Windows Phone 8 launched

Microsoft has launched a new version of its Windows Phone software with broad support from smartphone makers, mobile phone firms and app developers.

The company promised to address the lack of third-party applications relative to offerings for Apple's iPhone and devices running Google's Android system.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer displays a Nokia Lumia 920 featuring Windows Phone 8 during an event in San Francisco Credit: Reuters

Windows Phone 8 is the successor to Windows Phone 7, which launched two years ago but made little impact.

Windows 8 was launched last week.

"People all over the world are about to fall in love with Windows Phones," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said at the Windows Phone 8 launch event in San Francisco today.