Windows Phone 8 Annoucement

What a hell of a week it has been for Microsoft, they went from a sleeping giant to the most exciting company in the industry. They did not get it perfect though and there were some bad bits – a lot of which was due to the lack of details, and in a way rush announcements.

Why did they decide to do a WP8 announcement this week, just giving us a platform update, and a few features, but no tooling or SDK for us to start developing for the new platform, it does not make sense and again they left more questions that needed answering than there were before. When we will find out more? When will there be an SDK? When is the release date?

The Disappointment

Lets start with the disappointing – yet already known fact- that existing devices will not be able to upgrade to WP8.

This SUCKS, but is understandable for the following reasons:

  • WP8 requires UEFI booting which I doubt any existing device would support
  • Even if the above was not true, it would be an incredible struggle to get the OEM’s to rewrite all of their drivers and to publish the update

So yes it sucks, but it is understandable. I hope (wish) MS comes out with something closer to release to make it up to us early adopters – free credit to the market place, or subsidised upgrades.

The WP7.8 update is a bit of a reprieve though, but it will really depend how much is back-ported to it, to decide if it is acceptable.

The Awesome

MS unvield a whole host of new features, and promised that there would be more to come which they are not announcing yet.

Enterprise Features

Microsoft has really put the nail in the lid of RIM’s Coffin here, and will mean MS will lead enterprise adoption of smartphones.

NFC

MS has the most complete and broadest implementation of NFC that I have yet to see in any device. In android it seems to be limited to just payments, but MS have embedded it into everything it seems, so you can send and receive many types of data, and it will be a great companion to Windows 8.

I cannot wait to see the innovative ways developers use it.

Native Code

As a developer this feature does not really interest me, but it does mean there will be a much wider selection of games to play, as it will be easier for developers to port across platforms.

Development

It seems MS has finally decided what its development environment is, after years of WPF, Silverlight, and other technologies. Now WP8 apps will be able to be developed in the same way as Windows 8 apps.

New Start Screen

A much needed improvement. Having smaller tiles will be great. I have a number of apps I use daily, but I just don’t need them taking up so much room on the screen.

VoIP Integration

This looks to be the deepest any platform has integrated such a feature, and will hopefully create a new bred of devices and carriers, where all you need is a data plan.

Overall

As MS is doing with Windows 8, what they with originally did with WP. They combine the best of both worlds. iOS is boring with its pain icon start screen. Androids start screen is a mess of uncontrolled resource eating widgets. WP gives flexibility, creativity, and a widget like experience, but in a controlled manor to protect resources and usability. And MS does this across the whole OS, and then adds more.

A great solid, set of updates to an already solid platform. I just hope the lack of an upgrade path, does not destroy the ecosystem, but this is make or break time for MS and the platform.

iOS/iPhone took off with its second major iteration.

Android took off with its second major iteration.

WP8 is the second major iteration, will it take off? (I sure hope so, its the best mobile OS out there)