Even though smart phones and tablets are everyday items for most people, they are also being adopted at a surprising rate by businesses for office use. It is no secret that the iPhone and iPad have dominated this market and will continue to do so for the immediate future. Windows, on the other hand, is more closely associated with desktop and laptop computers. However, Windows Phone 8 promises to change this situation.
Microsoft has ambitious plans for the Windows Phone 8 operating system. It is their intention to become a major player in the mobile market by making Windows 8 available on a wide range of devices produced by many different manufacturers. Previewers of Windows 8 have reported that it works well on both desktops and touch interface devices. Microsoft included the Metro style interface in Windows Phone, the mobile OS, and have updated and upgraded it with Windows 8. Instead of icons, the interface uses tiles, which can also be used to display real time data, making access to data much more efficient. If greater detail is needed about any tile, simply tapping it brings up the full application for a more extensive view.
It is no surprise to anyone to learn that Windows Phone devices are not selling in the numbers that the iPhone is selling, but improvements in the platform promise much better sales in the future. Some inside information about Windows Phone 8 was leaked when a video that was produced for a business partner was made public. PocketNow reported some of the details of the video. Those details seem believable and more significantly, they address the type of things that Microsoft needs to improve in order to gain market share.
Windows Phone was not initially very impressive. However, after the release of Mango, the first software update, Windows Phone was starting to look more promising. The next two releases, dubbed Tango and Apollo, will add more improvements. Apollo is what is promised to become Windows Phone 8 and will include a number of improvements to strengthen its appeal for the market.
Windows Phone 8 will support multi-core processors in addition to four different screen sizes, which hopefully means four different screen resolutions. It will add additional device support for removable microSD memory cards and near-field communications (NFC) for things like wireless payments. It will also share software components with the next iteration of Microsoft’s desktop, laptop and tablet OS, Windows 8. There will also be improvements in the method for synchronizing the handset and computer. To reduce data usage, there will be a proxy server feature that will compress data by up to 30 percent.
Both tablets and phones are far more useful if they have a broadband connection. Unfortunately most cell phone service providers cap data transfer or throttle bandwidth which can seriously reduce smart phone usability. Windows Phone 8 has one nice feature to mitigate limits on data. It will delay downloading until it has access to WiFi. It can also be configured to look for an available WiFi connection before trying to use any available 3G or 4G service. This is an example of how it will provide a more intuitive experience. The ability to optimize the use of wireless connections, the improved touch interface, and real time data with tiles all make windows eight far more attractive as a mobile platform.
With support for touch screen devices, Windows 8 will be perfectly functional without a mouse. This is further enhanced with some new system gestures that provide convenient access to system features. For instance, sliding your finger from the top down will close or minimize applications. Sliding your finger at the bottom of the screen will reveal access to specific menus and commands.
Looking at the current release of Windows Phone, you will see the limitations imposed by the fixed screen resolution and support for only single-core processors. These limitations are alleviated by Windows Phone 8. Be that as it may, the processor support issue is a bit overblown. Windows Phone, even with its current limitations, can perform many tasks as fast as the Apple iPhone 4S dual-core A5 running at 800 MHz.
Seeing the Windows Phone OS running without the limitations of the current mobile operating system and with system support for chat and NFC radios makes one hopeful that these improvements could shake up the mobile landscape a bit. Once Windows Phone 8 is released, the Android phones and iPhones can expect some stiff competition.