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From the Windows Phone 8 launch: Microsoft places the final piece in its puzzle

From the Windows Phone 8 launch: Microsoft places the final piece in its puzzle
Last night saw Microsoft place the final piece in the Windows 8 puzzle with the official launch of Windows Phone 8 – a platform that looks to unify its efforts across PC, Xbox and mobile.

The new devices – set to launch at the end of the week – will be sold under the banner of "the smartphone reinvented around you", backed up by a significant advertising campaign that will kick off ahead of Christmas (see video below).

Talking tiles

According to corporate VP for Windows Phone Joe Belfiore, the idea is that no two phones should ever be the same.

Belfiore said the customisation potential of the tile based home screen and even getting in a dig or two at the expense of Apple and Google, for their tired grid-based icon system.

Live tiles aren't new, even if you can now fit more on the screen and resize them to your needs, but the new lock screen is, which can now run live apps to convey key information at a glance.



In terms of apps, Microsoft is also promising that 46 of the top 50 apps on smartphones will be available for Windows Phone.

Game on

New titles include Temple Run, Urban Spoon - using Microsoft's new speech platform, so you can ask app to find a restaurant via voice, Angry Birds Star War, Jetpack Joyride and a total of 12 games from Gameloft, amongst others, including Asphalt 7.

In terms of the platform's the seamless integration with other Windows devices, benefits include standard access to SkyDrive - the cloud based storage service that gives every user 7GB to start - that hosts pictures, video and Office documents.


HTC's Windows Phone 8S

There's also Xbox Music and SmartGlass, which allows you to control your Xbox 360 from a smartphone or tablet – starting initially with Microsoft's own Surface tablet or Windows Phone 8 devices, but later stretching out to Android and iOS handsets.

Five handsets are set to fly the Windows Phone 8 flag at launch, including two new Lumia devices from Nokia, HTC's Windows Phone 8X and 8S, and Samsung's ATIV S.

 


From starting out as a games tester for Mastertronic, Virgin and Sega in the late 1980s, it may seem odd to then ditch everything to write about mobile phones that, at the time, lasted 20 minutes between charges. He always had a hunch mobiles would become quite popular, but possibly didn't realise how powerful (and, ironically, returning to 20 minutes between charges). Jonathan's job is to continue advising on the best hardware to buy, in order to enjoy games that have advanced considerably since those long days and nights testing Double Dragon on the C64.

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