Redmond-based software giant Microsoft has reportedly finalized the next flavor of its mobile operating system, called Windows Phone 8.
The platform has reached the Release to Manufacturing stage (RTM), which means that handset vendors around the world can now load it on their devices and have them ready for the official launch, supposedly set for the end of October.
Both WPCentral and ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley report that the platform has been signed off, yet Microsoft hasn’t provided a confirmation on the matter for the time being.
Moreover, a series of photos that emerged online via LiveSino are showing Microsoft employees signing a RTM wall, thus suggesting that the OS is indeed finalized.
Apparently, Windows Phone 8 was indeed planned for RTM in mid-September, and Microsoft was capable of keeping the progress of its development on track.
Windows Phone 8 comes with a great deal of changes when compared to the previous platform releases, including a new kernel, based on Windows NT.
Microsoft has already provided a glimpse at some of the improvements that the new operating system is set to provide users with, but it hasn’t detailed them in full as of yet.
What we do know of Windows Phone 8 is that it comes with support for multi-core processors and for higher screen resolutions than before, near-field communications (NFC), native C++ development, a new start screen, and a variety of other user-side changes as well.
Earlier this week, Microsoft also opened a Development Preview of its Windows Phone SDK 8.0, so as to provide developers with the most downloaded applications in the Windows Phone Store with the possibility to optimize their software for the new platform.
Rumor has it that Windows Phone 8 would be set to become officially available on October 29th, with handsets running under it hitting shelves in early November.
Unfortunately, existing Windows Phone users won’t receive an upgrade to the OS, but they will be provided with a software update nevertheless. Called Windows Phone 7.8, the platform refresh will arrive with a series of enhancements from WP8, including the new start screen.