Microsoft just announced Windows Phone 8 during a platform preview press event in San Francisco. Windows Phone Program manager Joe Belfiore said that he's excited to talk about what will be coming to Windows Phone "this fall." Belfiore also said the platform will have a "shared core" with the company's Windows 8 operating system.
Windows Phone 8 will support 720p and WXGA (768-lines of resolution in landscape mode) resolutions, in addition to 800 x 480. The company also said it will support "dual-core and more," which suggests that quad-core devices are in the works. Windows Phone 8 will also support microSD cards for additional storage — a feature we've long been asking for.
Belfiore also said that we can expect "killer games" on Windows Phone 8 because PC game developer will have an easy time porting it to the phone. "You're going to see some beefy, powerful phones running some amazing games this year," Belfiore said. "Like no games we've seen before."
Windows Phone 8 will also offer support for NFC, which will enable "scenarios between phones, laptops and PCs," Belfiore explained. There will also be third-party NFC applications available. Microsoft said it will offer "the most complete wallet experience," too, which is called "Wallet Hub." It can be used for debit cards, membership cards and much more. Like Google Wallet, Windows Phone 8 device owners will have the option to place secure mobile payments by tapping their mobile phones during the point of sale. The secure element will be stored on the SIM card, instead of in the device, and Microsoft said mobile carriers are more comfortable with that option. Microsoft's primary partner on Wallet has been Orange.
Every Windows Phone will include the Wallet Hub, Orange will launch secure SIMs first and Microsoft said it's working with other operators to get the same experience. Belfiore said Microsoft is working with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile on their ISIS mobile payment launch but that we probably won't see a mobile payment system here in the U.S.
Windows Phone 8 will also include Nokia's mapping technology built in.
Other features include encryption and secure boot, two features that IT departments will probably love. "Your data will be very safe on a Windows Phone," Belfiore said. Device management will also be available in Windows Phone 8.
Oddly enough, Microsoft said it's also changing the start screen in Windows Phone 8. It will still allow users to pin stuff to the home screen but they can also set the size of tiles. We're definitely excited to hear more about Windows Phone 8 ahead of its launch this fall. (Microsoft also said it will be available this holiday season, so there's a bit of confusion on when exactly it will launch).