Microsoft has detailed some of the new hardware specs for Windows Phone 8, dubbed Apollo, at its Windows Phone Summit event in San Francisco. It looks to give hardware manufacturers such as Nokia and HTC the tools to challenge the leading Android devices and iPhones of this world.

The big news is that Windows Phone 8 will be designed on the same architecture as Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems. This will allow plenty of scope for future developments and greater hardware support going forward.

Microsoft has confirmed that while it isn’t Windows RT, it will share a lot of the same advantages. From a hardware perspective that means Windows Phone 8 will offer support for multi-core processors - something that it hasn’t done in the past and one that should open up the door for manufacturers to use Nvidia processors as well as Qualcomm chipsets.

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It also means support for external memory cards, a wider selection of peripherals and devices, as well as new screen resolutions to allow app developers more room to create in ways they haven’t been able to before.

Microsoft is upping the display resolution with Windows Phone 8, adding 15:9 and 16:9 displays at 1280 x 768 and 1280 x 720 resolutions alongside the existing 800 x 480 display.

That'll mean more screen real estate for video and games. There's also support for new graphics features, using more-powerful GPUs.

Windows Phone 8 also adds support for NFC and Microsoft will allow developers access to the new chip via a series of APIs. Expect your apps to now let you start playing with your mobile a lot more when the new Windows Phone 8 smartphones begin to appear later in the year.

Manufacturers have yet to detail how they will be enjoying these new features.