Microsoft has officially launched Windows Phone 8, the next iteration of its mobile operating system. At an event in San Francisco, the company publicly showcased the final version of its new OS running on a variety of handsets from Nokia, HTC, and Samsung. Microsoft also used the opportunity to announce the pending arrival of Pandora and other high-profile apps that have thus far been absent from its platform. Windows Phone 8 handsets will begin appearing at retail over the coming weeks, but until then we've gathered all of today's important news for you in one place.
Oct 30, 2012
This is my next is a special feature where writers of The Verge sound off on their latest deep, dark desires from the world of technology.Read Article >
I am a fan of stock software. So much so that when the rumors of a Nexus 4 built out of the LG Optimus G's parts reached the level of near-certainty, I forewarned my colleagues that I would be the one to write a TIMN ode to the latest and greatest Nexus.
Oct 30, 2012
Microsoft's grand unveiling of Windows Phone 8 this week marks the completion of this particular phase of its mobile operating system, but the company is far from done. In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft's manager of Windows Phone, Joe Belfiore, sat down with us to talk about Microsoft's approach to apps, developers, and hardware.Read Article >
One key part that Microsoft has focused on recently is bridging the app gap with rival platforms. Belfiore explained on stage at the company's Windows Phone 8 event that it now has 46 out of the top 50 apps from rival platforms. "The four I would say that are missing that count as the top 50 are Instagram, Viber, Pinterest, and Wells Fargo," says Belfiore. "If you look broadly at download numbers and usage and engagement those are the ones for us are top priority."
Nokia's latest Lumia 820 variant, the Lumia 822, got its official unveiling during a Windows Phone 8 event earlier today. After being leaked several times, Microsoft and Verizon finally unveiled the official line up on Monday. We got a quick hands-on look at the Lumia 822, and it appears to be a little thicker than the Lumia 820. Aside from the thickness, the rear covers are replaceable and there's wireless charging ones available.Read Article >
Samsung's Ativ S may have been the first officially announced Windows Phone 8 device, but the company has remained tight-lipped about its latest handset since its debut back in August. With a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, it's not lacking the specs necessary for Microsoft's new mobile operating system.Read Article >
We got a chance to take a closer look at the Ativ S during Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 event in San Francisco today. It's super light weight, but the plastic feel is noticeable. The large screen certainly makes Windows Phone's Live Tiles pop.
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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer just revealed that the Samsung Ativ Odyssey Windows Phone 8 smartphone will be coming to Verizon Wireless this December. The Odyssey is Samsung's first Ativ smartphone in the US and joins the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Nokia Lumia 822 in Verizon's Windows Phone 8 lineup. Unfortunately, Microsoft did not provide and details with regards to the Odyssey's specs or pricing, but it should be on shelves before the holidays.
First Windows Phone 8 devices launching in Europe this weekend, HTC 8X and others arriving in US next month
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has just confirmed that the first round of Windows Phone 8 devices, including the Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung Ativ S, will be available this weekend in Europe and will continue to rollout throughout the world in November. Of the company's domestic carrier partners, Verizon will be offering the HTC 8X for $199 and the Nokia Lumia 822 for $99 with a two-year service contract, with release planned by Thanksgiving. T-Mobile, on the other hand, will be offering the HTC 8X for $149 and the Lumia 810 for $99 on November 14th, while AT&T will be carrying the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920, as well as the HTC 8X sometime later next month.Read Article >
In addition to the first launch details for Windows Phone 8, Microsoft detailed new software features and apps, such as its new Data Sense utility. Microsoft also announced that Pandora would arrive on the platform sometime early next year, and that new and updated versions of Facebook, Twitter, and Skype were in the works.
Microsoft has already revealed much of what's new in Windows Phone 8, but during its big announcement event today, the company spent some time demoing a handful of new features that we hadn't seen before. In addition to new apps for Facebook, Skype, and Twitter, Microsoft is expanding the functionality of the People Hub and adding a new feature to make it easier for parents to manage their children's use of their phones.Read Article >
The new Kid's Corner feature creates a siloed environment where kids can access their favorite games and apps on their parents' Windows Phone 8 devices. Children can access the Kid's Corner even when the phone is locked, so parents don't have to unlock it for them. Parents can dictate what apps and games appear in the Kid's Corner directly from the Kid's Corner app.
Oct 29, 2012
Microsoft is aiming to prevent you from hitting your data tier ceiling with Data Sense, a new component of Windows Phone 8 that utilizes compression to maximize the amount of browsing you can do. Data Sense is a multi-pronged solution that capitalizes on nearby hotspots while also keeping attuned to monthly data allotments and automatically dialing up compression as users approach their limit. Microsoft says their tests showed Data Sense allowed users to get an average of 45 percent more usage from their device in a given month compared to a scenario with the feature disabled.Read Article >
Similar to Android's data management settings, Data Sense will enable users to dig into individual apps and see just how much bandwidth each is using. A live tile can also be placed on Windows Phone 8's homescreen to make monitoring your data habits an easier chore. To bring these optimizations to customers, carriers will need to enable Data Sense on their network: Microsoft revealed Verizon Wireless will be the first participating network later this fall.
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Along with new and updated Twitter, Facebook, and Skype apps, Microsoft announced that popular music streaming service Pandora would be available on Windows Phone 8. While the app will not be available at launch, Microsoft says it is expected to release in early 2013. When it finally hits the now 120,000 app-strong Windows Phone Store, however, Microsoft will be offering Windows Phone 8 users a complimentary one-year subscription of ad-free music.
Microsoft has just unveiled a new Facebook app for the Windows Phone 8 platform. The refreshed app takes advantage of a new feature in Windows Phone 8 that lets users access Facebook calendar events and notifications right from their lock screens. The app can also put photos from Facebook right on the lock screen. Microsoft also claims that the new Facebook app features greatly improved performance over the older editions.Read Article >
Additionally, Microsoft has developed a versions of its Twitter apps and Skype apps for Windows Phone. The updated Twitter app takes advantage of the new notification system and also has improved performance over the older apps. The new version of Skype can run completely in the background, allowing users to receive phone calls and messages even when the app isn't running. Microsoft says that the app is able to do this without draining the device's battery, as is usually the case with apps that run in the background.
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Microsoft's Joe Belfiore just revealed that the Windows Phone Store is now home to over 120,000 apps. That's an increase of 20 percent over the 100,000 apps last reported by the company in June. One of the biggest complaints levied against the Windows Phone platform is a lack of apps, but Microsoft has been working hard to change that. Though 120,000 is a paltry sum compared to competing platforms, Microsoft says 46 of the 50 most popular apps will be available on Windows Phone 8.