Update: Microsoft firms up Windows Phone 8 features, announces new Twitter and Facebook apps

Yesterday was a busy day in the mobile world. Aside from Google’s big announcements, Microsoft also had something big to say.

The company held a press conference in San Francisco to give more details about Windows Phone 8, firming up previously-rumoured features like deep Skype integration and a “Guest Mode” for youngsters entitled Kids Corner.

Two major announcements revolve around revamped Twitter and Facebook apps, which are expected to hit the platform in the coming days. These apps integrate with WP8’s new lockscreen notification system, allowing Facebook calendar entries and Twitter replies to be present the moment you turn on the screen.

Deep Skype integration, too, is coming Windows Phone 8. While this was widely expected, and had been talked about before, Microsoft is emphatic that the VoIP app will be virtually indistinguishable from its regular phone dialer, and will run in the background to receive calls, all without draining the battery.

Rooms is a new feature that creates virtual spaces for you and friends or family in which to chat, share photos, lists and calendars. While it works best with other users running Windows Phones, it will be compatible in some ways with Android and iOS.

App developers, too, announced they are jumping on board the Windows Phone bandwagon. Games like Jetpack Joyride, Temple Run, Words With Friends, Draw Something!, and a number of Gameloft games, are coming to Xbox Live on Windows Phone in the coming months.

The company also detailed features we’d seen before, such as the new home screen with adjustable tile sizes, and an NFC-enabled wallet that promises to change the way we perform mobile transactions.

We’ll be getting our first Windows Phone 8 devices in the coming days, so expect a more in-depth rundown of all the new features.

Update: Rogers is going big on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS. They’ve rounded up what possibly could be the best of the best of the new handsets from a variety of manufactures. Today, Rogers made the Nokia Lumia 920 available at “select stores,” plus the Samsung ATIV S and Windows Phone 8X by HTC are both launching sometime in November. Below are a couple videos that shows all three LTE-enabled, 1.5Ghz dual-core processor. Something to consider and really feels like there’s new life in WP8. We’ll have full reviews of each shortly. – IH