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Live launch: Microsoft Windows Phone 8

We attended the official UK launch of Microsoft’s latest mobile platform, Windows Phone 8, in Central London yesterday, bringing you all the announcements as and when they happened.

The event saw a number of partners in the crowd, including HTC representing its two flagship handsets, the Windows Phone 8X and the 8S, and Nokia doing the same for the Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820. Samsung rounded things out, supporting its lone WP8 smartphone, the Ativ S.

Only Huawei was missing from the list, but the company confirmed in May 2012 that it has been working on a Windows Phone 8 device so we'll be keeping an eye on them in the future.

Windows Phone 8 was announced back in June 2012 during Microsoft’s Windows Phone Summit. The top features of the new mobile platform include support for higher resolution displays, multi-core processors, removable storage plus a core code base shared with Windows 8.

All has not been revealed, though, and we expect Microsoft to shed more light on Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.8 as well, with some proper hands-on action as soon as possible.

British singer-songwriter Paloma Faith will be playing a DJ set later during the day.

This page will be updated on a regular basis from now until the end of the event, at which point we'll shift over to our main news stream with the latest reports and analysis about the products' specifications, features, pricing, previews, comparisons and availability.

Your comments are welcome in our Disqus section; tell us what you expect from the event, what features you hope to see in Windows Phone 8, and whether you intend to upgrade or stick to your current mobile platform.

18:15 - 29 October

Event is now finished. Heading over to demo area. Thanks for keeping us company. I'm now signing off.

18:15 - 29 October

HTC and Nokia will be the more common smartphones for WP8.

18:13 - 29 October

Ativ is exclusive to O2 as far as I can see. Phones4U carries all five smartphones. So no Huawei WP1 Windows Phone 8 available.

18:10 - 29 October

Leila Martine back on stage. UK specifics.

18:10 - 29 October

The event is now off.

18:09 - 29 October

Best phone for Windows, Killer hardware.

18:09 - 29 October

Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 expected to get "people to fall in love" with the dual platform.

18:08 - 29 October

No major announcements but some interesting features like Rooms or a radically different Skype.

18:07 - 29 October

"You won't be able to turn on TV or read a magazine without seeing one of these ads" says Ballmer.

18:07 - 29 October

Microsoft will get a massive Windows ad campaign going.

18:07 - 29 October

Phones hitting shelves worldwide "over the next month".

18:06 - 29 October

Ballmer bets on showing to public how the devices work together.

18:05 - 29 October

Phones from T-Mobile and AT&T. Lumia 920 exclusive to the latter.

18:05 - 29 October

Devices will go on sale during the weekend. Samsung ATIV Odyssey coming in December. Lumia 822 for $49 coming to Verizon. This will be a different phone to the ATIV S.

18:04 - 29 October

"Many many more smartphones coming" says Ballmer.

18:03 - 29 October

Just looking at Google's announcement regarding the LG Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. That's a massive gauntlet thrown at Apple and Microsoft.

18:02 - 29 October

Ballmer looking at the various WP8 smartphones on the market. Nokia Lumia 920. the HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Samsung Ativ S.

18:00 - 29 October

Windows 8 common components. Live Tiles, MS account, Skydrive, Xbox Music and Xbox games.

17:59 - 29 October

He's talking about pinning, a concept that's available both on phones and desktop.

17:58 - 29 October

Slideshow shows all five Windows phone 8 smartphones. NO Huawei WP1 yet.

17:57 - 29 October

Anyone still remember Windows Mobile 6?

17:57 - 29 October

Windows Phone started four years ago. That's a loooongggg time ago.

17:56 - 29 October

Lines at Microsoft stores were "heartening".

17:56 - 29 October

Microsoft CEO talks about W8 and Windows Surface. Preliminary demand well above W7 for W8.

17:55 - 29 October

Steve's phone.... Steve Ballmer is on stage.

