IT MIGHT SEEM like the smartphone market is a two horse race at the moment, with Apple and Google fighting for the number one spot with their respective IOS and Android mobile operating systems. However, Microsoft hopes to shake things up a little with its launch of Windows Phone 8, which it hopes will lure customers away from its rivals with its quirky user interface and unique devices.
The INQUIRER got its hands on the Windows Phone 8-powered HTC Windows Phone 8X smartphone ahead of Microsoft's launch, and we put it through its paces to see if it really can take on the smartphone big boys.
As we pointed out in our HTC Windows Phone 8X review, the first thing that will strike you about Windows Phone 8 is its new customisable user interface.
It's by no means as customisable as Android, which comes with everything from resizable widgets and live wallpapers, but that's one of the things we like about Windows Phone 8. Microsoft has kept things simple by enabling users to resize its Live Tiles to be small, medium or large, which although it doesn't sound all that exciting, brings a new lease on life to Windows Phone.
It makes the Windows Phone experience much more personal as well as keeping things nice and nippy too, as Windows Phone 8 isn't bloated with heavy widgets and multiple homescreens.
Microsoft has also added a number of new themes to Windows Phone 8 as well, so you can now have 20 different colours to choose from. We found this made it much easier to match the Windows Phone interface to the colour of the device, a definite plus point for those who like to keep things coordinated.
The Windows Phone lock screen has also been revamped in Windows Phone 8. Catching up with its rival operating systems, Windows Phone 8 now has notifications on its lock screen, and users can select which will appear, be it Facebook, Twitter, Messages or Emails.
While we really enjoy the look and feel of the Windows Phone 8 user interface, we're not sure everybody will agree. Those switching from an Android, IOS or Blackberry device might find the unfamiliarity of it all a bit too much. Sure, this is the same gripe we had with Windows Phone 7, but we still find parts of the operating system difficult to adjust to. Facebook and Twitter, for example, look nearly unrecognisable,
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