Microsoft Launches Windows Phone 8, SDK Due Later This Summer

Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 at a Windows Phone Summit event in San Francisco, and said a software development kit for the platform is coming later this summer.

Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8, the next version of its smartphone OS, along with a new software development kit for WP8, which will arrive later this summer.

Microsoft made the announcement at a Windows Phone Summit event in San Francisco June 20. Microsoft also said the next release of Windows Phone is based on Windows 8, the next version of the company€™s flagship operating system that supports more than a billion users daily. This means Windows Phone and Windows now share common kernel, file system, networking, security, multimedia and Web browser technologies. That translates into better performance, more features, and opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster, Microsoft said.

€œWe now have the same .NET engine that runs on the desktop,€ said Kevin Gallo, a general manager on the Microsoft Windows Phone team, speaking at the Windows Phone Summit.

In addition, the next version of Windows Phone comes with the same Web browsing engine that will be featured on Window 8 PCs and tablets: Internet Explorer 10. IE10 is faster and more secure, with advanced anti-phishing features like SmartScreen Filter to block dangerous Websites and malware.

Microsoft also announced that the Windows Phone Marketplace now has 100,000 apps and games€”with 300 new titles pouring in each day. That is a milestone Microsoft has reached faster than Android, the company said, touting its developer relationships.

Moreover, for developers Windows Phone 8 has full C and C++ support, making it easier to write apps for multiple platforms more quickly. It also means Windows Phone 8 can and will support popular game engines such as Havok, as well as native DirectX-based game development.

€œWe€™re going to see some exciting games coming to Windows Phone,€ said Joe Belfiore, Microsoft€™s corporate vice president of Windows Phone, speaking at the Windows Phone Summit.

Other developer-oriented features of Windows Phone 8 include support for in-app payments to enable developers to sell virtual and digital goods within their apps. Also in Windows Phone 8, developers can take advantage of built-in voice over IP support, making VOIP-style apps able to run the same way as native phone calls. And Windows Phone 8€™s multitasking enhancements enable location-style apps, such as exercise trackers or navigation apps, to run in the background, enabling users to navigate around their phone with those apps continuing to execute.

When the software development kit for Windows Phone 8 arrives later this summer, Microsoft said it will hold a dedicated developer event that goes over the SDK and the new Visual Studio 11-based development tools in greater detail.

For his part, Belfiore said the shared HTML5 and JavaScript componentry in Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 makes Websites €œincredibly performant€ on both platforms. Application developers can target common code to make it easy to write apps that run on the PC and the phone, Belfiore said as he showed how the same SDK sample could run on the Windows Phone platform as well as the PC with minimal changes.

€œWith Windows Phone 8, taking an app from the PC to the phone is very straightforward,€ Belfiore said.

Meanwhile, Gallo said Microsoft has ported the SQLite database to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 to better enable the exchange of data between the PC and the phone.