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Windows Phone 8 launch: we go hands-on

Just as Joe Belfiore took to the stage in the US, we headed to central London where Microsoft had set up an event on this side of the Atlantic. Leila Martine, Director of Windows Phone at Microsoft UK headed up the opening presentation where she explained the focus of Windows Phone 8 and the shift that the company, along with the help of their hardware partners, wanted to push to consumers.

In their eyes, Windows Phone 8 is the most personal mobile OS out there and the message they were pushing was that they didn’t want to design a platform for ‘all of us’, they wanted to design a user experience for ‘each of us’, “It’s about individual and personal uniqueness, like a fingerprint” Leila explained. Of course the user experience is one key element but it’s nothing without robust hardware to back it up. Thankfully HTC, Nokia and Samsung were also on hand to demonstrate the first wave of Windows Phone 8 devices, confirmed to be hitting markets including the UK from November onwards.

Leila MartineJoe, Steve and JessicaPaloma Faith

The five handsets in question are the Samsung Ativ S, the Nokia Lumia 820, Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8S and HTC 8X. Interestingly enough, Microsoft have appeased both Nokia and HTC with their forthcoming TV ad, which features both companies new Windows Phone 8 flagship handsets. There was uncertainty doubt over the strength of Nokia’s existing partnership with Microsoft as following our first encounter with the Windows Phone 8X by HTC, the company said that it would be their handset that would be the poster child for Windows Phone 8 and not a Nokia device.

Following the announcement, we were able to talk to Leila Martine one to one, about Windows Phone 8 and some of the challenges it faces in such an aggressive mobile market. She explained that there were four key elements which Microsoft learnt from Windows Phone 7 which they then instilled into the creation of Windows Phone 8.

As we’ve already mentioned, defining themselves amongst the competition is their top priority and with new features like Live Apps, Kid’s Corner, Xbox Music and more, they feel they can achieve this. The hardware on offer from the likes of Samsung, Nokia and HTC shows far more promise against the competition with features unique to Windows Phone and with regards to elements such as Beats Audio integration in the HTC 8X, she explained that it even surpasses the quality of the feature in their own Android camp, hopefully giving Windows Phone HTCs an edge in a Android heavy portfolio.

HTC 8XSamsung Ativ SNokia Lumia 920

One impressive element to the launch of Windows Phone 8 here in the UK is that at least two devices are available from every major UK carrier, alongside retailers like Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U, who in fact offer the full range of five handsets. The fourth and final element is awareness and that is now the company’s focus going forward; using interesting new tactics to push Windows Phone 8 devices in the faces of consumers in order to show off just how competitive an OS it is when compared to consumers.

Samsung Ativ S home buttonHTC 8S, 8XNokia Lumia 820 on Qi wireless charging pad

We’ll be bringing you hands-on action with each of these exciting new handsets very soon, so keep checking back to see your favourite new Windows Phone 8 handset up close and personal.



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