Is Windows Phone 8 Good Enough To Fight Against iOS And Android?


21.06.2012

Is Windows Phone 8 Good Enough To Fight Against iOS And Android?

Microsoft has presented the first official details of Windows Phone 8 Apollo, the new major update of their mobile operating system.

The new Windows Phone 8 shares its kernel with Windows 8, it comes with an improved multitasking system, the Live tiles are now customizable and it now supports multi-core processors and displays with HD resolutions.

Besides the aforementioned improvements, Microsoft also added some small updates and new features, in an attempt to make Windows Phone 8 an important rival of iOS 6 and Android 4.0.

Microsoft continues to bet on the highly appreciated Live Tiles which makes Windows Phone a lot different from iOS and Android, but also introduces some new features that allow the users to better customize their start screen.

In Windows Phone 8 Apollo the Live Tiles can be resized to fit a quarter, half of the whole width of the display, while the number of background colors and themes is significantly bigger. Moreover, the start screen is now display-wide.

One of the drawbacks of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango was the lack of support for multicore chipsets, thus the WP terminals had a modest hardware platforms compared to the high-end smartphones based on Google Android.

But things are about to change: WP8 finally comes with support for Qualcomm dual-core CPUs, a feature that is supposed to allow phone makers like Nokia to launch a smartphone with high-end specifications.

One of the reasons why iOS has some of the best applications is because there is only one resolution for the iPhone: 960 x 640 pixels. On the other hand, the Android developers have to optimize their application for a significantly higher amount of resolutions, making their work harder and sometimes leading to in-app errors.

Microsoft chose the mid-way with the new Windows Phone 8, which will have support for three different resolutions. Besides the 800 x 480 resolution also present in WP7.5, the OEMs will also be able to develop smartphones with WXGA resolution (1,280 x 720, 15:9 aspect ratio) or 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels, 16:9 ratio), the latter one being ideal for watching HD videos.

Microsoft’s move to bet on two distinct operating systems for smartphones and tablets, when Apple and Google have a single platform for their terminals seemed wrong initially. But the inevitable happened: Windows Phone 8 has the same platform as Windows 8, and Microsoft highlighted the advantajes for the gaming industry, as a title created for Windows 8 will be easily ported on Windows Phone 8 and vice versa, allowing the developers to make high quality games faster for a bigger market.

Another reason why Windows Phone 7.5 wasn’t very popular was the multitasking which was way bellow what Android and iOS offered. But Microsoft improved this section, and WP8 comes with two major enhancements.

First, the voice-over-Internet Protocol applications, like Skype or Viber, are integrated in the phone function and they can be ran in background permanently, offering an experience similar to Android.

Second, the turn-by-turn navigation app is able to detect your position and give direction even though it is running in background.

The voice commands are getting more and more important for the smartphone users, and Microsoft couldn’t miss the chance to develop such a system.

The application goes by the name of Audible and allows various voice commands like opening an audio file or to searching the web. Its best feature is that the developers will be able to include voice commands in their applications, a function that is not available on Apple’s Siri.

Besides the new features described above, Windows Phone 8 also includes other numerous improvements, many of them already available on rival platforms.

Just like the analysts predicted, Windows Phone 8 will use Nokia Maps which includes turn-by-turn navigation, while the maps can be saved and used in offline mode. Moreover, the developers can create apps that use Nokia Maps in offline mode, a feature that will reduce the data traffic substantially.

WP8 also offers complete support for NFC, so the users will be able to transfer files to another NFC-compatible device using the Tap-Send function. But one of the most important apps based on NFC will be Wallet, a rival for Google Wallet and Passbook (coming on the iOS 6), which allows phone payment.

The new Microsoft update comes pre-loaded with Internet Explorer 10, which promises a speed improvement compared to the default browser of WP7.5 and an anti-phishing filter that automatically detects malware-infested websites.

Least but not last, Windows Phone 8 brings support for microSD cards, but also BitLocker encryption, very useful for those who use their smartphones at work.

Four big hardware manufacturers have teamed-up with Microsoft to develop Windows Phone 8 Apollo devices: Nokia, Samsung, HTC and Huawei. The most notable absence is LG, but the South-Korean phone maker recently announced it will concentrate its efforts on Android.

Microsoft also announced that the early-adopters who now own a Windows Phone 7.5 Mango smartphone will not be able to upgrade their devices to Windows Phone 8, confirming the rumors that roamed the international press lately.

The news are certainly unpleasant for current WP7.5 users, as they will have to console with an update named Windows Phone 7.8 which will include some of the new features of WP8. So far, Microsoft only confirmed the presence of a new start screen for WP7.8.

The main effect of this decision is the fragmentation of Windows Phone and Microsoft’s operating system will lose one of its main advantages it had over Google’s Android.

The side effect will be an accelerated decrease in interest for the smartphones currently running on Windows Phone 7.5, and Nokia will be the most affected manufacturer.

Therefore, it’s very likely to see major price cutoffs for Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia Lumia 710 or Nokia Lumia 610, especially after the first Windows Phone 8 smartphones will hit the market.

Windows Phone 8 is finally the mobile operating system that is capable of competing against Google Android and Apple iOS, mainly because of its support for multi-core chipsets and HD display, but also thanks to the improved multitasking and Microsoft’s support for developers.

Therefore, if the developers are more interested in  Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 and if they develop better applications, we might be able to see Windows Phone 8 fighting on par with both world’s most popular mobile operating systems.



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