Microsoft has struck a host of content partnerships with tier-one digital media brands including Facebook, Twitter and Angry Birds as part of its Windows Phone 8 roll out.
The Windows Phone provider has claimed it has 120,000 apps in its Windows Marketplace and also paired with 46 of the 50 most popular app publishers on rival platforms, namely Android and iOS.
Speaking yesterday at a syndicated global press event, Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s Windows Phone programme manager made a host of announcements to attract consumers and developers.
Among the announcements were Windows Phone 8 (WP8) specific versions of Facebook, Twitter, Temple Run, Urban Spoon and Angry Birds Star Wars.
The new Facebook and Twitter apps lets users personalise their lock screens by updating on-the-go based on their networks’ activity via Microsoft’s unique Live Tiles.
Users can also customise the text that appears on their app screen and what apps exactly they want to personalise their lock screen – such as Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare, (see video below).
Introducing the New Windows Phone Start Screen
“One of the things that we know fills the phones with capability is apps,” said Belfiore.
“We wanted apps to fill up the phone and make it more personal [via its Live Tiles on the devices’ start screen]… Live Apps can integrate into your wallet.”
Belifore also revealed that Microsoft has struck a tie-up with internet radio station Pandora for the Windows Phone 8 launch.
Among the terms of the deal was that from early 2013 WP8 users will also receive a free year of music without ads.
Windows Phone 8 will also support mobile wallet schemes via NFC technology letting users store their debit, credit, loyalty and membership card information on their phone.
Also included in yesterday’s announcement was an updated, always-on version of Microsoft’s Skype app that will “integrate more seamlessly” with their smartphones, according to Belifore.
“It’s always on – ready to receive a call at any time without draining the battery,” he added.
Belifore made further announcements indicating that Microsoft is targeting first-time smarpthone users, those that are conscious of their mobile data usage as well as parents.
Among these announcements was Data Sense an application on the devices that compresses every web page to limit the amount of data required to load the page.
Data Sense also notifies users of when they are approaching their mobile data limit and helps them find nearby Wi-Fi hotspots automatically.
It will roll out the service with mobile operators and also claimed to let users access up to 45% more web pages using the data plans, according to Belifore.
WP8 will also contain a parental control for users – Kids Corner – to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content and accidentally making inadvertent in-app purchases to prevent bill shock, (see gallery above).
For a full demo see video below.
Meet Windows Phone 8