Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8

  • New WP8 features include Kid’s Corner, a worry-free way for parents to share their phone with their kids
  •  Nokia, Samsung and HTC also roll out an array of Windows Phone 8 devices

Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8HOT on the heels of the Windows 8 rollout, Microsoft Corp unveiled its Windows Phone 8 smartphone operating system, with new features such as include Kid’s Corner and Rooms (pic shows Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president, Windows Phone Program Management, demoing Kid’s Corner).
 
The company also showcased a range of new smartphones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC, each with their own differentiated designs, colors and features. Major mobile operators and handset partners across Asia Pacific will start selling Windows Phone 8 in the coming weeks, Microsoft said in a statement.
 
 “We can’t wait for the world to meet Windows Phone 8, the most personal smartphone there is,” said Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of the Windows Phone Division at Microsoft.
 
As with its predecessor, Windows Phone 8 has Live Tiles at its heart, with which users can arrange the Start screen however they want by pinning their favorite people, apps, music, games, photos and more.
 
Three sizes of Live Tiles and 20 bright color choices including cobalt, crimson and lime mean you can personalize your Start screen to be unmistakably yours, Microsoft said. Other features include:

Live Apps, which bring information right to the Start screen, such as the Groupon deal of the day, flight information and news headlines.

Top apps. The Windows Phone Store has 120,000 apps to choose from, with hundreds added every day and hits coming this holiday, such as Angry Birds Star Wars, Cut the Rope Experiments, Disney’s Where’s My Water, LivingSocial, Temple Run, Urbanspoon and many more, Microsoft said.

Kid’s Corner. Exclusive to Windows Phone 8, Kid’s Corner is a worry-free way to share your phone with your kids, so they can play Angry Birds without texting your angry boss. Parents can now hand over their phones to the kids without worrying about deleted photos, misdirected emails, unapproved purchases or accidental phone calls. After a simple setup, parents can activate a specialized place on the phone for kids to play — complete with their own customizable Start screens — where they can access only the apps, games, music and videos picked by parents.

Rooms. Sometimes you want to share and chat with one group, not your entire social network. Rooms allow you to create private groups of people who have Windows Phone 8 — like your family members best friends or fantasy football league — and easily connect with just them. Chat, share calendars, shopping lists or photos in an on-going conversation where only those invited can join in. You can share some aspects of Rooms with friends and family on other smartphones as well.

Always-on, premium Skype experience. With the new Skype app, coming soon to Windows Phone 8, you can make and receive Skype calls just like a regular phone call. Simply tap a friend or family member’s contact card in the People Hub, or just pick up when the phone rings. Skype is always on and available so you can choose how to connect with people.

Leading up to today’s launch, Nokia, Samsung and HTC announced an array of phones for Windows Phone 8.
 
The Nokia Lumia 920 offers state-of-the-art photography that fits in your pocket, and it is the world’s only smartphone to include Optical Image Stabilization. The Nokia Lumia 820 offers a ClearBlack display and removable back exchangeable shells in a range of vibrant colors. Both the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 offer wireless charging.
 
The Windows Phone 8X by HTC was designed with sleek lines and radiant colors to match Windows Phone’s new Live Tiles. This phone also breaks new ground in optics with 1080p video recording, f2.0 aperture and a dedicated HTC ImageChip on the main 8-megapixel camera and an ultrawide-angle lens on the front camera that lets you fit up to four people in the frame for a premium Skype experience. The 8X and its smaller sibling, the 8S, both have Beats Audio and exclusive built-in amps.
 
The Samsung ATIV S brings the biggest screen to Windows Phone, with a bright 4.8-inch touch screen and large battery for extended battery life. Wrapped in brushed aluminum, the ATIV S balances high-end materials and technology with a hairline design and light weight.

 
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