Windows Phone 8 Models Shine at Microsoft Launch Event
The Boss Closes the Deal
Microsoft CEO and Chairman Steve Ballmer came out to summarize the Windows Phone 8 launch Oct. 29 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Virtually all the major phone makers—except Apple, of course—will have a device that will run on Win 8 starting in the next few weeks.
Windows Phone 8 Models Soon to Hit Store Shelves and the Web
Ballmer showed Win 8 phones from Nokia, HTC, Samsung, Qualcomm and several others at the launch event. They will range from $99 (plus a carrier data plan) to around $300, depending upon the feature set and data storage.
HTC 'Inspired' by New Design
Ballmer said that Taiwanese device maker HTC, which also makes Android phones for Google, was inspired to build an all-new smartphone for Windows 8, which takes full advantage of the new "live" user interface and lock screen.
Samsung ATIV S
This new Windows 8 phone was the largest new device by screen size that debuted at the launch. Samsung is also making Windows 8 tablets.
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia, which went into an important partnership with Microsoft in 2011 in an effort to save its smartphone business against competitors such as Apple and Google, debuted its most powerful Windows 8 phone at the event—Lumia 920. It will become available in November.
Microsoft's new Windows 8 phones all carry native connections with all other Microsoft PCs, notebooks and tablets through the SkyDrive cloud storage services. Word documents, photos, video and music can be shared through this service and the interface comes installed on all devices.
Handheld Entertainment Center
Some of the new Windows 8 phones come with optional Beats Audio, the high-end sound system that Hewlett-Packard uses for its notebooks and workstations. Connection with SkyDrive enables users to access their music at any time, and if a device gets lost, the music doesn't.
Calendars Connect to Any Other Device
Windows 8 phones come with a universal Outlook bridge for contacts, email and calendars that can be used with any other device—including iPhones (right).
Star Power Helps Tell the Story
Microsoft enlisted the help of actress Jessica Alba at the event. She explained how she and her daughter, Honor, use the phones together to play games, surf the Web, and connect with friends and family members through Skype—now a Microsoft company.
Live User Interface
Users can create their own lock screen on Windows 8 phones and include photos, notifications, news feeds, email messages, text messages—basically anything they want. Never a dull moment on the phone screen; users won't see the same intro more than once.
More than 120,000 Apps Now Available
Microsoft is rapidly building its outside development community. The company claims more than 120,000 applications are now available in the Windows store and that "hundreds" are becoming available each day. Pandora, the popular customized-music site, is coming early next year.
Put It Down and Charge It Up
Nokia has some cool new charging devices. This one enables a user to simply lay it down on the "carpet," and the phone will be charged up in a short period of time.