Pocketables traveled to San Francisco on Monday to cover Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 launch event. I live blogged most of the announcements made during the on-stage presentation, but Microsoft handled the format a bit differently this year. Rather than go through every feature in the OS on stage, the company decided to cover the biggest features and leave the rest for people to discover on their own or learn about in a series of videos on YouTube (see below).
I arrived at the launch event a few hours early to meet up with members of the Windows Phone team. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Terry Myerson, and Vice President of Windows Phone Program Management and Design Joe Belfiore even made an early appearance.
We then moved to the main section of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, where a big stage was situated in the middle of the room. The event – which you can watch here – officially kicked off at 10:00 a.m. with Belfiore, Ballmer, and guests like Jessica Alba and Belfiore’s kids touting milestones; showing off a select number of new features like Rooms, Kid’s Corner, and a whole slate of exciting apps; and making a few device announcements. You can read our live coverage here.
Of course, there were many things that Microsoft did not discuss. The was no word on the upcoming Windows Phone 7.8 update for existing handsets – although it’s supposedly coming soon – and actual release dates and pricing for hardware were left up to the carriers. And, as previously mentioned, many of the smaller but no less exciting features like World Flow didn’t even make it into the presentation.
Microsoft closed the on-stage presentation by giving away Windows Phone 8X by HTC handsets to everyone in attendance and lifting up the stage to reveal a reception area with food and hands-on time with devices from HTC, Nokia, and Samsung. I’ve been using HTC’s 8X as my primary device for the last few days now, and my review is forthcoming.
For an in-depth look at Windows Phone 8, check out the videos below and stay tuned for our hands-on impressions.