Microsoft is in San Francisco today for the one-day Windows Phone Summit where the company will feature “a sneak peek of the future of Windows Phone”. It follows two days after Microsoft unveiled their new Surface tablets.
Developers can quickly port their games to Windows Phones without re-writing a whole lot. Windows Phone 8 will have a common platform with Windows 8: DirectX and graphics drivers. It should also make it easier for iOS and Android developers to port their apps to Windows Phone. Windows Phone 8 will also have a mobile wallet with support for native NFC. They are putting the secure element on the SIM instead of the phone.
WP8 will include Nokia’s mapping technology built-in. There will be offline map support, map control for devs, turn-by-turn and NAVTEQ map data.
Audio routing means it’ll conenct VoIP calls to your car or bluetooth headset. So the phone rings, you answer, and it opens in Skype. It’s not a totally integrated Skype experience in WP8, but it’s close.
You can change each tile to tiny, medium or double-wide tiles that take up the full width of the screen. The idea here is to offer a consistent experience between WP8 tiles and Metro tiles on Windows 8.
Whether existing Windows Phones will be able to run the Windows Phone 8 operating system was an open question before today. Windows Phone 7 shares a look and feel with Windows 8, but it is based on Windows CE, while Windows 8 is based on the Windows NT core. Windows Phone 7 apps will run on Windows 8 phones.
But current devices WON’T run Windows Phone 8, Microsoft said today. However, they’ll get a Windows Phone 7.8 update, which will give WP7 users the start screen.
The OEMs include Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC. Qualcomm will provide the dual-core processor. Apps will be available in 180+ countries.