A few years back, a group of designers and engineers here looked at the smartphones people were carrying and saw an opportunity for something better. Phones had become centered on icons and technology, and we believed they should be centered on people. So we set out to build a phone for each of us, rather than a single phone for all of us. The result, in November 2010, was Windows Phone 7. We didn’t expect to change the world overnight. But the design awards and glowing reviews that poured in from customers and critics told us we were onto something special.
Today I’m pleased to announce the launch of Windows Phone 8, the world’s most personal smartphone operating system and perfect companion to your new Windows 8 PC. The first new phones are expected to start going on sale at operators and retailers in Europe this weekend, and continue to roll out around the world throughout the month of November.
A history-making month
Our event in San Francisco today and arrival of Windows 8 last week caps an absolutely epic, history-making month for Microsoft. For the first time both Windows products share design innovations like Live Tiles and a seamless connection to services like SkyDrive for easy access to photos and documents from any device. As Steve Ballmer put it on stage today: “If you’re one of the hundreds of millions of people who will use Windows 8 in the next year, there is no better phone for you than a Windows Phone.”
I’m proud of all the new features in Windows Phone 8, but especially its obsessive focus on real people and what they really want to do on their phones. Windows Phone 8 is truly the smartphone reinvented around you. After testing the software for the last year myself, I’m absolutely convinced you’ll love the new Start screen with resizable Live Tiles; new family-focused features like Kid’s Corner and Rooms; and the seamless integration with SkyDrive, Skype, and other Microsoft services.
I’m only scratching the surface. I also love Word Flow, which helps make our keyboard the most intelligent on any phone, and the new personalized recommendations you’ll find in Local Scout and the Windows Phone Store. But really the best way to appreciate Windows Phone 8 is to see it in action. And there’s nobody better to show you than Joe Belfiore, who oversees Windows Phone product definition and design. Here he is showing off his favorite highlights, many of which our competitors lack or simply can’t match.
I can’t wait for you to experience all the new killer hardware that comes with Windows Phone 8. Sleek, powerful, and fun, the colorful new wave of phones from Nokia, HTC, and Samsung are beautiful and absolutely demand to be held. The good news is you won’t have to wait long. Windows Phone 8 devices officially go on sale in Europe this weekend. In the U.S., AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon plan to roll out models from Nokia and HTC in November. Microsoft Stores, meanwhile, will carry every phone available for sale in the U.S., and every color option will be available through its website.
On the way: Pandora, Temple Run, and more
Just 24 months after our debut, we’ve gone from supporting a mere 6 languages to 50, and from offering apps in 16 countries or regions to 191 today. The Windows Phone Store now has 120,000 apps and continues to see great new titles pour in. Here are just some of the apps and games coming this holiday: Temple Run, Jetpack Joyride, Angry Birds Star Wars, Angry Birds Space, Draw Something, Words with Friends, Urban Spoon, Fairway Solitaire, Asphalt 7: Heat, Living Social, Cut the Rope, and Disney’s Where’s My Water and Where’s My Perry.
Today we also announced that Pandora is coming to Windows Phone in early 2013— with one year of ad-free music courtesy of Microsoft. With Pandora and the rest of our holiday list, Windows Phone will have 46 of the top 50 apps available on other platforms. Finally, make sure to watch our developer blog and the 2012 BUILD conference tomorrow for details on the free Windows Phone 8 Software Development Kit (SDK). I can’t wait to see the next wave of Windows Phone apps our amazing developers unleash.
People all over the world are about to fall in love with Windows Phone—and it starts today.
Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone
Updated November 7, 2014 8:21 pm