Microsoft Announces Windows Phone 8, Won't Support Current Handsets
June 20, 2012 12:35 PM
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Current Windows Phone 7.x users will have to make do with Windows Phone 7.8
Microsoft may be down in the
single-digits when it comes to worldwide smartphone market share
, but the company is not going to sit by on the sidelines while the competition from Apple and Google pass it by. Today at the Windows Phone Summit, Microsoft announced the follow-up to Windows Phone 7.5 -- Windows Phone 8.
While Windows Phone 7.x is based on Windows CE, Windows Phone 8 shares its NT kernel with PC-oriented
Windows 8 operating system
. Thanks to the shared codebase, developers won't have to do "double duty" developing programs for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.
Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows Phone, introduces Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8 will support dual-core processor at launch, and quad-core support will come at a later date (Windows Phone 8 can theoretically support up to 64 cores
). In addition, Windows Phone 8 will support three screen resolutions: 800x480, 1280x768, and 1280x720. Although we question the need for both of the latter screen resolutions, we'll give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Other features include microSD support for removable storage (movies, videos, photos, apps), VoIP/Skype integration, in-app purchases, Internet Explorer 10 (complete with anti-phising technology), native NFC support, and a mobile Wallet Hub to store credit/debit cards, and deals/offers, (it sounds quite a bit like
Apple's Passbook from iOS 6
). Nokia's NAVTEQ mapping technology will also be built-in to Windows Phone 8 including offline maps. Another new feature, Tap+Send, allows users to "bump" phones to share data. However, we've seen this functionality before in Android devices.
Customizable tiles in Windows Phone 8
The biggest change announced is a revamp of the Start screen and the Live Tiles system. Microsoft is now giving users the ability to completely control the Start screen and resize tiles to make their phones more personal. For example, if the Pictures hub is most important to you, you can resize the tile to make is take a huge portion of your screen while at the same time reducing the size of tiles that don't interest you as much.
Microsoft also made it official that current smartphones running Windows Phone 7.x will not be getting an upgrade to Windows Phone 8. While some functionality will make its way into Windows Phone 7.8 (like the new customizable Start screen), you'll have to purchase a brand new smartphone to get the full Windows Phone 8 experience.
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6/20/2012 3:47:23 PM
It actually has up to 64-core support if someone were going to make such a thing. It's using MS's NT kernel (should be nearly the same as on Windows 8 RT if not the exact same). That's probably more of a consideration for tablets using the kernel than phones but it's there. The initial batch of devices will probably be dual core S4 phones, Qualcomm was plastered on quite a few slides from the announcement.
6/20/2012 4:00:44 PM
Well, now we are getting conflicting information. We're told at release WP8 cannot support quad cores, and can only do dual cores, and that it will take an update (like WP7's 7.5 update which brought much needed advancements) to unlock quad core support.
So, why is this, if it can theoretically support up to 64 cores out of the box? MS is just limiting its hardware possibilities for no gain, it seems.
Something tells me the WP8 kernel isn't identical to the Windows 8 RT kernel; which I think it should have been. No reason not to just stick RT straight on a phone. Nothing prevents that, so why didn't MS do that?
This all seems like a case of the right hand not talking to the left hand.
6/20/2012 4:40:19 PM
It does seem like WinRT (or WART if you please) is still half baked. Just look for the videos of all the Surface freezes at the launch event or videos of the WART launch tablets from Computex. That happened on a variety of platforms, which brings up your point.
MS limited phones severely with WP7 but it was more for platform control than anything and all WP7 devices I've used seemed very stable. I think WP8 and WART will have some serious teething problems since this will be the first dive into vast array of ARM SoCs out there. I hope it's nothing worse than what Google went through with the first few iterations of Android tho.
If we are to believe the presentation than coding for WP8 is the same as WART, you just have to change a build target or something which indicates the kernel is very closely related. I guess we will have to wait and see if that is really true once the SDK is in the wild.
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