11:11 AM: Ballmer is urging everyone to check out Windows Phone in stores, and for everyone here today? They’re getting a Windows Phone too. People are applauding. And the lights are up. And we’re off to get get some hands on time with these devices. Thanks for joining us on Wired’s liveblog!
11:08 AM: Ballmer is saying “we reinvented Windows Phone around you. You met Joe’s ohone earlier, you met Jessica’s phone earlier, and you certainly had a chance to meet my phone. I don’t think you’re ever going to mistake me and Joe, and I bet you’re never going to mistake me and Jessica, but perhaps as importantly, you’re not going to mistake our phones for each otehrs’ either. They’re all unique.”
11:07 AM: Hardware partners, retailers, carriers and developers are “all in” says Ballmer. And so too is Microsoft. And again we’re back to how well they work together. Microsoft is pushing that integration hard, but it really is a great selling point.
11:05 AM: Ballmer guarantees us that between Windows 8, Microsoft Surface and Windows Phone 8 we won’t be able to turn on a TV or open a magazine without seeing a Microsoft ad.
11:03 AM: Now we see a slide on the Samsung ATV S, and we’re already off to the Windows Phone 8X from HTC. (Sorry, Samsung!) This phone was built from the ground up inspired by Windows Live Tiles, says Ballmer, probably proudly. He loves the build, audio and wide angle lens on the front side of the phone. All of these phones “and many many more” will go on sale this weekend in Europe. In the US, you’re going to have to wait, depending on your carrier. Verizon has phones for sale by Thanksgiving, T-Mobile by November 14, and AT&T in November. Also the Microsoft Store will carry every Windows phone in every color option.
Honestly? It seems like a confusing roll out.
11:01 AM: Ballmer begins by talking about the Lumia’s display and camera. That’s interesting given that Microsoft opted out of focussing on these in the Surface RT.
11:00 AM: “There’s one more thing that really sets Windows Phone apart,” says Ballmer, “and that is new, killer hardware.” Now we’re gonna see some phones, starting with the Nokia Lumia 9201.
11:00 AM: Again, we’re hearing about integration here, and how the Windows Phone will be the perfect companion for Windows 8, how the Microsoft account helps deliver the same experience from device to device. “Just log-in once and everything you care about will light up on your PC and your phone.”
10:59 AM: Pinning items to your Start screen makes it personal, claims Ballmer. “Pin your best friends, your sister, your brother, your co-workers.” Um.
10:58 AM: “When we set out to reinvent the smartphone we didn’t want to build a single phone for all of us, we wanted to build a phone that could be personal for each of us.” I think we’re seeing a theme here….
10:57 AM: “Over the weekend we saw an incredible response to Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface,” says Ballmer. He says the demand and response exceeded that for Windows 7. “Today we’re bringing phones into the Windows family with Windows Phone 8.”
10:55 AM: YES! BALLMER IS HERE. BALLLLLLLLLLLLMMMMMMEEEEERRRR!!!!!!! He looks happy. I hope he’s happy.
10:54 AM: Belfiore is wrapping up. A surprise visitor is coming out to talk about phone availability. Who will it be? Oh please let it be Steve Ballmer….
10:53 AM: There’s a MacSync app to move your playlists and music from iTunes to your phone, there will be similar app for Windows 7.
10:53 AM: Now we’re’ talking music — Windows Phone 8 and Xbox music service. Again, this is all about integration. You can listen to the same music on your phone, computer and xbox. Create a playlist on your phone and it’s there on your desktop.
10:51 AM: SkyDrive starts with 7GB free, and you can add more so you won’t run out of space. SkyDrive lets you keep the photos as long as you want and lets you organize them however you want.
10:49 AM: Now we’re moving on to photos. Windows Phone 8 has “lenses” by which they mean filters. You can share photos all sorts of places, and photos are automatically uploaded to SkyDrive in the background.
10:48 AM: Belfiore is showing how he can start editing a document or spreadsheet on his PC, and pick up where he left off on his phone–and vice-versa. It also has voice commands and voice transcription, so you can record a note on your phone and see it on your PC.
