WPCentral: There are two areas in which Windows Phone 8 differs from its predecessor: the core of the OS has been updated with the NT kernel and the addition and refinement of features. Consumers don’t need to know about the kernel specifics but they will see the results: new, top of the line hardware. That hardware will be evident in a few weeks when devices like the HTC 8X and Nokia Lumia 920 become available.
Microsoft has also spent a lot of time listening to feedback on how people used their phones. As a result, Windows Phone 8 brings many new refinements that should please current users and make new ones happy.
With the new NT kernel, the same as found in Windows 8, Microsoft can finally reach for the stars by allowing developers native access to bring Direct 3D games to the OS, allow new hardware onto the platform to stay ahead of the competition and to find a balance between the chaotic world of Android and the walled garden of Apple.
LiveSide: The Windows Phone 8 SDK will be available as a public download beginning tomorrow, from Build.
GeekWire: Microsoft is looking to Windows Phone 8 to gain new traction against Android and iPhone. The new mobile operating system shares a common core with the Windows 8 operating system. Windows Phone 8, rolling out on new devices this fall, won’t be available as an update to existing Windows Phone 7.5 devices, but those users will get some of the features, including better customization of the Start screen, in a Windows Phone 7.8 update.
Check this out, first!
YouTube: Joe Belfiore, Corporate VP of Windows Phone, shows how you can childproof your phone with Kid's Corner, collaborate with your family or coworkers in Rooms, use Live Apps that provide real-time information at a glance, and back up everything to SkyDrive.
1. Custom Start & Lock Screen
“Live Apps” can now update your lock screen with whatever photo you like.
WP.com: Pin the Live Tiles you want, and snap! There’s the stuff you care about, updating in real time, right on your Start screen. You can pin people, apps, songs, websites, directions, games, photos, docs, and more. Only Windows Phone has Live Tiles, and only Windows Phone lets you pin what you love.
You can pin any app to your Start screen. But when you pin Live Apps, they’ll deliver info and updates in real time—like fresh Groupon deals, flight info, news headlines, and more. Pin, unpin, rearrange, and resize your Live Tiles to your heart’s content. With three sizes to choose from and colors from cobalt to magenta, your phone will be unmistakably yours.
WinSuperSite: Windows Phone’s Start screen, with its innovative live tiles, has always set this system apart from the competition. In Windows Phone 8, live tiles are even better with a new smaller tile size that fits four tiles in the space that previously occupied just a single medium-sized tile. And with apps now supporting all three tile sizes—there’s a larger, rectangular size as well—its easier than ever to create the customized, personalized Start screen that highlights the content that matters the most to you. It seems like a small thing, but this new ability has significantly enhanced what was already the best smart phone UI around.
WPCentral: Turning on the phone for the first time, we see those familiar Live Tiles appear on screen, flipping and changing gleefully, bringing that “glance and go” approach to the end user with ease. What is different about the design this time is the tile-size options: small, medium and large (affectionately called “double wide”). Users can now prioritize their Tiles by manipulating their dimensions, obviating the uniformness of its predecessor.
Not only does this make organizing your Tiles smarter it gives users a new level of customization. Sure, it’s not slapping on hideous wallpaper or changing the Tile’s physical look (i.e. skinning), but surprisingly such a small addition has dramatically changed the way the Phone behaves. And when placed next to Microsoft’s Windows 8 (Surface RT tablet), you can see the same look and vision oozing over.
2. Sync with Everything
WP.com: With SkyDrive, your photos, videos, and Office docs are always available right on your Windows Phone. OneNote on your phone syncs to SkyDrive too, so your notes are always handy. And once SkyDrive is set up, you don’t need to worry about losing your stuff, even if your phone goes missing. It’s all automatically backed up.
Automatically upload every photo and video you take on your phone to SkyDrive for safekeeping (with a choice of full or lower resolution). Take your Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and OneNote notebooks on the road. SkyDrive gives you 7 GB of free storage that you control: unlike some others, we won’t move or delete your stuff.
Start a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet on your computer, then sync it to SkyDrive as you head out the door. Then you can write or edit some more on your phone with Office Mobile—from a cab, the beach, wherever. SkyDrive makes it a cinch to share docs and edit them with another person, too.
IGN: “SkyDrive gets you started with more space than any other service, at 7GBs." "Unlike iCloud, you can store your photos as long as you want."