Windows Phone 8 has finally been unveiled and has been mooted for a spring 2012 launch – which will align with the launch of Microsoft’s Surface tablet devices.
Current Windows Phone 7.x handsets will also get a 7.8 update around this time, which will enable an updated Start Screen interface and other undisclosed features. Microsoft hasn’t described all of the Windows Phone 8 changes, but multi-tiles (large, medium, small) will now be available, as as tiles across the entire screen – a very Win8 Metro feel.
Microsoft have not advised which handset models will be upgradable, but have made the statement that “it’s safe to assume that the latest generation of devices are a primary target”. Which probably rules out my trusty HTC Mozart 🙁
Microsoft are also making deep changes “under the hood” – the Windows Core – with the change to the NT kernel. This means the phone will run the same engine as a desktop Windows 8 – same file system, media foundation, device drivers and security components. By going down this path, Windows Phone 8 can then support multi-core processors, device encryption, removable storage with microSD cards, and a bunch of enhancements for IT pros and businesses.
And yes, I mentioned removable storage…finally support for microSD cards allowing music, photo and video transfers – possibly even application installation. Removable storage support, like microSD, is not currently supported in WP7 and is a real bug-bear for business users. MicroSD support will only be available in WP8, not current WP7 models – so this rules out my Mozart again.
It also seems Microsoft have finally listened to their business and enterprise users too. WP8 will deliver with on-device encryption, device management, internal line-of-business software, and a private marketplace for application distribution in the enterprise.
If you want to learn more and see some pre-release imagery, then have a read of this great article: http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/20/3096667/windows-phone-8-screenshots-features-nfc-start-screen-dual-core