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Windows Phone 8 Officially Unveiled

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  • 64 cores (Score:5, Funny)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:04PM (#40387865)

    Now I can buy a Windows Phone to warm my hands on in the winter.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:07PM (#40387903)

    Why would you limit the max res like that?

    Why not design it to scale from the very beginning so you don't have to hack it on later?

    Why they could not support smp from the beginning had me wondering as well.

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:12PM (#40387971) Journal

      Why would you limit the max res like that? Why not design it to scale from the very beginning so you don't have to hack it on later?

      It's mainly to make things easier for app developers so that they have specific resolutions to target. Much like the iOS ecosystem.

      Arguably, this made more sense back when there was just one resolution, less so when there are three...

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:13PM (#40387995)

        I still don't really get this. If I was put in charge of such a thing, I would be looking at making everything 2d SVGs or similar. So long as the ratios stay fairly similar it should not be such a huge deal to support a lot of different display sizes.

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:19PM (#40388083) Journal

          You're probably not a designer - these guys are crazy about things being pixel perfect, which can be hard to achieve with vector graphics. Apple does the same thing here.

          For Metro, though, it makes less sense due to its emphasis on simple flat shapes and typography over colorful icons. Yes, personally, I also don't see much point in not using vector graphics for a Metro app and having it scale seamlessly. And the UI framework already has flexible layouts and such, so really there's no excuse to not make it all scale nicely.

          Interestingly enough, there is no set of predefined resolutions for Win8 Metro. So there isn't much consistency here. I hope that WP would eventually follow the big brother, of course.

          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:21PM (#40388125)

            Pixel perfect positioning is brain dead. I regularly laugh at ones who attempt to do such things with webpages. PROTIP: YOUR FONTS MIGHT NOT BE MY FONTS!

            WP seems very well designed to not need it. The simple tiles would scale very well to any resolution. I would have thought this forward looking design was for that very purpose.

            • You misunderstood. I was not referring to pixel perfect positioning, but rather pixel perfect bitmaps (icons and such).

              From a technical standpoint, WP application framework (which is Silverlight, with XAML for markup language) is well designed [microsoft.com] to enable scaling and flexible UI layouts.

            • by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:07PM (#40389017) Homepage Journal

              Further, pixel perfect positioning is less important with higher DPI. On a low res device, like 240x320, it made a big difference because you could see individual pixels so easily. Nowadays if things are fudged by a pixel or few then it's not visually apparent.

              This reminds me of when everything was so lo-res it took a great deal of talent to create a 16x16 icon with a 16 color palette to portray some meaning. Every single pixel mattered, and you couldn't just take a large image and scale it down - you had to manipulate pixels individually, sometimes in non-obvious ways, to get the intended visual result. Now with 128x128 and higher resolution icons you can create them vector and just render them to whatever resolution is needed, or scale a massive image down to size, and it looks perfectly fine.

              • by Kjella (173770)

                Well not quite, sometimes you have to cheat a little because a simple scale blur things so you want to tweak it a little even if it's a little bit distorted compared to the full size image. I haven't tried it on a 4K screen but at least on a FullHD screen that was still true, the original "icon" was huge like 400x400 or whatever but it still took some pixel tweaking to make it look decent at 16x16, 22x22, 32x32 which I think was the sizes in use at the time. That's why most icon formats allow you to specify

        • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:20PM (#40388111) Homepage Journal
          The irony is that Microsoft has traditionally had really good support for vector graphics in the UI (Windows 95 was nearly resolution-independent, except for the icons.) It's only now, in the devices that are making headway into high DPI, that they screw that up!
    • by MrHanky (141717)

      Why would you want more than 1280x720 on a mobile phone? It's enough to get a very high ppi on a 5" device like the Galaxy Note. As for SMP, the old WP7 was just WinCE with a Silverlight front-end. This one is based on NT.

      It looks like a decent OS. By all credible accounts, WP7 was a decent OS if you disregarded everything that wasn't its UI (which is to say it is a good UI on a crap OS), whereas this thing looks like it might be pretty damn good. I'd actually consider a Nokia PureView WP8 phone with a dece

    • by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:22PM (#40388149) Journal

      Why would you limit the max res like that?

      to make us buy windows phone 9 supporting HD in 2013/14... which probably won't work on current windows phone 8 devices.

