Windows Phone 8, what is it and what does it mean?
Windows Phone 8 is the biggest upgrade in Windows Phone since it’s release just 2 years ago. The OS has been critically acclaimed for its design but it’s major downfall is not a lack of features, but a lack of blockbuster apps reaching the app store, while Microsoft’s investment in developers has helped the appstore still only has 1/5th of the amount of apps in Android Market and even less compared to the Apple App-Store. So what have Microsoft done?
They’ve changed the kernel of the OS
The kernel has been changed from the Windows CE kernel which was unique and hard to develop for, to the NT kernel which is already used in Windows 7 and in the future Windows 8. The idea of course is that the Windows Phone and Windows 8 will be able to share apps at least to the core, so development of games for example would be easy to transfer between the two devices. Furthermore the device will be able to use Microsoft’s highly successful DirectX, which is used to code games in both Windows and the highly successful Xbox 360 console.
An updated Home screen
The home screen has also been updated, to give users the ability to create small tiles, akin to live icons as well as the more well known medium and large tiles already existing in Windows Phone. This of course makes the screen look fresh and gives the user even more options. The only thing which is lacking personally is the ability to have a general notification overview akin to Android and iOS.
Multi-Core support, NFC, SD, Screen Resolutions
Just catching up with Android and iOS really, considering Windows Phone is probably the smoothest running OS to date even on a 2 year old phone says something about the level of coding done by Microsoft, furthermore the multi-core processors will be overkill for everyday tasks but those DirectX games won’t run themselves. Needed just to match other OSs on specs. Furthermore NFC comes for the ride but literally no apps take advantage of this to any level. However the phone will be able to cope with removable SD storage, which it previously couldn’t, great for the music horder, bad for manufacturers who want you to buy devices with 64GB+ flash storage. The biggest news is probably the most welcome from my stand point; up to 720p resolution support, I know within a matter of a year this will be outdated yet again, but 720p is a better start than the previous 800*480 which did look horrible on devices the size of the HTC Titan.
While Windows Phone 8 is a massive upgrade it will struggle to gain traction in a market place, when it’s realistically starting from zero devices running the software to begin with thanks to the lack of upgrade path from Windows Phone 7. The OS while innovative and good looking still fails to match iOSs simplicity or Android’s customizability. However Windows Phone does offer a completely unique and brilliant experience, if you can deal with the temporary lack of apps then Windows Phone 8 could be for you when it comes out later this year. In a couple of years time, it would be no surprise to see Windows Phone and Android doing battle for first place.