Windows Phone 8 devices to roll out worldwide in November
- — 28 October, 2012 22:00
A slew of smartphones running Windows Phone 8 will roll out worldwide in November, Microsoft said in a press conference this morning.
Chief executive Steve Ballmer said some phones would be released as soon as this weekend in Europe, and the rest of the world would see them over the rest of next month.
There were no specific details on a New Zealand launch or which models Kiwi consumers will be able to get their hands on.
However, PC World does know that the 4.8-inch Samsung ATIV S smartphone, which Ballmer showed off in his presentation, will be available for New Zealanders at some point in the near future, and Nokia has previously told us that its new phones, including the Lumia 920, were dated for New Zealand availability sometime in November.
Ballmer said the hardware on its way was “some of the best hardware you will find - if not the best hardware you can find - in any smartphone form factor”.
Windows Phone 8 - what's new?
Microsoft's Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore announced several new features exclusive to Windows Phone, including always-on Skype, a kid-friendly partition for your WP8 device, and an integrated application called Data Sense.
Skype is integrated deeply into the OS, and will be always on, so Skype users can receive calls and messages from Skype at any time. We think it's likely that you'll be able to change to offline mode, if you prefer not to be always available to your Skype contact list.
Skype has been designed to be always on without running its code and draining the battery, Belfiore said.
While Belfiore did not say how much data always-on Skype would consume, he did announce a feature for keeping track of how much you're using, called Data Sense.
Data Sense compresses all web pages users visit so that they use less data, without changing the appearance of the page. It also adjusts the way your phone behaves when you get near your data cap so that you won’t go over.
Kid's Corner may not be a killer app for younger Windows Phone users, but for parents it may be. The feature creates a whole separate partition for kids to use. Parents can pick and choose which apps are available in Kid's Corner.
After setting it up, parents turn off the phone and turn it on again. From the lock screen, children can swipe to the left to bring up Kid's Corner. If the child swipes upward, the phone will open the regular partition. However, as Belfiore was quick to point out, putting a pin on the phone will prevent children from accessing those areas while allowing them to still use the Kid's Corner.
Windows Phone 8 will also have a feature that allows users to essentially pin a live tile to the lock screen. For example, you could pin Facebook photos and have a revolving view of every photo you've uploaded to the social media service since you started your account (PC World is certain that you have no questionable photos on there visible to your boss if they pick up your phone).
PC World will update this story as we get more details from carriers and smartphone manufacturers.