Microsoft to formally unveil Windows Phone 8 at San Francisco event

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will formally roll out its Windows Phone 8 platform at a media event in San Francisco today ahead of the commercial launch of a wave of new smartphones from hardware partners Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Samsung Electronics and HTC. Microsoft is expected to introduce several new software features it did not announce previously, including a new companion application enabling users to synchronize their smartphones with PCs running the just-released Windows 8 desktop platform as well as a new feature enabling users to create virtual spaces for chatting and sharing content with family and friends. Microsoft first previewed Windows Phone 8 during its Windows Phone Summit event in June. The revamped platform touts multi-core chipsets to bolster smartphone performance and optimize battery life, a choice of three screen resolutions, integration of VoIP and video chat, a customizable start screen and Wallet Hub, which combines support for Near Field Communications-enabled m-commerce services including contactless payments, deals and loyalty cards, in addition to in-app purchase mechanisms. Microsoft is banking on stronger carrier support to help it gain more traction in the market, and has secured device launch support from Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA. Check back with FierceWireless and FierceMobileContent later today for coverage of the event. Article