On October 29, Microsoft unveiled the new Windows Phone 8. With the mobile operating system market dominated by Android and iOS, Gartner research firm indicates that by 2016 the number of Windows Phone users will be close to that of Apple’s iOS users.

Keeping its word, Windows Phone 8 came with a lot of surprises and enhancements over WP7.

First up, it should be noted that you cannot upgrade your WP7 to WP8 at this time.

Microsoft revealed that the new OS will need new devices with certain specifications and the upgrade will not be available for the users having WP7. Below is the listing of specifications for operating WP7.

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual Core ProcessorMinimum 512MB RAM for WVGA phones; minimum 1GB RAM for 720p / WXGA
  • Minimum 4GB flash memory
  • GPS and A-GNSS; GLONASS is supported if original equipment manufacturers decide to include it
  • Support for micro-USB 2.0
  • 3.5mm stereo headphone jack with three-button detection support
  • Rear-facing autofocus camera with LED or Xenon flash, optional front-facing camera (both need to be VGA or better) and dedicated camera button
  • Accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors, as well as vibration motor (magnetometer and gyroscope are optional)
  • 802.11b/g and Bluetooth (802.11n is optional)
  • DirectX graphics hardware support with hardware acceleration for Direct3D using programmable GPU
  • Multi-touch capacitive touch screen with minimum of four simultaneous points

Microsoft also pointed out that the applications will need a minimum of 1 GB RAM, thus giving developers a hang of the exact hardware specifications for building the applications.

via guardian.co.uk

Main Features

WP8 now offers integration across all major devices including tablets, gaming consoles, and computers. Users’ data is synchronized across all devices by the company’s renowned cloud service, SkyDrive. All Microsoft Office documents can now be edited on the smartphone with the inbuilt MS Office application, and can be made available across all Windows applications.

Microsoft claims that it has 46 out of top 50 applications already in the app store among the other 120,000 applications to date, and with more applications on their way, the WP8 is going to storm the mobile market with its plethora of offerings.

Multi-Core Processors – As promised, WP8 now brings the power of multiple cores to users. The new OS can now support a minimum of two cores, and the possibility of a quad core device isn’t far away.  Users can now expect an improved experience from WP8, given that it will be run on a dual core engine.

Live Tiles – The tiles that were once of uniform size, now can be resized to change the level of information being displayed. Many apps will be able to display more information on a larger tile. Be it your Facebook notifications, the music track being played or your Groupon deal of the day, all the information you need is right there at your home screen

Kid’s Corner – Much like the parental controls on your computer, this feature now makes it easy for you to hand over the devices to your kids. Enabling this feature you will have the authority to display a set of applications for the kid such as videos, games and other kid friendly applications. With Kid’s Corner, you are safe from the fear of photos getting deleted, or random messages being sent. (Just be sure the kids don’t drown your device in the bath tub or feed it to the dog.)

Rooms – Rooms enable media sharing and chatting with your personal groups. You can create your own personalized room and select people to join. The catch: all the people need to have WP8 devices.

Data Sense – This feature will drive away your data usage worries. Data Sense will help you conserve your data by compressing online images and searching for Wi-Fi hotspots when they’re available. It will notify you once your data limit is reached. It also shows the data usage per application for you to analyze which applications to use when, and how much you can use them.

NFC and Wallet – Near field communication makes it easy to share contacts information, web links, and other information and settings over just a touch of the devices. The Wallet application will serve as the payment-on-the-go option via NFC.

Devices that will be spearheading the launch of WP8 are:

Nokia – Lumia 920, 810, 820, 822

HTC – Windows Phone 8S and Windows Phone 8X

Samsung – ATIV S

WP8 is quite an improvement over its predecessor WP7. Its aesthetically pleasing design sets a new bar for a personalized mobile operating system. Impressed? Go grab your device now.

What are your thoughts on the news Windows Phone 8? Will you be purchasing one? Share your thoughts in the comments section!