Windows Phone 8 Handsets Reach UK This Friday

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
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Nokia Lumia 920 is exclusive to EE in the UK as Microsoft goes “all in” with mobile platform

Smartphones running the Windows Phone 8 operating system will arrive in the UK this Friday from Nokia, HTC and Samsung.

Microsoft formally launched the mobile platform at events in London and San Francisco on Monday night, and promised to go “all in” on what it claims is like nothing else on the market right now.

Devices will be available on the O2, Three and EE networks, with certain handsets available exclusively on certain carriers.

Windows Phone 8 launch

EE will carry the Nokia Lumia 920 exclusively, with the Nokia Lumia 820, HTC 8X and HTC 8S also available on its 4G network, due to launch tomorrow. The Samsung Galaxy Ativ S will be available exclusively on O2, which will also stock the Lumia 820, HTC 8X and 8S.Vodafone has the Lumia 820, HTC 8X and 8S, while Three has just the 8X and 8S.

Most of what Microsoft said at the events was already common knowledge, with the computing giant stressing the importance of the personal experience and the cross-compatibility with Windows 8 tablets and PCs and the Xbox 360.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore demonstrated the software’s live tiles as well as the new lock screen, which he described as the “ultimate glance-able UI”.  Applications for Skype, Facebook and Twitter were shown, with Belfiore claiming that 46 of the most 50 popular apps on other mobile platforms will be available at launch.

Among the new features to be revealed was Kids Corner, which lets parents create a “mini profile” for their children where they select what apps and functions can be used, as well as Data Sense, which keeps track of data usage. Data Sense also compresses web pages both in the cloud and the client, so that users can get more out of their data plan.

Rooms will let users send private messages, appointments and notes with specific groups of friends or family and certain features will also be compatible with other mobile platforms such as iOS.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft had had a “very exciting and energising few days” after the “incredible response” to Windows 8 and its Surface tablet, but that it was committed to Windows Phone 8 and the “reinvention of the smartphone.”

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