Can Microsoft Excite the Market with Windows Phone 8?

Right after a surprise Microsoft Surface Tablet announcement, Microsoft continues to tickle the world with yet another announcement. Microsoft finally revealed the Windows Phone 8 with some highs and lows.

From the Windows Phone blog, here are the “Highs” of Windows Phone 8.

With Windows Phone 8, the similarity is more than skin deep. We’ve based the next release of Windows Phone on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8. It means Windows Phone and its bigger sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system. That translates into better performance, more features, and new opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster.

Some of the most anticipated enhancement: –

  • Multi-core processor support: As reviewers have noted, Windows Phone runs buttery smooth on phones with a single processor. But piggybacking on the Windows core provides support for multiple cores—so we’re ready for whatever hardware makers dream up.
  • Bigger, sharper screens: Windows Phone 8 supports two new screen resolutions—1280×768 and 1280×720, opening the door to amazing new handsets with high-definition 720p displays.
  • More flexible storage: Windows Phone 8 supports removable MicroSD cards, so you can stuff your phone with extra photos, music, and whatever else is important to you, and then easily move it all onto your PC.
  • NFC wireless sharing: If you haven’t heard the term “NFC” yet, I’m betting you soon will. This emerging wireless technology lets phones share things over short distances. In Windows Phone 8, it helps make sharing photos, Office docs, and contact info easier—just tap your phone another NFC-equipped device. How cool is that?
  • Internet Explorer 10: The next version of Windows Phone comes with the same web browsing engine that’s headed for Window 8 PCs and tablets. IE10 is faster and more secure, with advanced anti-phishing features like SmartScreen Filter to block dangerous websites and malware.
  • Wallet: Windows Phone 8’s new digital Wallet feature does two great things. It can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes, and other important info right at your fingertips. And when paired with a secure SIM from your carrier, you can also pay for things with a tap of your phone at compatible checkout counters.
  • Better maps and directions: Windows Phone 8 builds in Nokia mapping as part of the platform. Our partnership will provide more detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions in many countries, plus the ability to store maps offline on your phone so you can work with maps without a data connection.
  • Cooler apps and games: Basing Windows Phone 8 on the Windows core will unleash a new wave of amazing apps and especially games, for reasons I’ll touch on in a moment.
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Finally, we are seeing better processors, different screen size, better resolution and etc. There, to the consumers, are extremely important if you were to compare it with competitors who are already on Quad core processors.

Next, Microsoft continues (in a tradition way) to secure the enterprise. My thinking is that it envisions everyone in a company to use a Surface tablet and a Windows Phone 8.

  • Device encryption: To help keep everything from documents to passwords safe, Windows Phone 8 includes built-in technology to encrypt the entire device, including the operating system and data files.
  • Better security: Windows Phone 8 supports the United Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) secure boot protocol and features improved app “sandboxing,” so the phone is better protected from malware with multiple layers of security.
  • Remote management: With Windows Phone 8, IT departments can manage apps and phones remotely, with tools similar to ones they now employ for Windows PCs.
  • Company Hub and apps: Companies can create their own Windows Phone 8 Hub for custom employee apps and other critical business info.

As you can see, Windows Phone 8 is made for businesses since day 1 of debut. All these are really something to look forward to. However, as you read on, you will realize something.

Microsoft did it again, this time less painful than previous

Remember Windows Mobile 6.5? Everyone thought that the phones could be upgraded to Windows Phone 7. It never happens. The common reason being hardware compatibility issue.

This time, they say it again. Windows Phone 7.5 cannot be upgraded to Windows Phone 8. However, this time, they were “kind” enough to upgrade it to Windows Phone 7.8, which will sports the same nice looking start screen of Windows Phone 8 and some other tidbits.

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This is frustrating yet understandable. If the current hardware needs an overhaul to stay in competition, it is better to do it fast. Its competitors are way ahead in this area (Google Android, Apple iOS). However, I am not sure how the people feel when they had just signed a 2-years contract for a Windows Phone.

One significant advantage I can see is that Microsoft will have a “light” version in the form of Windows Phone 8 or Windows RT tablet and a “full” version in the form of Windows 8 Pro tablet (that I am looking forward to). This is something the competitors do not have (the full version).

Microsoft did not forget about the developers. Microsoft has made sure that Windows Phone 7.5 apps can be used on Windows Phone 8 and making apps for Windows Phone 8 will be easier.

  • Native code support: 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 supports popular gaming middleware such as Havok Vision Engine, Autodesk Scaleform, Audiokinetic Wwise, and Firelight FMOD, as well as native DirectX-based game development.
  • In-app payments: In Windows Phone 8 we make it possible for app makers to sell virtual and digital goods within their apps.
  • Integrated Internet calling: In Windows Phone 8, developers can create VoIP apps that plug into our existing calling feature so Internet calls can be answered like traditional phone calls, using the same calling interface.
  • Multitasking enhancements. Windows Phone 8 now allows location-based apps like exercise trackers or navigation aids to run in the background, so they keep working even when you’re doing other things on your phone.
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On a final note (or rant), Microsoft Marketplace has finally reached the 100,000 apps. Hopefully, we can see official apps getting into Marketplace fast.

Click Here to Read the Full Details from Windows Phone Blog

For those who are really, really keen to watch the Windows Phone Summit, click on the link below.

Click Here to Watch Windows Phone Summit

That is it! Enjoy the future Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

Update: I forgot to add in who are the manufacturers for the first wave of Windows Phone 8.

The first wave of devices for Windows Phone 8 will come from Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC, all built on next-generation chips from Qualcomm.