Killer New Features in Microsoft's Windows Phone 8
Hot on the heels of its Surface reveal, Microsoft has demonstrated some of the new features coming in Windows Phone 8.
Much like the Surface tablet that Microsoft showed off last week, Windows Phone 8 represents a major shift in how the tech giant is approaching mobile. Here are some of the new things to look for in Windows Phone 8 devices when they launch sometime in the next year.
A Modern Smartphone: Windows Phone 8 will support multiple cores and various screen resolutions. Windows 8 also brings support for near-field communication and advanced graphics, which I'll cover a little later in this slideshow.
Whereas Live Tiles on the current Windows Phone 7 start screen are more or less the same size, the start screen in Windows Phone 8 allows you to resize tiles based on importance. This new start screen looks great, and it was by far one of the cooler things shown at the summit.
Browser Security: Online phishing is a major problem, no matter what OS you're on. Thankfully, the mobile version of IE 10 will have built-in phishing protection to keep you away from unsafe sites.
An Enterprise-Ready OS: The protection doesn't end with the browser, however. Windows Phone 8 is enterprise ready, and features tons of tools for IT admins to better manage employee devices. The OS will also encrypt your data, keeping it safe.
Company Hub: Businesses will be able to create their own hubs through which they can send alerts to their employees, recommend apps, and display relevant news.
New Camera Features: Smartphone shutterbugs will be happy to learn that Windows Phone 8 will bring several new features and improvements to the OS's camera software. For instance, Windows Phone 8 will allow you to take panoramic photos.
Smart Group Shot: The coolest new feature coming to the Windows Phone camera has to be Smart Group Shot, which takes a burst of pictures and uses an algorithm to combine the photos into a composite that has the best qualities of all the pictures taken.
NFC: Microsoft said today that you'll be able to use NFC on Windows Phone 8 phones to send data (and possibly documents, photos, music, and video) from one Windows Phone 8 device to another simply by tapping them together.
Wallet Hub: Leave your wallet at home, and get ready for Windows Phone 8's Wallet hub. It works a lot like Apple's Passbook in iOS 6: It will hold all of your credit and debit cards, as well as coupons, frequent flyer information, and loyalty cards.
Nokia Maps: Bing maps work okay for grabbing directions, but lack other features such as turn-by-turn navigation. In Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has opted to use Nokia's mapping software over its own, finally giving users turn-by-turn navigation and support for offline maps.
In-App Purchases: Windows Phone 8 will support in-app purchases, allowing you to buy additional content without having to exit the application. Since in-app purchases work with the Wallet hub, you'll be able to use payment apps to pay for your purchases.
Advanced Gaming: Windows Phone 8 supports Direct X, allowing for much richer gaming. Microsoft has partnered with companies such as AutoDesk and Havok to bring better graphics to the games on Windows Phone 8.
Developers, Developers: Microsoft emphasized how current Windows Phone 7 apps would also work on Windows Phone 8, and that developers would be able to create an app for the desktop version of Windows 8 and port it to Windows Phone with relative ease.
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