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The eagerly awaited next version of Microsoft’s flagship mobile OS, Windows Phone 8, was announced on Wednesday morning in San Francisco. The new release will borrow heavily from its desktop namesake Windows 8, but won’t be available to those who already own Windows Phone devices that are already on the market.

Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows Phone shares more than a passing resemblance Windows 8, providing comparable support for networking, security, media, web browsing and a common file system. On the surface the release comes with a redesigned Start screen, featuring three sizes of Microsoft’s live tiles and an all-new colour palette for even more customisation.

Under the bonnet are a plethora of new additions including all-new multi-core processor support and maximum resolutions of 1280×720 and 1280×768 for HD viewing. Storage and sharing have both been improved with the addition of NFC (near-field communications) for the sharing of documents between devices with a tap. Similarly, Windows Phone 8 will support removable storage in the form of MicroSD cards.

NFC technology will also be put to use with the new Wallet app which allows users to store credit and debit cards, and purchase goods at compatible points of sale. As predicted, Internet Explorer 10 will debut in Windows Phone 8 sharing the same rendering engine as that found in its desktop sibling.


Devices running Windows Phone 7.5 won’t be completely left in the dust, as a coming update dubbed “Windows Phone 7.8” will add the revised Start screen seen in the screenshots above. Manager of the Windows Phone Team, Joe Belfiore explained:

“Some of you have been wondering, “Will we also get Windows Phone 8 as an update?” The answer, unfortunately, is no.

Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware. BUT we care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones fresh, so we’re providing the new Start screen in this new update.”

Windows Phone 8 is expected to land in the fall, around the same time Microsoft is set to unleash Windows 8 and the newly announced Surface tablets. You can read even more about the upcoming release on the Windows Team Blog including how business environments will benefit and details regarding long-awaited upcoming apps from PayPal, Zynga and more.

What do you think of the announcement? Do you own a current Windows Phone device? Will you buy one in the future? Let us know what you think about the news in the comments below.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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