At San Francisco, Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8, along with details and pricing for a range of new smartphones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC.
"Windows Phone 8 devices will go on sale in November at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S., as well as at carriers and retailers around the world," Microsoft stated. "All 65 Microsoft Stores open this holiday will carry every phone available for sale in the U.S., and every color option will be available through its online store at http://www.microsoftstore.com," th company added.
Microsoft said, "Windows Phone 8 is built to work seamlessly with Windows 8 PCs, Microsoft Surface devices and the Xbox 360 console -- as it shares a similar look and feel, same technology core, and the same built-in SkyDrive cloud service."
For example, "now you can edit a document on the go with Windows Phone 8 and pick right up again on your PC when you get home. Or access your music including your albums, songs and playlists, wherever and whenever on Xbox Music. Create a playlist from your PC, walk out the door and cue up that same list from your phone," the company explains.
"From the first time you pick up a Windows Phone you can see how personal it can be with the highly customizable Start screen and Live Tiles," said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows Phone Program Management. "People can pin their favorite people, apps, games and music right to the Start screen, and colorful Live Tiles will light up with real-time information and updates," he added.
Microsoft also revealed that Windows Phone Store now has 120,000 apps to choose from, with hundreds added every day. And, in just 24 months after the debut, "Windows Phone gone from supporting a mere 6 languages to 50, and from offering apps in 16 countries or regions to 191 today," Belfiore said.
Microsoft also said that 46 of the top 50 mobile apps are now migrating over to the WP platform. Here're some hits coming this holiday, such as "Angry Birds Star Wars," "Cut the Rope Experiments," "Disney's Where's My Water," "LivingSocial," "Temple Run," "Urbanspoon" and many more.
Also, Pandora, would be coming to Windows Phone in early 2013 with one year of ad-free music.
The new feature in Window Phone 8 include:
- Live Tiles. Three sizes of Live Tiles and 20 bright color choices including cobalt, crimson and lime are available to personalize Start screen. "People pin their favorite people, apps, music, games, photos and more."
- Live Apps bring information right to the Start screen, such as the Groupon deal of the day, flight information and news headlines. "With Windows Phone 8, Live Apps such as Facebook can even deliver real-time information right to your lock screen with updated wallpaper," informs Microsoft.
- Kid's Corner let parents share their phone with kids without worrying about deleted data or other accidental miuses. "Parents can activate a specialized place on the phone for kids to play -- complete with their own customizable Start screens -- where they can access only the apps, games, music and videos picked by parents."
- Rooms allow you to create private groups of people who have WP8 -- and easily connect with just them. You can share some aspects of Rooms with friends and family on other smartphones as well.
- Data Sense helps you surf more and do more -- without worrying about going over your data limit by compressing Web images, deferring data tasks to free Wi-Fi and automatically adjusting your usage as you get closer to your plan limits.
- Data Sense also shows how much data is used per app. "As you approach your limit, Data Sense notifies you so you can get the most out of your plan," Microsoft said.
- Data Sense will roll out to select mobile operators this holiday and additional partners next year. Verizon will be the first to offer Data Sense in the U.S.
- Wallet and near-field communications enables payments via near-field communications (NFC). "The Wallet can also store your debit, credit, loyalty and membership card information on your phone."
- Always-on, premium Skype experience. The new Skype app for WP8, will let you make and receive Skype calls just like a regular phone call. "Simply tap a friend or family member's contact card in the People Hub, or just pick up when the phone rings,"says Microsoft.
- Skype is always on and available so you can choose how to connect with people.
- Word Flow, helps make keyboard the most intelligent on any phone, and the new personalized recommendations you'll find in Local Scout and the Windows Phone Store.
- And, the Lockscreen display personalised content, such as photos, and partnering with Facebook to offer an even more customised experience.
"The new lock screen is going to make your phone feel much more personal; it will automatically surface photos, notifications and content from your apps and you get to make the choice on what you get to see," said Belfiore.
"We've partnered with Facebook and are doing an optimized version of the app for Windows 8 and update to the new lock screen." "Windows Phone 8 is the only operating system that lets you do this in a systemized way," he added.
Here is Belfiore, showing off his favorite highlights:
Here you can download Windows Phone 8 Software Development Kit (SDK).
Here are some screenshot of the above mentioned features:
The following WP8 devices going on saled this weekend:
Nokia Lumia 920, Lumia 822, 820 and 810. Both the Lumia 920 and 820 offer wireless charging.
Windows Phone 8X by HTC and Windows Phone 8S by HTC, both boast a killer music experience with Beats Audio and exclusive built-in amps that pair perfectly with Xbox Music.
Samsung ATIV S a bright 4.8-inch touch screen and large battery for extended battery life. Wrapped in brushed aluminum, the ATIV S balances high-end materials and technology with a hairline design and light weight. The ATIV Odyssey was announced today as the latest Windows Phone from Samsung with more details to come.
Update 10/31: We all know that Windows Phone "Tango" (officially Windows Phone 7.5 CR3), was aimed at bringing the hardware requirements down for lower-end Windows Phone 7.x devices, allowing devices with as low as 256 MB of RAM to still run the OS, although with certain restrictions placed to ensure that the experience is still smooth and fluid. Microsoft posted the bare minimum hardware requirements for Windows Phone 8:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor
- Minimum 512MB RAM for WVGA phones; minimum 1GB RAM for 720p / WXGA -- "Some apps and features won't work on phones with less than 1 GB of RAM. To see how much memory your phone has, check the manufacturer's website or your phones documentation," Microsoft revealed in the How-to section.
- Minimum 4GB flash memory
- GPS and A-GNSS; GLONASS is supported if OEMs decide to include it
- Support for micro-USB 2.0
- 3.5mm stereo headphone jack with three-button detection support
- Rear-facing AF camera with LED or Xenon flash, optional front-facing camera (both need to be VGA or better) and dedicated camera button
- Accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors, as well as vibration motor (magnetometer and gyroscope are optional)
- 802.11b/g and Bluetooth (802.11n is optional)
- DirectX graphics hardware support with hardware acceleration for Direct3D using programmable GPU
- Multi-touch capacitive touch screen with minimum of four simultaneous points