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Windows Phone 8 devices: Will they be a success?

Microsoft has launched its Windows Phone 8 operating system, with smartphone fans in Europe able to get their hands on a range of models from this weekend.

The line-up includes the Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Ativ S and HTC Windows Phone 8X as Microsoft tries once again to take on the likes of Apple and Google in the smartphone stakes.

CEO Steve Ballmer has gone as far as saying that the thing that separates Windows Phone 8 from the competition is its “new, killer hardware.”

Here are the features that will help you decide if Windows Phone 8 has got what it takes to compete with leading players in the market.

Windows Phone 8: What’s new?

Some of the key improvements in Windows Phone 8 include live tiles on the start screen, as opposed to static grid icons, which constantly update with fresh information. For example, an email app will show the latest message received.

Other improvements include better hardware support with multiple resolution support (800×480, 1280×768, and 1280×720), multi-core CPU support and removable storage support.

A Data Sense feature will also help users manage their data usage, and according to Microsoft, testers got 45% more web browsing with the feature switched on, before hitting their data limit.

A number of new apps including versions of Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Angry Birds, and Urban Spoon will also be available in early 2013, with as many as 120,000 apps available. Users also get a year-long free subscription to internet music stream service Pandora.

Windows Phone 8: Will it succeed?

Analysts predict that the software will help Microsoft gain ground in the smartphone market, after its Windows Phone market share rose from just 1.8% in 2011 to 6.6% this year.

IDC predicts that Windows Phone 8 could knock Research in Motion’s Blackberry of its number three position by as early as next year, and that by 2016, Microsoft will enjoy a 14.2% market share.

If analysts’ forecasts are correct, there could be a bright future ahead for Windows Phone 8.

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