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October 30, 2012

Microsoft officially launches Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 8 is now officially upon us as Microsoft has finally pulled the curtain off on their latest mobile OS. Head past the break to find out more about this revamped version of the Windows Phone OS.


WP8

More Apps
Windows Phone program manager, Joe Belfiore, kicked things off by telling the crowd about the growing number of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. He goes on by saying that Marketplace is now home to 120’00 apps and counting. It was also mentioned during the announcement that 46 of 50 mostly used apps are now available on the Windows Phone Marketplace. Although it wasn’t mentioned which apps were those.

Famous game titles such as Temple Run, Cut the rope and Asphalt 7 will also be available on Marketplace through GameUnity game engine.

MoreWP8apps

Speaking of apps, Joe also discussed the new Skype for Windows Phone 8 by saying “we’ve built Skype so it can be integrated naturally into the phone experience.” One of the key features of the app is that it’s always on without running its code on the background. This allows the phone to be ready to receive Skype calls/messages but not at the cost of battery. However, without having a formal hands-on on the device, no one can really tell if this feature really doesn’t gulp down on your phone’s juice.

Pandora

Pandora will also be available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. However, instead of just porting the app to the new OS, Microsoft decided to treat prospective buyers with one year of ad-free music service. It’s supposed to be a big surprise, but we’re not too excited about it since the service is not available for our country.

Live Apps and Lock Screen

Live Tiles is probably one of the most famous, if not the most famous facet of the OS. Microsoft decided to give the feature a minor facelift by letting the users resize the tiles to their liking. In addition to the Live Tile, the team also enhanced the Live App’s functionality.

LiveApps

As some of you may know, this feature allows users to view updates and notification from an app without having to go inside the app itself. Microsoft took it a step further by integrating the Live App feature to the highly customizable lock screen of the Windows Phone 8. With this, users won’t even have to unlock the phone to check updates on their favorite app or SNS.

FBforWP8

Joe mentioned that his team has worked with Facebook and Twitter to come with a version of their app which is specifically designed for the OS and can be integrated to the lock screen. Moreover, he also mentioned that a lot of developers are already working on a version of their app that can also be incorporated to the lock screen.

Data Sense

Another new feature of the Windows Phone 8 is Data Sense which monitors the data usage and can also provide a detailed information (and graphical representation) of how much data an app is consuming. This feature also has the capability to offload data when it detects that limit is almost reached.

DataSense

This feature isn’t actually new as it has been around on Android and iOS for quite some time already. What’s different about it, however, is that it also lets users to get more out of their data plan by allowing them to browse through a website with lesser data consumption. By how much you might ask? Well, according to the test that Joe and his team have conducted, the data consumption is reduced by up to 45%.

Furthermore, Data Sense can also point a user to a nearby Wi-Fi hotspot using the map, although we’re not sure if this feature will work locally.

Kid’s Corner

The next item on the Windows Phone 8 menu is Kid’s Corner, a feature that would certainly be appreciated by parents. In essence, Kid’s Corner is just another home screen made for smaller member of the family.

KidsCorner

Parents can customize the home screen and include the apps/games that they want their children to have access to. The logic behind Kid’s Corner is to avoid having the real home screen messed up by the kids. The Kid’s corner can be accessed by swiping to the left of the lock screen.

People Hub and Rooms

People Hub, as some of you may know, is not your average contacts list. It shows the picture of the people you’ve recently contacted and it also has SNS integration so you can view your friend’s recent status updates without having to go to the app.

Rooms

On Windows Phone 8, this purposeful feature gets more organized and personal with the addition of Rooms. This sub-category of People Hub lets users to sort and categorize their contacts into groups called Rooms. This would then allow them to interact and share contents with the people in the Room much easier. With Rooms, users can send private messages, share photos and notes to the member of the group.

Another good thing about Rooms is that it also allows user to add people who are using a phone on a different platform and still give them some of the benefits that Rooms has.

SkyDrive Integration

With Windows Phone 8, users can seamlessly transition from one Windows device to the other through SkyDrive. Not only does it allow users to easily pick up where they left off on the documents they’re working on their PC, it also allows users to make a quick voice note on their Windows Phone 8 device and access it on their other Windows 8 devices.

WindowsPhone8

Moreover, SkyDrive now automatically uploads the photos you’ve taken with your WP8 device at full resolution and make readily available to your other devices.

