Microsoft's biggest upgrade of the Windows Phone operating system is coming up at some point later this year. Rumored to be codenamed Apollo and likely to bear the branding of Windows Phone 8, it's hoped to be the shot in the arm Microsoft's mobile ecosystem needs to compete with the incumbent leaders from Apple and Google. Keep track of all the official and unofficial developments ahead of the launch of WP8 right here.
Jul 17, 2012Read Article >
Although the feature is rarely used, it has been sorely missed by reviewers and developers alike. Jailbroken Windows Phones can take advantage of some homebrew third-party options, but native support in Windows Phone 8 will please those wishing to share their screens. Microsoft originally revealed some of its Windows Phone 8 features at a special event in June, opting not to mention a screenshot option. The software maker is expected to deliver the OS on new handsets in late October.
Jul 12, 2012
Microsoft has revealed very little about the user interface improvements in its upcoming Windows Phone 8 release. Aside from an improved Start Screen with smaller tiles, the company is holding back its other plans for tweak the operating system elsewhere. WPCentral has revealed that Microsoft is planning some lock screen notification improvements for Windows Phone 8.Read Article >
Existing Windows Phone 7.5 devices support phone, mail, and messaging notifications, but Windows Phone 8 is said to support third-party app notifications. WPCentral says there's four options for developers to take advantage of the lock screen, which would mean the customization may be similar to Windows 8 (which supports custom app notifications on the lock screen).
Jun 20, 2012
At its Windows Phone summit, Microsoft set the tone by talking a lot about "shared core" — it's practically a new mantra. Here's one way we'll see that in action: a native game development platform based on DirectX. A "common platform" for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, which is to say there's a shared kernel across the platforms. Shared hardware drivers and the "hardware-based security" of Windows.Read Article >
More simply put, developers should be able to quickly port their games to Windows Phones without re-writing a lot of code. Kevin Gallo, who runs the Developer Platform for Windows 8, said that some of the tools game developers already use will be able to run on Windows Phone 8, including Havok and Autodesk. Andrew Bowell of Havok Technology took the stage to showcase its middleware — humans with hair that flips somewhat realistically. It's one that the company has shown off a few times in the past at various other developer events, and indeed its tools has been used on a number of high-profile titles over the years, across all platforms. Speaking of that ubiquity, Microsoft is also highlighting how native code simplifies porting apps between iOS and Android, as well.
Jun 20, 2012
Putting another obstacle in Nokia's path to selling its Lumia range as widely as possible, T-Mobile's German arm has decided that it won't stock the Lumia 900 Windows Phone handset. This comes on the heels of multiple European carriers expressing discontent with the quality of the Windows Phone user experience, but seems to have been motivated by an additional factor. A member of T-Mobile's support team in Germany has revealed, after asking around inside the company, that the reason the Lumia 900 won't be making an appearance on the company's shelves has to do with Windows Phone 8 — specifically, the fact that this new phone won't be upgradeable to the upcoming OS version. As she tells it, T-Mobile opted not to incur the wrath of its users by selling them a new Lumia 900 today and denying them an upgrade to the very latest Microsoft mobile operating system a few months down the line.Read Article >
That's an admirably frank position for the carrier to take, although when we enquired for comment, the official Deutsche Telekom response was that the rejection of the Lumia 900 is just one of the carrier's many "portfolio decisions" that have to be made and "unfortunately we cannot offer each new device." So the public mouthpiece of the company isn't quite yet willing to affirm that the lack of an upgrade path is at fault, but the fact remains that one of Europe's biggest operators is giving Nokia's flagship device a skip and we sincerely doubt that has anything to do with the hardware on offer.
