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Windows Phone 8: Star Features

Microsoft pulled out all the stops to introduce its new mobile OS -- but will it be enough to tempt iOS and Android users?
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Belfiore said that another new WP8 feature is "for all the little ones -- the ones we love but who sometimes drive us a little bit crazy." He was speaking, of course, about children, and he cited a laundry list of disaster scenarios that make parents around the world cautious about leaving their smartphones unattended around the youngsters: texts sent to bosses, important emails deleted, unauthorized app store purchases, etc.

Microsoft's answer is Kids' Corner, which essentially creates a partition within the device in which kids can play without having access to a parent's content. The service is something like a V-chip, in that an adult can restrict access to given content. Rather than pitching the familiar, but still important, ability to protect kids from the wilds of cyberspace, Belfiore emphasized the peace of mind that Kids' Corner can offer adults.

"You get to have dinner in peace," he remarked, "or get to drive long ways without lots of screaming from the backseat." The Kids' Corner interface allows children to personalize the space once an adult has set up parameters, with Live Tiles and other expression-oriented features available for their use.

"They get to customize tile sizes, colors -- just like you can," Belfiore said, adding that this shared experience -- to say nothing of the content that parents and children exchange -- is "built as a way to help parents and kids stay connected."


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