Skip to comments.Microsoft's Windows Phone 8: The Good and the Bad
Posted on 06/20/2012 12:48:14 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Microsoft revealed many new details of Windows Phone 8, its smartphone platform due later this year. Here are the cool new features that will make developers and users happy.
First of two parts
Microsoft on Wednesday revealed key pieces of its Windows Phone 8 smartphone strategy at an event for developers in San Francisco. The news is mostly good, and should vastly improve the scale and reach of the Windows Phone ecosystem when the platform launches later this year.
Looking at all the pieces of its mobile strategy offered by Microsoft, it's easy to foresee a brighter future for Windows Phone in the marketplace. It won't be smooth sailing, however, as there are some data points shared by Microsoft that will surely upset its current installed base. First, here's a list of the good stuff.
* Shared Core:
One of the most significant features of Windows Phone 8 is that it shares its core kernel with Windows 8. This means application developers will be able to more easily target Microsoft's entire range of devices--smartphones, tablets, and computers.
* Upgraded Hardware:
With Windows Phone 8, Microsoft greatly expanded the types of hardware that can run its smartphone platform. Moving forward, Windows Phone will support multicore processors and removable/expandable storage. It also adds support for more screen resolutions, including 480 x 800, 768 x 1280, and 720 x 1280.
* Nokia Maps:
Microsoft has long hinted that partner Nokia will provide mapping products for the entire Windows Phone platform and Wednesday confirmed that change. With Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone will no longer use Bing Maps and instead will use Nokia Maps. All of Nokia Maps' features will be available to all Windows Phones, including voice navigation and offline mode.
* NFC and Wallet:
Microsoft hopes to leapfrog other mobile payment services with its new Mobile Wallet Hub. The Hub will let Windows Phone 8 users store their credit and debit card information, membership cards and loyalty programs, and local daily deals all in one app. Further, it will support banking via near-field communications for tap-and-go mobile payments. Microsoft also noted that it is working with Isis, which is a joint initiative being developed by AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless. Windows Phone 8's Mobile Wallet Hub will support Isis next year.
* C and C++:
Windows Phone 8 offers native support for the C and C++ development languages. This will be a boon for developers. Microsoft also plans to offer a wide range of APIs that work between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, which is possible thanks to the shared core.
* Desktop IE10:
The desktop version of Internet Explorer 10 is headed to Windows Phone 8. Microsoft believes this will be good for developers, whose websites will work equally well on Windows Phone devices and desktops. It includes anti-phishing filters, and other tools for added security. Enterprise-Ready: WP8 offers a complete security platform for enterprises. It includes Secure Boot and Bitlocker encryption. WP8 offers flexible app distribution that is controlled by businesses. It also offers device management for large enterprises. It also includes a new Company Hub, an app that is run by companies for their employees with Windows Phone devices.
All together, these changes point to positive things ahead for Windows Phone 8, but not everything is roses.
Find out why in "Windows Phone 8: The Bad."
Second of two parts
As exciting as the new features for Windows Phone 8 are, here are several reasons for Windows Phone 7 users to get angry.
Windows Phone 8 has some significant new features on board. Consumer-facing features such as the new Start screen and broader hardware support mean that Windows Phones will come in more shapes and sizes, and will be more customizable by end users.
The good news doesn't stop there. Windows Phone 8 adds a slew of under-the-hood changes for developers, including a shared kernel with Windows 8, new support for native C and C++, and Internet Explorer 10.
There's some bad news, however. Windows Phone 7 users get left in the dust, so to speak. Here are the specifics.
* No WP8 Upgrade for WP7 Owners:
None of today's shipping Windows Phone devices will be able to update to Windows Phone 8. That means the shiny new Nokia Lumia 900 that consumers just bought last month won't get the latest system software from Microsoft. In other words, Microsoft is screwing early adopters. That's not going to go over well.
* Partial UI Tweak:
Microsoft is going to deliver the most significant new feature of WP8 to WP7.5 devices in a small update called WP7.8. This update will bring with it only the Start screen changes that were detailed by Microsoft on Wednesday. As nice as this gesture is, there are so many other new features being left out that current hardware owners might feel as if they've been slapped in the face.
* App Fragmentation:
Apps written in the native Windows Phone 8 code will not be backward compatible with Windows Phone 7/7.5. That means the best apps for the best new platform won't work on older devices. Again, early adopters are screwed. However, all apps written for Windows Phone 7.5 will work on Windows Phone 8.