      Sorry M$, everything was good until " Windows Phone 8 won't be coming to current Windows Phone devices". A 2009 iPhone [wikipedia.org] runs 2012 iOS 5.1.1, [wikipedia.org] and I have to tell you it's been pretty nice not having to throw away my phone every time a new OS comes out and being able to download the "latest and greatest" apps because everything new works on my old phone. After all, it's a phone first, not a PC, I don't like the idea of having to throw out my phone with all my contacts and info and all the cases and chargers and everything I've spent supporting it. I don't mind the constant upgrades on a PC, that's the nature of the beast, but I don't want to go through the same mess with my phone. Oh, and my 2009 iPhone will support 2013 iOS 6. [theverge.com] Wow, say what you want about Apple, but sometimes they just get it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My Calculator tells me that this amounts to > 300 ppi until you get to sizes over 4.9 inch, what more do you want?

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:08PM (#40387915)

    QUOTE: "Microsoft tirelessly pushed the idea that its saving grace, the Nokia Lumia 900, was the next big thing in smartphones. However, the fact that the Lumia 900..... won't be able to update will undoubtedly leave some owners of these devices feeling hung out..... Without the software update, potential customers will basically have no reason to snag a Lumia 900, a Titan II, or any other Windows Phone device for that matter, until Windows Phone 8 is available."

    This move reminds me of when Apple stopped supporting PPC devices. The article says WinPh8 won't support single-core devices. I wonder why? That would be equivalent to them releasing Windows 7 and saying, "Won't support Pentium 4 or other single-cores."

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I agree that it seems very odd.

      Why would you care how many cores it has? Not like having an OS that can use 1-XXX cores is a new thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It worked very well for desktop Windows - Microsoft writes the minimum requirements in order to force hardware manufacturers/OEMs to actually make powerful devices, because vendors want the MS sticker. The result is an upgrade in the product line. This time around, Microsoft is betting on two things that they had with the desktop monopoly that they certainly don't have in the mobile market:

      1) Manufacturers will give a damn about supporting WP8
      2) Consumers will give a damn about buying WP8

      Although if 1 com

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:59PM (#40389949)

        >>>It worked very well for desktop Windows - Microsoft writes the minimum requirements in order to force hardware manufacturers/OEMs to actually make powerful devices,

        And this is what we call "spin". Also known as "false". With every WinOS released (except 7) Microsoft wrote the requirements to make it EASY for manufacturers to qualify with older hardware. Like when they claimed XP could run on 64 meg (but it ran like a snail). Or that Vista could run on 512 meg, but instead made my brother's new P4 PC randomly freeze for 2-3 minutes (while vista thrashed the HD swapfile). Microsoft has always *under* specced their OSes to try and boost sales for older computers that barely run the poorly-coded memory hog.

        Vice-versa Apple sells hardware, so they tend to over spec their OS requirements, in order to make older machines obsolete and force an upgrade if you want the new OS (or the latest Safari or latest iTunes). Example: When I tried to upgrade to 10.4 and discovered my 400 MHz Mac was blocked by Apple ("does not meet minimum specs"). I found an online hack to override Apple's block (an illegal act under DMCA) and discovered 10.4 worked just fine on my machine. Apple was just trying to force me and others to buy new machines.

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:17PM (#40388053) Homepage

      Microsoft's interests don't include keeping Nokia shares high.

      Quite the opposite in fact, if they really are planning to buy them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah but when Apple stopped supporting PPC, they gave customers one additional version of OS X (Leopard) and two years notice for the transition after they announced their intention. Consumers who bought a WP7 phone are stuck until their contracts expire.
    • by Cinder6 (894572) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:09PM (#40389039)

      The difference between Apple dropping PPC support and Microsoft dropping Lumia 900 support is that Apple made the announcement 3 years in advance.

  • by Foxman98 (37487) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:12PM (#40387969) Homepage

    It seems they consistantly miss the mark in what consumers want to buy. OK great, 64-cores? who cares? What features does it offer the consumers who are supposed to purchase these to make their day to day lives more productive? Easier? More connected with friends / family?

