Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8 Start Screen
|Company / developer||Microsoft|
|Working state||Current, support ends on January 12, 2016|
|Initial release||October 29, 2012|
|Latest stable release||8.0.10512.142 (Update 3) / October 14, 2013|
|Kernel type||Hybrid (NT kernel)|
|License||Commercial proprietary software|
|Preceded by||Windows Phone 7|
Windows Phone 8 is the second generation of the Windows Phone mobile operating system from Microsoft. It was released on October 29, 2012, and like its predecessor, it features the interface known as Metro (or Modern UI).
Windows Phone 8 replaces its CE-based architecture used on Windows Phone 7 devices with the Windows NT kernel found on many Windows 8 components. Current Windows Phone 7.x devices cannot run or update to Windows Phone 8 and new applications compiled specifically for Windows Phone 8 are not made available for Windows Phone 7.x devices. Developers can make their apps available on both Windows Phone 7.x and Windows Phone 8.
- 1 Development history
- 2 Features
- 3 Hardware requirements
- 4 Syncing
- 5 Reception
- 6 Reported problems
- 7 See also
- 8 References
On June 20, 2012, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8 (codenamed Apollo), a second generation of the Windows Phone operating system for release later in 2012. Windows Phone 8 replaces its previously Windows CE-based architecture with one based on the Windows NT kernel (with many components shared with Windows 8), allowing developers to easily port applications between the two platforms.
Windows Phone 8 also allows devices with larger screens (the 3 confirmed sizes are "WVGA 800x480 15:9","WXGA 1280x768 15:9","720p 1280x720 16:9" resolutions) and multi-core processors, NFC (which can primarily be used to share content and perform payments), backwards compatibility with Windows Phone 7 apps, improved support for removable storage (which now functions more similarly to how such storage is handled on Windows and Android), a redesigned home screen incorporating resizable tiles across the entire screen, a new Wallet hub (to integrate NFC payments, coupon websites such as Groupon, and loyalty cards), and "first-class" integration of VoIP applications into the core functions of the OS. Additionally, Windows Phone 8 will include more features aimed at the enterprise market, such as device management, BitLocker encryption, and the ability to create a private Marketplace to distribute apps to employees—features expected to meet or exceed the enterprise capabilities of the previous Windows Mobile platform. Additionally, Windows Phone 8 will support over-the-air updates, and all Windows Phone 8 devices will receive software support for at least 36 months after their release.
In the interest of ensuring it is released with devices designed to take advantage of its new features, Windows Phone 8 will not be made available as an update for existing Windows Phone 7 devices. Instead, Microsoft released Windows Phone 7.8 as an update for Windows Phone 7 devices, which backported several features such as the redesigned home screen.
Addressing some software bugs with Windows Phone 8 forced Microsoft to delay some enterprise improvements, like VPN support, until 2014.
General Distribution Release 1 (Portico)
A minor update known as Portico was rolled out on December 2012 which brought some improvements and bugfixes, including enhancements in Messaging, more efficient Bluetooth connectivity, and an "always-on" setting for WiFi connections, among other additional platform updates.
General Distribution Release 2 (GDR 2)
Microsoft rolled out a package of minor updates called "General Distribution Release 2" (GDR 2), beginning in July 2013 and spanning the following months, depending on the manufacturer and carrier. These updates include the addition of FM Radio support on some devices, the ability to use a Lens application as the default camera, Data Sense for monitoring data usage on some devices not all (which had previously only been available to Verizon subscribers), bug fixes for Xbox Music, and HTML5 updates for Internet Explorer Mobile. CalDAV/CardDAV support was also added, allowing Windows Phone users to connect to services such as Google Calendar after Google dropped Microsoft Exchange support in 2012.[not in citation given]
This update also addressed the "Other Storage" bug, where users were unable to delete temporary files that consume as much as 10 GB of storage on some phones. Windows Phone now automatically cleans up the "Other Storage" section, with Windows Phone Vice President Joe Belfiore tweeting that "non-deleted large files...that caused 'other' storage issues were fixed in GDR2". Daniel Rubino of WPCentral initially questioned whether the update actually fixed the bug on July 27, 2013, as some space was still allocated towards the "Other Storage" section. In response to the skepticism about the update's legitimacy, Belfiore later clarified that although the update cleans up most temporary files, some files necessary for access to media, such as email attachments, still remain. Rubino confirmed Belfiore's clarification was consistent with his observations on July 29, reporting that phones previously affected by the bug saw a significant reduction in space taken up by the "Other Storage" section upon upgrading to GDR2, and that "Other Storage" may include critical files, such as game data and graphics, that are part of the OS's infrastructure. This problem was further addressed with the release of Update 3, which now lets users delete temporary files manually.
