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10 great Windows Phone 8 features

Adam Fraser Published by Adam Fraser November 13, 2012

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146

10 great Windows Phone 8 features

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146

Adam Fraser Published by Adam Fraser November 13, 2012

Nokia Lumia 920 Live Tiles_yellow

When we announced the Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, we didn’t have much information to give to you with regard to what Windows Phone 8 would offer. Now, with the Windows Phone 8 launch safely out of the way, we can provide you with more details on what cool Windows Phone 8 features you’ll get with your Nokia Lumia 920, or Lumia 820.

Number one – Customisable live tiles

Users of Windows Phone love the dynamic Live Tiles on the start screen. In Windows Phone 8, these tiles are more customisable than before – you get to choose how big the tiles are. This is perfect when deciding exactly what’s important to you and setting up your start screen in a way that fits your needs.

If you want really small square tiles for your best friends, you can do that. If you like a bigger square tile for a group of people, you can do that too. There’s even the option to make square tiles rectangular, spanning the entire width of the screen.

The whole tile customisation means you’re given more choice.

Nokia Lumia 820 Live Tiles_red

Number two – Nokia Maps

All Windows Phone 8 smartphones make use of Nokia’s Location Platform. If it’s a Nokia Lumia smartphone, the default mapping application is Nokia Maps. However, if you’re using a non-Nokia Windows Phone 8 smartphone, your default mapping application is Windows Phone Maps.

While Windows Phone Maps will make use of Nokia’s geocoding, traffic information and calculated routes, Microsoft’s own team develops the custom UI and POI database.

Number three – Wallet and Near Field Communication (NFC)

The Wallet feature enables you to store all your credit, debit, loyalty and membership card information in one place; just like the wallet in your pocket. This means you’ve always got access to that information, even when your actual wallet is at home.

However, for those Windows Phones with NFC secure element, such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, you’ll be able to purchase items from restaurants or stores by just tapping your phone against the vendors NFC terminal.

NFC is still used to pair accessories together, providing the accessory is NFC enabled, like the Nokia Purity Pro Wireless Stereo Headset by Monster. Sharing other information – such as contact details – to other phones is also possible by just touching them together.

Number four – Kid’s Corner

For those with young children, nieces, brothers, or cousins, you’ll understand that when they insist on playing with your phone, it’s difficult to say no. However, there’s always the dread at the back of the mind that hopes they don’t phone the boss, send a nonsensical email to the entire company or inappropriately like something on Facebook.

Those dreaded moments are gone, forever! The Kid’s Corner feature in Windows Phone 8 lets you decide what they can use and stops them from venturing into the dark-depths of your contact list or SMS threads.

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Number five – Integrated VoIP apps

It’s now possible for third-party developers to integrate VoIP apps with the Windows Phone 8 dialler and contact list. This means you’ll be able to make VoIP calls right from the People Hub, just like you would a normal phone call.

One example of this is Skype. Once installed, it runs from deep within the OS, offering an ‘always-on’ experience, even when the app is closed. Even if your phone is locked and in your pocket, you’ll receive Skype calls or messages, like you’d expect to.

Number six – Lenses

Microsoft has been working on making a tighter integration of apps in the new OS. That’s why all apps that are camera-based will now be found within the camera app itself. Pressing the camera button will launch the camera and installed ‘Lens apps’ can be found when you’ve pressed the Lens icon. It’s right here where you can find the Nokia lenses such as Cinemagraph and Smart Shoot, too.

Number seven – Data storage and syncing

In a world where cloud-storage seems to be the future, everything we own (digitally) can be stored elsewhere – not actually on our devices. What this means is that we needn’t throw any of these digital assets away, instead, keep them for safekeeping.

With Windows Phone 8 you can automatically sync your email, contacts, calendar, instant messages, and text messages to your Hotmail or Outlook account. The same process happens to your photos, videos, Office documents, and OneNote notes, but to your SkyDrive account.

Nokia Lumia 820 Live Tiles_yellow bottom

Number eight – Shared Windows core

Windows Phone and Windows 8 share the same core. This means that when it comes to development, whether it is software or hardware, as a consumer, your experience across phone and PC will be exceptional.

For developers this is important because it means that you’ll benefit from familiar development tools when creating your apps, and those apps can easily be deployed to other devices, increasing your reach = more $ for you.

As a Windows Phone 8 user, this shared core means that you’ll be able to access more apps than before. Plus, with almost identical apps (due to the shared core) from phone to Windows 8, you should enjoy a much richer, consistent experience.

Number nine – IE10

The Internet browser in Windows Phone 8 matches the experience you receive when using IE10 on a Windows 8 PC.

When it comes to rendering webpages based on JavaScript, IE10 on Windows Phone 8 is up to seven times faster that the version in Windows Phone 7.5 and offers more support when it comes to HTML5.

NFC can also prove useful here, as you can share links, and open Web pages by just touching your phone with another phone, or another NFC-enabled item, like a poster, for example.

The same SmartScreen filter that exists on IE10 on Windows 8 exists on the Windows Phone 8 version. If you venture onto a potentially malicious site, a big red screen will remind you to browse safely. Whether you listen to it or not, is up to you.

Number 10 – Screenshots

Now, this won’t be for everybody, but for people like me (writers/bloggers/journalists), this is invaluable. If you’re writing about an app, a game or just want to show what the start screen looks like, you’ll need a way of capturing the screen so that other people can see it.

Previous to Windows Phone 8 there was no easy way to take a snapshot of your phone’s screen, but now there will be; by default and on every Windows Phone 8 device.

Pressing the Start and power button together will take a screenshot and place it in it’s own folder in your pictures hub. You can then share that picture the same way you would any other picture.

There you have it, 10 great Windows Phone 8 features that we’re looking forward to seeing, soon.

What, out of the above features, are you most looking forward to using? Use the comments section below to let us know.

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