By Jonathan Charles | Jul 03, 2012 12:08 PM EDT
Windows Phone product manager Greg Sullivan's comments that known Windows Phone 8 features are just a "sneak peek" may be similar to iOS 6, which is expected to offer a UI refresh after the same grid-based app layout has been used since the iPhone debuted in 2007. So from what's known, how do the two mobile operating systems compare?
Display, Multi-Core Processors
The move to the Windows NT Kernel in Windows Phone 8 does mean the full Windows Phone experience won't arrive on Windows Phone 7 handsets outside of the new start screen in a Windows Phone 7.8 update, but also means multi-core processors are now supported. That brings the mobile operating system in line with iOS and Android: Apple uses the A5X chip, and could unveil an A6 chip judging by the new chips unveiled with each iPhone. The A5X is a dual-core CPU, but it'll be interesting to see if Apple goes quad-core with the next Ax chip.
On screen resolutions, Windows Phone 8 will support 1280 x 720 and 1280 x 768 pixels. That's high-definition, and definite competition for the 960 x 640 Retina display across a 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone 4 and 4S. Whether Apple will use the resolution on a 4-inch display, if the iPhone 5 does have a bigger display, remains to be seen.
External Storage, NFC
Unlike iPhones, Windows Phone 8 will offer external microSD storage. Apple's exclusive control over hardware has prevented microSD from being available, though the company does offer up to 64GB capacities. Still, some users have requested 128GB of storage even if the price would undoubtedly rise.
NFC in Windows Phone 8 also allows users to share content, from Office documents to photos to contact information. It isn't available in the iPhone 4S, but there's every chance it'll be a feature in the iPhone 5.
Internet Explorer 10
Internet Explorer 9 kickstarted Microsoft's failing browser, which was falling behind rivals Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Version number 9 was praised for offer fast performance, and IE 10 aims to build on those improvements and is integrated into Windows Phone 8. Microsoft also says IE 10 includes security features such as SmartSecure, which blocks malware.
Safari in iOS 6 also received a major update: it got a universal search and address bar, following Safari in Mountain Lion and Chrome for iOS, along with tabs. Currently moving between windows in Safari on iOS is done through pressing the windows button, swiping across, tapping and then viewing and possibly re-loading the page. It's unnecessarily slow.
Nokia Maps Integration Versus 'Maps'
Apple's major announcement of iOS 6 was Maps, its in-house mapping service and replacement for Google Maps. It uses TomTom and Yelp for directions and information and include turn-by-turn navigation with Siri integration. It remains to be seen how the service works in practice, especially in comparison to Google Maps.
Building on the Nokia partnership, Microsoft is using the Lumia maker's mapping technology in Windows Phone 8. It will bring more detailed maps and turn-by-turn navigation and the option to store maps offline. Again, it remains to be seen how the service works in practice.
Windows 8-Windows Phone 8 Integration, iOS App Store
Regardless of whether users think the iOS UI is boring, the App Store consistently attracts the high-quality developers that focus on design and functionality (take a look at Mobile & Apps' collection of some of the best). Microsoft is hoping to provide a similar quality of apps by offering integration across Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, so developers can simultaneously develop apps. It means, if developers adopt Metro, that the Windows Phone 8 app store could have an influx of apps.
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