Calling for Windows

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | Print Edition: December 2012

The launch of the iPhone in 2007 shook the mobile industry out of its complacency. It not only destroyed the dominance of Nokia in the market, but also forced companies to rethink and rework their operating systems. Spurred by this challenge, Microsoft worked on and came up with a brand new operating system. Although the Windows Phone 7 had its share of shortcomings, it still represented out-of-the-box thinking as far a mobile operating system was concerned. A couple of years on, we now have the Windows Phone 8 OS. It is making its main rivals, iOS and Android, sit up and take notice.

The tile interface has undergone some serious changes. For instance, now the homescreen tiles can be resized to small, medium or large. The tiles are live and refresh automatically with notification too. For instance, the full size message tile lets you read without launching the app. The lock screen too is a live tile that can display Facebook images and other stuff like weather and news.

Hardware Acceleration
To take on the highpowered Android smartphones, Windows Phones will finally support multi-core chipsets. For smartphones running the latest OS, there is a new graphics processor, better screen resolution and an expandable memory card slot. On top of that, Windows Phone now supports near-field communications (NFC) as well.

Internet Explorer 10
The inbuilt Internet Explorer 10 browser promises 4x faster Javascrip performance and 2x HTML5 feature support compared to WP7.5. The SmartScreen antiphishing filter uses data from millions of Windows PCs to block malicious websites.

Kid's Corner
This unique concept allows children limited access to content and phone features. A user can add games, music, videos and apps and password protect rest of the phone. Children can be given access to the camera and image gallery, though they won't be able to delete any images from the gallery. There is also no access to email, dialer and browser here.

Instead of the phonebook, as all contacts are added to People Hub on Windows Phone. With the new version, however, you can create Rooms within and invite anyone from the Contact list to join in. The room allows users in the group to communicate over Chat, share calendars, photos and notes.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that all Windows Phone 8 devices will come pre-loaded with Nokia's navigation software. While the Nokia smartphones will mention it as Nokia Maps, this mapping software will be called Maps on the phones from other manufacturers. These Maps come across to be better than the Bing Maps.

Windows Marketplace
The new Windows Marketplace has a handful of additional categories for apps, like Best-rated, New+ rising, Picks for you and Collections, making it easier to find useful utility programs. However, there still are much fewer apps for the WP8 platform than for iOS and Android devices at their respective stores.

While a dedicated camera key is missing from most of the Android smartphones, Windows Phone devices always had one. With the WP8, Microsoft has worked on the OS's camera software as well. For instance, WP8 will now allow users to take panoramic photos as well.

Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone 8 smartphone isn't just important for the Finnish phonemaker, but also for Microsoft. Nokia is referring it as “the most innovative smartphone in the world”. Expected to be launched soon, the Lumia 920 will have a 4.5-inch capacitive touch display, a 1.5GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor with 1GB RAM and 32GB internal memory. But the biggest highlight of this smartphone is the Carl Zeiss lens coupled with the PureView technology that captures blur-free videos even if the camera is shaking or operating in low-light. Lastly, the device comes with the innovating wireless charging feature.
SPECS: 4.5-inch capacitive display; 1.5GHz dual Core Snapdragon; 32 GB storage, 1 GB RAM; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, Wireless charging; 8 MP camera; 2000 mAh battery; 185 gm
Price: TBA

HTC Windows Phone 8S
The HTC 8S is a medium-sized smartphone with a unibody design and 4-inch HD resolution display. This mid-segment smartphone will be powered by 1GHz dual core processor paired with 512MB RAM and will have 4GB internal storage with option of using an expandable memory card as well.
SPECS: 4-inch SUPER AMOLED capacitive display, 1 GHz dual Core, 4GB, microSD , 512MB RAM; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS; 5 MP camera; 1700 mAh battery; 113 gm.
Price: Rs 19,260

HTC Windows Phone 8X
The 8X is HTC’s flagship WP8 smartphone, with specs that compete with Samsung and Nokia’s best. It has a sleek design that makes it comfortable to hold. It comes with a 4.3-inch capacitive touch display and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor paired with 1GB RAM. The 8MP camera produces good results.
SPECS: 4.3-inch capacitive display; 1.5GHz dual Core; 16GB, 1 GB RAM; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC; 8 MP camera; 1800 mAh battery; 130 gm.
Price: Rs 35,023

Nokia Lumia 820
While the Lumia 920 will be aimed at a niche audience, the company has also lined up a relatively affordable, mid-segment smartphone for the masses. The Lumia 820 too runs on a dual-core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon processor, but the capacitive display is smaller at 4.3 inches. While the internal memory is just 8GB, there is an expandable microSD card slot for up to 32GB.
SPECS: 4.3-inch AMOLED capacitive display; 1.5GHz dual Core Snapdragon; 8 GB storage, microSD up to 32 GB, 1 GB RAM; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC; 8 MP camera; 1650 mAh battery; 160 gm.
Price: TBA

Samsung Ativ S
While the world was waiting for the Nokia Lumia smartphones, Samsung came out with the Ativ S, the first smartphone on the WP8 platform. Samsung claims this Samsung Galaxy S III lookalike, with an aluminum chassis and just 8.7mm thick, is good for both work and entertainment.
SPECS: 4.8-inch SUPER AMOLED capacitive display; 1.5GHz dual Core; 16GB/32GB, microSD , 1 GB RAM; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC; 8 MP camera; 2300 mAh battery; 135 gm.
Price: TBA

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