Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Windows Phone Summit Highlights

This information is hot off the Windows Phone 8 Summit held on June 20th 2012 in San Francisco. The show was kicked of by the same DJ using the transparent touchscreen seen before the opening keynote at TechEd North America 2102 in Orlando last week. The major highlights of the event are:
  1. No device upgrade to Windows Phone 8 OS(Apollo)
  2. Hardware Multicore Processor support
  3. A new Start Screen with different Tile Sizes
  4. Mobile Wallet Hub
  5. New "Shared" Kernel
Here is a bit more about the major highlights I listed above:

No device upgrade to Windows Phone 8 OS(Apollo)
This one hurt me the most.  There will be a Windows Phone 7.8 OS upgrade for devices running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) that cannot take advantage of all the new features due to hardware requirements. It seems that all devices will get this upgrade independent of carrier and over the air (3G, 4G or WiFi) instead of being forced through Zune. Windows Phone 8 is expected to be available by fall 2012.

Hardware Multicore Processor support
Windows Phone 8 will support for multi-core processors including dual core initially and quad core and more in the future. The first devices are expected to be dual core processors.

A new Start Screen  with different Tile Sizes
Microsoft introduced three sizes of Live tiles, small, medium, and large. Please note that existing Windows Phone devices have the medium and large Live tiles but are not resizable. Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8 should support three resolutions in total: WVGA, WXGA,(both 15:9) and 720p (16:9). The new screen also offers more color customization and personalization options. The arrow on the right side of the screen is gone and all tiles now take up the whole screen with a smaller tile layout.

Mobile Wallet Hub
The Mobile Wallet in Windows Phone 8 will support Near Field Communication (NFC) payments as well as the Passbook type of e-wallet offered by Apple on their iOS Devices. Microsoft promises the “most complete” mobile wallet solution, because they are working directly with the carriers.

New "Shared" Kernel
Windows Phone 8 will share the same kernel as Windows 8. This will allow the use of Micro SD cards as external storage which is a big change from how it was done in Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5. Device Encryption, Secure Boot and Device management are another benefits gained via the new shared kernel. Developers will be able to use managed code developed for Windows 8 with Windows Phone 8. They will be able to use C, C++, C#, HTML 5 and Direct X in development of apps for both platforms.

Other fun things to note. Internet Explorer 10 is the new browser. Skype will take advantage of the deep VOIP integration.There will be new devices from Nokia, Samsung and HTC. There are now 100,000 apps in the Marketplace. Zynga has promised Draw Something and Words with Friends to come later this year. New Tap + Send app will allow content sharing. Nokia Maps will replace Bing Maps.

Is it enough to make you switch or wait? Your Thoughts and comments are welcomed.

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