Windows 8 for Mobile is Here

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In a bid to make a come back in the smartphone market, Microsoft Corp announced the Windows Phone 8.

The new Windows Phone 8 will be available on new phones this fall, Microsoft said Wednesday at a presentation in San Francisco. The software will bring Windows phones closer to PCs and tablets running the company’s upcoming Windows 8, which is also scheduled to launch later this year.

But the company is playing catch-up in an arena dominated by Apple and Google. Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 in 2010, making a clean break with its previous phone software, which had become outdated. Nokia Corp., until recently the world’s biggest maker of phones, has pledged to use it for all its smartphones, and launched its first Windows Phone in the US earlier this year.

Windows Phone is making progress in one respect. Hit games “Words With Friends” and “Draw Something” will be among the apps available for Windows 8. There are 100,000 applications available for Windows phones today, Microsoft said. That’s far less than the number of apps available for iPhones and Android phones.

Windows Phone 8 will accept expansion memory cards, like Android phones do. It will also work on processors with more than one computing “core,” which are common in high-end smartphones. More cores boost computing power and can cut power consumption.

The new software will also work with near-field communications chips, allowing phones to be used in place of credit cards at some payment terminals.

Windows Phone 8 will share the operating system “kernel,” or most basic functions, with Windows 8 RT, which will run on tablets and computers. That means manufacturers will have an easier time making hardware that can use either system. Developers will have an easier time moving applications from one platform to the other, Microsoft said.

Changing its phone software at such a basic level means that it will be difficult to install on existing Windows phones.