First of two parts
Microsoft on Wednesday revealed key pieces of its Windows Phone 8 smartphone strategy at an event for developers in San Francisco. The news is mostly good, and should vastly improve the scale and reach of the Windows Phone ecosystem when the platform launches later this year.
With Windows Phone 8, Microsoft greatly expanded the types of hardware that can run its smartphone platform. Moving forward, Windows Phone will support multicore processors and removable/expandable storage. It also adds support for more screen resolutions, including 480 x 800, 768 x 1280, and 720 x 1280.
Microsoft has long hinted that partner Nokia will provide mapping products for the entire Windows Phone platform and Wednesday confirmed that change. With Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone will no longer use Bing Maps and instead will use Nokia Maps. All of Nokia Maps' features will be available to all Windows Phones, including voice navigation and offline mode.
NFC and Wallet:
Microsoft hopes to leapfrog other mobile payment services with its new Mobile Wallet Hub. The Hub will let Windows Phone 8 users store their credit and debit card information, membership cards and loyalty programs, and local daily deals all in one app. Further, it will support banking via near-field communications for tap-and-go mobile payments. Microsoft also noted that it is working with Isis, which is a joint initiative being developed by AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless. Windows Phone 8's Mobile Wallet Hub will support Isis next year.
C and C++:
Windows Phone 8 offers native support for the C and C++ development languages. This will be a boon for developers. Microsoft also plans to offer a wide range of APIs that work between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, which is possible thanks to the shared core.
The desktop version of Internet Explorer 10 is headed to Windows Phone 8. Microsoft believes this will be good for developers, whose websites will work equally well on Windows Phone devices and desktops. It includes anti-phishing filters, and other tools for added security.
WP8 offers a complete security platform for enterprises. It includes Secure Boot and Bitlocker encryption. WP8 offers flexible app distribution that is controlled by businesses. It also offers device management for large enterprises. It also includes a new Company Hub, an app that is run by companies for their employees with Windows Phone devices.