A new Start Screen, support for multi-core processors & more…
The upcoming Windows Phone 8, codenamed Apollo, was unveiled at the Windows Phone Summit yesterday. It showcased some of the software & hardware changes that will be seen in Apollo, reported The Verge.
At the software front, some major changes will be seen – customizing the size of every tile in the Start screen will be possible & the screen will have the support of three resolutions: WVGA, WXGA & 720p. Offline maps & improved coverage of mapping data will be supported by Nokia maps, features that Microsoft’s Bing maps didn’t have previously. VoIP applications, including Skype & others will be tightly integrated, meaning the apps can fully utilize the phone dialer.
In regards to the hardware changes, the Apollo will have official Near Field Communications (NFC) support from Microsoft, allowing one to make payments & “store credit card information, member cards, and frequent flier cards.” While existing SD card support is troublesome in Windows Phone 7, Apollo will have full SD support, allowing users to transfer files conveniently. This feature, however, is limited to Apollo devices only.
The most important change, however, seems to be the shift from .NET Compact Framework to the Core CLR. Simply put, this will allow programs “to run in a manner identical to how it runs on desktop Windows, with improved performance benefits and shared components for developers to leverage across desktop and phone apps.” And this brings with it an array of support for multi-core processors and device drivers. “We have support for dual-core, quad-core, octo-core, in theory as many as 64-cores,” says Lieberman, the Senior Product Manager at Microsoft.
Because many of the improvements in Apollo will require new hardware, Microsoft will not release Apollo to existing devices. Instead the company plans to release a Windows Phone 7.8 update, bringing some of Windows Phone 8’s user interface changes to existing devices.
It seems Apollo is still very much a work in progress at this stage, as the company isn’t disclosing availability dates just yet. But surely, these are exciting times – Microsoft is making strides to the coming days where we will see developers making ‘write once and run everywhere’ programs for the Windows ecosystem.