Apple vs. Microsoft: Today is Windows Phone 8 day

June 20, 2012, 12:15 PM UTC

FORTUNE — “I am going to go out on a limb,” Al Hilwa, IDC’s applications software analyst wrote Monday after Microsoft (MSFT) unveiled its answer to Apple’s (AAPL) iPad, “and say that Microsoft’s Windows Phone announcement is even more important because it will show us where the synergy is between the phone and the tablet.”

We won’t have long to wait to find out if he’s right. Microsoft’s Windows Phone Developers Summit begins today (Wednesday) in San Francisco at 9 a.m. Pacific (12 noon Eastern).

Nobody is suggesting — or at least nobody I’ve read — that Microsoft about to do to phones what it did to tablets: Turn its partners into competitors by building its own hardware.

But Microsoft has a lot of work to do to catch up to Apple in the mobile device space, and if it’s got a plan for how to do that, this is the venue in which to reveal it.

Redmond is getting better at keeping its secrets, but some details have dribbled out. As usual, ZDNet‘s Mary Jo Foley has the scoop. Here’s her master list of the Windows Phone 8 features that have leaked so far:

* Support for multicore processors
* Support for four new screen resolutions
* Support for removable microSD card storage
* Support for NFC and an associated “Wallet Experience”
* Inclusion of core Windows elements, including kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support
* New data-tracking capabilities, showing users a breakdown of their data consumption by various networks
* Use of a proxy server to deliver pages more efficiently and quickly to Internet Explorer 10 Mobile
* Addition of native BitLocker encryption and Secure Boot
* A separate but improved Skype application, but not integration of Skype into the operating system
* Replacement of the Zune PC client software with an update mechanism more akin to ActiveSync.