Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 (WP8), an update to its Windows Phone 7.5 aka Mango that powers Nokia Lumia phones, on Wednesday at an event in San Francisco.
The new mobile operating software shares core code with Windows 8, Microsoft’s upcoming software for personal computers, and adds several new features, including support for dual-core processors, that can help it beat Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
Microsoft claims that bringing Windows 8 and WP8 closer will help it provide a unified experience to users whether they are using a smartphone or a PC. However, the OS will not be available to the existing Windows Phone device. The existing users will get Windows 7.8, which will have a customizable home screen similar to WP8 but not the other features.
WP8 device will be launched sometimes later this year. Microsoft says that Nokia, Huawei, Samung and HTC will make new WP8 devices using Qualcomm processors.
The company claims that similarity in the code between Windows 8 and its smartphone counterpart will also help its hardware partners to offer more devices at various price points as well as allow app developers to write programs for both platforms easily. Currently, all Windows phone are priced over Rs 15,000 in India. Similarly, compared to Android and iOS, which powers iPhone and iPad, Windows Phone platform lacks high-quality apps.
Microsoft announced that WP8 will support dual-core processors, a 720P resolution screen, microSD card slot and Near Field Communication chips. In terms of features, all WP8 devices will come with Nokia Maps with offline navigation capability. These devices will also have an integrated support for Voice over IP (VoIP), better support for voice-based commands and support for enterprise features like secure boot.
Microsoft had 2 percent of the world’s smartphone market last quarter, according to Gartner. Google’s Android leads the market with 56 per cent, followed by Apple with 23 per cent.