Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 8, Details Upgrade Process For Current Handsets

Microsoft is in the midst of unveiling their next generation smartphone platform in Windows Phone 8 and so far, I’m loving what I’m seeing. Google and Apple take note, Microsoft is working hard to raise their game through the addition of long-requested features along with a brand new Start Screen which frankly speaking, looks freaking awesome.

A lot of what we’re seeing now is backend stuff, definitely not part of the end-user experience — but these are all things that will make WP8 a more attractive platform for customers and developers alike. There’s new wallet functionality reliant on a secured micro-SIM instead of NFC, meaning carriers can’t cut you off from the likes of Google Wallet, Nokia maps is now the default maps app removing Bing maps and includes offline map support. Moving on, Microsoft is promising lots and lots of enterprise support, multi-core processors, displays up to WXGA (1280 x 768) and external storage on SD. All of their announcements today will help enable better and faster hardware, enable development for new games and other demanding apps, all be written in native code which leads us to our next point.

The real achievement from todays announcement is that Microsoft has achieved running the same platform on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones allowing portability among all your devices. Along with that is a promise from Microsoft for an 18 month support window for upgrade paths on all Windows Phone 8 devices all done over-the-air.

Windows Phone 8 is set to arrive this fall, but there’s a catch:

The long-debated upgrade process for the current generation process to Windows Phone 8 can now be laid to rest, sort of. The Apollo update, now expected to arrive by the end of this year will be restricted in some sense to newer handsets that arrive with WP8 already on board. So what’s the plan for the current generation of Windows Phones?

Current Windows Phone users will be happy, at least with some of the news as the brand new Start Screen will be included in a software update dubbed Windows Phone 7.8. There’ll be support for three tile sizes, with the smallest being a fingertip size option, or about a quarter of the size of the current square tile. The update will be delivered directly to users, sidestepping carriers and will be done over WiFi.

Hit the Engadget link below for a full look at Windows Phone 8.

Engadget

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  • whosaidwhat

    Windows Phone 8 and the newly announce surface might just be the right formula for Microsoft. Every OS will have to deal with fragmentation at some point. I hope moving forward they make the OS much more appealing for the average Joe.

  • MarcusDW

    Note: 
    “New applications compiled specifically for Windows Phone 8 will not be made available for Windows Phone 7.x devices.”

    In the beginning this won’t be an issue but once developers choose not to make their app 7.x compatible, it’s time for a new phone.  I’d like to see how developers respond to this.

    • Vim

      First Windows Mobile users were thrown over the cliff.  Now Windows 7 users are being thrown over the cliff, but not before receiving free coffee and donuts first.  People talk about Android fragmentation, but I really don’t see how Microsoft is any better.   And why would anyone want to get a Windows 7 phone at this point?  The Nokia 900 has just been Osborned, something Nokia really can’t afford at this point.

      • None

        If they drop the price on the Radar, I am on it.  It really does depend on what you do with your phone.  I have 2 market apps on my phone and I really do not care to have more.  I need calls, text, twitter, facebook, and the internet access to read tmonews.  If that is all you need, then Radar (or 710) is all you need.  Not looking for an argument, just answering your guestion on why someone would want a Windows 7 phone.

  • Dkrcubsfan

    I have to agree, this looks great. I really hope T-Mobile can get one with nice hardware. Top of the line phone would get me to switch.

  • Joseph Wong

    The UI looks nice. Will definitely check it out when it comes out.

  • Cycad007

    Exciting!  Looks like I’m going to have to get a Apollo phone to backup my HTC One S!

    • fixxmyhead

      curious to know why someone needs 2 phones? i understand if one is for business and the other for personal but if ur just a regular guy why do u need 2 phones? 

      • 30014

        In case something happens to your primary phone, you will already have a backup ready to go.

      • 30014

        In case something happens to your primary phone, you will already have a backup ready to go.

        • fixxmyhead

          u cant buy a crappy phone -_-

          such a waste of money for a “just in case something happens” u might as well  buy a cheap one if its just temporary. 

        • None

          curious to know why you are all in his wallet, spending his money for him.

        • fixxmyhead

          i was just wondering dude. i love android as much as the next guy but seriously u dont need 2 phones thats just ridiculous.  

      • StonersLane

        I use 2 phones. The other is for my side chicks. That’s a how you never get caught. ;)

  • Jimkenobi

    As a Radar owner and user I can say that it doesn’t matter. No one else I know has a windows phone. So I’m sure the outrage that I feel will not effect the wp7 sales since few bought into it.

    • Little Jimmy

      Lol, ‘effect’.

    • StonersLane

      How long have you had your Radar? And how do you like it so far? I’m think about dropping my HTC Amaze for this. I wanted a windows phone with a front facing cam and it seems like the Radar is the only choice for now.

  • AM3RIG

    Ahh, the new Start Screen is a neat, Due the arrow and wasted space is gone!!!!

  • Foxeh

    If that’s the price to pay to ditch Windows CE once and for all, then so be it.

  • JBrowne1012

    Looks semi better but looks so cluttered now I’m not adopting to it unless it does something amazing

  • Dumbazz

    In a rather quick time frame Microsoft has managed to create a smooth user experience over multiple devices while Google FFAILS at this .

    • Roboguy12

      I’m sure if it were up to Google, every device would run stock ICS and have the stock UI. The nature of Android is to be open-sourced and thus free to manufacturer customizations (however horrible they may be). The fact that every single Android device is not running Ice Cream Sandwich is not the fault of Google, but of the OEMs that think a device is too low-speced to handle software that was designed for it. Of course, Google could (and should) get on the backs of the manufacturers and force them to follow rules and regulations, but that would make them no better than Apple.

    • HelloAmaze

      What was even quicker dumbazz was how MS negated all current phones running WP7 from getting 8 in such a short time frame…and yes current customers will get a half azz update, oooo resizable tiles and a new start-up screen…hey MS you got the dumbazz’s of America by their mobile ballz

    • HeLLo

      Fails?.Maybe in your personal experience but to speak as if every Android user out there has had the same experience is just stupid.Now why don’t quit hanging from MIcrosoft’s sack and get back to reality.

    • StonersLane

      I thought the same way about Android. It really depends on the device you get. A shitty device will result in a shitty experience.

  • Stephen_P

    I’m pretty stoked about this. I used the Lumia 710 for a while now and I’ve really got into the simplicity and ease of use I get from WP7. Keep it coming Microsoft

  • Vim

    Talk about doublespeak…  Current Windows 7 users, be happy!    So what if you won’t be getting all the great new things that come with Windows 8.  You’ll still get a new start screen with 3 great new tile sizes as a consolation prize along with Windows 7.8.  *facepalm*

  • Whiskers

    So i wonder if we will atleast get free GPS Navigation maps with the 7.8 upgrade…
    It’s pretty pathetic when you have to pay for GPS on WM phones while Android and IOS gets it for free and no monthly charges for use either.

    • Chip17

      Nokia maps is free and works offline by downloading the maps to storage. 

  • berry

    BYE BYE android hello windows 8.

    • StonersLane

      I was thinking the same.

  • Winski

    Ahhhhh…. Balmer’s flying Monkeys strike again…. ‘What’s an installed base’??? We don’t need no stinking existing customers… We got ‘new’, ‘better’ stuff that you MUST buy to get this new stuff from us…oh, you only bought your new Nokia Smurf phone last week???

  • ND5

    Microsoft needs to up the support life cycle to 24 months to align their hardware life with the typical upgrade cycle of the US carriers.