Microsoft’s Windows Phone devices aren’t yet selling in the tens of millions, but the platform is maturing in ways that could boost sales. Alleged details of Windows Phone 8 emerged on Thursday in a leaked video intended for Microsoft’s partners. Information from the video was written up by PocketNow and upon first glance, all the details seem feasible. More importantly, they’re what Microsoft needs to improve sales.
Windows Phone initially didn’t impress me, but after its first software update, called Mango, I began to see promise. Next up for the platform reportedly is Tango and then Apollo; it’s Apollo that will be dubbed Windows Phone 8, with the following additions that can fill current gaps in the platform:
- Support for multi-core processors and four different screen sizes (presumably with different resolutions)
- Addition of removable microSD memory cards
- NFC, or near-field communications, support for wireless payments and other implementations
- Shared software components with Windows 8, Microsoft’s next iteration of its platform for desktops, laptops and tablets
- An updated method for synchronizing data and media between handset and computer
- Skype integration in the core operating system, making it a native app that can interact directly with contacts and other personal data.
- A proxy server feature for the web browser to help compress data usage by up to 30 percent.
When comparing the specs and features of today’s Windows Phone devices, many are put off by the support for single-core processors and fixed resolution. But Apollo should eliminate that problem, which I find to be an overstated issue. The dual-core A5 chip in Apple’s iPhone 4S runs at 800 MHz and keeps the phone moving because the platform is optimized for that clock speed. In my experience the same can be said of Windows Phone: Mine is just as fast as my iPhone for many tasks.
Still, the improved hardware potential will be welcome and should make a fast operating system even faster. Add in support for Skype, which Microsoft bought last year, NFC radios and a code link to Windows 8 and Microsoft should see more people thinking twice before leaving a store with the iPhone or an Android device once Apollo hits.