Friday, 3 February 2012

Windows Phone 8 detailed: dual cores, Skype Integration and NFC are a go

In a video that was intended to Nokia, Windows Phone leader Joe Belfiore provides details about the upcoming Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system, says PocketNow. Just to put things in context, the current Windows Phone in circulation is “Mango”, and a final 7.x update called “Tango” should show up soon. After that, Windows Phone “Apollo” is supposed to be Windows Phone 8. According to those who have seen the video (we haven’t), Microsoft is going to take a number of steps and add features that will allow it to catch up with the competition.
Handset makers will have more options when it comes to building the phones as the very rigid Windows Phone specifications seem to have been relaxed a bit. This usually make handset makers happy as they can “differentiate” themselves from the competition.  Talking about specifications, Windows Phone 8 is supposed to be multi-core friendly, which is about time because although Windows Phone 7 runs surprisingly well on single-core processors, some apps could really use a boost.
In terms of applications, Microsoft expects to have 100k+ apps by the time Windows Phone 8 launches. This is a big deal because apps are the #1 concern for Windows Phone users, as far as we can tell. This report also confirms what we already suspected: Windows Phone 8 will let developers use native code (C/C++/Assembly), which is great because C/C++ code from iOS and Android apps will be mostly re-usable to port apps. I mentioned in an earlier post that this may open the floodgate for apps Finally, Skype may play a big role in the Windows Phone strategy – this is not surprising because it’s a great communication tool, and “voice” remains the killer app for phones. Not available on Windows phones yet.
A couple more features have been mentioned, one of which is to make the OS more secure by adding better support for encryption (probably in hardware). The second thing is to boost the speed of web browsing (in IE) by using proxy servers that would “crunch” the page so that the handset does not need to do so many HTTP requests. Opera or Skyfire have been doing that forever – with limited success. Chances are that most of this information will be announced formally at Mobile World Congress.

  • Support for dual cores
  • Support for four different resolutions, though no specifics were given
  • NFC support added, including payment and content sharing with WP8 and Windows 8 machines
  • Carrier control and branding of "wallet" element is possible via SIM or phone hardware
  • MicroSD support added for expandable storage
  • Transitions to core components from desktop, including kernel, network stack, security components and media support
  • Simplified porting of desktop apps to mobile
  • Zune desktop integration scrapped in favor of new, unnamed syncing app
  • Deeper Skydrive integration, including ability to sync data such as music collections
  • Xbox Companion app will get Windows 8 partner client
  • Native code support, simplified porting from Android and iOS
  • App-to-app communication and integration
  • Skype client with deep OS hooks that will make it almost identical to placing standard voice calls
  • Camera app now supports "lenses" which allow third parties to skin and add features to camera interface
  • DataSmart tracks and reports usage via app and live tile
  • Gives preferential treatment to WiFi, can automatically connect to carrier-owned hotspots
  • Proxy server will compress websites in Internet Explorer 10 up to 30 percent
  • Native Bitlocker encryption
  • Support for proprietary, custom built apps to be deployed behind company firewalls

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