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Windows Phone 8 is the second generation of the Windows Phone mobile operating system from Microsoft. It was released on October 29, 2012, and like its predecessor, it features the interface known as Metro (or Modern UI).

Windows Phone 8 replaces its CE-based architecture used on Windows Phone 7 devices with the Windows NT kernel found on many Windows 8 components. Current Windows Phone 7.x devices cannot run or update to Windows Phone 8 and new applications compiled specifically for Windows Phone 8 are not made available for Windows Phone 7.x devices.[1]

Windows Phone 8 devices are manufactured by Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei.[2]

Development history

On June 20, 2012, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8 (codenamed Apollo), a second generation of the Windows Phone operating system for release later in 2012. Windows Phone 8 replaces its previously Windows CE-based architecture with one based on the Windows NT kernel (with many components shared with Windows 8), allowing developers to easily port applications between the two platforms.

Windows Phone 8 will also allow devices with larger screens (the 3 confirmed sizes are "WVGA 800x480 15:9","WXGA 1280x768 15:9","720p 1280x720 16:9" resolutions) and multi-core processors, NFC (which can primarily be used to share content and perform payments), backwards compatibility with Windows Phone 7 apps, improved support for removable storage (which now functions more similarly to how such storage is handled on Windows and Android), a redesigned home screen incorporating resizable tiles across the entire screen, a new Wallet hub (to integrate NFC payments, coupon websites such as Groupon, and loyalty cards), and "first-class" integration of VoIP applications into the core functions of the OS. Additionally, Windows Phone 8 will include more features aimed at the enterprise market, such as device management, BitLocker encryption, and the ability to create a private Marketplace to distribute apps to employees features expected to meet or exceed the enterprise capabilities of the previous Windows Mobile platform.[3] Additionally, Windows Phone 8 will support over-the-air updates, and all Windows Phone 8 devices will receive software support for at least 18 months after their release.[4]

In the interest of ensuring it is released with devices designed to take advantage of its new features,[5] Windows Phone 8 will not be made available as an update for existing Windows Phone 7 devices. However, Windows Phone 7.8 (an update for Windows Phone 7 devices) has backported the redesigned home screen.

Portico update

A minor update known as Portico was rolled out on December 2012 which brought some improvements and bugfixes, including enhancements in Messaging, more efficient Bluetooth connectivity, and an "always-on" setting for WiFi connections, among other additional platform updates.[6][7][8]

Post Portico update

A newer build 1314 was released in North America only (AT&T & Rogers) to fix specific connectivity issues that occurred from the 1308 update in this region.


In March 2013, Microsoft announced that updates for the Windows Phone 8 operating system would be made available through July 8, 2014. [9] Windows Phone 8 devices will be upgradeable to the next edition of Windows Phone, unlike Windows Phone 7.x devices, which were not upgradeable to Windows Phone 8. [10]


The following features were confirmed at Microsoft's 'sneak peek' at Windows Phone on June 20, 2012 and the unveiling of Windows Phone 8 on October 29, 2012:[11][12][13]


Windows Phone 8 is the first mobile OS from Microsoft to use the Windows NT kernel, which is the same kernel that runs Windows 8. The operating system adds improved file system, drivers, network stack, security components, media and graphics support. Using the NT kernel, Windows Phone can now support multi-core CPUs of up to 64 cores, as well as 1280x720 and 1280x768 resolutions, in addition to the base 800x480 resolution already available on Windows Phone 7. Furthermore, Windows Phone 8 also adds support for MicroSD cards, which are commonly used to add extra storage to phones.

Due to the switch to the NT kernel, Windows Phone 8 also supports native 128-bit Bitlocker encryption and Secure Boot. Windows Phone 8 also supports NTFS due to this switch.[14]


Internet Explorer 10 is the default browser in Windows Phone 8 and carries over key improvements also found in the desktop version.


Windows Phone 8, like its predecessor Windows Phone 7, doesn't allow third-party applications to truly multi-task. The OS can multi-task and so can applications provided on the device by Microsoft and trusted suppliers.

