Windows Phone 8 Features: From Hardware to Software (And Everything Else in Between)

By Johnny Wills | Jun 23, 2012 01:28 PM EDT

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The Redmond tech giant, Microsoft showed off Windows Phone 8 OS for next generation Windows smartphones. Both Verizon and AT&T have confirmed the launch of Windows Phone 8-powered smartphones in the U.S. sometime in 2012. Sprint has also confirmed that Windows Phone 8 smartphone is coming to the carrier, but provided no further details.

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At the unveil event, Microsoft showed Windows Phone 8 running on a prototype smartphone, giving a sneak-peek into what features are coming in the new Windows smartphones.

Here are the features you can expect to see in Windows Phone 8-powered smartphones:

Multi-core processor

This is one of the major reasons why the new OS is not hitting current Windows smartphones. Next-generation Windows phones will support multi-core processor with Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 confirmed coming to these smartphones. If you remember, Snapdragon S4 is the same processor featured in Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One X. The 3G version of Windows Phone 8 smartphones will come with quad-core processor.

HD Display

Microsoft introduced two new resolutions that Windows Phone OS 8 supports - 1280 X 768 pixels and 1280 X 720 pixels. The 720p HD resolution is the next standard resolution for flagship Android and Windows smartphones. However, with the 1280 X 768 pixels resolution, it seems that a Windows phablet could be on the way.

MicroSD Support

A major drawback of current Windows smartphones is lack of microSD card support. However, new Windows Phone 8 smartphones will comes with microSD card slots, to offer expandable memory options.

NFC

Microsoft hints at a Samsung's S Beam-like technology coming to Windows Phone 8 smartphones. Utilizing in-built NFC chips, users will be able to share photos, office files, videos and contacts at higher transfer rates.

Wallet

Google Wallet is about to get a competitor in market soon. Wallet app in Windows Phone 8 will store all your credit card information. Working like the newly unveiled iOS Passport app, Microsoft's Wallet app will also save boarding pass, air ticket and coupon discount data.

Nokia Maps

Maps app in Windows Phone 8 will fetch data from Nokia maps. Inclusion of turn-by-turn navigation functionality polishes maps functionality.

Voice Controlled Assistant

It looks like Apple Siri will get a lot of rival later this year. Gaining advantage over Apple Siri, Windows Phone 8 users will be able to communicate with apps along with controlling core functions and fetching data from internet through voice controls.

Internet Explorer 10

Getting closer to the desktop Windows 8 operating system, Windows Phone 8 will share the same browsing engine as Windows 8 PCs and tablets. Internet Explorer 10 brings added security benefits along with performance improvements.

VoIP and Skype

Microsoft hints at deep Skype integration in Windows Phone 8 by pointing to inclusion of VoIP features in the new OS.

App Compatibility

WP7 app store has hit the milestone of 100,000 apps. According to Microsoft, it hit the 100,000 app bar sooner than Android Market (now known as Google Play Store) did. Windows Phone 8 share native C/C++ code with Windows 8. The shared kernel will benefit developers, allowing them to create apps on both platforms with ease. Market analysts believe that Windows Phone app store is about to gain a significant growth in near future.

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