With Apple’s big iOS 6 reveal done and dusted, we can now focus our attentions on what Microsoft has in store with its ever-advancing Windows Phone platform. The Redmond-based outfit has been steadfast in its progress of Windows 8, and the mobile version will play a key role in its eventual success.
Next week, the software maker will, as promised, deliver consumers a preview of what to expect with Windows Phone 8, and, much like the pre-WWDC reports and speculation, details are already beginning to leak regarding the forthcoming mobile operating system.
Nokia, which ditched its Symbian OS in favor of a blind leap of faith with Windows Phone, will bring its own Maps offering to the party, an app that’ll replace the current Bing Maps. Although Nokia isn’t responsible for all Windows Phone devices, its Maps service will be prevalent on each and every one – not just its own branded smartphones.
Similarly to the move of Cupertino-based Apple, which showed off its own in-house maps services yesterday, it offers 3D navigation, and in addition, hardware acceleration, which is obviously a quantum leap forward considering the monochromatic UI of Windows Phone itself.
The report stems from WPCentral, and as well as the new Maps service, Windows Phone 8 will also pack in Skype integration, some description of NFC wallet, and improvements to the camera. Windows Phone 7.x has already established itself fairly well, having become the number one smartphone in the competitive Chinese market, while also yielding praise from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – an outed Lumia fanboy.
Still, although the jury’s certainly out on Siri and S Voice, Microsoft doesn’t appear to have a challenger to those services, which could seriously hinder its chances of mounting a real challenge on the two dominant ecosystems of iOS and Android. At this point in time, most see voice-recognition as either a novelty, or an unnecessary extra, although with iOS 6 set to improve Siri and widen its reach, Microsoft could find itself severely under-armed.
The Windows Phone Summit will commence on June 20th, and should give the world a close look at what the software maker has been working on behind closed doors. As well as the aforementioned, there will be improved support for multiple core processors, and with so much at stake for Microsoft, it will be intriguing to gauge the reaction of developers and consumers alike.
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