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Windows Phone 8 on Nokia Lumia 920 preview

joe belfioreJoe Belfiore from Microsoft has taken to the stage at this morning’s Nokia event in New York, showing off just what Windows Phone 8 is capable of on the new Nokia Lumia 920. Not all will be revealed though, so you can more or less say that this is a sneak peak – a preview before opening night. First off are some personalization options. Needless to say, it is always good to start from the beginning, and what better way to kick off than with the customization of start screen live tiles? Joe worked on rearranging the tiles and resizing them, and everything worked seamlessly like a charm.

Apart from that, you can expect apps to be a pretty huge draw for any mobile operating system worth its salt these days, and since Windows Phone 8 shares a common core technology base with the future desktop operating system, Windows 8, the entire app platform ends up as an easier target for developers. Needless to say, Windows Phone 8 will also play nice with Windows Phone 7 apps without a hitch, although this is just one way traffic.


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Nothing really groundbreaking that most folks do not already know about Windows Phone 8 has been shared so far, and hopefully something new will be revealed eventually. Well, one is able to select the button in mobile Internet Explorer and set it to other options instead of just Refresh, which is a nice touch. There is also dynamic scaling of webpages for the numerous device types (mostly smartphones and tablets here) in the market, which is always a good thing.

Joe did snap a native screenshot by pushing the power and Home button simultaneously, followed by posting that particular image to Twitter – making it more or less the first Windows Phone 8 public screenshot. It does take some time for that tweet to appear, but appear it did eventually.

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One thing’s for sure, the dedicated camera button sure does not go to waste here on the Nokia Lumia 920, where you can pinch zoom instead since there is no zoom bar at all. A touch on a virtual button allows you to play around with photo options as well as another set of tiles which offer what he calls, “lens applications”, and our eyes caught a quick view of CNN iReport, Panorama, and Bing Vision amongst others. Realtime photo effects were also demonstrated, and pressing the photo button allows you to select a different effect to suit your taste. Interestingly, the photo gallery is smart enough to keep track of just which app captured a particular photo, now how about that?

Joe also demonstrated an app known as Blink, which is the lazy photographer’s tool – or one for the unprepared. Pressing the shutter button will see the camera capture a slew of photos, where the app then decides on your behalf just which is the best quality photo. Fret not, all the rest of the app-rejected photos are still on your phone just in case you disagree with the algorithm of the app, making this a surefire way of filling up space on your Lumia 920 – fast.

All in all, did we learn anything groundbreaking about Windows Phone 8 that we didn’t know before? Not really, but it does seem as though Windows Phone 8 is set to go nowhere but forwards – assuming the general public bites, of course. There does seem to be plenty of potential for Windows Phone 8, and time will tell if success of this platform is on the cards. I personally hope it will not just be a duo-poly of Android and iOS, as a strong third pillar of a mobile operating system would go a long way in keeping the other two on their toes, and customers/end users are the ones to benefit in the end.

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