Editor's Note: Windows Phone 8 Ready for Business
The countdown for Windows 8 “Apollo” has begun and there’s much for IT departments to be excited about prior to liftoff.
By Mitch Irsfeld
Liftoff is still a few months away but Windows Phone 8 promises a host of new features that make it more productive for business users and easier to manage as a device on corporate networks or private clouds.
Shown for the first time recently in San Francisco at the Windows Phone Summit, it was immediately apparent that Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 are cut from the same cloth. And that’s great news because much of what makes Windows 8 easier to administer and manage is also part of the Windows Phone 8 platform.
Joe Belfiore was on hand in San Francisco to provide a “sneek peek” of the upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform and he recapped the highlights in his blog post. You also can watch several videos from the Windows Phone Summit event on-demand on Channel 9.
While most of the coverage following the announcement focused on the performance improvements and user features such as the new start screen, multi-core processor support, digital wallet, removable storage and Internet Explorer 10, there are several new capabilities for IT. For instance, with Windows Phone 8, IT departments can manage apps and phones remotely with tools similar to ones they now employ for Windows PCs. Windows Phone 8 also includes built-in BitLocker technology to encrypt the entire device, including the operating system and data files.
Check out the TechNet Magazine article Managing Mobile Devices for a look at how Microsoft is integrating mobile device management capabilities directly into System Center Configuration Manager 2012 and how to set up your device management strategy.
For custom employee apps and other critical business information, organizations can create their own Windows Phone 8 Hub, which allows IT administrators to assign and deploy line of business applications without going through the Marketplace. And Windows Phone 8 supports the United Extensible Firmware Interface secure boot protocol so the phone is better protected from malware with multiple layers of security.
For business users, the Office Hub is the place to go to get stuff done on your phone. You can review your notes and documents, make last-minute changes, or create a new document. Then save your Office files to SkyDrive, and pick up where you left off when you're back at your computer. For more on cloud storage with SkyDrive, read Connecting your apps, files, PCs and devices to the cloud with SkyDrive and Windows 8.
Oh, and Windows Phone 8 will continue to include the familiar Microsoft Office apps.
For all these reasons, and more, see why Paul Thurrott is saying “Windows Phone 8 is the smartphone OS for which Microsoft-based businesses have been clamoring” in his recent Supersite for Windows article Windows Phone 8 Heads Off to Work.
Ars Technica also heralded the news in its Windows Phone Gets Ready for Enterprise article, saying “Windows Phone 8 fills the gaps and makes Windows Phone a viable enterprise platform.”
OK, so what about those great user features? We’re told that the features disclosed during the Windows Phone Summit represented the tip of the iceberg and more will be revealed on the Windows Phone Blog throughout the summer. But there are few to talk about and, perhaps, most apparent is the new start screen.
The new Windows Phone start screen takes the customizable live tiles, which define the experience, and allows users to re-size the tiles to reflect the importance of the information behind that tile for the individual. Ben Rudolph “borrowed” a Nokia Lumia 900 running a very early build of Windows Phone 7.8, so he could shoot a video of the new start screen.
For sharing things over short distances, Windows Phone 8 supports near field communication (NFC), which makes sharing Office docs or contact information that much easier. And with the support for removable microSD cards, you can more easily move all your files, photo, music and whatever else onto your PC or vice versa.
PCWorld provides a rundown of the Killer New Features in Microsoft's Latest Mobile OS. Once again, this is just a start, but it begins to paint the picture, according to Ars Technica, for Why Windows Phone 8 Means the BlackBerry is Doomed.
Thanks for reading,
Mitch Irsfeld*, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, includingInformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek. He is also an editor for* TechNet Magazine and managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.