Microsoft has had a pretty busy week and it is just to the halfway point. On Monday the company announced the new Surface tablet and today we have Windows Phone 8. The hardware limitations/restrictions of Windows Phone 7 have been thrown aside, as WP8 allows for multi-core (up to 64) processors, resolutions up to 1280x768, external storage on SD cards, maps provided by Nokai, and a wallet function courtesy of NFC support. All of these are great improvements for Microsoft to include, especially the SD card storage since that was a sticking point for many using WP7. The processor and screen upgrades will allow for better apps and faster games, as WP8 uses C/C++ instead of CLR. Windows Phone 8 runs on a kernel shared with Windows 8 and Windows RT, which means Microsoft will have one OS running across PCs, tablets, and phones. Apps and games will be able to be ported easily across all platforms, so this will open up a heap of possibilities for developers.
Microsoft will ship Windows Phone 8 devices around the same time as Windows 8 launches this Fall. Sadly current Windows Phone 7 devices will not receive an upgrade to WP8, but will get an upgrade to 7.8 that includes some software improvements.