Windows Phone 8 announcement puts partner Nokia in tough spot

made important headway in its bid to compete in the smartphone market this week, announcing the next-generation smartphone operating system. But in the process, the company has "placed their hardware partners in a very awkward situation," says Wayne Lam, IHS senior analyst in communications.



Windows Phone 8 is Microsoft's first mobile operating system based on the Windows NT kernel. In addition to the ability to run multi-core processors and take advantage of higher-quality graphics, the upgrade from the legacy CE kernel means that Windows users could have the same fluid experience across their PCs, tablets and .

"With Microsoft's announcements this week they really have brought clarity and focus to their mobile OS ecosystem," adds Lam. "Where they were kind of all over the place before, now we kind of see their cards, so to speak, and it's a pretty exciting week for their announcements."

The move may have also caused some collateral damage. Unlike 's iOS, Windows Phone 8 will not be available as an upgrade for older smartphones running Windows Phone 7; anyone who wants the OS will need to purchase an entirely new device running it.