10:46 AM: Now Belfiore is describing how we don’t use phones in isolation. Here comes the big vision. Windows, Xbox and Windows Phone 8 all working together. “With Windows Phone 8 you can move your documents, photos and music across all those devices,” he says, “the star player here is Sky Drive.” Sky Drive is Microsoft’s cloud-based hard drive feature.
10:45 AM: Rooms can incorporate people on different platforms, and they get to see some of the features. An iPhone user will see calendar updates, for example.
10:44 AM: Back to features. Belfiore is now talking about the People Hub, which is Microsoft’s rethinking of contacts. He’s talking about how it has a new feature called “Rooms” that is basically a group. There’s a Family Room that’s included by default. You can pin Live Tiles from various rooms to the Start screen. You can also send private messages, share notes and send photos privately to everyone in the room. You can use it for things like sharing grocery lists, he notes.
10:42 AM: “This is the best tech crowd I’ve ever been in front of,” says Alba.
10:40 AM: Now we’re hearing about all the other things Jessica Alba loves about her Windows Phone. (What a surprise!) She’s also talking about how easy it was to get her settings from iTunes into Windows Phone. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict we’re going to hear how easy it is to switch from Apple to Microsoft a lot in the coming months. Also? What a role reversal.
10:37 AM: “They’re adorable, kids are amazing,” notes Alba. She also says she loves Kid’s Corner and her daughter is totally into it, as is Alba because it keeps the kids out of the social media. Alba says that when her daughter was two, she got into her Twitter feed and posted a bunch of nonsense.
10:36 AM: Now we’re watching a video of a working mom who loves Windows Phone Kid’s Corner. Oh, it’s Jessica Alba. And she’s on stage now. She seems kind of surprised to be here?
10:31 AM: Belfiore is demoing how you set up Kid’s Corner and turn it on. You check off certain games and apps, basically whitelisting them, one by one, and then only those will run when you launch Kids Corner. “Really the feature is for you,” says Belfiore, “because when they’re doing this notice how quiet they are! You get to have dinner in peace!” The kids can customize Kid’s Corner with custom tile sizes and colors. Apparently Microsoft has found this to be tremendously popular.
10:31 AM: This kid-blocking feature is called Kids Corner, where they can do things you designate on the phone–play games, run certain apps–but don’t have full access. And now Belfiore is bringing his three kids onstage to demo this. One is nine, the other two are five. This is genuinely very adorable.
10:30 AM: Oh, there’s a “Daddy, can I play on your phone feature.” Belfiore is noting how it keeps your kids from, say, accidentally sending a text message or doing other things when you let them play with your phone. My phone has this feature too. It’s called me saying “no.”
10:27 AM: Microsoft is claiming that you get “45 percent more web browsing on the same data plan.” (This should be a good test.) It needs carrier participation, and Verizon will offer it starting this Fall.
10:26 AM: Data Sense compresses web pages as you browse. It understands when you are connected to Wi-Fi, and also helps find Wi-Fi hotspots on a map. When you get close to your limit, it can automatically adjust your data usage (by doing things like not updating it in the background) to help keep you from going over. You can also see how much data each app uses, and there are pop ups to alert you to when you are coming up on your limit.
10:24 AM: Now Belfiore is talking about how Windows Phone 8 will help control data costs. Built into the platform is a feature called Data Sense. “You can surf the Web more and use less data when you do.” It also helps you learn how the system lets you learn which apps are consuming how much data. Now we’re going to see how it works.
10:23 AM: The Windows Phone 8 software developers kit will be available tomorrow at no cost.
10:22 AM: “There is one app we wanted to announce, and couldn’t fit it on the slide.” Oh, you tease, Belfiore. “Get ready for Pandora for Windows Phone 8, which we’ll have ready for early 2013.” It will include an entire year’s worth of free music and no ads.
