On Heels Of Big Surface Announcement, Microsoft Previews Windows Phone 8

On the heels of Microsoft's big Surface tablet announcement, Redmond aimed to keep the buzz going with its Windows Phone Summit today in San Francisco, CA. There, the company previewed some of its platform features for Windows Phone 8, the latest version of its mobile software designed to tie its family of products together with PCs and (now) tablets.

But the audience didn't get another blockbuster unveiling like we saw earlier this week--we didn't expect as much. The summit was intended for developers and partners, and not as an opportunity to let CEO Steve Ballmer show off the company's future in his characteristic booming voice. "What we are not doing today is disclosing all the end-user features," said Windows Phone VP Joe Belfiore. "We have some pretty cool things to talk about that you're not going to get to hear about today."

There were two major announcements today. First, Microsoft unveiled the redesigned start screen (seen above) for Windows Phone 8, which features redesigned tiles and more colors. Check out the video:

was one that many had long anticipated: that Windows Phone 8 would share the same core as Windows 8, allowing for a lot of cross-pollination between the platforms in terms of apps and experiences. "In terms of the kinds of apps on Windows Phone 8, developers who are working on Windows 8 have an incredibly easy transition to Windows Phone," Belfiore said. (And vice versa.)

That's not only appealing for consumers--who'll gain more features and apps on the platforms--but especially attractive for developers, who are gaining access to, as Belfiore boasted, the 1.3 billion people who use that same Windows core kernel.

Toward that end, the company also announced that it hit 100,000 apps today.

[Images: Microsoft]

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