support.
The OS will be available later this year along with Windows 8 and the new Surface tablets.