GDR2 also includes fixes to Bluetooth, which was previously not pairing correctly with some car models. Additional pairing fixes were added in GDR3, along with the addition of a separate "Driving Mode" application. 
General Distribution Release 3 (Update 3)
On October 14, 2013, Microsoft released the third update for Windows Phone 8, which would roll out to phones over the following months. Windows Phone Developers were among the first to receive the update under a new Developer Preview Program. Update 3 added several new features such as a rotation lock, support for larger displays (up to six-inches and 1080p resolution) along with support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. Devices with larger screens and 1080p resolution were able to display an extra column of live tiles on the Start Screen. Other new features included the ability to close apps in the multitasking view, and a Driving Mode.
In March 2013, Microsoft announced that updates for the Windows Phone 8 operating system would be made available through July 8, 2014. Microsoft pushed support up to 36 months, announcing that updates for the Windows Phone 8 operating system would be made available through January 12, 2016. Windows Phone 8 devices will be upgradeable to the next edition of Windows Phone, unlike Windows Phone 7.x devices, which were not upgradeable to Windows Phone 8.
Windows Phone 8 is the first mobile OS from Microsoft to use the Windows NT kernel, which is the same kernel that runs Windows 8. The operating system adds improved file system, drivers, network stack, security components, media and graphics support. Using the NT kernel, Windows Phone can now support multi-core CPUs of up to 64 cores, as well as 1280x720 and 1280x768 resolutions, in addition to the base 800x480 resolution already available on Windows Phone 7. Furthermore, Windows Phone 8 also adds support for MicroSD cards, which are commonly used to add extra storage to phones. Support for 1080p screens was added in October 2013.
Due to the switch to the NT kernel, Windows Phone 8 also supports native 128-bit Bitlocker encryption and Secure Boot. Windows Phone 8 also supports NTFS due to this switch.
Internet Explorer 10 is the default browser in Windows Phone 8 and carries over key improvements also found in the desktop version. The navigation interface has been simplified down to a single customizable button (defaults to stop / refresh) and the address bar. While users can change the button to a 'Back' button, there is no way to add a 'Forward' button.
Unlike its predecessor, Windows Phone 8 uses true multitasking, allowing developers to create apps that can run in the background and resume instantly.
A user can switch between "active" tasks by pressing and holding the Back button, but any application listed may be suspended or terminated under certain conditions, such as a network connection being established or battery power running low. An app running in the background may also automatically suspend if the user has not opened it for a long duration of time.
The user can close applications by opening the multitasking view and pressing the "X" button in the right-hand corner of each application window. 
Windows Phone 8 adds Kids Corner, which operates as a kind of "guest mode". The user chooses which applications and games appear on the Kids Corner. When Kids Corner is activated, apps and games installed on the device can be played or accessed without touching the data of the main user signed into the Windows Phone.
Rooms is a feature added specifically for group messaging and communication. Using Rooms, users can contact and see Facebook and Twitter updates only from members of the group created. Members of the group can also share instant messages and photos from within the room. These messages will be shared only with the other room members.
With the release of Update 3 in late 2013, pairing a Windows Phone 8 device with a car via Bluetooth now automatically activates "Driving Mode", a specialized UI designed for using a mobile device while driving.
Data Sense allows users to set data usage limits based on their individual plan. Data Sense can restrict background data when the user is near their set limit (a heart icon is used to notify the user when background tasks are being automatically stopped). Although this feature was originally exclusive to Verizon phones in the United States, the GDR2 update released in July 2013 made Data Sense available to all Windows Phone 8 handsets.
NFC and Wallet
Select Windows Phones running Windows Phone 8 add NFC capability, which allows for data transfer between two Windows Phone devices, or between a Windows Phone device, and a Windows 8 computer or tablet, using a feature called "Tap and Send".
In certain markets, NFC support on Windows Phone 8 can also be used to conduct in-person transactions through credit and debit cards stored on the phone through the Wallet application. Carriers may activate the NFC feature through SIM or integrated phone hardware. Orange will be first carrier to support NFC on Windows Phone 8. Besides NFC support for transactions, Wallet can also be used to store credit cards in order to make Windows Phone Store and other in-app purchases (which is also a new feature), and can be used to store coupons and loyalty cards.
- Xbox SmartGlass allows control of an Xbox 360 and Xbox One with a phone (Available for Windows Phone, iOS and Android)
- Xbox Music services support playback audio files in Windows Phone, as well as music purchases.
- Xbox Video services support playback of video files in Windows Phone but not video purchases.
