Windows Phone 8 is here, phones to go on sale this weekend

Nokia Lumia 920Microsoft has launched Windows Phone 8, the newest version of its mobile phone operating system, which it has been promoting since its unveiling in June. At an event in San Francisco yesterday, all the final details regarding the software were revealed, along with the launch dates for the accompanying hardware.

Windows Phone 8 is the final major new product from Microsoft to launch over the past week, and joins Windows 8 and the Surface tablets. CEO Steve Ballmer said that it represented the best mobile choice for the millions likely to purchase a Windows 8 computer system this year.

Several new features were discussed during the show, including Kids Corner, where parents can put their phone into a safe mode, so children can still play their favourite games without accidentally sending emails, messages or making purchases in the Windows Phone Store.

Data Sense helps owners keep track of how much data they’ve used, and will helpfully compress incoming traffic and seek active Wi-Fi hotspots to minimize your consumption. Sadly, at this stage it’s only supported by Verizon in the USA.

Apps were discussed too, with Microsoft sharing that there are now 120,000 available through its store, and that number includes 46 of the top 50 mobile apps. New versions of Facebook, Twitter and Skype have been launched to take advantage of Windows Phone 8’s new features too.

As for the hardware, it looks like HTC’s 8X will be the first Windows Phone 8 device to go on sale, and it’s going to be in shops from November 2. It’ll be followed by the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920, both of which will be on sale from November 9. Prices vary depending on which network you choose, and your data requirements. Don’t forget, the Lumia 920 is a 4G phone, so you can only get it through EE at the moment.

Microsoft has a lot riding on the success of Windows Phone 8, so it’s going to be exciting to see how it performs over the coming months. Will you be buying one?

About Andrew Boxall

Andy's fascination with mobile tech began in the 90s, at a time when SMS messages were considered cutting edge, but it would be at least a decade before he would put finger-to-keyboard as a freelance tech writer. In the interim he wrote about travel, formulated strong opinions about films and drove a series of audacious cars