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Windows Phone 8 GamingAnother crucial aspect to the Windows Phone 8 experience is its gaming chops. Along with SmartGlass, there are also some games that work across both Xbox and Windows Phone 8 and you can earn achievements for your Xbox account through Windows Phone 8 games.
Plus, of course, you can muck about with your little avatar, making it look as much or little like you as you like.
Windows Phone 8 Office
Another crucial Microsoft exclusive is Office. Microsoft’s mobile office application offers the most comprehensive solution for creating and editing word docs, spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations while on the go.
Windows Phone 8 Sky DriveKey to getting the most out of office is Microsoft’s Sky Drive online storage. Sky Drive provides 7GB of free online storage and is compatible with Windows, Macs, iPads, iPhones, Android and of course Windows Phone 8, making it one for the most widely supported online storage services.
Like Dropbox, Sky Drive appears just like a normal folder on your computer and it integrates seamlessly with Office. So, simply update a file on your phone and once synced it’ll be updated on all your other devices.
It’s a shame Microsoft has chosen to lock out other alternatives like Dropbox from having full access to the phone interface but Sky Drive is so good that we can’t complain too much. It certainly beats iCloud and Google Drive anyway.
Windows Phone 8 AppsSo we come to the crux of any new mobile phone platform – its app support.
App support for Windows Phone 7 has been slow in coming but has slowly filled out and Microsoft has ensured that all existing Windows Phone 7/7.5 apps will work on Windows Phone 8. So, there should be 100,000 apps available at launch.
We had a look for some basics and quickly found Facebook, Twitter, a National Rail train times calculator, the TVGuide.co.uk app, Angry Birds, linkedin, Vevo, and a London tube map but no Dropbox, Steam, iPlayer or Bad Piggies.
Microsoft also just announced that Temple Run, Urban Spoon, Angry Birds Star Wars, Where's My Water and Pandora are all imminently available.
With Microsoft putting such a huge amount of marketing behind this launch we fully expect the app store to fill out quickly, though, especially given the opportunity for cross compatibility with Windows 8, which should natively be able to run Windows Phone 8 apps.
Windows Phone 8 VerdictMicrosoft needed to deliver with Windows Phone 8 and largely we think it has succeeded. It looks and feels slick and largely matches the competition for core abilities. There are a few shortcomings but these are generally balanced by other unique features.
Combined with the improved hardware support of this latest version, it looks like Windows Phone handsets like the Nokia Lumia 920 really will take the fight to the iPhone and its many Android competitors.