Microsoft is planning to unveil a number of customization and differentiation improvements in Windows Phone 8 to OEMs soon. Netbooknews first broke details earlier today of what appears to be an invitation-only event at Microsoft's UK offices in Reading in the coming weeks. The agenda focuses on Windows Phone 8 "Apollo" schedules, application development capabilities, and connectivity / APN management for the upcoming smartphone operating system.
One particular feature that Microsoft has been sharing with its partners, and will likely discuss further at this meeting, is the integration of Rich Communication Suite-enhanced (RCSe) services directly into Windows Phone 8. According to sources familiar with Microsoft's plans, the software giant will allow operators to integrate their own, or third-party, voice and messaging services directly into the People Hub of Windows Phone 8. We understand that this integration will go even further, allowing carrier voice over IP services to look like normal voice calls when they are received on Windows Phone 8 devices.
Microsoft's wallet payment service, that will utilize the NFC chipsets in Windows Phone 8 devices, will also be opened up to operators in an effort to allow them to brand the experience in a similar way to the RCSe integration. Although Microsoft has not spoken publicly about its plans, a number of Android handset manufacturers have been integrating RCSe services in preparation for carriers start to rollout their offerings more broadly. We understand that Microsoft sees this as a key offering for its mobile carriers that will ship Windows Phone 8 handsets later this year.