Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 - first launched in 2010 - has failed to eke out significant market share in a lucrative space currently dominated by Apple's iPhone and various Android handsets.
Redmond hopes to shake up the current smartphone status quo with Windows Phone 8 (aka Apollo), a revamped mobile operating that shares some of the same core code as Microsoft's flagship Windows 8 operating system for PCs and tablets.
Indeed, Windows Phone 8 is slated to boast a UI similar to its tablet and desktop counterparts, allowing devs to "recycle" code across multiple Microsoft devices.
The cross-platform compatibility is also expected to facilitate tap-to-share capability - enabling users to share content across their laptops, desktops and phone.
In addition, Microsoft Windows Phone 8 will support multi-core chips, 720p resolution and Micro SD cards.
Other announced features include a new wallet app, NFC capabilities, integrated maps from Nokia's Navteq division, turn-by-turn navigation, an improved customizable start screen and a built-in website malware detector.
Windows Phone 8 was unveiled only two days after Microsoft showcased its Surface tablet at an event in Hollywood. Clearly designed to challenge Apple's wildly popular iPad, Surface boasts a 16:9 aspect ratio, edges angled at 22 degrees, an integrated kickstand, along with HD front- and rear-facing video cameras.