Start your Windows Phone 8 engines: the OS will officially launch on October 29th. While we’ve already seen the first device, Samsung’s ATIV S, and we’re likely to preview the next-generation Lumia line next week, Microsoft will likely kick off the consumer launch of its newest mobile OS three days after Windows 8 comes to market.
According to a source close to ZDNet, Microsoft is planning a launch party for October 29th either in San Francisco or L.A., and devices will arrive in stores a week or two after that. Pricing and availability for specific carrier handsets is unlikely to be known until then, which is slightly disappointing. HTC is also expected to announce its first Windows Phone 8 device at some point in mid-September.
Microsoft has been playing it very cool with its intentions for Windows Phone 8. We know it will look a lot like its predecessor and be supported by hardware from Samsung, Nokia, HTC and Huawei; we know that it will contain support for multi-core processors, high-definition screens, NFC and mobile wallet, along with a few other nifty features, but Microsoft must have more up its sleeve.
Despite the launch announcement today for the ATIV S, and Nokia’s plans next week, we’re unlikely to get a good sense of what Windows Phone 8 will offer in retail form until the end of October. We hope we’re wrong — we’ll be like from New York for Nokia’s event regardless — but Microsoft seems to be divulging specific details very sparingly.
Nevertheless, the end of October is only two months away, and we know a lot can change in a short period of time. By then the new iPhone will have been released and we’ll have more information about Sony, LG and Samsung’s latest Android phones, not to mention a bit more about BB10.
It’s going to be an exciting fall!