Windows Phone 8 launch – all the highlights

The lowdown on what you can expect when Microsoft unleashes its new mobile OS this autumn

Microsoft has given the world a peek at Windows Phone 8, which will launch in the autumn. So what can we expect?

On the user interface front, Windows 8 will sport a new Start screen (aka home screen). You’ll be able to tweak the size of any tile (small, medium and screen-spanning double-wide are the options), and there’ll be more colours. We love colours, so that’s alright in our book.

Windows Phone 8 will run on the same kernel as Windows 8 and Windows RT (the desktop and tablet versions of the OS), which means essentially you’ll have one platform running across your computer, your tablet and your smartphone. That’ll mean apps and games that work on all Windows devices.

Speaking of games, Microsoft was keen to big up Windows 8 as a “complete gaming platform”. Now, we’ve heard mobile phones described as such since the days of the ill-fated Nokia N-Gage, but here there’ll be Havoc physics tech, impressive 3D graphics and, thanks to the shared platform with Windows 8, the ability for game developers to use C and C++ code.

Continuing on the software front, Nokia’s map technology (with turn-by-turn navigation) will be integrated into all Windows 8 devices, not those just those with a Nokia badge. In-app purchases will be supported at last, and there’s Siri-style advanced speech recognition.

Hardware-wise, Windows Phone 8 pushes its feature list far beyond that of WP7 – and you can read about that here. Samsung, Nokia, HTC and Huawei are all signed up to make new WP8 devices, and Microsoft says all devices will be supported with updates (delivered over the air) for at least 18 months.

So what do you think? Has Microsoft delivered with WP8? Let us know your thoughts below.

[via Engadget]

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