10:19 AM: “We think once these apps are all implemented and available we’ll have 46 of the top 50 most heavily used and implemented apps on other platforms on Windows Phone.” Urban Spoon, Temple Tun, Living Social, Angry Birds Star Wars, Cut the Rope. Urban Spoon has been updated to take voice commands. “Now you can ask Urban Spoon to find you a restaurant.”
10:17 AM: Here come app announcements! We’ve already heard about Facebook. There’ s a new version of Twitter built for Windows Phone 8. I also see logos for CNN, The Weather Channel, and (yes) Angry Birds. But Belfiore wants to talk about the new Skype. It’s always on, and runs in the background. That is kind of cool, if it indeed does not drain the battery.
10:16 AM: Belifiore is explaining how the updates Windows Phone 8 Facebook app will push “the photos you are experiencing” right to your lock screen. “Now whenever I take out my phone I get greeted by a surprise,” he says “these moments of delight that help you connect with your phone.” You can also use other apps and icons to customize the lock screen. Windows Phone 8 is the only phone that allows apps to do this in a standardized way, he says.
10:14 AM: Windows Phone 8 also has Live Apps. They want apps to be able to interact with each other. They’re also designed to update information right on the lock screen. “That lock screen is the ultimate glanceable UI because you see it so many times a day.” It’s going to surface content, like photos and scores and news, sent right to your lock screen.
10:14 AM: Here come the product features, starting with Live Tiles. With Live Tiles the idea is “you can find the things and people you care about and put them front and center.” Essentially, what we’re seeing are tiles instead of icons that can push data and updates to your home screen.
10:12 AM: And now we’re seeing an ad that focuses on how it’s designed to be personalized. “We didn’t make one for all of us, we made one for each of us.” I’m told Jessica Alba appeared.
10:11 AM: “It’s not just having a lot of apps to choose from, it’s being able to choose aps that light up and improve your smart phone experience.” Which is exactly what you should say when you don’t have a lot of apps on offer, I guess.
10:08 AM: Belfiore is talking about how the phone interface hasn’t evolved much in the past five years. “It was standardized by Apple and the iPhone and really it was copied by Android.” Oh, snap! He also called that experience tired and old. “People are the focus of our design.”
10:08 AM: Available in 50 languages, and tripling the availability of Windows Store to 191 countries.
10:07 AM: Belfiore notes that they’ve worked closely with Qualcomm to optimize the OS for the chipset, and that there are now more than 120,000 apps for the phone.
10:06 AM: Belfiore is excited to wrap up the big week of Windows with the announcement of Windows Phone 8, which includes a new core OS that’s shared with Windows 8. Today we’re going to see the features built on top of that.
10:06 AM: Belfiore’s asking if anyone is excited about the World Series sweep. He knows how to work the room!
10:05 AM: It’s a spot for Joe Belfiore’s Windows Phone, and he’s on stage now. He’s asking people to hold up Windows Phones, almost everyone is.
10:04 AM: Lights are going down, and a video is starting. Here we go.
10:02 AM: An overhead announcement just informed us that we’d be starting in a few minutes. I hope so!
9:59 AM: Inside the room, Fun’s We Are Young is cranked. While I recognize it from shopping at the mall, Microsoft was playing this at the Surface launch back in June too. Time to update that playlist.
9:57 AM: Everything is lit in blue — the walls the floor, even overhead — guessing that will change to match the phones various hues.
9:54 AM: And and the doors just opened. We’re elbowing our way in.
9:14 AM: We’re inside the hall. Waiters are circulating with trays full of Bloody Marys and Mimosas. Microsoft almost always has booze at its launches. Thank you Mr Ballmer.
9:01 AM: We’re outside waiting to be let in. There are a handful of reporters here. Everyone is looking at their phones. While looking at my phone, I was nearly run down in the street by a Twitter employee. Metaphors, yo.
8:57 AM: Outside the Windows Phone 8 event.
Hot on the heels of its Windows 8 and Surface RT launches in New York, Microsoft is holding a Windows Phone 8 event in San Francisco on Monday. Join us on our liveblog starting at 10AM PT/1PM ET to catch all the action.