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Nokia at the Windows Phone 8 launch

Windows Phone 8 is finally here! Microsoft did the final reveal of the long-awaited mobile platform at an exclusive event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, and Nokia joined the party with our family of Lumia phones with Windows Phone 8: Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 on AT&T, Nokia Lumia 810 on T-Mobile USA, and the just-announced Nokia Lumia 822 on Verizon Wireless.

The event was spearheaded by Joe Belfiore, Manager of the Windows Phone program at Microsoft, who started out by looking at where smartphones are today and where they’ve been.

“If you think about the predominant user experience on most of the smartphones that people are using today, it was standardized by Apple and the iPhone, and essentially that same interface was copied by Android on Android phones,” Belfiore said.

“And it really hasn’t evolved all that much. The static grid of icons has been sort of the standard on smartphones.”

The most personal smartphone

Nokia at the Windows Phone 8 launch

Windows Phone, on the other hand, is drastically different. The operating system has been designed to focus on the user and to prove the most personal experience.

“Windows Phone is unlike any other mobile operating system. The idea is you can find the things and people you care about and put them front and center in your experience… It’s a unique reflection of who you are,” he said. 

But the operating system is just one part of overall experience, and Microsoft put its CEO, Steve Ballmer, on stage to drive home exactly that point.

“There’s one more thing that really sets Windows Phones apart, and I think it’s important to emphasize because it is just perhaps so unexpected and so amazing, and that is new killer hardware – I would argue some of the best hardware you will find, if not the best hardware you will find in any smartphone form factors,” Ballmer said.

He then proceeded to show off the brand new Nokia Lumia 920 in attention-grabbing yellow color.

“Nokia’s new Lumia 920 is fantastic. Seeing is really believing with this phone,” he said.

The Microsoft CEO went on to praise the super sensitive PureMotion HD+ screen and our award-winning PureView technology.

“This is the only smartphone in the world that includes optical image stabilization that captures great photos and videos even in low light or with a shaky hand,” he said.

“Nokia is also doing pioneering work on wireless charging. Just set your phone down on a charger in your kitchen or on your bedside table to power up.”

Nokia Corner at the WP8 launch

Great new features

Nokia’s contribution to the Windows Phone ecosystem isn’t limited to marvelous engineering and cutting-edge hardware, we’re also providing the entire mapping infrastructure through Nokia Maps, and improving the user experience by creating apps and services such as Nokia Drive, Nokia City Lens, Nokia Transport and Nokia Music.

An exciting new feature in Windows Phone 8 is Data Sense, which helps you better manage your data. A Live Tile provides exact info about your phones usage of data, and Microsoft expects up to 45 per cent more web browsing on the same data plan as a result of consumers being more confident about not exceeding the limits of their data plan.

Nokia Lumia 920 in yellow

The first mobile operator to support Data Sense is Verizon Wireless, so users of the brand new Nokia Lumia 822 will be among the first to enjoy this new feature.

Other exciting features of Windows Phone 8 include Kids Corner – a worry-free way to let your kids play with your phone without accidently deleting your important information or texting your boss – and Rooms, which makes it easy to share and connect with a select group of friends, colleagues or family members

Microsoft also announced a bunch of new exciting apps, such as Angry Birds Star Wars, Pandora, Urbanspoon and Living Social. Coming soon is the new Skype app, which enables you make and receive Skype calls – including video – just like a regular phone call. It’s going to be a hit with the crisp front cameras on the new Nokia Lumia devices.

Microsoft announced that all 65 Microsoft retail stories in the United States will carry the entire Nokia Lumia family, and every color option will be available through Microsoft’s online store.

Nokia also announced the Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 are now shipping and will appear in stores in select markets in the coming weeks.