Windows Phone 8 launch recap

Microsoft released Windows 8 to the public last week and it continues the momentum with the official launch of Windows Phone 8. While the new Windows Phone 8 devices aren’t readily available yet, Vice President Joe Belfiore announced more features in the new operating system that he didn’t touch on during the Windows Phone Summit back in June.

The Windows Phone Summit was a beginner’s introduction to the upgraded operating system, highlighting hardware and more developer specific information. Today’s launch announcement was directed more toward the consumer.

Here’s a rundown of the features highlighted during the announcement.

Live Tiles

These automatically updating tiles are fully customizable, and you can choose what you want to pin to the main screen. Tiles are re-sizable. You can pin people and favorite apps and reconfigure the main screen to your interests.

Live Apps

  • Apps can integrate with Wallet and interact with other apps.
  • Lock Screen features Live Apps.
  • Facebook is releasing a Windows Phone 8 optimized app that can be set for the lock screen.
  • Any app can provide notifications.

Skype for Windows Phone 8

  • Acts like a second line because it is always on.

46 of the Top 50 popular apps on other platforms will be on Windows Phone 8.

Pandora will release on Windows Phone 8 with one year of music with no ads.

Data Sense

  • Monitors data usage.
  • Microsoft is compressing webpages for cellular data allowing users to browse more sites.
  • App will find nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and show them on the map.
  • Automatically offloads data.

Kid’s Corner

  • Separate area on phone for children.
  • Parents can choose which apps, music, and other content children can access.
  • Protects personal data by locking unauthorized apps.

Import iTunes library and playlist to Windows Phone

People Hub

  • Create Rooms of specific users.
  • Automatically send group messages.
  • Group Calendar access.
  • Post private photos.
  • Create group-specific notes viewable by everyone.
  • People with other phones can be invited to Rooms and see a limited number of features like sharing the Calendar.

Skydrive

  • Enabled by default through Windows account.
  • Photos are automatically uploaded to cloud.

Music

The Xbox Music Service will extend to Windows Phone 8. Read more about Xbox Music here.

The features described in the Windows Phone 8 launch are directed toward the consumer. The focus on Live Tiles continues with Windows Phone 8, adding more customization and a new level of individualism not found on other platforms by default. It’s a little early to tell if Windows Phone 8 is going to gain more popularity, but the improvements from Windows Phone 7 are impressive. Microsoft has an interesting OS for consumers, but will they want to change from iOS or Android?

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