Microsoft on June 20 unveiled Windows Phone 8, the companys vision for the future of its mobile operating system. By most measures, the platform looks to be a significant improvement over Windows Phone 7. The only stakeholders upset by the move might be those who currently own a Windows Phone 7-based device. Microsoft says there will be no upgrade path from that platform to the new one, unless they buy a new phone with the latest operating system.
Still, Windows Phone 8 is impressive. The operating system marks a significant shift for Microsoft, which has tied it in with the NT kernel, effectively making it a Windows-based device. Even better, it now supports dual- and quad-core devices and can scale to up to 64 cores whenever mobile devices hit that milestone. Simply put, Windows Phone 8 is ready for primetime and its about time everyone understands why.
Read on to find out why Windows Phone 8 is one of the more impressive additions to the mobile space in recent memory:
1. Dual- and quad-core support
Microsoft has said that Windows Phone 8 will (finally) support both dual– and quad–core smartphones. In fact, the companys integration of the platform on the Windows 8 kernel will allow it to support up to 64 coresthough thats a long ways off. Since it will support many more processor cores, Windows Phone 8 users should have a much better experience at their fingertips.
2. Near-field communication, anyone?
It was no surprise that Microsoft announced that near-field communication will be making its way to Windows Phone 8. The technology, which will allow users to engage in a host of activities, including paying for products from their smartphones, is the future of the mobile space. And Microsoft has acknowledged that with its integration.
3. The new (smarter) Start Screen
The new Start Screen is something most Windows Phone 7 users will be happy to find in the new version of the operating system. The new Start Screen will support three different tile sizes, enabling users to fit more on the screen. Microsofts Live Tiles were a big hit in Windows Phone 7, and look to be even better in Windows Phone 8.
4. Shift to the NT kernel
Microsofts decision to transition to the NT kernel is undoubtedly its best decision with Windows Phone 8. Known as Windows Core, the kernel and associated OS functions will help bridge the gap between Windows on the desktop and Windows in the mobile space. For developers and IT staff looking for that happy marriage, this is a dream come true.
Nokia Maps Are an Important New Addition
5. It expects HDand thats OK
Microsoft announced at its unveiling of Windows Phone 8 that the operating system is designed to work with three resolutions WVGA, WXGA and 720p. What that means is the operating system is designed with HD in mind, putting it in clear competition with Apples iOS. Its not a major update, but its certainly an important one.
6. Deep Skype integration, of course
After Microsoft acquired Skype, the company indicated that the VOIP platform would be making its way to all of its many products. Microsoft made good on that promise with deep Skype integration in Windows Phone 8, making it available on everything from People Hub to the phone dialer. Nice.
7. Nokia Maps
For years, Nokia has been one of the leaders in the mapping space and currently counts the vast majority of in-dash navigation systems as its products. In Windows Phone 8, Nokia Maps will be the built-in mapping solution. For those that have tried Nokia Maps and its outstanding navigation features, its obvious why thats a good thing. For those that havent, get ready for a much better service than Bing Maps.
8. Remote device management is a must-have
The enterprise was one of the biggest benefactors in Microsofts Windows Phone 8 unveiling. And chief among the features shown off for IT was remote device management. With the operating system, IT staff will be able to control mobile products they deploy, and perhaps even keep an eye on what employees are doing.
9. On-device encryption
One of the nice things about Windows NT kernel integration is that Windows Phone 8 will come with on-device encryption. Considering how much data is passed through mobile products in the enterprise, and considering how many IT decision-makers would love to have more security, this is a welcome addition. Its especially important considering that Research-In-Motion phones are a favorite with enterprise IT managers because of their encryption capabilities.
10. A dedication to control
Unlike Android, which has quickly become a place where the user experience is different from product to product, Microsoft has ensured that all Windows Phone 8 devices deliver the same look and feel. Thats important. As Apple has shown time and again, control is best for todays consumers. Microsoft has picked that ball up and run with it. And it should be commended for that.