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Windows Phone 8 devices on sale soon

The Samsung ATIV S has the largest Windows Phone screen to date at 4.8".

Microsoft has unveiled Windows Phone 8 at a launch event in San Francisco.

Windows Phone 8 devices officially go on sale in Europe this weekend. In the US, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon plan to roll out models from Nokia and HTC in November.

Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Division, and Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows Phone Program Management demoed the new handsets.

This event follows hot on the heels of the Windows 8 launch last week in New York.

Windows and Windows Phone now share common underlying technology, which allows for shared tools, increased hardware support for multi-core processors and a wide range of other platform capabilities. It also features a common look and feel with Windows 8.

That underlying technology between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 now allows developers to create native C++ code – a shared development model that makes porting Windows apps and games relatively easy.

New features include digital wallet and payments via near-field communications (NFC). The Wallet can also store your debit, credit, loyalty and membership card information on your phone.

Meanwhile, Data Sense helps conserve users’ data allowance by compressing Web images, deferring data tasks to free Wi-Fi and automatically adjusting your usage as you get closer to your plan limits. Data Sense also shows how much data is used per app.

We have a killer line up of new phones featuring big bright screens, awesome audio capabilities and great cameras from HTC, Nokia and Samsung

Terry Myerson, Microsoft
As you approach your limit, Data Sense notifies you so you can get the most out of your plan. Verizon will be the first to offer Data Sense in the US.

Windows Phone 8 features the same built-in SkyDrive cloud service as Windows 8 and works seamlessly with Windows 8 PCs, Microsoft Surface devices and the Xbox 360 console. It also comes with its own version of Microsoft Office pre-installed.

The Windows Phone Store also has 120,000 apps to choose from.

HTC, Nokia and Samsung have all introduced new Windows Phones that will go on sale in November.

“We set out to create the most personal smartphone there is, focused on keeping you closer to the people and things that matter most,” said Myerson. “It’s also the best phone for Windows, helping you stay connected across devices. And finally, of course, there’s the hardware. We have a killer line up of new phones featuring big bright screens, awesome audio capabilities and great cameras from HTC, Nokia and Samsung.”

The Samsung ATIV S has the largest Windows Phone screen to date at 4.8". The ATIV Odyssey was also announced as the latest Windows Phone from Samsung with more details to come.

The Nokia Lumia 920 is the first phone to have Optical Image Stabilization along with Nokia’s trademark Carl Zeiss optics. The Nokia Lumia 822, 820 and 810 offer a ClearBlack display and removable back exchangeable shells. The Lumia phones are the first modern smartphones with wireless charging.

The Windows Phone 8X by HTC was designed to match Windows Phone’s new Live Tiles. It also features 1080p video recording, f2.0 aperture, dedicated HTC ImageChip on the main 8-megapixel camera and an ultrawide-angle lens on the front camera.

The 8X and the 8S both come with Beats Audio and exclusive built-in amps.

Myerson expressed confidence that Windows Phone 8 was primed to make headway against competitors such as iPhone and Android.

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