A user can switch between "active" tasks by pressing and holding the Back button, but any application listed may not actually still be running and the user may have to wait for the application to resume from its suspended state on selection (similar to the multitasking experience in Apple's iOS);.[15]

Applications may register background tasks which are run under certain conditions, such as a network connection being established or battery power running low, but an application cannot guarantee that it will remain running if another application is brought to the foreground and may be paused or terminated by the OS at any time.

Kids Corner

Windows Phone 8 adds Kids Corner, which operates as a kind of "guest mode". The user chooses which applications and games appear on the Kids Corner. When Kids Corner is activated, apps and games installed on the device can be played or accessed without touching the data of the main user signed in to the Windows Phone.[12]


Rooms is a feature added specifically for group messaging and communication. Using Rooms, users can contact and see Facebook and Twitter updates only from members of the group created.[12]

Data Sense

As an exclusive feature to Verizon Windows Phones, Data Sense allows users to set data usage limits based on their individual plan. DataSense can restrict background data when the user is near their set limit (a heart icon is used to notify the user when background tasks are being automatically stopped).[16] Support for Data Sense is being studied by AT&T [17]

NFC and Wallet

Select Windows Phones running Windows Phone 8 add NFC capability, which allows for data transfer between two Windows Phone devices, or between a Windows Phone device, and a Windows 8 computer or tablet, using a feature called "Tap and Send".

In certain markets, NFC support on Windows Phone 8 can also be used to conduct in-person transactions through credit and debit cards stored on the phone through the Wallet application. Carriers may activate the NFC feature through SIM or integrated phone hardware. Orange will be first carrier to support NFC on Windows Phone 8. Besides NFC support for transactions, Wallet can also be used to store credit cards in order to make Windows Phone Store and other in-app purchases (which is also a new feature), and can be used to store coupons and loyalty cards.[18]

Other features

  • Xbox SmartGlass allows control of an Xbox 360 with a phone (Available for Windows Phone, iOS and Android)
  • Xbox Music services support playback audio files in Windows Phone, as well as music purchases.
  • Xbox Video services support playback of video files in Windows Phone but not video purchases.[19]
  • Native code support (C++), allows for simplified porting from platforms such as Android, Symbian, and iOS
  • Simplified porting of Windows 8 apps to Windows Phone 8 (compatibility with Windows 8 "Modern UI" apps)
  • Remote device management of Windows Phone similar to management of Windows PCs
  • VoIP and video chat integration for any VoIP or video chat app (integrates into the phone dialer, people hub)
  • Firmware over the air for Windows Phone updates
  • Minimum 18 month support of Windows Phone updates to Windows Phone 8 devices
  • Camera app now supports "lenses", which allow third parties to skin and add features to camera interface
  • Native screen capture is added by pressing home and power buttons simultaneously
  • Hebrew language support is added for Microsoft to introduce Windows Phone to the Israeli market.[20]

Hardware requirements

Windows Phone 8 minimum device requirements
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor
Minimum 512MB RAM for WVGA phones; minimum 1GB RAM for 720p / WXGA
Minimum 4GB flash memory
GPS and A-GNSS; GLONASS is supported if OEMs decide to include it
Support for micro-USB 2.0
3.5mm stereo headphone jack with three-button detection support
Rear-facing AF camera with optional LED or Xenon flash, optional front-facing camera (both need to be VGA or better) and dedicated camera button
Accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors, as well as vibration motor (magnetometer and gyroscope are optional)
802.11b/g and Bluetooth (802.11n is optional)
DirectX graphics hardware support with hardware acceleration for Direct3D using programmable GPU
Multi-touch capacitive touch screen with minimum of four simultaneous points

Windows Phone App

The Windows Phone app succeeds Zune Software as the sync application to transfer music, videos, and other multimedia files between Windows Phone 8 and a Windows computer or tablet. A version for OS X computers is also available.


