Windows Phone 8 features detailed

The good folks at Pocketnow who apparently managed to get their eyes on an internal Microsoft/Nokia video hosted by Joe Belfiore (I say apparently because they haven’t posted the video and it isn’t clear if they actually saw it or if they are reporting what somebody saw in it) detailing most of the new features coming with Windows Phone 8.

First of all the OS will be, as we all have been expecting, based on the Windows 8 Kernel and share the same networking stack, multimedia and security support as its bigger brother. This means that most Metro applications developed for Windows 8 will be easily portable to Windows Phone 8. Once again nothing really surprising here. Native code development will also be part of the show this time around and finally enable developers to creating richer applications and games. Microsoft is also apparently going to ditch the Zune desktop software in favor of an ActiveSync like integration with Windows 8 while Xbox and Skydrive integration will finally be fully backed into both the desktop and mobile OS (Ie: Music on Skydrive will instantly be available on the phone etc..). Skype which has yet to be released on Windows Phone 7 will also be seamlessly integrated into Windows Phone 8 and the Dialer/Phone application. Third party app-to-app communication will also be supported now. On the business front Windows Phone 8 will support Microsoft’s BitLocker encryption (128bit) and finally enable businesses to easily deploy proprietary software on the fleet of Windows Phones.

Internet Explorer 10 will also include server side compression support (via a proxy server) to reduce page loading times by 30%. This shouldn’t come as a surprise knowing that Microsoft was actually the first company to introduce such feature in the short R&D browser project on Windows Mobile 5 code named DeepFish a few years ago. Hopefully this feature will be optional though. The OS will also include a DataSmart Live Tile Functionality which ill serve as a hub where users can easily track their data usage (a similar feature is present in Windows 8 ) and LocalScout will detect nearby WiFi hotspots too.

On the hardware front Windows Phone 8 will now support four different screen resolutions (not specified) compared to only one right now (WVGA) and also multi-core CPU configurations. Nothing really uprising here given that we all expected it. Micrdo-SD expansion cards support will also be official now and allow users to finally have Windows Phone devices with more than 16Gb of internal storage. WP8 will also have native NFC support and a new Camera API that will allow hardware partners to more deeply integrate their camera.

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Windows Phone 8 specifications rumor: Windows 8 kernel and more

My man OIAQ sent me a tweet yesterday about a post on 4PDA.RU which seems to contain inside information about the upcoming Windows Phone 8 OS release (Apollo). The info falls in line with what most of us have been expecting. I just got the chance to check it out and decided to post it just as a heads up (and so that some folks will not say that I’m now completely out of the loop..) so here’s the low down:

- “WOA platforms will require that all desktop binary images be signed with a trusted Microsoft certificate. Any unsigned code will fail to load … This … does not cover Metro Style applications for which there is a separately documented signing requirement and developer licensing”

- “Windows Phone “Apollo” brings together platform parity with Windows 8, experience parity with Windows Phone “Mango”, and a set of new features and functionality developed for Windows Phone “Apollo”.”

- “Platform parity means that the phone OS is now based on the Windows NT kernel instead of the Windows CE kernel. Windows Phone “Apollo” uses the Core System from Windows 8, which is a minimal Windows system that boots, manages its hardware and resources, authenticates and communicates on a network, and can be managed at a basic level.”

-”The final significant changes of note are the adoption of ESENT, also known as Jet, for the database engine, and the managed-code runtime. Rather than using the .NET Compact Framework from Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone ”Apollo” uses the Core CLR produced by the Developer Division at Microsoft.”

-”Only SDHC cards formatted as FAT or exFAT are supported. If the card is unformatted or contains an unsupported format, such as NTFS, the SD card will be formatted according to the SD specification if the user accepts the format prompt. This means that SDHC cards (cards less than or equal to 32GB) will be formatted as FAT”

- “The internal user store will not have this limitation since it is formatted as NTFS”.

-”Texus Shell (TShell) is a tool that allows you to interact with Windows Phone “Apollo” phones via a Windows PowerShell command prompt. You can copy files to the phone, execute processes, attach a debugger, run commands using the phone’s command interpreter, and run test content stored on WTT test servers”

-”The Windows Phone “Apollo” release ports the ambient light, proximity, magnetometer, compass, and gyroscope sensors from Windows Phone “Mango”. It also incorporates the accelerometer, which was a standalone implementation in the previous OS version”,

- “You can use Hyper-V to test x86 builds of the phone OS”

So there you have it folks. Seems highly accurate but treat this a a rumor until the official announcement later this year.

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Windows Phone in 2012: Predictions and wishes

Time for me to share with you my 2012 Windows Phone predictions and wishes now that you are all probably enjoying your new Mango handsets (or 1st Gen phones running Mango..). Keep in mind that what I’m going to post bellow is nothing more than speculations on my part so don’t quote me on that (well unless it turns out to be true later down the road…). So let’s start with what I wish Microsoft fixes, adds in the coming months in Tango:

- Universal search (this one is most probably coming..)
- Fix the frame dropping video playback issue that I seem to be the only person on earth who has noticed it (was present on my HTC Titan sample and both my Lumia 800 which makes me believe that’s it’s a OS issue with the MSM8255)
- Release Skype and Photosynth for Windows Phone: The silence surrounding both apps is intriguing. I wouldn’t be surprised if both where directly integrated into the OS instead of released as third-party apps (wishful thinking..I know).
- Ability to delete more than one picture or video at a time in the pictures hub
- Basic photo editing (crop, rotate, re-size)
- Basic video editing functionality (this one will have to wait for Windows Phone 8 I guess)
- SMS / MMS Backup (looks like this one is in the works “Come join the Windows Phone Backup, Migrate, and Restore team. Our goal is to ensure that no matter if someone loses their phone, drops their phone in a lake, buys a new windows phone, or just has their toddler wipe their phone by entering the wrong PIN over and over, a user can quickly and seamlessly get their phone back to a good state. The features we are producing will be new for the next version of Windows Phone and will help ensure Microsoft stays ahead of the competition when it comes to disaster recovery.” )
- MMS videos!
- Ability to assign different ring tones to groups or individual contacts Totally forgot that this was already made available in Mango. sorry for that.

