Books & Review | Jessica Durham
Updated: Oct 30, 2012 09:35 PM EDT

Windows Phone 8

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks during the launch of Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco.
(Photo : Reuters)

It looks like Microsoft has made a big splash with its new Windows Phone 8 software.

Microsoft held an event on Monday in California to reveal its final version of Windows Phone 8. Popular phones that users are ready to get their hands on include the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820.

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Despite mixed reviews for Windows 8, the smartphone seem to be more interesting for consumers, especially now that Microsoft is focusing on having as much apps as rival companies Google and Apple.

According to Wired.com, Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore said on Monday that Microsoft's smartphone OS is finally catching up to iOS and Android app offerings. Microsoft claims that Windows Phone 8 will have 46 out of 50 top phone apps available in the App Store and Google Play.

"Instagram is certainly a popular one," Belfiore said. "I hope and expect we'll have Instagram at some point. In the meantime, if Instagram is your thing, then alright. We're pretty happy that for almost everyone, coming to Windows Phone is a real possibility right now because we have almost all the apps covered."

Wired.com said that "things will promising" for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8, with having some of the top apps from Apple's App Store and Google Play already there or on the horizon.

During the press event, Microsoft also announced new features such as Kids Corner, Data Sense, and Lock Screen.

Lock Screen allows Windows phone users to see some information from their live tiles or apps on the actual lock screen, not just on the home screen.

"It will automatically surface photos and notifications and content from your favorite apps," Belfiore said, according to ABC News.

ABC News said that Microsoft worked with Facebook to create a new app for Windows Phone 8 to surface Facebook updates on the lock screen. There will also be a similar Twitter app.

Data Sense shows users which apps are using the most data and helps them save money.

"Microsoft says it will compress data sent over the wireless network, so that you pay for fewer megabytes," ABC News said. "Because of the feature, Belfiore said that you can get 40 percent more web browsing than other phones."

Kid's Corner allows parents to control what their kids can use on their new Windows 8 phones, and can configure it so that they can't get into their email or Twitter account.

Information Week writer Boonsri Dickinson said he had a chance to check out the HTC Windows Phone 8X at the Microsoft event and talked about the Live Apps feature.

"The Live Apps feature became apparent as soon as I connected to Facebook and Twitter," Dickinson said. "Photos of my friends continue to pop up -- always changing like a screen saver within the little widget. Microsoft intentionally did this to make the look different from the static screen on Apple and Android devices. As soon as you sign into Facebook, your photos populate your photo album and your contacts."

All these features seem exciting and hopefully Microsoft fans will like this new user experience than what they are used to from Apple and Android.

Are you planning to get a Windows Phone 8 device? Sound off below!


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