Windows Phone 8 users will enjoy a more flexible start and lock screens, as well as updated versions of Twitter, Facebook and Skype, Microsoft announced Monday.
The latest tweaks on Microsoft's mobile operating system aim to provide users with more choices and quick access to apps.
Microsoft also announced users will be able to use the music streaming service Pandora early next year. As a treat to its Windows Phone 8 users, Microsoft is giving out a complimentary one-year Pandora subscription.
Following are some neat tweaks on the Windows Phone 8 that users can enjoy:
Windows Phone 8 Start Screen: All about choices
Windows Phone 8 allows three various start screen sizes. Choose small tiles for quick access. The next size includes a bit of information on each app. The third size is best for frequent e-mailers - you get to see the sender and the first line of your latest mail. Choose the start screen that is best for you.
Lock Screen Variety
As an extension of the start screen variety, users can now enjoy more flexibility on their lock screen. You can integrate your Facebook calendar events and notifications for a quick look. You can also have Bing's images updating right on your lock screen for a fresh look every time.
Email dictation and attachments
Windows is keeping up with the latest mail technology that allows users to dictate their emails. Early reviews hint a decent level of accuracy. Another piece of good news on the mail attachments - they now automatically show up in the Office hub.
Facebook, Twitter, and Skype
Microsoft has developed app versions of Facebook, Twitter, and Skype for its mobile users. The new Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 allow users to have Facebook photos on their lock screens. Twitter also works well with the new Windows mobile notification system. As for Skype, it can now run in the background, even without launching the app. Microsoft notes this does not drain the phone battery.
It seems what Microsoft is offering its mobile users a lot of style liberty. With more choices comes more playtime. For users who enjoy phone customization, this is a good thing.
How do you think will Windows Phone 8 compete with Android and iOS smartphones?
Analysts at Ovum forecasts that Windows Phone will grow "from 4.5 per cent of smartphone market share in 2012 to 13 percent in 2017, putting it in third place behind iOS and Android."
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