Shipping this fall, Windows Phone 8 brings forth a lot of new features that makes it competitive with the next-generation updates for iOS and Google. It’ll be available on new hardware only, but existing Windows Phone 7.5 users will get a smaller update (in Windows Phone 7.8) to bring forth some of the features (but not all) announced for Windows Phone 8. Here’s a breakdown of our favorites.
5. Conversations With Apps.
This seems nothing like a competition with Siri or S Voice. Microsoft is planning to offer a new speech platform that even enables developers to create specific commands for your interaction with their apps. What’s even more interesting is that these commands can all run through the main search UI from the phone. We’re not sure how Microsoft plans to pull that off when you’re multi-tasking between apps, but there’s no denying that this is far better than what competitors currently offer.
4. Nokia Maps.
No more Bing maps. Nokia’s well-regarded map system, powered by NAVTEQ, will provide maps for Windows Phone 8 devices. They will also be offline, which will certainly mean less waiting for data downloads, but it also will also allow you to use the map software when you have no internet connection.
3. Internet Explorer 10.
2. Multi-core, HD-display support, and microSD support.
As it goes for smartphone platforms, Windows Phone is last to the party to work with multi-core CPUs, and perhaps the platform didn’t need it previously thanks to admirable performance with single-core CPUs. With Windows Phone 8 and its shared code with Windows 8, the operating system, and apps, are optimized for multiple cores.
Then, we’ll finally get higher resolution displays on Windows Phone devices. The two new resolutions are 1280×720 and 1280×768. Microsoft claims apps designed for lower-res screens will look good on the HD displays, but “with a little work, they’ll look better”…which tells us that text, rendered in the OS, will look good, but graphical elements will need to be updated.
And for added storage, Windows Phone 8 will offer microSD support.
1. New Start Screen.
At last, you can resize live tiles! That’s helpful if you don’t need your calendar to take up 2×1 tiles, or if you want a link to your best friend to take up a bigger space than 1×1, which is the default. In Windows Phone 8, you can choose a double size, medium size, or tiny size. While some might argue that the end result is a more cluttered look, it’ll be up the user how much he or she wants to customize the tiles. What’s more, developers can take tap into the three different Live Tile sizes so that different types of content can be shown across all three sizes.
Image via: Verge