Microsoft launches Windows Phone 8, but is it enough to compete with the iPhone?

After an innumerable amount of teases, both from Microsoft and their manufacturing partners, Windows Phone 8 has finally, officially, been launched at a special event today and our Mobile Nations sibling site WPCentral is all over all it.

Daniel Rubino has a full Windows Phone 8 review up for your comparative pleasure, and he's unsurprisingly positive about Microsoft's latest smartphone OS:

For current Windows Phone users, Windows Phone 8 is a major step in the right direction. It continues to fill in gaps, expand functionality and create some new areas. The new hardware abilities make what was already a fast OS even more horsepower and you can feel it when doing everyday tasks. Combined with the new bold phones designed by HTC and Nokia, Windows Phone 8 has the best chance ever to succeed. Let’s see what happens.

And Alex Dobie has an HTC 8X review up, at least in preliminary hardware form, to round things out.

By any standard, HTC’s Windows Phone 8X is a stunning piece of technology. There’s no shortage of plastic smartphones out there, but this is plastic done right. HTC’s combined leading smartphone internals with a minimalist design and triple-A build quality, and it should come as no surprise that the result is a worthy signature handset for Windows Phone 8.

My own opinions of Windows Phone haven't changed much if at all with the new version. Microsoft's Windows Phone team deserves an incredible amount of credit for making a modern, elegant, beautiful new mobile operating system -- one that's since dragged the entire, entrenched company into the future with it. But Microsoft's management has stuck so solidly, stupidly, to Windows that they've cut the legs out from under it at every turn.

Again, call it Xphone, put Halo on it alongside Office, and it's got an incredible shot at success. Leave it as it is, stuck with the Windows brand, caught be carrier must-carry iOS and carrier want-to-carry Android, and it'll be an incredible battle to even get to 3rd place, despite BlackBerry remaining in free fall.

Check out WPCentral's complete coverage for more videos and analysis.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Microsoft launches Windows Phone 8, but is it enough to compete with the iPhone?


I'd say it lives or dies based on how windows 8 does. That's the huge gamble. Leverage those millions of windows users by forcing the metro UI on them. The fate of WP8 & future versions depends on this gamble paying off.

IMO, the gamble will backfire. Windows 8 was simply horrible on the desktop. I don't see it working out.

It's really fluid! I love it.

If Windows 8 does indeed take off and given the portability of the OS from desktop to mobile devices I wonder how quickly these devices will be crippled by viruses and trojans targeting Windows 8. Imagine an army of these phones carrying out a DDOS while you're on the typical commute?

They won't be. Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone 8 are not compatible with Windows 8 as runs on a desktop/intel tablet. Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone 8 won't run Windows 8 Intel apps/viruses. Therefore, no, those exploits won't run.

@card fan:

I would say you're probably right. So far the excite over MS Surface is off to a decent start. Even Apple fanbois (with a couple exceptions, *cough* Marco Arment & Jim Dalrymple *cough*) are excited by it.

Nokia, in it's current state, is not what I would consider a benchmark for a successful company.

I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of APPL, the mother of all quarters is upon us. It's not just Windows Phone, its all against Tim Cook : the Windows trinity and Surf-ace, the Google Nexus tablets, you name it...

Everybody and their sister copied Apple again, just like MS did with Windows 1.0...

Some other obvious evidence is the Ipad4 : a desperate attempt from Apple to keep their market share, they were with their back against the wall to do such a move ahead of time.

2013 won't be a lucky number for Apple...

It is safe to assume the upcoming Q1 holiday quarter may be Apple's biggest I would hold off on building that coffin just yet. With a complete refresh to their product lineup ( only MB Air untouched ) it could, and most likely will be a monster quarter.

What will you say then? People like yourself have been calling out Xoom et all ( yes, anti Apple heads said this was the device that would lead to the demise of the ipad ) as the next iPad killer, and the SG III as the iPhone killer. Well, still waiting on that.

Revenue will be great for Apple but the margins will be a bit lower given the new product launches. It's shaping up to be a monster though. It'll be interesting to see how 2013 goes though if they don't have anything to say by March at least regarding software & ecosystem updates.

With competition this stiff for Apple both in hardware and software you have to be blind not to see what is unfolding in front of you very eyes.

Android was just the beginning, now the M(S)oloch is upon Apple and these guys will play it rough using their huge lead in enterprises, even Google doesn't play in that league. Though all the Fortune 500 companies have Ipads right now they don't buy them in large volume and will easily switch to Windows tablets and Windows phones as soon they can have integration in the companies systems beyond e-mail.

As for the consumer market, MS will brainwash us once all again, watch my words.

It was a nice time but if key executives like Forstall give up now it's time to wake up and smell the coffee.

I think most companies will look at the metro UI and throw up. We've no intention of letting that mess in our firm.

agree cardfan, metro is horrible plus most companies are not early adopters. Especially if they use lots of software or make their software and it's not compatible. Like you may want to upgrade to windows 8 at launch but if you're a research lab that still uses some software that only runs on xp or vista or something you're not upgrading. my old company made it's own proprietary software and we never upgraded until maybe a two years after an os launched except for some computers that only did desktop publishing. But i simply don't like metro. i tried it yesterday at best buy. wasn't a fan. i think it's fine on a tablet but on an actual computer it's unpleasant

I'm being a bit harsh but it's deserved harshness. I never asked for the mobile experience on the desktop.

I love the Metro UI (or, the-UI-formerly-known-as-Metro). I would have kept my Lumia 900 if it weren't for the horrendous camera. I went back to my iPhone 4S. I'm anxiously awaiting the Lumia 920 for my November upgrade. I don't believe Apple is going down anytime soon, but they are getting a bit stale.

user interface wise, if it ain't broke you don't fix it. I think Microsoft broke windows. i think there were 1000 areas to improve without breaking it. Like take the task manager, you use it and can't tell what process is holding stuff up. that's stupid. Wtf is svchost. English please. that's an example. see they could fix stuff like that but not change the interface drastically.

i think with apple they don't need to change the interface drastically simply because tech people want a new flavor of the month. I think they could fix tons of stuff. streamline areas of the interface. For example why can't i email as many photos as i want directly from the photo manager app? that's something that could be fixed. They could make navigation actually robust like a dedicated navigation app. i'm sure there are other areas. but i don't think it ios needs changing just to please a small few. I think it just needs some polishing.

Yes it's enough to compete with Iphone. Kids corner rocks. Why is this not on iPad?
They only thing they need to do and they have conformed they will be doing it is a marketing blitz.

Um, Rene. "caught be carrier must-carry iOS and carrier want-to-carry Android" Huh? Copy edit dude. I have no idea what you're trying to say here.

"But Microsoft's management has stuck so solidly, stupidly, to Windows that they've cut the legs out from under it at every turn"
I didn't get what you're trying to say.