Since yesterday, leaks on the yet-to-be-released Windows Phone 8 mobile platform -- codenamed Apollo -- have been spilling across the Internet, and the refresh looks to have a whole darn lot of potential. The details come to us via PocketNow, who supposedly acquired an early copy of a Microsoft video that shows off the different features, and Microsoft blogger Paul Turrott, who has insider connections with the software company. Here, we've gathered eight standout features of Windows Phone 8 that are worth knowing about.
Support for multi-core processors
Now, Windows Phone 8 will be in the same league as Android and iOS devices, with the ability to sport two to four cores.
Better screen resolutions, better pixel density
The new mobile OS will purportedly be able to handle up to four different screen resolutions, which means there could be many different devices sizes available among Windows Phones. Another offshoot of this feature is that we could be seeing Windows Phone screens with improved pixel density along with bigger screens. Imagine the same HD display goodness as the LG Spectrum or the high res retina display of the iPhone 4S, but on a Windows Phone.
Deep integration with Windows 8 and SkyDrive
According to the leaks, Windows Phone 8 will make use of the same codebase as its desktop platform counterpart, Windows 8--including the kernel, networking capabilities, security models and multimedia support. Moreover, previous demonstrations of Windows 8 have flaunted the operating system's ability to consolidate its different services under the umbrella of the SkyDrive cloud. This will apparently be a continuing theme with Windows Phone 8, which is also getting SkyDrive integration and cloud sync to make your content available across all Windows devices you own.
NFC mobile payment support
NFC -- short for Near Field Communication -- is an amazing, almost-like-magic method of contactless payments. If you've heard of Google Wallet, you'll be familiar with this data exchange standard, which establishes a radio communication between smartphones and other devices just by bringing the two into close proximity. Now, it's coming to Windows Phone 8. The feature could supposedly allow for quick data sharing between PCs, tablets and smartphones too.
Removable microSD card storage
In the mobile OS's current state, SD cards must be reformatted into a proprietary format before they can be used. This turns the cards into a permanent, integrated part of the device's storage. Windows 8 aims to change that. Now, Windows Phone 8 devices will support removable card storage.
With the arrival of business support on Windows Phone 8, users will allegedly be able to take advantage of Exchange ActiveSync support, native BitLocker encryption (the 128-bit full-disk encryption found on recent Microsoft desktop platforms), and a secure boot process.
100,000 apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace at launch
By the close of 2011, the Windows Phone marketplace had an offering of around 50,000 apps. While this is no small number, it still pales in comparison to Apple's half a million apps--and Microsoft knows it. By the launch of Windows Phone 8, they're promising up to 100,000 apps in the Marketplace. Some of the more prominent ones include Skype (PocketNow says it will be integrated into WP8, while Paul Thurrott says it will be "a separate but better app, and not integrated into the OS"), Local Scout (now with personal recommendations), and new "lens apps" for the camera, allowing users to have a more powerful experience.
Another intriguing feature of Windows Phone 8 is Data Smart, a smart data management feature which automatically connects you to a Wi-Fi network when possible, or to carrier-owned WLANs when they're in range. This could also help to reduce instances of bill shock and data overages when used properly.