Microsoft finally lifted the lid on it all-new Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system on Monday, which is to be followed shortly by the first batch of Smartphone release dates. After year of outright failure to strike a chord with the consumer public, Windows Phone 8 had quite a deal riding on it to say the least.
However, the Redmond company appears to have every faith in its new mobile OS, which according to them at least follows a mantra where “people are at the center of the experience.” Or roughly translated, they are suggesting that with Windows Phone 8 there will not be a single Smartphone that is supposed to fit everyone’s needs – i.e. the iPhone business model – but rather a range of Smartphones catering to everyone individually.
Hardware is of course of Microsoft’s hands for now – at least until the Surface Smartphone arrives – so the question really is one of whether the new Windows Phone 8 OS delivers in its own right. Or more importantly, can it stand up against the likes of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS?
There are certainly some nice new tweaks and features added to Windows Phone 8. The trademark Live Tiles are still where you’d expect to find them, but new to the scene is the addition of Live Apps which allow customization of the lock screen to display the desired information – Facebook or Twitter updates, for example.
With regard all-important apps, Microsoft claims that there are now upwards of 120,000 available for Windows Phone 8 – including at least 45 of the top 50. The beginning of next year will also see Pandora coming to Windows Phone 8 and offering a full year of free music, as part of Microsoft’s push of the internet radio software. Skype is also deeply embedded and is permanently switched on – something that Microsoft assures us will NOT put a drain on the battery.
Overall therefore, Windows Phone 8 sounds like quite an impressive package, though seems to be more of an evolution than the revolution the platform needed. The fact the Windows Phone 7 flopped in no uncertain terms suggest that Microsoft needed to entirely reinvent the wheel this time around to ensure success with Windows Phone 8 – this doesn’t appear to have been the case
Of course, carrier backing could see the new OS rocket to the coveted third-place position as a force to be reckoned with, but as an operating system in its own right, Windows Phone 8 is largely another serving of what we’ve already seen.