Microsoft Announces New Windows Phone 8 Features
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Today, Microsoft has finally made official more features of the new Windows Phone 8 operating system, the one that powers the new Nokia Lumia 822 smartphone that was made official today for Verizon. The platform was announced for the first time back in June, though Microsoft did not provide us with a complete look at the mobile OS. Today, however, the company has decided to take the wraps off the platform, and announced both new features that the operating system comes to the market with, as well as a new series of applications available for it. Just as rumored recently, Windows Phone 8 will arrive on shelves with a customizable lock screen, so that users could stay on top of what’s happening around them without having to unlock the device and go to the homescreen. The new lock screen is powered by Live Apps and can also be customized with photos from the device, for a better user experience. “You can turn your lock screen into an ever-changing memory book of your favorite photos,” Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore said. “It'll automatically surface photos and content from all your favorite apps. In a way, that lock screen is the ultimate glanceable UI because you see it so many times.” Windows Phone 8 also comes with a new UI, with smaller Live Tiles, which can be resized depending on user’s needs and preferences. “With Windows Phone, it's entirely up to you to reconfigure [your] tiles for whatever size you like and whatever arrangement you like,” Belfiore said on stage at the Windows Phone 8 event held in San Francisco. A new set of applications is also available for Windows Phone 8, including a redesigned Facebook app, a new version of Twitter, which has been built specifically for the new platform release, as well as a new flavor of Skype, one that should keep users connected at all times. “The new Skype app on Windows Phone 8 is always on, which means it's ready to receive a call or a message at any time,” he said. At the moment, Microsoft is working closely with popular app developers out there to bring some of the most used apps on mobile devices to the new platform flavor as well, such as Pandora, which will hit the OS in early 2013. “We will be at a point where we will have 46 of the top 50 of the most heavily used apps on other platforms,” Belfiore continued. The Windows Phone 8 SDK, which has been delivered only to a select number of developers, is set to become officially available for all those interested in building software for the platform as soon as tomorrow, Belfiore also said. Furthermore, the platform will offer fast Internet browsing through Internet Explorer 10, while also offering important cost savings, courtesy of a Data Sense feature that the company has packed the new OS release with.