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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