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A glimpse at Windows Phone 7.8 and 8 (pictures)

Today, Microsoft announced the newest version of its mobile OS, Windows Phone 8.

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Lynn La
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Lynn La
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1 of 9 Josh Miller/CNET

The new start screen

Though Windows Phone 8 boasts many exciting features, current Windows Phone devices will not be able to upgrade to WP8.

Instead, Microsoft will offer an additional Windows Phone 7.8 update, which will give users the chance to get the new start screens featured in WP8. Here, a Nokia Lumia 900 sports the new look.

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More customization with tile sizes

One of Metro UI's most prominent feature, the live tiles, will be made available in a new, smaller size--ideal for apps that don't need a lot of space. Every live tile can be customizable depending on the user.
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Skype integration

Though it's been a while since Microsoft bought Skype, Microsoft announced today that the VoIP (voice over IP) software client would be fully integrated into Windows Phone 8.
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Seamless Skype

Microsoft promised that with this new integration, calling someone over the phone and calling someone over Skype will essentially "feel" the same and have the same user experience. Here, a call is occurring via Skype.
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More customization

In addition to new live tile sizes, Microsoft announced that Windows Phone 8 will have more colors and themes.
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Wallet and NFC capabilities

Not only will Windows Phone 8 devices have NFC capabilities, but a wallet feature will also be included. It can execute monetary transactions with one's own credit card, carry out in-app purchases, and hold coupon deals.
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Don't forget enterprise

Microsoft isn't only considering customers, but enterprise businesses, too. Here, a company hub portal for Microsoft IT workers lets users access employee profiles.
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Consolation prize

Because the new features in Windows Phone 8 is so hardware dependent, current devices, like this Nokia Lumia 900, will not be able to upgrade to WP8. Another version, Windows Phone 7.8, will let current Windows Phone device users get the new start screen, however.
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Side by side comparison

Two Nokia Lumia 900s running Windows Phone are placed next to each other. The device on the right is running Windows Phone 7.8, which has a smaller live tile option, and its start screen occupies the whole screen.

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