17:55 - 29 October

Joe Belfiore is out. Ballmer's voice in the background.

17:55 - 29 October

Wrapping up with someone to "finish us off".

17:54 - 29 October

Sync companions coming for Windows 7 and Mac. Aims to dislodge iTunes from its pedestal. Good luck with that Microsoft.

17:53 - 29 October

Xbox Music. Cross platform. Music wherever you go. 30 million tracks available on W8, Xbox or WP8.

17:52 - 29 October

Skydrive gives you complete control of your photos. Unlike rival services, there's no limit or control.

17:50 - 29 October

Windows Phone 8 and Lenses (Lenses as the features).

17:50 - 29 October

Speech to Text, on the fly transcription courtesy of Onenote stored on Skydrive.

17:49 - 29 October

Continue working where you left off, assuming that you saved it to Skydrive. Also talking about Onenote now.

17:48 - 29 October

Skydrive is not only for videos and photos. Works for ALL files, regardless of origin.

17:48 - 29 October

A closer look at Skydrive, the cloud-based storage for Windows.

17:47 - 29 October

Now Windows as a platform. Windows 8, Xbox, Windows Phone 8, Surface. "Work together in concert"

17:47 - 29 October

At least when it comes to calendars. WP7 also gets some love. No word about Android.

17:46 - 29 October

Interesting that Microsoft is going for features that are viral and social. Obviously, you need to have two WP8 phones to get the most out of it. But.... ROOMS will also be available on other smartphones. You will get some of the ROOMS features but not everything. Compatible with iPhone.

17:45 - 29 October

Rooms can be used to send private messages, share location, post photos and there's a calendar.

17:44 - 29 October

Less crowded and more intimate. Rooms = Circles.

17:44 - 29 October

There's a new feature called ROOMS. A place to share with your closest friends and family. Reminds me of Google+'s Circles.

17:43 - 29 October

Now talking about people hub "your contact list reinvented".

17:42 - 29 October

Basically her cleaning company that is safe, cheap, environment friendly etc. Plus she's got an app.

17:42 - 29 October

An advertorial for Jessica Alba. She talks about the honest company.

17:41 - 29 October

Your iTunes music now on your WP8 smartphone. An interesting feature to lure iPhone users for sure.

17:41 - 29 October

Surely Microsoft could highlight other smartphones rather than just Nokia. Samsung and HTC, where are you?

17:39 - 29 October

"Phones being unique and different and personal seem to be the underlying theme" here.

17:39 - 29 October

Alba has been toying with WP8 for a few weeks.

17:36 - 29 October

Jessica Alba is on stage right now.

17:36 - 29 October

Video playing at the moment about Kid's Corner

17:35 - 29 October

Is that WP8 only? No announcement as to whether WP7.8 will get that.

17:34 - 29 October

"A worry-free way for your kids to play."!

17:34 - 29 October

Obviously, this opens the door for so many other similar "virtualised" environments within one phone, closing the gap between a traditional smartphone and a traditional computer.

17:33 - 29 October

That is so odd. There's a kid's corner games slider in Settings.

17:31 - 29 October

That is a bit cheesy now. Three children now on stage with two phones.

17:31 - 29 October

That is pretty, pretty clever.

17:31 - 29 October

Joe Belfiore says Windows Phone 8 comes with a "Kids Corner" feature. A bit like a "guest" account on Windows OS, a phone within a phone.

17:30 - 29 October

Video showing children asking "daddy can I play with your phone"?

17:29 - 29 October

Just noticed that the invite featuring the picture of Paloma Faith on this page, looks very inviting indeed.

17:29 - 29 October

The smartphone that keeps you closer to the people who matter the most. That's the next slide.

17:28 - 29 October

Data Sense also helps you manage your data usage. It actually helps you get better usage of your data plan. 45 per cent more web browsing with Data Sense turned on. Pity it can only compress web pages, not app downloads. Rolled out at mobile operators. Verizon to be the first to get it.