Jun 14, 2012
Following the leak of several alleged Windows Phone 8 screenshots earlier this week, additional images appear to have surfaced. Chinese site wpxap has posted a number of photos of what it says is a Vertu device running Windows Phone 8. The photos show a device with 64GB of storage, identified as a Vertu in the operating system's settings menu. Vertu was Nokia's luxury phone arm that the company has agreed to sell to private equity group EQT this week.Read Article >
While we can't be certain this is a genuine Windows Phone 8 build running on a Vertu, one particular screenshot shows a SkyDrive cloud storage settings menu. The menu is not present in the current SkyDrive application on Windows Phone, and appears to be part of the general built-in settings menu — indicating that Microsoft could be building SkyDrive cloud storage into Windows Phone 8. We'll know more about Microsoft's general plans for Windows Phone 8 soon, the company hosts a Windows Phone Summit next week on June 20th.
Jun 13, 2012
Microsoft is widely expected to unveil Windows Phone 8 at a special event next week, but more details about the mobile operating system appear to have leaked ahead of its debut. Nokia Innovations has posted several screenshots that seem to show how Skype will be integrated into Windows Phone 8. One particular screenshot shows an incoming video call that looks like Windows Phone's native calling app, another shows Skype and RCSe integration in the People Hub.Read Article >
The site has also posted a screenshot of what is claimed to be the new camera UI for Windows Phone 8. The simple layout includes a slider on the left to adjust zoom and a button to switch between the front and rear facing cameras. There's also a screenshot of a "DataSmart" feature that we've heard mentioned before. The feature will allegedly track usage and consumption of data, and one screenshot shows off a live tile for the app.
Jun 12, 2012
We're just just over a week away from Microsoft's promised "sneak peek" at the future of Windows Phone and details about the next mobile operating system appear to be leaking out. Nokia Maps will replace Bing Maps in all Windows Phone devices, according to WPCentral — coupled with 3D navigation and hardware acceleration.Read Article >
We know that Bing Maps will bear the Nokia name, and a unified map design along with recent traffic results updates all point towards a merging of Nokia and Bing Maps. WPCentral also reiterates what we know about Windows Phone 8: Skype integration, an NFC wallet experience, and camera improvements, but the site warns Microsoft still doesn't have a true Siri competitor in Windows Phone 8.
Jun 4, 2012
Microsoft previously announced its Windows Phone Developer Summit early last month, but the company didn't reveal exactly what it was planning to show. We received an updated invitation today that hints Windows Phone 8 might be on the agenda. "A sneak peek of the future of Windows Phone" is promised in the latest invite for the June 20th event. While there's no direct mention of Windows Phone 8, we've heard from our own sources that this event will introduce developers to new ways of creating apps for the new Windows 8-based kernel of Windows Phone 8.Read Article >
Windows Phone 8 is expected to include improved hardware support for multi-core processors, four screen resolutions, and NFC radio support with a contact-less "wallet experience." Microsoft is also expected to integrated its Skype app into Windows Phone 8, with native code support for developers and app-to-app communication support. We're likely to see some of these upcoming features demonstrated at the Windows Phone Developer Summit on June 20th, with new Windows Phone 8 handsets expected to arrive later this year.
Apr 25, 2012Read Article >
Despite saying on record last year that it was interested in producing Windows Phones, Huawei has yet to introduce a smartphone running Microsoft's mobile OS. According to WPDang, Huawei has put together a group of 70 or so engineers to focus on a phone based on Apollo as well as a new Windows 8 tablet with a built-in LTE connection. The company also reportedly has a team in the US working with Microsoft to coordinate these efforts. There's minimal details on what the phone might look like aside from the note that it'll have a screen larger than four inches — not exactly surprising, given the trend towards mega-screened devices lately. While we're waiting to see it before we believe this for certain, Huawei's past comments about moving towards Windows Phone mean there could be some truth behind these rumors — though with Apollo and Windows 8 months out, we likely won't know for sure for some time.
Apr 19, 2012
Microsoft developer evangelist Nuno Silva has retracted comments from an interview earlier this week, in which he claimed that every Windows Phone sold to date should be getting the upgrade to the next "major version of Windows Phone," contradicting our sources on the matter. Silva says today that he was merely attempting to make the point "that existing Windows Phone applications will run on the next version of Windows Phone," and that he "mistakenly confused app compatibility with phone updateability." It's not a total surprise given what we've heard elsewhere, but it's still sad to see a glimmer of hope vanish so quickly for Mango users. We'll be sure to let you know if anything changes with Microsoft's plans for Apollo.Read Article >
Apr 18, 2012
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.Read Article >
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.