* Old Hardware Left in the Dust:
One of the big problems across the entire smartphone industry is the rate at which devices become obsolete. Windows Phone 8 completely obsolesces all previous Windows Phone hardware. The new hardware specs that will be featured by WP8 mean it can run on dual- and quad-core processors, offer high-rez screens, and add nifty features such as NFC. Aside from just the platform itself, WP7 device owners will be using badly outdated hardware, too.
Aside from leaving early adopters out of the party, Microsoft still failed to provide a deep-dive into all the consumer-facing features. Will the core apps will be updated, if so, how? What about integration and sharing across Windows 8 devices. Will users be able to sync content, user data, and settings across the Windows 8 ecosystem?
What Microsoft showed is certainly a good start, but the company still has to flesh out the details if it hopes to win over iOS and Android users down the line.
Microsoft Essentially Told You Not To Buy A Windows Phone Until Later This Year
With its big Windows Phone 8 announcement today, Microsoft buried its current line of Windows Phones. That's because today's devices run the Windows Phone 7 operating system and won't be compatible with the new software when it's released this fall.
So if you own a Nokia Lumia 900 or other Windows Phone, you're going to be missing out on a lot of great features.
And all those Windows Phones sitting on store shelves are going to be obsolete in a few short months.
Granted, Microsoft will be issuing a minor update to current Windows Phone 7 devices later this year that will give some benefits like the new customizable Start screen. But future Windows Phone 8 devices will get all the glory. They'll get the best apps and most useful new features like NFC payments. They'll also play nice with Windows 8 tablets and desktops.
That's good news if you want to buy a Windows Phone 8 device later this year.
It's really bad news if you're already a Windows Phone 7 owner.
I hope US Cellular gets a windows phone 8 when avalible. I’d like to try one out.
Being a cynic, this basically put the gun to Nokia’s head and pulled the trigger. The basic fact is that if you buy a Windows phone today - you are buying an orphan.
This is exactly what Nokia didn’t need. Basically, this means that the 10,000 layoff will just be the tip of the iceberg.
Or, if you are cynic like me; this was intentionally done to drive the value of Nokia into the dirt; so MSFT can buy them for pennies tomorrow. Stab your business partner in the back today, then take everything he has tomorrow.
This is terminally stupid.
I don’t want my PC to behave like a mobile telephone.
I need it for math and similations.
Nokia had to know that without hardware encryption capability, those W7 phones were just a sacrificial placeholder.
I won’t touch another Microsoft hardware or software product with a 10 foot pole.
I’ve been burned too many times by Microsoft abruptly dropping a product with no good alternative or upgrade path.
I have a 120GB Zune which still works but the Zune line is now abandoned.
I invested considerable time learning to use MS FrontPage and MS Visual Foxpro. Both products were abandoned with no good alternative or upgrade path provided by MS.
Because I work within the Windows OS, I have to continue using that product, but I will never use anything else from Microsoft.
For the last two years, I have been using MySQL, PHP and Joomla for web development. Working with Open Source tools is a very refreshing change.
Five years ago I thought that you couldn’t go wrong hitching your star to Microsoft. Today I would recommend avoiding Microsoft as much as possible.
And I don’t my phone to be a PC.
I need it for calls and addresses.
Okay, I’m way behind the times, but KISS.
That’s why I bought a 710, because I knew I couldn’t upgrade. I saved my phone upgrade for when Windows 8 came out.
But anybody who bought the other phones will still be able to use them and buy the apps for them. It’s not as though the phones they own are bricks.
They did. I heard an interview with the CEO who said, six months ago, that the really nice phones won’t be coming out until July.
I just read, Microsoft does plan to offer a small upgrade, when they release Windows 8, that will give much of the functionality of Window 8, on Windows 7 phones. So it’s not as though Window 7 phones are being turned into bricks.
However, the WP8 source code is very different from WP7 so it will not be compatible with most "legacy" WP7 hardware. Apps developed specifically for WP8 functionality will not work on WP7 phones without some significant changes. Interestingly, WP8 appears to be designed for very long-term life - the code can support up to 64-core CPUs! (wonder what battery life is like on a 64core phone!?!?!)
My LG WP7.5 phone is the best 'smart phone' my family has owned to date - and that experience includes iPhone3, the next-to-latest Symbian phones, and two different (and very capable) Blackberrys. I'll give WP8 a chance to 'mature' a bit (and my current contract to expire) ... then I'm definitely going to get a WP8 phone.
when are these comming out?
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