Review: Windows Phone 8
Microsoft has done a commendable job at delivering a truly modern operating system that is just as feature-rich as the competition. Windows Phone 8 takes all the strengths of Windows Phone 7.x and pushes them to the next level. Like Apple, Microsoft now has a broad ecosystem of platforms, devices, apps, and services that run across its product portfolio. It's a compelling selling point that can't be underestimated.
On a feature-for-feature level, no one can tell you that Windows Phone 8 lacks anything. It has just as many tools available as competing platforms when it comes to communication, media, the cloud, and productivity. It surpasses even surpasses iOS and Android in some respects, such as gaming with WP8's tie-in with the XBox ecosystem. Microsoft's approach has never been about focusing on individual features, but on getting the basics better than anyone else. We can see that in the Hubs Microsoft has created for Windows Phone 8.
The People Hub, for example, is the central point on which everything else to do with the platform hinges. The People Hub lets you manage your various social networks and contacts in one place that is visually appealing and robust when it comes to avenues for communicating. By adding the Rooms functionality, for example, WP8 users have an incredibly powerful tool to interact in a more intimate way with their closest social circles.
Kids Corner is another excellent idea that's well implemented, and frankly is a feature that's long overdue for all smartphones. It sets up a nook in the operating system that lets kids access parent-controlled features without risking the security of the entire device. Well done, Microsoft.
I can't say that WP8 is as straight-forward to use as iOS, or as wildly customizable as Android, but it offers a refined experience that still includes plenty of flexibility for making each device personal. The overall experience is slick and modern, and once you learn the ins and outs of the platform, it is simple to control.
Combine the many new and improved features with the forthcoming wider array of appealing handsets, and Windows Phone 8 is primed to bring Microsoft back into the smartphone game from the fringes, as a real contender.
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.