Windows Phone 8 was met with reviewers generally praising the increased capabilities of the system, but criticizing the smaller app selection when compared to other phones. Brad Molen of Engadget mentioned that "Windows Phone 8 is precisely what we wanted to see come out of Redmond in the first place," and praised the more customizable Start Screen, compatibility with Windows 8, and improved NFC support. However, Molen also noted the drawback of a lack of apps in the Windows Phone Store.[21] The Verge gave the OS a 7.9/10 rating, stating that "Redmond is presenting one of the most compelling ecosystem stories in the business right now," but criticized the lack of a unified notifications center.[22] Alexandra Chang of Wired gave Windows Phone 8 an 8/10, noting improvement in features previously lacking in Windows Phone 7, such as multi-core processor support, faster Internet browsing, and the switch from Bing Maps to Nokia Maps, but again criticized the smaller selection of apps.[23]

IDC reported that in Q1 2013, Windows Phone market share jumped to 3.2% of the world smartphone market, allowing Windows Phone to overtake Blackberry OS as the third largest mobile OS by usage.[24] Reports from market research firm Kantar also indicated that WP usage had jumped to 5.6% globally in April 2013, up from 3.7% in April 2012.[25] The increase in usage has been largely attributed to the release of Windows Phone 8.

Known Issues

  • A notification center was not included because, according to Microsoft, the team "ran out of time."[26] The notification center is the most requested missing feature.[27] A third party application was released in April that is called Unification, published by Liquid Daffodil.[28][29]
  • Windows Phone 8 lacks VPN support.[30]
  • FM Radio Support (via a built-in FM Radio Tuner) is missing.[31][32] There is no yet official statement from Microsoft regarding this matter. However, in March 2013 it was reported on The Verge website that support for this feature may be included in the second General Distribution Release (GDR2), although no date is given and there has been no confirmation from Microsoft.[33]
  • Non-Verizon Windows Phones do not have a data usage meter. [34][35]
  • Support for USB On-The-Go.[36]
  • EAP-TTLS+PAP authentication is as of April 2013 still not supported via WiFi.[37] EAP-TTLS+PAP is widely used in many implementations by the global roaming wireless access network eduroam.
  • S/MIME signed and encrypted email is not supported. Signed messages that do not also include a plain text version cannot be read, and for such messages, file attachments, which are always encoded inside the signed part of the message, will not be shown. All other major smartphone platforms (including the old Windows Mobile 6.x have some type of support for such messages.[38]
  • There is no system certificate manager available and no method available in the browser or elsewhere to view the SSL certificates that are being used for the current TLS session. Even though it is possible to install your own SSL certificates by downloading them or emailing them to the device[39], or perhaps especially because this is possible, there is no conceivable way for any user to determine that they are connected to the right server, instead of an SSL Proxy that is used for a Man-in-the-middle attack, because neither can the list of installed certificates be viewed nor can any untrusted certificates be removed from the phone. [40]

