Updated: 03/09/2012 16:35 | By Matt Farrington-Smith, editor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Windows Phone 8: Everything you need to know

Get a sneak peek of Windows Phone 8; including the newly designed Start Screen, phones with dual-cores, and Windows 8.


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Scroll through the pictures above to relive the moment Microsoft's Joe Belfiore took to the stage to introduce Windows Phone 8 to the world and tech press alike.

Following Microsoft's big Windows Phone 8 announcement we looked to see what the critics had been saying: "The Windows Phone 8 Start Screen could be the best of any phone..." said Gizmodo, Windows Phone 8 is "a great big, crazy, beautiful mess" said another, whilst Metro commented "Windows Phone 8 set to take Android's top spot".

Inevitably we'll have to await the full release to judge for ourselves, but here are what we consider the biggest crowd-pleasing moments to come from Microsoft's latest unveiling:

It's Windows 8 on a phone. Image MSN

Windows Phone 8 will share the same code as Windows 8.


It's Windows 8 in a phone(sort-of)

Windows Phone 8 is based on the same technology that power Windows 8. This brings the phone's software closer to a Windows PC and lets games developers write the same game for Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

The only difference between Windows 8 and the phone is the size.


Faster, more powerful phones

Windows Phone 8 handsets are powered by dual/quad-core processors (the same kind of technology you will find in the Samsung Galaxy S3, iPhone 4S etc. This means your Windows Phone will run faster than ever before.


Bigger, sharper screens

The screens found on Windows Phone 8 have been upgraded - the high-end phones will have a high-definition 720p screen.

There are also two new screen resolutions for vivid, sharper images: 1280x768 and 1280x720.

Joe Belfiore at the Windows Phone Summit. Image Microsoft

Joe Belfiore at the Windows Phone Summit.


New range of handsets

The first wave of devices for Windows Phone 8 will come from the big boys. We can expect new phones from the likes of Samsung, Nokia, HTC, and Huawei.


You can add storage

For the first time on Windows Phone you'll be able to plug in removable MicroSD cards. This extra space can be used to store photos, music, videos and installing apps.


Better sharing

You'll be able to simply "tap and send" to share your videos, music, photos, documents and files from your phone to another Windows device. This is all thanks to a clever new technology called NFC (near field communication) - you can expect to hear a lot more about NFC from now on.

Windows Phone 8 redesigned Start screen. Image Microsoft

The beautiful Windows Phone 8 Start screen.


Redesigned Start Screen

"The sexiest thing" in Windows Phone 8 is arguably the redesigned Start Screen. It also looks very similar to Windows 8.

Instead of the two tile-wide design found in Windows Phone 7, users will benefit from a wider three tile display. You will be able to set the size of any tile to any of these three sizes, double wide, standard medium and small.

Windows Phone 8 will also deliver more colours, so you can customise your phone's appearance even more.


Internet Explorer 10

Browsing the internet will be 2x faster than the current Windows Phone.

Windows Phone 8 uses the same SmartScreen anti-phishing filter that you can find on your Windows 8 PC. This will block malicious websites and stop you from downloading files that could harm your phone (which is nice).


Easy updates

Windows Phone 8 updates will be delivered wirelessly over-the-air, so you don't have to bother plugging your phone into your PC to update anymore. Microsoft will also support devices with updates for at least 18 months from device launch.

Pay for things using your virtual Wallet. Image Microsoft

You'll be able to pay for things using your virtual Wallet on Windows Phone 8.


You'll be able to pay for things using your phone

Windows Phone 8 will come with a cool new digital Wallet feature. Some websites have descibed the Windows Phone 8 Wallet as a "Google Wallet killer"...

Your Wallet can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes, and other important info. You can also pay for things with a tap of your phone at checkout counters.


100,000 apps to download

Favourites like "Draw Something" and "Words With Friends" are due to arrive on Windows Phone 8. Apps like Nokia Drive will be available for all Windows 8 smartphones (not just Nokia models).


Windows Phone 7.8

Current Windows Phone users will receive an update (called Windows Phone 7.8) sometime after Window Phone 8 is released. This update will add the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen to your phone.

Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware.



More on MSN:
Relive the Windows Phone Summit

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