The first wave of Windows Phone 8 handsets will be manufactured by Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC. The OS will support 50 languages and more than 180 countries.

All Windows Phone 8 updates will be delivered over the air (rather than via the Zune software client), and enthusiasts will be given access to updates before they become publically available. Additionally, all new devices will be kept up to date for 18 months after launch. Existing handsets will not receive Windows Phone 8, but a 7.8 update will update current devices with the redesigned Start screen. The rest of the features, however, require the use of additional hardware found only in the upcoming third generation handsets.

Nokia also plans to release new apps over the coming weeks, including Play To DLNA, Contact Share, Counters (a data management app), Nokia Music 3.0, and four new Camera Extras called Self-Timer, Panorama, Action Shot and Smart Group Shot. Nokia Maps, Transport, and Drive are also being updated. The latter includes a feature known as My Commute, which “makes everyday driving even better.” It will observe and learn your commute and suggest the fastest route for you. Play To DLNA and Camera Extras will be released on Friday, along with Contact Share and Counters for users in China. These apps – along with the rest – will be released in other countries (including the US) next month.

Microsoft also announced that the Marketplace has surpassed the 100,000 app mark, and Zynga will be joining the fun this fall. This means you’ll soon be able to play Draw Something and Words With Friends on your Windows Phone.

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