    None of my friends could tell you what WVGA or WXGA is, nor do they probably care.

    I live in Boston and see hundreds of of people daily using a variety of phones. I have NEVER seen a Windows phone. not once. Why? Because it makes NO sense to buy one over Android/Iphone.

    Microsoft needs to figure out quickly how to incorporate features, functions and uses that NO OTHER company has thought of. Until then, they will remain completely irrelevant and if I were a stock holder in their company, leave me questioning whether all that R&D money is being spent wisely.

    • They've always been good at FUD, but never at hype. This is as much of a yawn as always. I wish it were real competition to give apple and google something to actually care or even have to compare to, but it's not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      None of my friends could tell you what WVGA or WXGA is, nor do they probably care.

      I bet all of them can relate to "Retina Display" though...

      • by Foxman98 (37487)

        As much as I hate that marketing term, Apple nails it when it comes to bringing technology to the masses.

        Come to think of it, I don't think many of them now it's a "Retina" screen, just that it's "better, brighter and crisper"

    • by Haxagon (2454432) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:19PM (#40388093)

      The conference was for developers, mostly. They said they weren't gonna unveil the end-user featureset that they have until closer to launch, probably to avoid what happened last time: all of the Mango features they unveiled were promptly implemented by Apple.

      • by gutnor (872759)

        Mango features they unveiled were promptly implemented by Apple.

        Come-on, that is a bit lame. If you have done any type of development in a large company, you would know that it takes month to do about anything, even something trivial takes month to develop, especially if you need to make sure that the new feature work well on one of the market leading device. That is even worse at Apple where there is a culture of being anally retentive on the little details and they completely ignored for years other great Android features. You will notice that all companies always see

    • Microsoft needs to figure out quickly how to incorporate features, functions and uses that NO OTHER company has thought of. Until then, they will remain completely irrelevant

      Apple doesn't incorporate features that "NO OTHER company has thought of" - rather, they incorporate features that have been out in the wild for ages, but do them well, and that seems to work for them.

      All the hardware points that you go over are important in the grand scheme of things because those were the ones people have been harping on for a long time (and rightly so) with respect to WP7. From user's perspective, yes, user experience is far more important than hardware. On that front, WP8 has two things

    • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:08PM (#40389025)

      They already did that. It's called WP7. It's full of features that nobody else has. This is a case of adding all the ones that everyone else had too.

    • OK great, 64-cores? who cares?

      Somebody at MS has just discovered that Android can run dozens of thousands of cores, and they can't be left behind.

  • by JImbob0i0 (1202835) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:13PM (#40387985)

    FTA:

    ... Microsoft announced the successor to its popular Windows Phone 7 platform ... Windows Phone 8 is expected this Fall.

    And FTS plus the other article there:

    ... Microsoft revealed that existing Windows Phone 7.5 users will receive an upgrade to Windows Phone 7.8, and not Windows Phone 8 ...

    So windows phone 7 is not selling... solution! Reveal windows phone 8 due in a few months which won't run on any phone bought now.... so better not buy now!

    I'm sure this is *really* going to help them sell those phones and gain some marketshare to improve on the nonexistant one they have now... but good news though! The hundreds of thousands of excellent windows phone 7.5 apps will work on windows phone 8 ....

  • Native code (Score:5, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:14PM (#40387999) Journal

    The most interesting point by far is arguably native code support, something that was sorely missing from WP7, and made porting apps from iOS and Android incredibly difficult (since you couldn't just share model code in C/C++ between the platforms). Not to mention the perf issues it created for games.

  • Seriously, that has got to be one of the ugliest phones I have seen in quite a while.
  • What does "better support for microSD cards" mean? Were they having problems with reliable reads/writes?

    • Re:microSD cards (Score:5, Informative)

      by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:29PM (#40388247)

      No, they leveraged the "Secure" part of "Secure Digital" cards and had issues with some cards that weren't fully compliant since no one else really implemented the secure half. They need it for DRM, after all, and have probably come up with a workaround for it.