Now let’s talk about Windows Phone 8. It will be announced in 2012 but I’m not really confident that MWC is going to be the venue used by Microsoft to unveil it. As you have probably already heard Microsoft is no longer going to keynote at CES after 2012 and will instead have it’s own events to unveiled announce new products similar to what Apple has been doing lately after it dropped from the MacWorld Expo. This is why I’m thinking that Microsoft may only announce Tango during MWC this February and simple tease WP8 for a further announcement closer to the middle of the year. Here’s what I’m hoping for Windows Phone 8 aka Apollo:

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Windows Phone in 2012: What are you expecting ?

As you may have noticed interesting news stories have been non existent lately in the windows Phone world and given that I have less time to post I won’t bother posting about every single rumored sales statistics or other meaningless stuff. Unfortunately there’s isn’t much left to talk about now that we are nearing Christmas and the end of the year.

If you are a Nokia Lumia 800 owner I’m sure that you are eagerly waiting to the promised January Firmware update that should fix the battery issues (and hopefully this one included!) alongside other bugs and camera improvements. Speaking of the camera, Nokia’s Digital Imaging Guru Damian Dinning has once again tweeted that “improvements” are coming to the Lumia 800′s camera and noted that even though the hardware is the same as the Nokia N9 the “image processing is completely different”. Obvious given that the two handset have different OS’s and SoCs. It should also be noted the Lumia 800 (and 710) is Nokia’s first Qualcomm powered device so it’s normal that everything isn’t yet fully functional and bug free.

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Microsoft shakes up Windows Phone division

Steve Ballmer took the time today to announce to its troops that current Windows Phone Division president Andy Less will now have a new role at Microsoft and will be replaced by Terry Myerson who was already heading the divisions engineering team. I personally think that this is the right thing to do as I have always felt that Lees wasn’t really the guy for this division and more a Ballmer buddy who was put there back when Windows Mobile was on the brink of death. Now that Windows Phone 7 is out and well (sales will come later..well, unless Nokia continues to ship buggy devices worldwide) it was time to put somebody who knows what he’s talking about in charge what is seen as one of the company’s most critical asset. As a matter of fact Andy has now a new undisclosed role at Microsoft (reporting directly to Ballmer as usual) which will be a “time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8″ Whatever that means it sure looks like what I’ve been speculating all along and here (Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 sharing the same kernel) may be close to the reality.

Check out Steve Ballmer’s full email after the break:

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Windows Phone 8 Apollo coming mid 2012 ?


Grab some tissues and a pinch of salt! According to a Nokia VP Michael Halbherr, Executive VP present at Nokia World in London Windows Phone 8 aka Apollo will launch in mid- 2012. That’s nearly 6 months earlier than what everybody else was expecting. Nokia is rightfully pushing Microsoft to include NFC support in it and full integration of Nokia’s Navteq mapping assets. Once again, treat this as a rumor but things may be getting a little more interesting than expected in the coming months unless this VP is confusing Tango with Apollo.

UPDATE: As I expcted that Nokia VP was on something nasty…the original story was updated with a note saying that the “timing was inaccurate”..no sh@t Sherlock? Back to our regular news/rumors/nonsense schedule… Apollo = Late 2012 Tango = mid 2012. Mark my words…
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Windows Phone 7 applications and games show up in the Windows 8 store

Here’s something interesting that just popped up during the Build Keynote and sort of confirms what we have been recently hearing: Windows Phone 7 applications may be compatible with Windows 8 (and here). As you can see in the screenshot above several Windows Phone 7 Xbox Live games are listed in the games section: Tentacles, Parachute Panic, Geo Defense etc… It is still not know if this is really going to be the case or if only a simple recompile will get WP7 apps and games to run Windows 8.

Edit: An on stage demo just showed how easy it is to develop the same app on Windows 8 and Windows Phone:

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Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 to have the same kernel ? Tango 1 and Tango 2 updates in the works

S. Chapman did some detective work lately and found a handful of Employee Resumes and job ads that hint at the possibility that Windows Phone 8 aka Apollo will be based on the same Kernel as Windows 8. A few months ago I stumbled up a Windows Phone Division job ad that definitely made it sound like both OSes were closely related and today’s findings are even clearer. Here’s one example:

The responsibilities included program managing software update features to provide device update technology that enables end-users to update Windows Phone OS with a new set of phone features including bug fixes. In this role, I delivered a set of functional requirements specifications for the major update components to enable image updates for the next generation Windows Phone OS (aka Apollo). They are Packaging System, Imaging System, Flashing System, Update OS, Update Validator and Update Application. Also drove and tracked early investigations for the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 OS convergence to create Mobile SKUs.

Here’s another one from an HTC Senior Product planner:

Owned the advanced planning relationship with Microsoft; drove Microsoft “Apollo” product planning discussion and led HTC cross-division feedback. Identified high potential partners and technologies; initiated/participated in new partnership discussions; ensured the relevant technology integrations and strategic alignment.Restructured communication channel between the planning and field communication team; greatly increased the sell-in material accuracy and increased the overall update rate by 50+% Spearheaded the 2012 Windows mobile phone product roadmap.

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