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  • Windows Phone 8 users are reporting random reboots and freezes while in use.[41] Microsoft delivered an update addressing these issues, which was reported to not completely solve the issues.[42]
  • Battery issues have been reported that seem to be improved by disabling the tap + send (NFC) feature.[41]
  • Many users are reporting Bluetooth pairing issues with car Bluetooth systems[43]
  • Videos larger than 4GB get corrupted when transferred to the computer.[44]
  • Users have reported storage space loss over time, attributed to an ever-growing storage section labeled "other." Only a factory-state reset has been reported to reclaim this space.[45]
  • On December 14, Google announced that it would drop Exchange support (meaning that Gmail/Google Calendar Windows Phone users would be unable to connect), pushing the open CalDAV/CardDAV standard.[46] Exchange support was then extended until July 31 on January 30, while Microsoft works on developing CalDAV/CardDAV support for Windows Phone.[47][48]
  • There is a bug that crashes applications, in the date parsing routines, that affects users in some regions.[49]
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  2. Nokia, Samsung, HTC, and Huawei will have first Windows Phone 8 devices | The Verge
  3. Warren, Tom (20 June 2012). "Windows Phone 8 in detail: new Start Screen, multi-core support, VoIP integration, and NFC". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  4. Barrett, Brian (20 June 2012). "Windows Phone 8 Devices Will Get OTA Updates and 18 Months of Firmware Support". Gizmodo. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  5. Warren, Tom (June 20, 2012). "Microsoft: no upgrades to Windows Phone 8, but some features will come in Windows Phone 7.8". The Verge. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  6. Miller, Matthew (December 11, 2012). "Windows Phone 8 Portico update rolling out with SMS and WiFi fixes". ZDNet. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  7. Callaham, John (December 19, 2012). "Microsoft posts Windows Phone 8 "Portico" release notes". Neowin. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  8. Hearn, Mark (December 19, 2012). "Nokia rolling out update with camera fix for Lumia 920 and 820 owners in the US and Canada". Engadget. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  10. Segan, Sascha (2013-02-27). "Microsoft: Windows Phone 8 Will Be Upgradeable | News & Opinion".,2817,2416002,00.asp. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
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  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Seifert, Dan (October 29, 2012). "Here's what's new in Windows Phone 8: Kid's Corner, Rooms, instant photo uploads". The Verge. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  13. Branscombe, Mary (October 30, 2012). "Windows Phone 8 release date and latest details". TechRadar. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  14. "What does Windows Phone 8 share your core Windows 8?". 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  15. Martin, Taylor (October 15, 2012). "Why I'm wary of switching to Windows Phone 8". Retrieved 13 January, 2013. 
  16. Welch, Chris (October 29, 2012). "Microsoft's Data Sense for Windows Phone 8 looks to make data overages a thing of the past". The Verge. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  17. "ATT considers supporting Microsoft's data sense service for Windows Phone 8". January 24, 2013. 
  18. Melanson, Donald (June 20, 2012). "Microsoft brings NFC payments and loyalty cards to Windows Phone 8". Engadget. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  19. Error when syncing or playing video files on Windows Phone 8
  20. Mohr, Yair; Ziv, Amitai (2 April 2008). "Microsoft launches game-changing smartphones in Israel". Haaretz. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  21. Molen, Brad (29 October 2012). "Windows Phone 8 review". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  22. "Windows Phone 8 review". The Verge. Vox Media. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  23. Chang, Alexandra (29 October 2012). "Review: Microsoft Windows Phone 8". Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  26. Windows Phone 8 Notification Center: Microsoft Admits Lack Of Time
  27. Poll reveals that consumers desperately want a notification center in Windows Phone 8 | Windows Phone Central
  28. First look at the Unification Notification center for Windows Phone | Windows Phone Central
  29. Unification | Windows Phone
  30. There's good news and bad news for Windows Phone business users | ZDNet
  31. Why Windows Phone 7.8 is better than Windows Phone 8 | PocketNow
  32. App platform compatibility for Windows Phone | Windows Phone Dev Center at
  33. Windows Phone 8 update to activate FM radios, enable double-tap to wake Lumia 920 | The Verge
  34. Windows Phone 8 Data Sense Usage Tracking Is Coming To Australia, Eventually | lifehacker
  35. Nokia Xpress for Windows Phone 8, Data Sense Alternative | WPXBOX
  36. Quick Answers To Questions About Windows Phone 8 | mobility
  37. "802.1x / EAP TTLS support? - Windows Phone Central Forums". Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  38. "Does Windows Phone 8 support s/mime? - Microsoft Community". Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  39. "Windows Phone 8 Certificate Installation". Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  40. "Provide a way to remove SSL certificates from the phone – Feature Suggestions for Windows Phone". Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  41. 41.0 41.1 Warren, Tom (18 November 2012). "Windows Phone 8 users report random reboots and battery issues (update)". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  42. Windows Phone 8 update did not solve spontaneous reset issue | WMPoweruser
  43. Mick, Jason (19 November 2012). "Quick Note: Windows Phone 8 Not Working With Car Bluetooth Systems". DailyTech. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  44. Schenck, Stephen (7 December 2012). "Windows Phone 8 Chokes On Large Video Transfers". PocketNow. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  45. From the Forums: CES 2013 and SMS toast notifications | Windows Phone Central
  46. Google makes Gmail sync harder on rival platforms by dropping Exchange ActiveSync for consumers | The Verge
  47. Google extends Windows Phone support for Exchange ActiveSync until July 31st | The Verge
  48. Microsoft confirms CardDAV and CalDAV support are coming to Windows Phone | The Verge
  49. PSA: Windows Phone users in certain regions may be experiencing date bugs in their apps - workaround identified | Windows Phone Central