An interesting phenomenon became apparent to Microsoft engineers and designers several years ago: consumers spent too much time learning their phones, when phones really ought to be learning consumers. Instead of building smartphones around icons, they should be built around people.

This week, Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8, designed as the world’s most personal smartphone operating system.  Windows Phone 8, and the Windows 8 operating system for computers and tablets, share common design innovations, from their Live Tiles that constantly update the information that people value most to their seamless connection with cloud-based SkyDrive, giving people easy access to photos and documents  from any device, anywhere. The phone also integrates seamlessly with Skype, Outlook, and other Microsoft services.

Live Tiles is one of the most unique features in Windows Phone 8. You can choose which tiles you want to appear on your home screen, move them around, and change their size.  Most importantly, the tiles always have the latest information that is important to you, such as your recent messages and e-mails, social media posts, and key information, like your next scheduled meeting. 

Windows Phone 8 also features new services like Kid’s Corner. If you’re like most parents, your children are always clamoring to grab your phone to play a game or watch a video. Now you can designate specific apps for your children’s access, confident that they will keep busy only with the apps that you have designated safe and suitable.

Another terrific feature is Word Flow.  This feature learns the words you use most when texting and suggests a list of possible next words in the sentence.  This speeds up and simplifies the text messaging experience.  Also, with Local Scout on Windows Phone, you get personalized recommendations to help you find great nearby restaurants and shops nearby.  Lastly, the Windows Phone Store now has more than 120,000 popular apps, including Pandora, which is offering one year of ad-free music beginning early in 2013.

Windows Phone 8 will be running on beautiful devices from Nokia, HTC and Samsung, and in the U.S., AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon expect to roll out their Nokia and HTC models in November.

Visit the Microsoft Store website at www.microsoftstore.com to check out the phones for yourself. Microsoft Stores carry every phone available in the U.S., and every color can be ordered through the Microsoft website.