Microsoft took the stage in San Francisco today at its developer summit to discuss the future of Windows Phone 8. While Microsoft hasn’t shown all their cards when it comes to the OS’s update, they did give us a clear view as to where they plan to take it.
First up is the new “Start Screen,” live tiles are still present and as are the ability to “pin” apps tiles to the start menu, however, Microsoft has now given users the ability to scale the tiles. For instance, you can shrink tiles, like the phone app, down to a quarter of the previous size, leaving room for 3 more tiles of the same size. Essentially, you could create an entire start screen of tiny little icons.
Aside from the new start screen, Microsoft has added many requested features, like two new screen resolutions, 1280×720 and 1280×768 in addition to the previous resolution of 640 x 480 for a total of three. Windows Phone 8 will also now support microSD card support, giving users the ability to expand the memory of their device. Perhaps one of the most demanded features would be the support of multi-core processors and Microsoft is giving WP fans exactly what they wanted. With WP 8 being closely tied to Windows 8′s architecture, it will be able to support multiple cores, which will allow developers to make an app for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 simultaneously.
For Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has decided to ditch its own Bing Maps in favor of Nokia’s map service with is powered by NAVTEQ. The new map services will offer offline maps and turn-by-turn navigation, matching both Google’s Android and Apple’s upcoming iOS 6.
No more Bing maps. Nokia’s well-regarded map system, powered by NAVTEQ, will provide maps for Windows Phone 8 devices. They will also be offline, which will certainly mean less waiting for data downloads, but it also will also allow you to use the map software when you have no internet connection.
With the popularity of NFC growing and the emergence of “wallet” apps, Microsoft is looking to beat both Apple and Google with their NFC-based Wallet app, which combines the best features from Google’s Wallet and Apple’s PassBook. WP8 will allow users to not only add retail reward cards, but credit cards too.
These additions are only the tip of the iceberg for Windows Phone 8, with several months to go before it’s official release, Microsoft may add even more features. In any event, it looks like Microsoft is ready to match Apple and Google feature for feature, which is a step in the right direction.
We have more on Windows Phone 8 coming, so stay tuned.