02nd Nov 2012
Microsoft recently launched its spanking new Windows Phone 8 mobile phone operating system. TechTree attended the Windows Phone 8 India launch event at The Park Hotel in New Delhi on the 30th of October. Vineet Durani, Director, Windows Phone Business Group, introduced us to WP8; the new OS supports multi-core CPUs, pixel-packed HD screens, NFC for easy and convenient transactions, and the much-awaited features of removable storage option using a microSD card slot as well as unrestricted Bluetooth file transfer. The UI has also been given a facelift, with Live Tiles reflecting status updates; these can now be resized. The gutter — the wasted space on the side of the screen — is gone, and now accommodates more tiles than in WP7.5. There is also a new feature called the Kid's Corner, which lets you create a separate home screen for your child (allowing only the apps and features you want to let him play with, and with all online transaction features disabled!).
The WP8 launch featured demos of almost all the available WP8 handsets from HTC, Nokia, and Samsung. There was nothing from Huawei, which is one of the four manufacturers that will launch WP8 devices initially. As is required for all Windows Phone devices, the UI is the same in all the devices across manufacturers, so that the user experience is uniform. However, a few hardware additions and software apps have been allowed, for purposes of differentiation.
Nokia: Being a prime partner with Microsoft in the Windows Phone affair, Nokia showed off two of its WP8 devices. The high-end Lumia 920 comes with a 4.5" WXGA IPS LCD PureMotion HD+ screen, 8.7 mp PureView technology camera, Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5 GHz CPU with 1 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of internal storage (not expandable). (Details about the camera aren't public yet, and we don't have anything to share on that front.)
Its less expensive sibling, the Lumia 820, has the same CPU and RAM, and sports a 4.3" ClearBlack OLED WVGA display. But its 8 mp camera does not have PureView, and its 8 GB of internal storage is expandable up to 32 GB microSD. These were the only phones of the lot that supported wireless charging. The handsets will be available in several colours.
HTC: All HTC WP8 handsets have their names prefixed with "Windows Phone 8". The flagship handset, the Windows Phone 8X, is powered by a Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5 GHz CPU with 1 GB of RAM. It has 16 GB of internal storage with no expansion option, 4.3" HD Super LCD 2 screen with pixel dimensions of 1280x720, 8 mp camera, and Beats Audio with dedicated amplifier. The Windows Phone 8S is the more affordable model with a 4" Super LCD display and 5 mp camera. It has a Snapdragon S4 1 GHz CPU with 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB internal storage with microSD expansion option, and Beats Audio.
Weighing just 113 grams, this was the lightest of all the demoed models. Both the HTC smartphones will be available in multiple colours.
Samsung: Last but not least, there was the Samsung ATIV S. As expected of the Korean manufacturer — whose devices are known for large screens — this handset featured a 4.8" Super AMOLED display, the largest of the lot. It is interesting that the device comes in the traditional form factor with rounded corners, which has now become the hallmark of Samsung devices across platforms. Thankfully, it is not a "plasticky" white, so it won't be confused with Samsung's Android devices. The ATIV S goes with a dark metallic scheme.
Unlike the capacitive touch buttons on the front, as in the rest of the handsets, this phone has a mechanical Start button, while the Back and Search button remain capacitive. Powered by a Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5 GHz CPU with 1 GB RAM and an 8 mp camera, its 16 GB of internal storage can be augmented by an addition of up to 64 GB, thanks to microSDXC card support. It will probably sport better power backup; the 2300 mAh battery is the largest of the lot.
These Windows Phone 8 handsets are tentatively scheduled for launch in around a month's time, probably during Diwali. Which one of these is the most appealing? Do let us know!
Also, check out the images of the demo devices in the image gallery below.
Windows Phone 8 Devices Demoed At Microsoft's Mobile OS Launch
All WP8 handsets from HTC, Nokia, and Samsung are slated to be available in India in around a month's time.
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