Review: Windows Phone 8
It's finally here, the mobile operating system from Microsoft for which we've been waiting. Though Windows Phone 8 is surely familiar to anyone who's used Windows Phone 7 or 7.5, there are enough new features that even the most devoted Windows Phone user will find plenty of new gems to like.
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Windows Phone 8 represents a major revision of Microsoft's mobile operating system. Though it looks and feels similar to Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5, the underlying code is entirely different and shares the bulk of its code base with the also-new desktop Windows 8 and tablet Windows RT platforms. It represents years of work on Microsoft's part aligning the three so that it has a cohesive platform strategy moving forward.
According to Microsoft, it chose this path to make it easier for developers to create applications for all three platforms. Microsoft representative Greg Sullivan explained that about 90% of the APIs for the Windows 8 kernel are applicable to all three variations. This means that if developers want to make a Win8 app, and then port it to RT or Windows Phone 8, they only need to change about 10% of the code. This might seem overly geeky, but it will play a huge role down the road for Windows 8, Windows RT, and most importantly, Windows Phone 8 apps.Core
The basic user interface of Windows Phone remains mostly unchanged, though the tweaks Microsoft made to the Start screen are very welcome. You still have a crossword puzzle of Live Tiles on the main home screen and then an alphabetized list of apps, tools, and so forth on the app menu.
The Live Tiles on the Start screen now fill the entire display edge-to-edge. On WP 7.x, Microsoft left a blank strip between the Tiles and the right edge of the display. That is gone, which means the standard Live Tiles are slightly bigger and content on them is easier to see.
This change also makes room for more, smaller Tiles. There are now three Live Tile sizes; small, medium, and large. It takes four of the smallest Tiles to equal one medium Tile, and (as before) two medium Tiles to equal one large Tile.
The best part of the new Live Tile arrangement is that they can all be resized. It takes just a few taps to change any Tile from small to medium to large and back again. There's a catch, though. The smallest tiles aren't really Live, or at least not to the extent of the medium and large Tiles. For example, if you minimize the messaging Tile to the smallest size, the only Live content you'll see is an unread message count. When this same Tile is set to medium or large, you'll see message previews, and so on.
The full app menu is basically identical to previous versions of Windows Phone. The three buttons below the display (Back, Home, Search) are the same, and have the same action that they've always had.
We tested Windows Phone 8 on a pre-production HTC 8X, and can report smooth operation of the user interface. It's a fast and fluid operating system.
HTC One Trades Android for Windows Phone
HTC today announced the One for Windows Phone, a variant of the One (M8) that swaps Google's mobile platform for Microsoft's. The One for Windows Phone runs the latest operating system from Microsoft and carries over a few HTC apps, such as Blinkfeed, the HTC duo-camera, SenseTV, Video Highlights, and BoomSound.
Facebook for Windows Phone Receives Major Facelift
Microsoft has made available a new version of Facebook for the Windows Phone platform. The latest update to the social networking app mixes in several new features that were previously only available in the beta, as well as overhauls both the user experience and performance.
Microsoft Officially Kicks Off Sales of Windows Phone 8.1
Microsoft began selling the Nokia Lumia 630 today, marking the official availability and launch of Windows Phone 8.1. Both the Lumia 630 and Windows Phone 8.1 were revealed by Microsoft and Nokia during the former's Build developer conference in April.
Microsoft Targeting June 24 for Windows Phone 8.1
Microsoft may launch Windows Phone 8.1 as soon as June 24, according to support documents published by the company. Microsoft's Windows Phone support site suggests June 24 will be the in-service date for Windows Phone 8.1, or the first date the new operating system becomes available to the general public.
bob a said:
microsoft has made it impossible for me to continue to use windows
Why? Just use it as you would Windows 7.
Geezus, people--just read up on something before you comment.
How much Personalization?
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I was VERY skeptical, and anticipated taking it back, but I was pleasantly surprised. It does not lag, freeze up, or display any sort of weird stuff that all of my previous Androids displayed. Plus, it synchronizes with everything...I was heavily invested in the Google ecosystem, and it easily synced all my contacts and calendar.
The interface is where it really shines. Microsoft has done such a great job (I can't believe I am sa...