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Windows Phone is a mobile phone operating system developed by Microsoft, and is the successor to Windows Mobile. Instead of being aimed at the enterprise market like its Windows Mobile predecessor, Windows Phone is marketed primarily toward the consumer market, although it does provide some enterprise-level security and feature options. Windows Phone initially launched on October 21, 2010 as Windows Phone 7.
With Windows Phone, Microsoft created a new user interface, featuring Live Tiles that are designed to provide quick and easy information to the user without having to open the application providing the information. Due to this new UI, Windows Phone is not compatible with legacy Windows Mobile applications.
In order to maintain the best and fastest standards and application compatibility and to avoid the lag often experienced in some Android OS-powered devices, Microsoft sets minimum hardware requirements for their OEM partners in order to run the Windows Phone operating system.
The latest release of Windows Phone is Windows Phone 8, which launched to consumers on October 29, 2012, three days after Microsoft's new Windows 8 desktop operating system was released. Microsoft announced both Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8 on June 20, 2012. Windows Phone 7.8 brings many features from Windows Phone 8 to legacy devices, such as resizable Live Tiles. Windows Phone 7.8 was rolled out in early 2013. A new release, Windows Phone 8.1, was released in Spring of 2014.
As of November 21, 2013, the Windows Phone Store had over 190,000 downloadable apps. The operating system has been steadily increasing in worldwide market share; in June of 2012, the IDC expected Windows Phone to own 16 percent of the worldwide market by 2016, and in many countries worldwide Windows Phone has surpassed iOS for second place in overall marketshare.
Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 on September 30, 2014. The final version is set for 2015 and will work across phone, tablet, and PC devices.
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