Microsoft readying Windows Phone 8 Apollo Plus update

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is at work on a Windows Phone 8 update designed to introduce new features absent from the initial release of the mobile operating system, which rolled out late last month.

The Verge reports Microsoft will formally unveil the Windows Phone 8 update--codenamed "Apollo Plus"--during February 2013's Mobile World Congress event. The upgrade is expected to include virtual private network support, enabling corporate users to connect to workplace systems. Microsoft is also planning to include support for always-on Wi-Fi connectivity alongside audio improvements. In addition, Microsoft plans to deliver Apollo Plus over the air; previous Windows Phone updates have required consumers to plug their smartphone into their PC.

Microsoft also is expected to integrate a Windows Phone 8 notification center collecting various application alerts. Speaking during the recent Build 2012 event, Windows Phone Developer Platform Program Manager Thomas Fennel said that Microsoft "ran out of time" before it could build a notification center into the current Windows Phone 8 release, but added "It's very, very important to me… we get tons of feedback from developers that they want something like that as well. I promise we're thinking very, very hard on that one."

Windows Phone 8 touts multi-core Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) chipsets to bolster smartphone performance and optimize battery life, a choice of three screen resolutions, integration of VoIP and video chat, a customizable start screen and Wallet Hub, which supports Near Field Communications-enabled m-commerce services. Users also can share content across Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 for PCs and Xbox gaming consoles.

Microsoft is relying on the revamped platform to boost its sagging fortunes in the battle for global smartphone supremacy: Windows Phone device shipments totaled just 3.6 million worldwide during the third quarter of 2012, corresponding to market share of 2 percent, according to data issued earlier this month by market intelligence firm IDC. Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android device shipments reached a record-high 136 million units during the third quarter, representing 75 percent of all 181.1 million smartphones shipped in the period. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS is next with third-quarter shipments of 26.9 million, translating to a global market share of 14.9 percent.

For more:
- read this Verge article

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