10 Great Things About the Windows 8 Phone
1) New Start Screen
The start screen is a big design departure from that of previous models. It is made out of colored tiles, each of which can be resized according to your wishes. The largest setting even allows a single tile to take up the entire screen. Each tile gives you access to a different application, and information about it that lets you remain aware of certain things without having to open the application. The start screen now exactly spans the width of the phone’s screen, eliminating scrolling annoyances.
2) Better Performance
The Internet Explorer 10 that Windows Phone 8 comes with is the fastest browser for mobile devices developed to date. The new browser also supports Micro SD cards, so if you want more storage memory, it’s yours. It also offers three new screen resolutions: 480 x 800, 720 x 1280, and 768 x 1280. This gives Windows Phone 8-enabled devices much richer displays, and also allows for better multitasking, as image sizes can be made smaller while still maintaining an acceptable level of visibility.
3) Processor Power
One of the chief problems with Windows Phone 7 is that it did not serve as a good platform for developers because it didn’t support multiple processor cores. This new version corrects this problem, and so will be useful with multi-core devices such as dual core or even quad core. This will mean faster processing speeds, of course, and less waiting time for commands and applications to work. It will also mean that developers will start making much better apps for these devices.
4) Built-In Navigation Assistance
Nokia’s highly popular navigation system and offline map archive is a part of Windows Phone 8. Any smartphone running this operating system will now also be able to function as a versatile aid, not just Nokia Lumia phones.
5) Untethered Updates
Windows Phone 8 allows you to update your smartphone over the air. You are no longer required to tether it to a desktop if you want your updates. For an increasing number of people this will mean starting to be able to break free of desktops entirely.
6) Financial Functions
WP 8 can turn your phone into a virtual wallet. It has special features for storing sensitive information about your accounts. It also stores information for customer loyalty cards. A secure SIM card will allow you to make mobile contactless payments. This functions much like Apple’s Passbook feature for iOS 6, and other, third-party wallet features. There is now also support for purchases made in-app.
7) Integration With Other Devices
Windows Phone 8 is made to function in a very similar fashion to the versions of Windows 8 used on desktops, laptops, and tablets. This means that there will be a lot of similarity in how they handle security, play media, play games, and network. In practical terms, this means that you will be able to pick up your phone and finish up a game that you started on your desktop.
8) Near Field Communications
The Windows Phone 8 browser will support near field communications. This means that it can do things such as share URLs with other NFC devices and read tags on items like business cards and menus. This functionality is also what allows WP 8 phones to make contactless payments, and perform its duties as a virtual wallet.
9) VoIP Support
The new Windows for phones has added code so that it can handle VoIP calls in just the same way that it handles ordinary calls. You will still have to download programs like Skype if you want to use VoIP, though.
10) Voice Commands
WP 8 has integrated TellMe, its voice recognition software, into its Audible app so that you can control media play with your voice. You will able to launch, pause, stop, and play media entirely through voice commands. Remember, though: voice commands tend to be energy hogs. So do some media players. You will have to keep a close eye on your battery if you use this feature.
Unfortunately, there is no upgrade path for phones using Windows Phone 7 or 7.5. This is likely because of the very different ways in which they use hardware. Users of phones outfitted with WP 7 or WP 7.5 can instead upgrade to WP 7.8, which has some of the look and features of WP 8. This is actually a good thing. The stronger hardware foundation will allow Windows to build much better operating systems and apps in the future. Staying compatible with the older versions would have tethered them to outdated concepts too much, and forced them to turn out inferior products in the future.