Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 8 (code name Apollo) at the Windows Phone Summit today. They are introducing a lot of new features, more customization, and deeper integration with apps and the rest of their products and services. There is plenty of information about this already out there on the web, so I am only going to touch on what I am most excited about.
Better Start Screen
Windows Phone will have a much improved start screen that builds on prior versions. Tiles can be sized. The Start screen now takes up the entire screen.
Windows Phone will now support higher resolutions, support multiple core processors, support micro-SD cards, and full device encryption with BitLocker. All major hardware manufacturers will be making devices, bring on the competition!
Nokia’s awesome mapping software and services will come to all Windows Phone. Looking forward to having 3D maps and offline mode + more.
Near Field Communications (NFC) will be huge. You will be able to use your phone for things like paying for things (tap and go systems), sharing files/pictures/contact info with those around you. The new Wallet hub will be great too, a single place to pay and track finances.
Better Developer Platform
You will now be able to develop in native code. This unlocks unlimited possibilities for apps and games. I’m not sure what the restrictions are around this but just seeing app capabilities on Android phones goes to show what developers can do it they aren’t contained in a bubble when developing apps.
Skype integration (and any other VoIP apps) will be able to run in the background so you can take calls from any of these apps at anytime. Currently Skype for Windows Phone will only run if you have the application open in the foreground, a limitation of Windows Phone 7.
I’m an update junkie so this one is huge for me. Updates will now be served up over the air using Windows Update without carrier interventions. Also if you register with Microsoft you can get them before anyone else, no waiting and wondering.
Windows Phone 7.8
Microsoft announced that there is not an upgrade path for current Windows Phones to 8, however they are going to release Windows Phone 7.8 for all current phones. This will give you a taste of Windows Phone 8 without you having to go buy a new phone. I welcome this and I think that this is a pretty smart move on their part.
So Much More
There’s so much more that will be revealed this week, it’s an exciting time to be a Windows user.