We’ve already shared with you Microsoft’s big Windows Phone 8 unveiling, but as the day rolls on, more and more details describing the new mobile platform continue to emerge, helping to flesh-out our picture of it.
Current Windows Phone 7 devices won’t be making the journey to WP8, getting WP7.8 instead. For those brand-new WP8 handsets that will be arriving later this year, Microsoft had a little to say about what their future update process will be like. You can forget about plugging your phones into Zune every time an update becomes available, as Microsoft is taking a page from the Android and iOS playbooks and bringing the platform full OTA updates. Phones will continue to get access to the latest builds for at least 18 months, following a model’s debut.
What could be the most interesting aspect of the new WP8 update strategy is a system to give registered “enthusiasts” early access to bleeding-edge releases before they become widely available.
Rumors had looked to Windows Phone 8 getting some deep Skype integration, and sure enough, Microsoft has confirmed new VoIP features for the platform. That means that apps like Skype will finally be able to run in the background and let you receive VoIP calls in much the same way as standard cellular voice calls.
As for what kind of hardware will be available at the time of the Windows Phone 8 launch, Microsoft has revealed Nokia, Samsung, HTC, and Huawei as its launch partners. Full details on hardware specs aren’t yet available, but all will be running Qualcomm chips; maybe at least some with dual-core Snapdragon S4s?
Update: In a press release, HTC mentions that it’s “excited to be bringing new Windows Phone 8-enabled smartphones to customers later this year” with “smartphones” in the plural, suggesting we’ll be seeing multiple WP8 models from the company before the year’s out.