17:26 - 29 October

Data Sense "understands" Wi-Fi and allows you to track down Wi-Fi hotspots. Opera calls its Turbo on/off. Opera Mini had compression schemes since day one.

17:25 - 29 October

Solution compresses every web page. Reminds me of Opera Software browser.

17:25 - 29 October

Data Sense allows you to get the most out of your data plan

17:24 - 29 October

There's the story of a mother-in-law.... The MiL of Joe Belfiore.

17:23 - 29 October

Now a slide showing "getting control of data costs".

17:22 - 29 October

One year free music without ads included.

17:22 - 29 October

Pandora for WP8 coming as well.

17:22 - 29 October

Multi screen gaming coming as well. as in cross platform ability to play on various devices and picking up when needed.

17:21 - 29 October

Temple Run, Star Wars, Asphalt 7, UrbanSpoon, Living Social etc coming to WP8

17:20 - 29 October

46 out of the top 50 apps (on Android and iOS I guess) on Windows Phone 8. That's 92 per cent.

17:20 - 29 October

Skype on WP8 is always on and most importantly, doesn't run down your battery. That IMHO is a deal breaker. VOIP goes mainstream?

17:19 - 29 October

Skype for Windows 8 is great as well. Different layout and design.

17:18 - 29 October

New version of Twitter coming for WP8 and Paypal and Audible and Groupon and of course.... Skype...

17:17 - 29 October

White Lumia phone with Sky Blue Facebook app is quite sexy I have to say.

17:16 - 29 October

Turns the live screen into an ever changing memory book. There will be a Facebook-optimised app for Windows Phone 8

17:16 - 29 October

The lock screen will 'surface' photos, notifications and other content. Any privacy concerns here?

17:15 - 29 October

Lock screen now powered by Live Apps.

17:15 - 29 October

Windows Phone 8 has live apps built into lock screen. Make the lock screen less boring.

17:15 - 29 October

A new kind of App coming.... Only WP8 has "live apps" says Belfiore. Can integrate into "wallet" and Apps.

17:14 - 29 October

Using a Nokia Lumia 820 to do the demo onstage (or is it the Lumia 920).

17:13 - 29 October

It is the most personal smartphone platform according to Belfiore. Mentioning Live Tiles ATM.

17:12 - 29 October

And it is the perfect companion for (Windows) PC and Xbox.

17:12 - 29 October

The smartphone reinvented around you, that's the new tagline it seems.

17:12 - 29 October

Video playing ATM. Dark room here, full of geeks, in Bloomsbury square

17:11 - 29 October

They want to build a "very unique" smartphone experience.

17:11 - 29 October

Microsoft wants to "reinvent smartphones around you". Very lyrical.

17:10 - 29 October

Sound is back and we're watching a standard definition live stream. Chap on stage is Joe Belfiore and he liberally mentions Apple's iPhone.

17:07 - 29 October

Leila Martine back on stage. Suggests that we all get drinks.

17:06 - 29 October

Sweet irony, we have a webcast but no sound.

17:06 - 29 October

17:04 - 29 October

Oh and we will be looking at a live cast from the US.

17:02 - 29 October

Just as a titbit, Microsoft Windows Phone Marketplace apparently hit 125K apps. Not bad. Ms Martine is enumerating all the major launches over the past few weeks including Motorola and Apple.

17:01 - 29 October

We're at the Microsoft Windows Phone 8 event. Leila Martine, Director, Windows Phone Microsoft UK is on stage

14:23 - 29 October

Nokia is betting the farm (and everything in there) on Windows Phone 8 at the upper end of the market and there’s a reason for that. The company has been doing abysmally bad in the smartphone market with its market share more than halved, falling from 14 per cent in 2011 to four per cent.

13:55 - 29 October

Microsoft pushes free syncing app for Windows Phone 8, hours before the company's latest mobile platform is launched.