Windows Phone maybe the underdog in the mobile operating system industry. Although it doesn’t have as much hype surrounding as it’s rivals, the iOS and Android, it does have a following that as been growing quickly, especially recently. With the Windows Phone 8 update, we’re seeing plenty of improvements, some that may surprise users and critics alike. While the Windows Phone OS will not be strong competition for it’s rivals any time soon, it is quickly growing towards becoming a solid contender. With their highly anticipated flagship phones, the HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Nokia Lumia 920, hype is building for the latest update. Here are some of the things we can expect from Windows Phone 8.
Navigation and Maps: the previous installment of the Windows Phone OS left something to be desired, with Microsoft’s Bing Maps. However, with the latest version, Windows Phone is taking a huge leap forward, thanks to NAVTEQ Maps. Rivaling the features of Google Maps, NAVTEQ Maps has much to offer the user, including: public transportation routing, turn-by-turn directions, 3D buildings, and even caching for offline use. Considering Apple’s huge slip up with the utterly disappointing Maps services featured in their iOS6, Windows Phone definitely surprised critics with it’s Maps improvement.
User Interface: considering we’ve seen little to no improvements or revolutionary changes to smartphone interfaces lately (iPhone’s icons have not change, and remain uninformative and stagnant, and Android’s highly customizable widgets and icons tend to be messy and difficult to manage) Windows Phone 8 has, by far, the most intuitive and user friendly home screen and icon system on the market. Surprising, for sure, but the “Live Tile” system is unlike any other. Not only can you organize and customize the tiles by breaking them down and dividing them, you can choose what information is shown on each tile. At a glance, you can see more than just how many unread messages you have, at a glance you can see detailed information including updates from social networks, upcoming events on your calendar, recent emails, chat, messages and of course Facebook integration through out.
Mobile Payments: although all major operating systems are picking up mobile payments services, Windows Phone 8 is by far the most advanced, and the most safe. “Wallet” uses NFC elements stored on your SIM card to conduct safe and secure payments, and with all major card companies and partners on board, you’ll have more support and chances to use it. Not even Android or Apple can say that.
Streaming Media: Thanks to SmartGlass, you can stream media to your xbox using DLNA, manageable from a simplified app on your Windows Phone. Transfers between your xbox, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices is fast and easy.
The author of this article is Chloe Parker, a writer for MobilePhones.org.uk, where you can find more tech news, phone reviews, and the latest deals.