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Windows Phone 8 to get NFC, HD and Skype

Rumours confirmed, details emerge

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Following a leaked video which showed Windows Phone top dog Joe Belfiore listing the features adorning the next version of Windows Phone, beta testers have come clean on what we should expect.

The video was intended for device manufacturers, but got into the hands of PocketNow, which promptly shared the details. The information has now been confirmed by bloggers close to Microsoft, and shows Windows Phone 8 supporting four different screen resolutions and inter-app communications, as well as an electronic wallet for pay-by-bonk applications.

Like Google's Galaxy Nexus, the Near Field Communications component in Windows Phone 8 handsets will support a secure module embedded in the SIM – and thus under the control of the network operator – as well as having another secure module in the handset. That second module will be under Microsoft's control, giving Redmond the option of launching a Microsoft Wallet just as Google has done.

Windows Phone 8 also gets integrated Skype, apparently making VoIP calls indistinguishable from cellular connections, and a location-based-recommendation service. It also gets much closer to Windows 8, sharing in branding as well as core code, although not compatibility as some had suggested.

The support for NFC is no great surprise. Microsoft's inclusion of a secure module under its own control will annoy the network operators, but not very much – they'll probably be too busy complaining about the Skype integration to notice.

But it does leave Apple as the stand-out in the proximity-payment stakes: even Symbian has an NFC strategy, albeit one which will probably never reach fruition, so one can't imagine Cupertino being left behind for long. ®

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