Last week saw the introduction of Windows 8 and Windows RT for pc’s, laptops and tablets. Today Microsoft completes the overhaul of its operating systems with the introduction of Windows Phone 8, the new mobile operating system. We had a few days' opportunity to experience the new OS by way of the HTC 8X, HTC's new top model in its Windows Phone 8 line-up and one of the first Windows Phone 8 handsets that will be available. Time to see what's new with Windows Phone 8.
Anyone who has experience with Windows Phone 7.5 will easily find their way around Windows Phone 8. The home screen with the familiar tiles featured in Phone 7.5 and Windows 8 is once again the place where it's all at in Windows Phone 8. Another familiar relic is the list of applications that comes into view when you swipe to the right from the home screen. Besides these recognisable features however, Windows Phone 8 has been extended, further developed and improved compared to version 7.5. The total number of changes is too large to all describe in great detail, but in this article we will go over the major changes and improvements one by one.
Under the hood, Windows Phone 8 is no longer based on Windows Mobile, but rather shares the same codebase as Windows RT, the 'trimmed down' version of Windows 8 developed specifically for energy efficient ARM tablets. A big advantage that comes with that change is ease of portability of apps between Windows 8 and RT to Phone and vice versa. It also means the hardware support has been greatly improved.
While Windows Phone 7.5 only supported older single core processors and 800x480 pixel displays, Windows Phone 8 theoretically can operate with 64 processor cores and support displays with 1280x720 and 1280x768 pixels. Another hardware feature that is now supported is a flash memory card reader, meaning it is finally possible to have Windows phones with a micro-SD slot, something sorely missed in Windows Phone 7.5 devices.