WNM Live releases updates for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8
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At the Lumia 920′s India launch, Nokia strapped a Lumia 920 and a Galaxy S3 to a quadcopter and flew it around the conference hall. They referred to the S3 as a competitor’s device, but I could make out it was a S3. They then showed the captured footage from both smartphones side by side, the difference was remarkable. See for yourself.
It’s been a long wait for Windows Phone owners, but a short time ago in San Francisco Joe Belfiore and Steve Ballmer finally launched Windows Phone 8 to the world. In a keynote featuring kids, Jessica Alba and new WP8 devices, Microsoft rolled out their new OS refresh – with a local Aussie event for media still to happen later this morning over breakfast. Whilst the keynote presented a range of the new features, the list was broadly in-line with previously leaked or confirmed capabilities, and contained relatively little in the way of any “big bang”. There was confirmation of the SDK wider availability from tomorrow (BUILD also starts in the US from Wed – so more Dev details will no doubt come) and strangely no mention at all of the WP7.8 UI update for Gen1/2 Windows Phone owners.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 is a re-write of Windows Phone. Rebuilding the code to share common kernels with the new Windows 8, it adds a raft of new features and base-line capability which sets it apart from Windows 7.x. Consequently the new OS update will not be coming to Gen1 and Gen2 handsets as per Microsoft’s earlier advice from June this year. What today did deliver however was a more detail on all the new features (building on their earlier 2012 preview) Windows Phone 8 does offer – as well as a look at the lauch device offerings from Nokia, HTC and Samsung.
- The only phone with Live Apps. Live Apps bring information right to the Start screen, such as the Groupon deal of the day, flight information and news headlines. With Windows Phone 8, Live Apps such as Facebook can even deliver real-time information right to your lock screen with updated wallpaper.
- Top apps. The Windows Phone Store has 120,000 apps to choose from, with hundreds added every day and hits coming this holiday, such as “Angry Birds Star Wars,” “Cut the Rope Experiments,” “Disney’s Where’s My Water,” “LivingSocial,” “Temple Run,” “Urbanspoon” and many more. Today Microsoft announced that Pandora, the leading Internet radio service, is coming to Windows Phone in early 2013 with one year of ad-free music.
- Kid’s Corner. Exclusive to Windows Phone 8, Kid’s Corner is a worry-free way to share your phone with your kids, so they can play “Angry Birds” without texting your angry boss. Parents can now hand over their phones to the kids without worrying about deleted photos, misdirected emails, unapproved purchases or accidental phone calls. After a simple setup, parents can activate a specialized place on the phone for kids to play — complete with their own customizable Start screens — where they can access only the apps, games, music and videos picked by parents.
- Rooms. Sometimes you want to share and chat with one group, not your entire social network. Rooms allow you to create private groups of people who have Windows Phone 8 — like your family members best friends or fantasy football league — and easily connect with just them. Chat, share calendars, shopping lists or photos in an ongoing conversation where only those invited can join in. You can share some aspects of Rooms with friends and family on other smartphones as well.
- Data Sense. This new feature helps you surf more and do more — without worrying about going over your data limit. Data sense helps conserve your data allowance by compressing Web images, deferring data tasks to free Wi-Fi and automatically adjusting your usage as you get closer to your plan limits. Data Sense also shows how much data is used per app. As you approach your limit, Data Sense notifies you so you can get the most out of your plan. Data Sense will roll out to select mobile operators this holiday and additional partners next year. Verizon will be the first to offer Data Sense in the U.S.
- Wallet and near-field communications. Windows Phone 8 brings together the best of new wallet technologies, including payments via near-field communications (NFC).1 The Wallet can also store your debit, credit, loyalty and membership card information on your phone.
- Always-on, premium Skype experience. With the new Skype app, coming soon to Windows Phone 8, you can make and receive Skype calls just like a regular phone call. Simply tap a friend or family member’s contact card in the People Hub, or just pick up when the phone rings. Skype is always on and available so you can choose how to connect with people.
As soon as the keynote becomes available in full on YouTube, we will share it here. In the meantime, you can try watching it at MS here. In today’s launch, Steve Ballmer put it plainly when he stated: ““If you’re one of the hundreds of millions of people who will use Windows 8 in the next year, there is no better phone for you than a Windows Phone.” Clearly MS are hoping that the massive user base on the Windows Operating system will like what they see in Windows 8 and move to adopt Windows Phone 8 and expand their committment to Microsoft’s ecosystem. However this should also not detract from the fact that with Windows Phone 8, on top of a refined and enhanced User Interface (the cleanest, user-focused and intuitive mobile OS available today) Windows Phone will have cutting-edge “killer” hardware for the first time. Beautifully integrated Wallet, NFC, Wireless charging, best-in-breed cameras, services – and that’s just Nokia’s new Lumia’s! The bar is raised – and the competition is now seriously being taken to iOS and Android.
Local Australian carriers, pricing and availability for the new Windows Phone handsets from Nokia, HTC and Samsung should be confirmed at Microsoft Australia’s breakfast launch in Sydney today from 8:30 – with Telstra and other releases to follow. As soon as we hear anything, we will be sure to report it right here. We were unable to make it to the launch, but appreciated the MS invite.
So with WP8 finally arriving, we should be able to upgrade to fantastic new devices – and get the latest and greatest Windows Phone OS, a much refined and enhanced version of the platform users who did switch with WP7.x loved. It is about to be a great time for Windows Phone Down Under!