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Meet the real Windows Phone 8: Join us Monday

On Monday, Microsoft makes Windows Phone 8 OS official, and pulls back the curtain on even more features.

We’ve seen the phones. Now it’s time to put Microsoft’s newest mobile OS to the test.

With Windows 8 launched and the holiday shopping season upon us, the time has come for Microsoft to show the world all that Windows Phone 8 can do.

Back in June, Microsoft previewed a handful of Windows Phone 8 capabilities. Some were hardware-related, like NFC, multicore processing support, and the addition of HD screen resolutions.

Others were software-based: a new home-screen look with resizable widgets and much more space for all those live tiles, plus PC-level device encryption.

On Monday, Microsoft is sure to shine its spotlight on the marquee features we already know about, like its wallet app and the NFC-enabled Tap + Share app. Also expect Redmond to reveal new features large and small.

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how well Windows phones communicate with the Windows 8 operating system. I’m also expecting enhancements to Bing, Microsoft’s signature search engine and app.

Considering that premium Windows Phone devices like the Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC Windows Phone 8X ship with speedy processors, any changes that leverage the Xbox Live platform is good news for Windows Phone, whose tepid gaming incorporation could use a boost.

There’s also a fair chance that Nokia, HTC, or Samsung will use Microsoft’s stage to announce pricing and availability for their new Windows Phone handsets, though of course Microsoft’s own lips are zipped.
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