Recently we have had a bunch of new releases for a number of the Microsoft products including Windows Phone. Windows Phone 8 brings the operating system to a new level by incorporating the Windows 8 Kernel as well a bringing some other great features such as more live tile sizes, more screen resolutions, NFC and Bluetooth support, in application speech and many others. More details can be found here and here and here. For those of you who have already built a Windows Phone 7.5 application your applications will already work on the Windows Phone 8 platform no code changes required, but it you would like to get access to the Windows Phone 8 new features you will need to upgrade your app and republish. This blog post will give you the resources as well as some guidance around upgrading your applications to Windows Phone 8.

Step 1: Get the new SDK

The first step is getting the new SDK from http://dev.windowsphone.com this will enable you to develop Windows Phone 8, and Windows Phone 7.5 applications using Visual Studio 2012. There is only one catch here if you want to run the Windows Phone 8 Emulator make sure your processor supports SLAT (Second Level Address Translation). 

Step 2: Backup your solution

Ok this one might be a no brainer but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is. Once you start upgrading your application its not a trivial task to migrate back.

Step 3: Upgrading

Open your solution in Visual Studio 2012 and right click on the project. You will see an option to upgrade to Windows Phone 8 and click it. This will now attempt to upgrade your existing solution to Windows Phone 8. There are a few things where it will struggle but these are mostly external references such as MVVM Light etc where you will just need to update the reference to point to a Windows Phone 8 compatible library. Here are two great articles on the process:

How to upgrade an app project to Windows Phone 8

App platform compatibility for Windows Phone 

Step 4: Adding functionality

The last step is adding some of the new Windows Phone 8 functionality to your application and deploying it.

While it is fairly easy to update your application to WP8 and leverage the new features, you may also just want to write the application using the portable libraries so that your life is easy when porting to Windows 8.

Well get cracking and keep us posted on your progress we always want to hear from you about what you are working on and want to share your great work.

Remember we have a competition on at the moment for the best Windows 8 and Windows Phone applications. Heck if you build it on both that's two entries find more information here.