Microsoft said to have finalized Windows Phone 8 OS

Microsoft is believed to have shipped the RTM version of Windows Phone 8 operating system, according to sources. Now it's time for carriers and handset makers to test and preload before the October 29 launch.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Chalk up another one for those Windows Phone tipsters.


Back in July, I heard whispers that Microsoft would release to manufacturing (RTM) the Windows Phone 8 operating system in September. The plan, as of then, was that the first Windows Phone 8 devices would ship in November 2012.

On September 14, Microsoft's phone team shipped the OS, codenamed "Apollo," according to a couple of my contacts. WPCentral is reporting they are hearing the same. And WMPoweruser has posted pictures via LiveSino.net, of what appear to be Windows Phone team members signing an RTM wall.

I asked a Microsoft Windows Phone spokesperson on September 14 if the OS had RTM'd and was told Microsoft "had nothing to share at this time."

If the OS has, indeed, been proclaimed "done," it's time for handset makers and carriers to do their final testing and preloading of the OS onto new phones.

Microsoft wouldn't allow its phone partners to let folks try the WP8 devices that Samsung and Nokia recently unveiled. I'd expect at least part of the reason for that was the OS wasn't yet fully baked. (This also is probably at least part of the reason Microsoft has delayed making the Windows Phone 8 software development kit available to more than just its own employees and a select group of Connect testers.)

Even though Microsoft already went public with many of the Windows Phone 8 features, the company has yet to "launch" the Windows Phone 8 platform. The Windows Phone 8 launch is going to happen on October 29 in either San Francisco or Los Angeles, I continue to hear. Shortly after that, Windows Phone 8 devices will go on sale. Some vendors/carriers could offer pre-orders before October 29, but phones are not expected to be available to consumers until after that date.

The Windows Phone 8 OS replaces the Windows Embedded core with a Windows NT-based one. The latest operating system includes multicore support, NFC/Wallet support, removable Micro SD card storage (for certain phone models), encryption and secure boot. Windows Phone 8 will support two new screen resolutions— 1280x768 and 1280x720, in addition to the existing 480X800.

Microsoft officials also continue to decline to comment on when Microsoft plans to make the Windows Phone OS 7.8 update available to existing Windows Phone users. The 7.8 update, according to Microsoft officials back in June, will include the new multi-size tiled OS that will be part of Windows Phone 8, but no other new features.

As announced at the annual Microsoft company meeting on September 13, Microsoft is providing all of its employees with free Windows Phone 8 devices, as well as Surface tablets, according to a report from GeekWire. 

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