Microsoft Windows Phone 8: New Features and Apps Announced

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Application Momentum
But all the new features won't solve the major issue that's been facing Microsoft's phone platform: application selection. Many application developers first build for iPhone and the iPad, then Android and then Windows Phone.

Belfiore spent a good amount of time talking about the new and major apps coming to the platform, including UrbanSpoon, Temple Run, and Pandora. There are also new Facebook, Skype, and Twitter apps.

Even industry analysts were impressed by the showing. "Microsoft made a good case about how Windows Phone is different, a case they've made for two years but today is the first time they've articulated why different might be better," Michael Gartenberg, Gartner Research Director, told ABC News. "The lack of overall applications will still remain an issue but with many of the popular apps now or soon available Windows Phone 8 will appeal to many consumers if Microsoft can effectively tell them the story."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who made an appearance at the end of the presentation, said that the momentum for the platform is at its strongest point ever.

"Our hardware partners are all in. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are all in, plus hundreds of mobile operators around the world are all in. Developers are all in, filling the Windows Phone Store with applications."


The Phones
The first Windows 8 phones will go on sale as early as this coming weekend. Verizon will carry the HTC 8X, Lumia 922 and Samsung ATIV Odyssey phone. AT&T will carry the Lumia 920. T-Mobile will get the HTC 8X ($149.99) and Lumia 820 ($99.99) on Nov. 14. All the phones will be available at Microsoft's stores as well; there are 65 stores nationwide now.

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