    • Re:microSD cards (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:41PM (#40389663)

      What does "better support for microSD cards" mean? Were they having problems with reliable reads/writes?

      Not quite - they were having problems using them in a way that's sensible:

      http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2450831

      In short, once you put an SD card into a WP7 phone you can't take it out (or the phone won't boot) and you can't read it on any other devices. Each card model also needed to be "certified" before use.

  • 64 cores... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Junta (36770) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:21PM (#40388129)

    64 cores should be enough for anyone!

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:26PM (#40388193) Homepage

    Is it going to be like the days of Windows Mobile? the only way to get updates is to buy a new phone?

    This is where Apple is winning, all phones get OS updates for several years. Google falls down on this as they let phone makers screw the users.

    Microsoft had better offer a instant free upgrade to WP8 for all owners of the Nokia WP7 phones, or they might as well pack it in. Their "Screw the user, unless they have a credit card" attitude back with the Windows Mobile phones are what drove me to Apple in the first place.

  • by LtGordon (1421725) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:56PM (#40388763)

    Can someone explain to me why Microsoft isn't capitalizing on the phone market in the same way they have the PC market? Why design a phone operating system that can only be run on a small niche of devices, and can't even upgrade phones that came with WP7? Why not instead go after the entire market and design an OS that can be installed on any mobile phone of adequate specifications.

    While there may be some serious difficulties to overcome in the short term, this to me seems like a very possible end-state for the industry. Just look at what happened in the (non-Apple) PC market: competing hardware+OS standards evolved into a common hardware standard and a separate OS market that Microsoft dominated.

    Disclaimer: this is not necessarily an end-state that I would like to see happen, just some ponderings that I've had.

    • Re:OS Upgrading (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Tough Love (215404) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:21PM (#40389265)

      Can someone explain to me why Microsoft isn't capitalizing on the phone market in the same way they have the PC market?

      There are ten reasons:

      1) Microsoft failed to leverage its PC monopoly onto mobile devices by fair means or foul.

      2) Microsoft held onto its desktop centric UI model until it was too late (then overreacted in the other direction, threatening its desktop business)

      3) Nobody trusts Microsoft.

      4) Carriers do not trust Microsoft.

      5) Developers do not trust Microsoft.

      6) Partners do not trust Microsoft.

      7) Manufacturers do not trust Microsoft.

      8) The DoJ does not trust Microsoft.

      9) Nobody trusts Microsoft.

      10) The engineering culture at Microsoft is toxic and minimally productive.

  • by LifesABeach (234436) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:00PM (#40388837)
    "I hear you're having a life threating event. Do you need an app for that?"
  • Popular? (Score:5, Funny)

    by joek1010 (980753) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @04:35PM (#40390419)

    Microsoft announced the successor to its popular Windows Phone 7 platform

    Wait, what?

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @04:59PM (#40390789)

    Microsoft announced the successor to its popular Windows Phone 7 platform.

    Perhaps I'm out of touch, and this isn't meant to be snarky, but that's an interesting definition of "popular". Honestly I've never seen a Windows 7 phone.

  • Biggest Feature (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thatkid_2002 (1529917) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @12:06AM (#40394399)

    Is probably just the switch to the NT kernel from a stripped (legacy removed) CE kernel. I hope the speed and stability carries through! It's so weird saying that about a Microsoft product but as anybody who has actually used WP7 knows, it's generally rock solid.

    Switching to the NT kernel is what has enabled the multicore support and it probably also enables the use of any future x86 hardware platforms too. Obviously moving to NT also helps Microsoft unify their infrastructure because it means they only have 1 kernel to worry about (and mostly just the Metro framework).

    Normally I'd be the first one to bash Microsoft about the whole WP8 not being on older devices thing, but since WP8 runs a completely different kernel it'd be foolish to expect them to support older devices which probably don't even have device drivers written for the NT kernel.

  • by Vrtigo1 (1303147) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @10:16AM (#40397841)
    The company I work for just had a bid led by our MS developers to start issuing Windows phones to employees. They ordered some demo units and gave them out and the next day when people started coming to IT and asking "how do I download skype?", "how can I get pandora?" the fact that apps make or break a phone platform finally sunk in.

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