Microsoft’s next generation of Windows isn’t all about making the notebook and desktop more touch-friendly; the company plans to unify the Windows experience and bring everything together, making the Windows Phone experience more connected.

The latest from Microsoft’s mobile division changes the very core of Windows Phone, bringing it closer to Windows than it ever has before.

Set to be available in devices later this year, Windows Phone 8 will be built on the same platform that Microsoft is using to make the computer counterpart for the next generation of Windows. In essence, this means apps built for each of the platforms should be close to cross platform, or at the very least, easier to tweak for release on each device.

This design makes it closer to iOS than most mobile platforms, as the operating system powering the iPhone and iPad was based on an old Mac OS version that has developed by itself.

Microsoft Wallet will allow you to pay for things using your phone.

A better platform for Windows isn’t all Microsoft is adding to the next generation of Windows Phone, with support for multiple processor cores offering faster app and games performance, Internet Explorer 10, Nokia Maps as the native mapping and navigation application, payments using Near-Field Communication technology, high-resolution 720p screens, and one of the most needed and requested features – support for expandable storage with microSD cards.

The homescreen has also been changed to accomodate more tiles, more colours, and more lively and animated icons, effectively pushing the Android widget concept into one screen and making it easier to see multiple updates of news, calendars, social networks, and more on the main screen.

Manufacturers are jumping on-board, ready to produce handsets in an amount we haven’t seen since the launch of Windows Phone 7 in 2010. Already, Microsoft is talking up products on the way from Nokia, Samsung, HTC, and budget handset maker Huawei.