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Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 launch event is being covered live by Engadget, The Verge, C/Net and others. With today’s release of Windows phone 8, new features were explained in detail. Engadget’s Live Blog notes include:

  • There are 120,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store, says Microsoft.
  • Live Apps integrate into other apps.
  • The new Skype app is always on. It’s ready to receive a call or message at any time, and it does this without running code in the background and running your battery.
  • Office docs on the phone can be saved to SkyDrive, and it’ll be available on your PC as well.
  • SkyDrive. Offers more free storage than the competitors — 7GB of total space available for free.
  • Rooms is a place where all of your friends and family can go to have a private space to talk to each other.
  • Data Sense. It compresses web pages as you browse. It understands when you are connected to Wi-Fi, and also helps find Wi-Fi hotspots on a map. When you get close to your limit, it can automatically adjust your data usage (by doing things like not updating it in the background) to help keep you from going over.
  • Kids Corner. A kid-blocking feature which can run certain apps but don’t allow full access.

“Today, we’re bringing phones into the Windows family with WP8,” summarized Steve Balmer. “Four years ago we really started on what became Windows Phone. We had a very different perspective on what a smartphone should be. We didn’t want to just build a phone for all of us, we wanted to build one for each of us. Different shapes, sizes and colors to make them personal for each of us.”

Microsoft’s four Windows Phone 8 device manufacturers include Nokia, Samsung, and HTC. But Huawei was not invited to the company party, notes ZDNet. Huawei was forced out due to pressure from the U.S. government, according to vice president Yu Chengdong.

“We are one of the four [Windows Phone 8] makers and yet [we] could not attend the global launch,” Yu wrote on his Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.

Ballmer said AT&T will launch the Nokia Lumia 920, Lumia 820 and HTC Windows Phone 8X in November while Verizon will launch the Lumia 822, HTC 8X, and in December the Samsung Ativ Odyssey, presumably a variant of Samsung ATIV S.

T-Mobile USA today unveiled its full lineup of smartphones and tablets, including the Nokia Lumia 810, Samsung ATIV S, and Windows Phone 8X by HTC; as well as multiple Android devices including the Google Nexus 4, and the Samsung Galaxy Note II phones.

Sprint is sitting out the Windows Phone 8 launch after their slow WP7 sales.

Windows Phone 8 Reviews are available from ArsTechnia, C/Net, Engadget. Pocket Lint, WP Central, Business Insider, Laptop Magazine, The Verge, ZDNet

The Windows Phone blog has more details on Windows Phone 8. Here’s the webcast of the press conference.

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