Microsoft has unveiled yet another hotly-anticipated product, Windows Phone 8, the new iteration of its mobile phone platform.

Joe Belfiore, corporate vice-president of Microsoft, writes on the official company blog that the new operating system will be available on new phones later this year.

“Many of Windows Phone 8’s new capabilities come from a surprising source: Windows – the most successful and powerful operating system on the planet, and one used by more than 1-billion people,” he says. “As a result, Windows Phone 8 will unleash a new wave of features for consumers, developers and businesses.”

Being built on the same paltform as Windows 8 means that Windows Phone 8 and the PC operating system will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, as well as a common file system. “That translates into better performance, more features, and new opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster,” says Belfiore.

“This new shared core – along with all the extra work we’ve done on top of it – opens up a new world of capabilities.”

These include multi-core processor support; bigger, sharper screens; more flexible storage; NFC wireless sharing; Internet Explorer 10; a digital wallet; better maps and directions; and cooler apps and games.

Belfiore highlighted Windows Phone 8’s new Start screen, designed to make the user experience more personal, with a new palette of theme colours and three sizes of Live Tiles, all of which are under user control.

Unfortunately for current Windows Phone users, the new platform won’t be available as an upgrade. “Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware.”

Windows Phone 8 also introduces a number of features and capabilities that companies and their IT departments demand for workplace use.

Some of these include device encryption; better security; remote management; and the ability for companies to build their own hubs and apps.