The Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 smartphones were showcased last month, and were expected to be available across the globe once Nokia officially launched the Windows Phone 8 for mobile platform. Details about these handsets are very scarce. Rumours indicate a November time frame for their launch. Now, a report by PhoneArena has pointed to a German retail website, which shows the listing of these handsets along with their prices and launch date as November 1, 2012.

According to the report, “MediaMarkt, Germany's biggest retailer has put up a November 1st launch date on its website for the Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820. Priced at 649 EUR ($840 USD) and 449 EUR ($582 USD) respectively (which include taxes), the launch date would make sense coming just days after the October 29th introduction of the Windows Phone 8 operating system.”

A range of colours including red, yellow and grey

A range of colours including red, yellow and grey

According to an earlier report, Microsoft had declared the date of the launch of Windows Phone 8 as October 29, 2012. It had been speculated for quite a while that Microsoft would hold a special press event for Windows Phone 8 to finally show off the OS and right on cue, this has come true. On Monday, the 29th of October at 10AM, Microsoft will show the world their new mobile OS originally codenamed ‘Apollo’. The announcement is coming just days before the first expected availability of new Windows Phone 8 devices, thought to be occurring on November 4th which now appears to have changed to the 1st of November, if the above information is accurate.

Earlier, there were speculations that Microsoft might have just signed off on Windows Phone 8’s final build. A photo uploaded to a Chinese social networking site called Sina Weibo, which was discovered by LiveSino, shows Microsoft employees signing off on a poster off that read Windows Phone 8 RTM. Microsoft Phone’s Corporate Vice President, Terry Myerson was seen signing off on the poster. There is a lot happening in the Microsoft camp this year, apart from of course, the major Windows 8 OS launch.

Windows Phone 8 is the mobile operating system being developed by Microsoft to take on Google’s dominant Android and Apple’s iPhone smartphone market. After lagging in the mobile OS race, Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 back in 2010, which was then followed by Windows Phone 7.5 in late 2011.

There are quite a few improvements over the older version. Here are some of the highlighted features that users can expect to find on Windows Phone 8:

  • Multi-core processor support – The latest OS now features multi-core support with the manager of the Windows Phone Program at Microsoft, Joe Belfoire, claiming that it is ready for whatever hardware makers dream up.
  • Bigger, sharper screens — Windows Phone 8 supports two new screen resolutions — 1280 x 768 and 1280 x 720, making it compatible with new handsets that will feature high-definition 720p displays.
  • More flexible storage — Windows Phone 8 supports removable MicroSD cards, so users can stuff their phone with extra photos, music, and whatever else is important and then easily move it all onto their PC.
  • NFC wireless sharing — In Windows Phone 8, NFC helps make sharing photos, Office docs, and contact info easier. One can achieve this by tapping their phone on another NFC-equipped device.
  • Internet Explorer 10 — The next version of Windows Phone comes with the same web browsing engine that’s headed for Window 8 PCs and tablets. Microsoft claims that IE10 is faster and more secure, with advanced anti-phishing features like SmartScreen Filter to block dangerous websites and malware.
  • Wallet — Windows Phone 8’s new digital Wallet feature does two things. It can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes and other important info right at one’s fingertips. And when paired with a secure SIM from your carrier, users can also pay for things with a tap of your phone at compatible checkout counters.
  • Better maps and directions — Windows Phone 8 builds in Nokia mapping as part of the platform. This partnership will provide more detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions in many countries, plus the ability to store maps offline on your phone so you can work with maps without a data connection.
  • Improved apps and games – Microsoft states that basing Windows Phone 8 on the Windows core will unleash a new wave of amazing apps and especially games.

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