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Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 8, Coming This Fall!

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 8, Coming This Fall!

Following the announcement of their upcoming Surface tablet earlier this week, Microsoft took the stage at the Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco today to officially unveil their next generation smartphone platform: Windows Phone 8!

Windows Phone 8 is based on the exact same kernel used in the desktop version of Windows 8, seemingly in much the same way that iOS is based on the OS X kernel. This is intended to allow developers to create apps for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone simultaneously – a smart move.

The new platform packs in a lot of promising features, such as full NFC support, and a new mobile wallet feature that can store credit cards and store cards, as well as tickets, boarding passes, and other items (similar to Apple’s Passbook).

The platform will also replace Bing maps with a mich more capable mapping system developed by Nokia, complete with offline maps and turn-by-turn navigation. According to Microsoft, Windows Phone 8 also dramatically outperforms Mobile Safari in iOS 6 with full HTML5 support and 4 times faster Javascript performance. Finally, Windows Phone 8 also packs a number of interface changes and enhancements intended to improve the user experience.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform hasn’t performed very well in the market so far – but Microsoft has revealed a lot of promising features and ideas in Windows Phone 8 that stand a chance of helping Microsoft gain some ground in the competitive smartphone market.

The only big downside to Windows Phone 8 is that Microsoft will not allow users of current Windows Phone devices to upgrade – it will only be available on new smartphones. Imagine if Apple did that with iOS 6! Nightmare!

I see a lot of good things in Windows 8, and frankly, I hope it does allow Microsoft to gain additional market share! In fact, I hope it offers serious, solid competition to Apple and iOS. Competition fosters innovation, after all!

Windows Phone 8 is expected to launch sometime this fall. For more information, check out The Verge’s extensive coverage!