Music Synchronization

The tracks that users have on their Windows 8 PC, including Xbox music store purchases can now be synced wirelessly to their WP8 handsets through Microsoft’s cloud service. Though not yet available, Joe also mentioned that they’ll have a synch companion app for Windows 7 and 8 as well as for Mac so users can sync iTunes contents to their WP8 smartphone.

Windows Phone 8 handsets

WP8handsets

During the event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showcased three handsets that will come preinstalled with their latest mobile OS. These devices are the Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung ATIV S and HTC 8X. He also mentioned that these devices will start to hit the US shelves starting next weekend. He also discussed the telcos that will be offering these devices along with the other WP8 handsets.

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19 Responses to “Microsoft officially launches Windows Phone 8”

  1. Marcelino says:

    Windows Phone 8 or Android 4.2 Jelly Bean?

    Grabe, nahuli na talaga ang iOS.

    • jonski22 says:

      what do you mean nahuli na IOS? they just have an upgrade. I am not an Apple fan boy, but IOS seems to be the better OS for mobile. It’s low battery consumption, it’s speed, the response to touch.
      If Windows Marketplace has the same quality as Apple apps they will have a chance. They have to forget about casual gaming, and let the units to be played for semi-hardcore games like Infinity Blade and other FPS games.

    • I have to disagree with the low battery consumption if we’re talking about the latest iOS. I have a lot of friends who complained of the terrible battery life their iPhones had when they upgraded to the latest iOS.

      IMO, I also feel that Apple in terms of innovation has changed. Before, they released products and companies play catch up. Now, it seems that they play catch up or react to whats happening in the market.

    • Lexty says:

      I’ll get both! Nokia Lumia 920 and LG Nexus 4! got to love the wireless charging imbedded on both!

    • Marcelino says:

      @jonski22:

      “It’s low battery consumption, it’s speed, the response to touch.”

      1. Low battery consumption? Ok ka lang? The battery life of my iPhone 4S became worse with iOS6.

      2. Its speed. We all know that, iOS has been fast ever since. Nothing new here.

      3. Response to touch? Ganun din. Alam na nating lahat yan. Nothing new again.

      Nahuhuli ang iOS kasi WALANG SILANG NILALABAS NA BAGO.

      Nung mag-update ako sa iOS6, naghahanap ako ng significant changes. Pero wala. Oo, naging smoother ang performance. Pero other than that, Ano pa?

      Wag kang magbulag-bulagan, please.

      @Techie Foodie: I concur.

      @Lexty: Good decision.

    • martin says:

      wala na kasi si Steve Jobs… Kaya humina ang apple sa ways ng pag innovate ng mga products nila…

    • Edwin C says:

      Ikaw yata ang nahuli sa kadadada mo.

  2. Jerwin Paglicawan
    Twitter: jherwyne
    says:

    can’t wait for the Windows 7.8 release for my Lumia 610….or better yet, an optimized version of Win8 for my phone.

  3. hatch says:

    Although i am quite disappointed that no mentioned on the 7.8 update(currently using lumia800) i am still happy that microsoft and Nokia is trying their best to be at par or compete with Ios and android. I love the os and its too much to let go.. Ive been an ios and android user but wasnt blown away with their feats like that of windows phone…. It has that kind of personality which u cant just overlook once you got to use it atleast 2 weeks or more. I dont know maybe its just me :)

  4. andre says:

    As a Windows Phone 7.5 user I feel abandoned by Microsoft. :(

  5. Cliff Rosario
    Twitter: connect2cliff
    says:

    exactly.. sold my HTC Radar a few months back because of rumor that the platform won’t be supported in the future.. I liked that smartphone. It’s OS has character compared to Android and iOS at that time.

    looking forward to Windows 8 phones landing on our local stores.

  6. ceegii63
    Twitter: ceegii63
    says:

    18 months on a Samsung Focus im well ready to move on to a Lumia 920… i just wish theyed actually push with that AWS 1700 model

  7. anonymous says:

    i hate to say this but windows phone is looking really good. played with a nokia lumia before and was impressed with the speed considering na puro single core lang sila.

    android feels like an ios copycat (although i use android) but ms actually came up with something original.

  8. Marvin says:

    Saan sa ios ang data sense? I’ve been using ios since the beginning and I haven’t encountered this feature. Meron lang data counter pero its not like “data sense”…

  9. Baka gusto nyo magbusiness pambili ng windows phone 8 na yan. hehe

  10. wiz says:

    minsan ok din pag naiiba. jologs na din talaga pag marami ng kapareha eh. will definitely shift to windows phone. dnt care about restrictions and apps.

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This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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