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Windows Phone 8 arrives with handsets this week

Microsoft launches Windows Phone 8

By Jonathan Bray

Posted on 29 Oct 2012 at 18:28

Microsoft has unveiled its next-generation smartphone OS, Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco, announcing a clutch of new apps and features not previously announced.

Most of the details of the new smartphone OS had been unveiled by Microsoft at an event in New York in June, but a few features were held back for the main launch, in contrast to last week's Windows 8 and Surface events last week.

The standout new feature, for hard-pressed parents at least, is Kids Corner. This new feature allows mums and dads to create a walled garden accessed with a swipe to the left from the lock screen, with access only to selected apps and games.

It's a separate place on your phone, that's for your kids

"It's a separate place on your phone, that's for your kids," said Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiori, before wheeling his own children on to the stage to demonstrate the feature. The feature could see an end to accidental app purchases, he said, and even allows children to create their very own Live Tile-based home screen.

The other major new feature is the well-leaked Data Sense, a feature Microsoft said will allow users to eke more life out of their data plans. The feature monitors mobile data use, showing which apps are using the most data, and helps users find local Wi-Fi hotspots via Windows Phone 8's Maps feature.

The key to Data Sense, however, is its ability to compress web pages as they're requested on the phone. Microsoft claimed users will be able to browse "45% more web pages" on the same data plan than with the feature switched off, which sounds great for those on low data caps. The bad news for potential UK customers is that the feature is operator dependent, and at launch only US carrier Verizon will be supporting data compression.

The new Rooms feature, meanwhile, provides a place where family members, groups of friends or colleagues can communicate and share content with each other.

Out of the box Windows Phone 8 handsets will come with a Family "Room" ready to go. Members of these Rooms will be able to share notes (today's shopping list, for example), calendar entries, exchange private instant messages, and photos.

Belfiori added that at launch, Windows Phone 8 will have 46 out of the 50 most popular major apps available in the Windows Phone Store, name-dropping a selection of games including Temple Run, Urban Spoon, Angry Birds Star Wars, Where's My Water and Jetpack Joyride. You may have heard of some of these before.

UK users will be even less interested to discover that Microsoft's big showpiece offering - a year of free music streaming with Pandora - is another feature as yet only available to US customers.

Handsets

Microsoft also revealed Windows Phone 8 handsets would go on sale on 2 November across a range of different UK operators. EE will have an exclusive on the new Nokia Lumia 920, which will cost from £49 on a £36 per month contract. EE will also carry the Nokia 820 free from £36 per month, the HTC Windows Phone 8X and 8S.

The Samsung Ativ S, meanwhile, is a 4.8in-screened monster very similar in look and feel to the Samsung Galaxy S II, and will be available from O2 free from £36 per month. Three will carry both HTC handsets, and both Phones4U and Carphone Warehouse will carry a selection too.

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User comments

Data Sense

Is a great idea, they could enable this feature with all carriers, Microsoft only need to implement a vpn tunnel, Microsoft could then serve those requested web pages using bing, neatly sidestepping Google in the process.

By Chrisfjr1300 on 30 Oct 2012

dont get too excited, will you!

Anyway.
Rooms looks very useful for business and consumer. Especially syncing Notes and calendars
Kids Corner is much deeper than you give it credit. Looks to me like you can create different profiles for each child + guests and other users.
Skype, working in the background properly.
NFC phone to phone communication.
Wallet. Looks useful.
Tweaks to the user customizations.

All good. And remember. All of this is IN THE OS. No bloody Apps required.

By nickallison on 30 Oct 2012

Whatever happened to NOKIA?

The launch was interesting, and WP8 is choc-a-bloc with great stuff.
I'm impressed and I want one of those colourful NOKIA 920 'phones.

Well tough luck matey, becuase they're EE \ Phonez4U exclusive (yeuccchhhh) and aparrantly they're following Henry Ford ('any colour you like as long as its Black') with an exclusive "whire" one for individualists.

Even if you want a monochrome version of the colourful 920, you'll either pay through the nose (EE) or ???? (p4u seem completely ignorant about the 920 if you ask).

Having waited (&waited) for all to be revealed I have my 550 notes all ready to buy a 'phone, but can't.


If NOKIA thinks this is marketing, then think again. Another incompetent marketing fiasco, another nail in their coffin.

By wittgenfrog on 30 Oct 2012

@wittenfrog

Can't speak for the group but I chanced into a P4U shop in Milton Keynes yesterday and the guy in there was well up for WP8 and claimed that they were stocking all colours of 920, 820, and 8X. All cross network. Don't know how true this is or otherwise.
Had similar upbeat response to WP8 in 3 in Scarborough (I work all over the place, not tour round various mobile phone shops) on Saturday from the Manager in there (she was getting fidgety waiting on her Surface to arrive). No news in 3 as to what the range will be.
All in all, don't despair yet.
And, it finally looks like Retail Staff, at least, are going to be a lot more positive towards WP8 than they ever were towards 7.

By nickallison on 30 Oct 2012

@nickallison

Sounds like great news. I await developments......

By wittgenfrog on 30 Oct 2012

@ wittenfrog

WPCentral round up of UK carriers.

http://www.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-8-uk-availa
bility

No word there from EE or its subsidiaries Orange or TMob.

By nickallison on 30 Oct 2012

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