Microsoft officially unveiled Windows Phone 8 yesterday, and it did so with a special celebrity guest: Jessica Alba. Microsoft invited the actress to tout the phone's "Kid's Corner" feature, which allows parents to control what apps kids have access to, touting her as a "great example of the kind of people who we think Windows Phone will appeal to," as a mom and entrepreneur. "This is the best tech crowd I've ever been in front of," Alba said, according to CNET.
Alba's presence went along with the overall feel Microsoft was going for, Janet Tu at the Seattle Times observes, namely "fun and cool." "Clearly Microsoft—long associated with work, productivity, and your company's IT department—was trying to reach younger, hip consumers." To that end, here are some of the features the company touted:
- Steve Ballmer touted it as "the most personal smartphone out there," saying that it "reinvents the smartphone around you." The most notable way it does this: The live tiles that cover the display.
- Live tiles that don't just open apps, they display realtime data. You can "pin" a live tile of a friend, for instance and see their Facebook or Twitter activity, CNET reports. "The iOS6 home screen is really just a sea of static icons," Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore said. "It's not people; it's not live data."
- Microsoft also boasted about its growing apps catalog, which it says now contains 120,000 programs, the Wall Street Journal reports—while noting that it's a far cry from the 700,000 or so Android and iOS apps.
- They also touted the tight integration between Windows Phone and Microsoft's other products. "If you're one of the hundreds of millions of people who will use Windows 8, there is no better phone for you," Steve Ballmer said.
- Initial phones will include the HTC Windows Phone 8X, and the Nokia Lumia. Versions of both will be available from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, for prices ranging from $99.99 to $199.99.