Microsoft enlivens tiles on Windows Phone 8

With new models from Nokia, Samsung and HTC, Microsoft debuted its latest smartphone operating system, promoting its “Live Tiles” interface as “the heart and soul of Windows Phone.”

On Windows Phone 8, “people can arrange the iconic Start screen however they want by pinning their favorite people, apps, music, games, photos and more,” the company says. “Three sizes of Live Tiles and 20 bright color choices including cobalt, crimson and lime mean you can personalize your Start screen to be unmistakably yours.” Also, the Live Apps deliver real-time information to the Start or Lock screens, showing deals of the day, flight information, or news headlines.

Windows Phone 8 can handle payments via near-field communications, and its Wallet stores debit, credit, loyalty and membership card information.

New photo features in the phones include:

The Nokia Lumia 920 “offers state-of-the-art photography that fits in your pocket,” Microsoft says, “and it is the world’s only smartphone to include Optical Image Stabilization.”

The Windows Phone 8X by HTC “also breaks new ground in optics with 1080p video recording, f2.0 aperture and a dedicated HTC ImageChip on the main 8-megapixel camera,” Microsoft says, “and an ultra wide-angle lens on the front camera that lets you fit up to four people in the frame for a premium Skype experience.” It’s $200 with a two-year Verizon contract.

More information is here.


HTC emphasizes imaging in new Windows phone


“For the first time,” HTC says, it is introducing a 2-megapixel f/2 aperture, 88-degree wide angle front-facing camera that “allows up to four people to be captured at once.”

The front camera on the new Windows Phone 8X also supports 1080p video. The rear camera has an 8MP sensor, as well as an f/2 aperture, 28mm lens. Also, a physical shutter button “makes it quick and easy to capture spontaneous action, even if the phone is locked.”

The Windows Phone 8X has a 4.3-inch LCD with optical lamination that “reduces reflections and glare, ensuring you see every detail.”

Pricing was not announced.


Nokia develops “City Lens” Augmented Reality for Windows Phone

Nokia says its City Lens augmented reality app for Windows Phone “instantly connects you to all of the places you’re looking for, and gets you there exactly when and how you want to.”

On the phone’s camera display, City Lens will show what’s nearby “the way that works best for you: whether through a camera view, list view, or maps view—including landmarks, restaurants, hotels, shops and more,” the company adds.

The app is free from Nokia’s Beta Labs, and runs on Nokia’s Lumia 710, 800, 900 Windows Phones.

More information is here.

Nokia Lumia 900 to debut on AT&T’s 4G LTE network

With the largest display available from Nokia — 4.3-inches — the Lumia 900 “delivers a rich content experience from a phone that still fits easily in your hand.”

Nokia and AT&T announced the latest Lumia 900, saying it is the first of Nokia’s Windows Phone-based line to feature high-speed LTE connectivity.

The primary camera includes Zeiss optics, with an F2.2 aperture and 28mm wide angle focal length, the company says.

AT&T adds that its 4G network “really amplifies the benefits of the Nokia Lumia 900. Sharing high quality images and videos with its integrated social networking functions is faster than ever.”

Windows Phone 7.5 in stores now

Not actual size.

To demonstrate Microsoft’s Windows Phone primary concept of “People belong at the center of the phone experience,” the company says it “put real people inside a giant six-story phone” in New York City’s Herald Square to bring to life the phone’s key features and experiences.

“Windows Phone will help change the way people look at smartphones,” the company says. “Other phones have you wade through a sea of apps, while we bubble up all the things that are important — centered around the people that matter to you most.”

Windows Phone 7.5, formerly code-named “Mango,” is now available at all major U.S. mobile operators.

Interestingly, in September without fanfare Microsoft removed the camera hardware requirement from the platform. This allows manufacturers to address the security concerns at some corporate and government installations that ban camera phones — and for making cheaper models. However, all the new models this week have front- and rear-facing cameras.

Among the new phones:

The Samsung Focus S, available from AT&T for $200, features an 8-megapixel camera, 4.3-inch display, 1.4GHz processor, 4G-capable speeds, and a 8.55 millimeter profile.

Samsung's Windows phone has an 8MP camera.

The Samsung Focus Flash is just $50, with a 3.7-inch screen and 5-megapixel camera.

The HTC Radar 4G from T-Mobile is “crafted from a single piece of polished aluminum,” Microsoft says. It’s $100.

More information is here.