Microsoft to add multi-core, microSD support and encryption to Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 8

Microsoft has given the world a preview of its Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system, debuting a raft of features including enhanced enterprise support.

The core of Windows Phone has been upgraded and will now be based on Windows 8 code instead of the older Windows CE. This will allow Microsoft and developers to port over features from the desktop to the mobile OS and do it faster, explained Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president at Microsoft, during the Windows Phone Summit.

WP8 will support multi-core processors, 720p and WXGA resolutions and microSD cards.

"We're going to see a wider range of phones, capabilities and price points. [The shared core] also means a huge amount for end-users and developers in terms of apps," he said.

"Developers who are working on Windows 8 [will] have an incredibly easy transition [to WP8]."

Belfiore admitted that IT admins have "been dissatisfied" with WP7's enterprise features. Microsoft plans to address this by adding full BitLocker encryption and secure boot, as well as allowing admins to deploy apps to employees.

Thanks to the Shared Core', admins will also be able to manage PCs and Windows Phone 8 devices using the same technology.

In terms of hardware upgrades, the Windows Phone 8 will include support for multi-core processors, higher resolutions including 720p (1280x720) and WXGA (1280x768) and allow users to boost storage with microSD cards.

NFC will be built-in, with Belfiore proclaiming that "Windows Phone 8 will include what we think [will be] the most complete wallet experience on any phone".

Windows Phone users will be able to carry out mobile payments using a "secure SIM", as well as carry out transactions using loyalty and membership cards.

From the software perspective, Microsoft will let users change the size of Live Tiles on the Start Screen, allowing a degree of customisation. Nokia Maps will be integrated into the OS, providing features such as turn-by-turn navigation

Microsoft has deeply integrated VOIP into Windows Phone, leveraging the firm's acquisition of Skype. Calls made using Skype will look and feel just like a regular phone call, the software giant claimed.

Interestingly, Microsoft has boosted voice functionality. Users will not only be able to open apps, but control them from within using their voice.

The app that allows users to do this will be called Audible and is available today for WP7 devices. Any developer will be able to use standard Microsoft tools to build speech controls into their app.

Microsoft will also boost the internet experience with Internet Explorer 10 coming to WP8. Belfiore claimed the Javascript performance of IE10 will be 4x faster than Windows Phone 7.5 and that HTML5 performance will be twice as fast as the previous generation.

Belfiore suggested that Windows Phone 8 will be available in the autumn but no concreate release date has been announced.

Existing Windows Phone users will only be able to upgrade to version 7.8, as their devices do not have the hardware to take advantage of all the new features.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.