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What to expect from the Windows Phone 8 launch tonight

Microsoft has certainly filled their calendar this week, unleashing the culmination its first in-house Windows 8 computing experience which has surfaced as, well, Microsoft Surface. Two iterations of the company’s new tablet computing experience were demoed in L.A, but over in San Francisco later today, we should see what progression the company have made on the other side of the mobile coin.

Windows Phone 8 is the expected to be unveiled today’s Microsoft Developer Summit, which will offer users and developers alike, an insight into the future of Microsoft’s mobile OS. Dubbed ‘Apollo’, Windows Phone 8 is said to be a significant shift in the fundamental experience provided by the OS.

Alongside the new version number and name, there have been lots of rumours about potential new features including a list back in February. We can’t say which will fall short of the mark and which will be on the money, but chances are some key additions and alterations will feature in the event which kicks off at 5pm UK time.

Windows Phone Summit

First and foremost, Windows Phone as a competitive mobile OS has lacked multi-core processor support. The current generation of Windows Phone devices have for the most part demonstrated that the OS doesn’t yet need to rely on such beefy hardware, with a fast user experience present on every device available. With the competition working on more advanced dual and quad core solutions to meet the requirements of more demanding features, and by association more demanding users, Microsoft will need to push Windows Phone in much the same direction to show its commitment in placing it as a true competitor and giving it greater developer and OEM appeal.

Display resolution support is expected to broaden as well, with additional resolutions joining the WVGA (480×800) setup used by every Windows Phone device currently available. Other hardware improvements expected to grace the OS include full NFC support (including payment over NFC functionality) along with removable microSD functionality, which no doubt many prospective users will be pleased to hear.

Windows Phone lineup

On the software side, developers will likely notice updates to the base kernel, security; including native BitLocker encryption technology, multimedia enhancements and networking improvements. Microsoft is also said to be tinkering with some of their most popular applications, including a faster iteration of Internet Explorer, improvements to Skype for Windows Phone and a significant update to the Zune PC client (codenamed Daphne), according to ZDNET.

Assuming Apollo is set to be unveiled later today (and there’s little doubt that it is), the infrastructure as a whole will receive a fresh burst of flexibility, something the OS has lacked in comparison to the likes of Android. There is a possibility that even the most recent Windows Phone devices won’t be able to make the jump to Apollo due to differences in the builds, which could leave many new customers a little sore. All will be revealed at 5pm (UK time).

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