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Microsoft takes the wraps off Windows Phone 8

Fresh off the announcement of the Windows Surface tablet, Microsoft is showing off the next generation of their mobile OS.

Microsoft has already taken the wraps off their new Surface tablet, but the big announcements aren't quite done yet. At the Windows Phone Developer Summit in San Francisco, the company has just unveiled the latest edition of their mobile OS- Windows Phone 8.

Codenamed "Apollo", the new OS features some long awaited hardware improvements, such as support for multi-core processors and resolutions up to 1280x768 pixels. In addition, Microsoft is tacking on micro-SD compatibility, a revamped start screen with room for more tiles and Nokia Navteq maps with turn-by-turn instructions. Unfortunately, the new OS will not run on existing Windows Phones, and current  users will have to trade in their devices for newer hardware.

While the previously mentioned features all increase the appeal of Microsoft's mobile platform, the biggest addition may be the fact that Windows Phone 8 shares a common kernel core with the tablet and PC editions of Windows 8. Consequently, developers will have a much easier time coding apps that work on all Windows 8 devices and the Windows app market should grow exponentially.

Other highlights of Windows Phone 8 include full support for Internet Explorer 10, secure payments with a Microsoft Wallet hub and a secure boot option. Sadly, Microsoft failed to announce a release timeline for the device, but the first devices are expected sometime this Fall.


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Ronald Tiefenthäler/Omar Al-Qudsi, 2012-06-21 (Update: 2012-06-21)