Microsoft came to this week with a full back of tricks. On Monday they announced the all new tablet called Surface, and today it is a massive update to their smartphone operating system Windows Phone 8. The new OS makes it easy to transition between a phone and a tablet and a desktop as applications can use the same core architecture across all three platforms with minor adjustments.
1. Dual and quad core support. WP 7.5 only supports single core devices, where as Android phones can take advantage of quad core power. WP 8 will bring this capability to Windows phones
2. NFC support. That leaves only Apple still umming and ahing about adding NFC hardware to the iPhones.
3. New start screen with adjustable tile sizes. Different colour and size options will enable people to add more custom information to their start screen without sacrificing readability
4. New NT kernal. Windows Phone 8 will run on the same kernal as Windows 8 making cross platform applications possible.
5. Nokia Maps. Enough said.
6. IE 10. Hmmm
7. MicroSD slots for expandable storage
8. New apps for Camera, Skype and a Siri like voice recognition app
9. Business Friendly. New security systems with encryption of the whole phone and app sandboxing. Plus IT departments will be able to wipe the phone remotely if left unsecured.
10. Over the air updated for 18 months
However devices running Windows Phone 7.5 will not be able to upgrade to the new version, this includes the all new Lumia 900. Instead Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7.8 as an interim upgrade solution with many of the new features including resizable tiles. OEM partners like Nokia are not happy about this decision as it means that Lumia phones will become redundant as soon as Phone 8 hits the market later this year. Application developers will also stop supporting the OS if it is to be obsolete in 9 months.
2013 promises to be an interesting year for Microsoft. Analysts predict that Windows Phone OS will occupy the number 2 spot by 2014 at the expense of iPhone and Android. So far it appears that Microsoft have nailed the strategy. How well it is executed remains to be seen.