Feeds

Microsoft's uncloaks Phone 8 developer preview

One Windows kernel to rule them all

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Microsoft held its developer preview of the Windows Phone 8 operating system on Wednesday, and revealed that it is shifting the platform to share core kernel features with Windows 8 for better integration.

At the rollout event in San Francisco, corporate vice president of the Windows Phone program Joe Belfiore said that Microsoft's Phone OS had been built around the Windows CE core, but that this wasn't good enough anymore, so the new mobile platform had been rewritten around Windows 8.

The sharing of features will mean much tighter integration between Redmond's Windows and Phone users, and Belfiore promised that developers would be able to simply port their existing Windows applications to run on smartphones with a minimum of recoding. Device drivers can also be shared across both platforms.

Phone 8 will also run IE10, and cloud app providers will find it simple to design for both PCs and Phones, he said, with the new version of the mobile browser doubling existing HTML5 performance and boosting JavaScript speeds by four times. Cloud developers will find this a boon for writing PC and mobile front ends, Belfiore asserted.

Windows Phone 8 presentation slide

Meet Microsoft's next attempt at cracking the smartphone market

Belfiore acknowledged that IT administrators had been less than impressed with the integration features of Phone 7.5 and its predecessors, and he said that Microsoft has taken this criticism to heart. He promised Phone 8 would fill in the gaps, including adding encryption and device management features and the ability to add third-party applications that run across both platforms.

Phone 8 will also support native code in C and C++, along with hardware acceleration from Direct3D and support for DirectX. This is going to be a boon for games developers looking to port their products to handsets, he said, and Belfiore promised "some freaking great games" at launch.

Redmond is also adding map functions thanks for a deal with Nokia to add its NAVTEQ data to the operating system. The maps will work in online and offline modes, contain local information on "many" countries around the world, and location applications can run in the background while other applications are accessed.

Microsoft has also been working on its speech recognition and is making the technology available to developers. It has been working with Audible to beef up its technology – and the event's presenters couldn't resist digs at the poor performance of Apple's Siri application.

The new OS has been designed to run on multicore processors, and Microsoft is increasing the number of resolution options for manufacturers, adding support for WXGA (1280 by 768, 15:9) and 720p (1280 by 720, 16:9) screens to allow hardware builders more options, rather than the single WVGA screens.

The OS also supports microSD storage and near-field communications (NFC) hardware, along with secure SIM technology from operators. Orange in France will be the first to release phones that use the NFC and secure SIM setup at launch, with the features coming next year for US customers via the AT&T and T-Mobile Isis project.

To accomplish this, Microsoft has updated its Wallet function in Phone 8, which the company is opening up to third-party developers. Belfiore said that Google's approach to wallet technology was flawed, that Microsoft would be announcing partnerships soon, and demoed a Chase mobile-banking application.

All these upgrades come at a price, however. Phone 7 users won't be able to upgrade to Windows 8, so it's upgrade time for existing customers and bad news for big corporate buyers who've already invested in Phone 7. To mollify users, Microsoft is updating Phone 7.5 to Phone 7.8, adding the Phone 8 start screen to the handset and new features such as enhanced image processing.

At launch, Microsoft will have new hardware from Nokia, Samsung, HTC, and Huawei, with new handsets being supported for at least 18 months. All updates will be sent out over the air rather than forcing users to hunt for a USB cable, and registered developers will get a preview of any updates before their general release. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.