- Native code support (C++), allows for simplified porting from platforms such as Android, Symbian, and iOS
- Simplified porting of Windows 8 apps to Windows Phone 8 (compatibility with Windows 8 "Modern UI" apps)
- Remote device management of Windows Phone similar to management of Windows PCs
- VoIP and video chat integration for any VoIP or video chat app (integrates into the phone dialer, people hub)
- Firmware over the air for Windows Phone updates
- Minimum 36 month support of Windows Phone updates to Windows Phone 8 devices
- Camera app now supports "lenses", which allow third parties to skin and add features to camera interface
- Native screen capture is added by pressing home and power buttons simultaneously
- Hebrew language support is added for Microsoft to introduce Windows Phone to the Israeli market.
- Although Windows Phone does have a hub for social network updates, and also enables individual apps to deliver notifications to the Start Screen via a live tile, it does not include a unified center for notifications from both programs and social networks. This is a highly requested feature,  and was not included because Microsoft "ran out of time" before the release of Windows Phone 8. A leaked build of a future version of Windows Phone included a notification center, suggesting that it will be incorporated in the forthcoming "Windows Phone Blue" update. Users also had access to a third party notifications center, Unification, which was published by Liquid Daffodil, through a download in the Windows Phone Store. However, Unification was retired in early October because of a lack of developer interest. 
- Although Windows Phone 8 currently does not have VPN support, Microsoft has confirmed that it will add the feature in a forthcoming update targeted at enterprise users in early 2014. 
Microsoft keeps a site where people can submit and vote on features they would like to see added to Windows Phone.
|Windows Phone 8 minimum device requirements|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor or Snapdragon 800|
|Minimum 512 MB RAM for WVGA phones; minimum 1 GB RAM for 720p / WXGA / 1080p|
|Minimum 4 GB flash memory|
|GPS and A-GNSS; GLONASS is supported if OEMs decide to include it|
|Support for micro-USB 2.0|
|3.5mm stereo headphone jack with three-button detection support|
|Rear-facing AF camera with optional LED or Xenon flash, optional front-facing camera (both need to be VGA or better) and dedicated camera button|
|Accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors, as well as vibration motor (magnetometer and gyroscope are optional)|
|802.11b/g and Bluetooth (802.11n is optional)|
|DirectX graphics hardware support with hardware acceleration for Direct3D using programmable GPU|
|Multi-touch capacitive touch screen with minimum of four simultaneous points|
The Windows Phone app succeeds Zune Software as the sync application to transfer music, videos, other multimedia files and office documents between Windows Phone 8 and a Windows 8/Windows RT computer or tablet. A version for OS X and Windows Desktop app is also available.
Due to Windows Phone 8 identifying itself as an MTP device, Windows Media Player and Windows Explorer may be used to transfer music, videos and other multimedia files unlike in Windows Phone 7. Videos transferred to a computer are limited to a maximum size of 4GB. 
Reviewers generally praised the increased capabilities of Windows Phone 8, but noted the smaller app selection when compared to other phones. Brad Molen of Engadget mentioned that "Windows Phone 8 is precisely what we wanted to see come out of Redmond in the first place," and praised the more customizable Start Screen, compatibility with Windows 8, and improved NFC support. However, Molen also noted the drawback of a lack of apps in the Windows Phone Store. The Verge gave the OS a 7.9/10 rating, stating that "Redmond is presenting one of the most compelling ecosystem stories in the business right now," but criticized the lack of a unified notifications center. Alexandra Chang of Wired gave Windows Phone 8 an 8/10, noting improvement in features previously lacking in Windows Phone 7, such as multi-core processor support, faster Internet browsing, and the switch from Bing Maps to Nokia Maps, but also criticized the smaller selection of apps.
IDC reported that in Q1 2013, Windows Phone market share jumped to 3.2% of the world smartphone market, allowing Windows Phone to overtake BlackBerry OS as the third largest mobile OS by usage. Reports from market research firm Kantar also indicated that WP usage had jumped to 5.6% globally in April 2013, up from 3.7% in April 2012. The increase in usage has been largely attributed to the release of Windows Phone 8.
Some users have reported problems that have not yet been resolved by Microsoft. There is a battery issue that seems to be improved by disabling the tap + send (NFC) feature. There is also a bug that crashes applications in date parsing routines, that affects users in some regions, and can be fixed by changing the location of the Windows Phone device in the settings menu.
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- Error when syncing or playing video files on Windows Phone 8
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- First look at the Unification Notification center for Windows Phone | Windows Phone Central
- Unification | Windows Phone
- There's good news and bad news for Windows Phone business users | ZDNet
- Have a new Windows Phone feature idea? Try Suggestion Box
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- PSA: Windows Phone users in certain regions may be experiencing date bugs in their apps - workaround identified | Windows Phone Central