All Windows Phones to get upgrade to 'next major version,' according to Microsoft developer evangelist (update)
According to an interview that Microsoft developer evangelist Nuno Silva gave to Zwame, every Windows Phone sold to date should be getting the upgrade to the next "major version of Windows Phone." Silva further made it clear that he wasn't just referring to current devices, but also the first-generation of Windows Phone devices going back to the Omnia 7. Presumably, the "major" here isn't a simple tease for an interim update, but rather the version that's codenamed Apollo.Read Article >
Sadly, Zwame has taken the original, hour-long interview down, but you can see the portion in question below grabbed by WMPowerUser (in Portuguese). Before you get your hopes up, it's worth remembering that Microsoft support for an update and carrier support for distributing it are two different things. On the other hand, AT&T has said publicly that another update is coming for its Windows Phones, but somehow we doubt it was referring to Apollo. We've reached out to Microsoft to see if it has anything to add, we'll let you know if we hear more.
Apr 6, 2012Read Article >
Chinese site it168 has posted what it claims are slides depicting a Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia PureView handset, featuring the same 41-megapixel sensor as the upcoming Symbian 808 PureView. The site describes them as picturing a concept, rather than a finished product, though we'd go so far as to say they're most likely the product of a fan's hyperactive imagination. The geometry of the 4.3-inch device on show doesn't make much sense, and the claimed spec of Adreno 320 graphics would require a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, which seems a bit far-fetched at this point. That being said, you never know with Nokia, and if these pictures are genuine, there's at least one interesting thing to note.
Mar 13, 2012
Microsoft could be testing Windows Phone apps on its Windows 8 operating system, if a popular Windows Phone application is to be believed. I'm a WP7 tracks the version numbers and codenames of all Windows Phone devices and currently reports that one percent of its users are running Windows 8 desktop software. The builds in question are 8283 and 8288, making them more recent than the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (build 8250), released on February 29th.Read Article >
I'm a WP7 also states that the codename of this particular Windows Phone version is Jupiter, Microsoft's new user interface library for Windows. Leaked builds of Windows 8 previously revealed some sightings of the Jupiter codename in use during the very early milestone copies of Windows 8. Some believe that Jupiter will allow developers to easily port or run Silverlight Windows Phone applications on a full client version of Windows 8. With speculation flowing over the future of Windows Phone 8, and leaked information confirming that both operating systems will allow developers to reuse the same code for apps, we can't help but feel that Microsoft is secretly laying the Windows 8 foundations for its Windows Phone 8 work. We won't know for sure until a Release Candidate of Windows 8 is available, but with Windows Phone 8 expected later this year — it's safe to say there will be a close relationship between the two.
Mar 6, 2012
Nokia is currently preparing two new Windows Phone handsets for AT&T, according to sources close to the company's plans. Nokia Prodigy is expected to be one of Microsoft's "superphones" for Windows Phone 8, due later this year, and the AC/DC will be a mid-range handset — both will launch on AT&T. Plans for Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are unclear, but Microsoft is understood to be testing dual-core chipsets with a view to Sprint picking a potential Windows Phone 8 device.Read Article >
HTC is also said to be preparing one or two high-end phones for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, although sources indicate that Sprint and Verizon may not have committed to a HTC device just yet. Details on Windows Phone 8 leaked out early last month, promising multi-core processor support, four screen resolutions, and an NFC "wallet experience." Microsoft is refusing to comment on its Windows Phone 8 plans, but the operating system update is widely expected to be made available later this year. We expect to see the Nokia Prodigy and AC/DC at the launch of Windows Phone 8.
Feb 29, 2012
Microsoft's Windows Phone engineering team is currently testing the Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset, according to sources familiar with the company's plans. The dual-core 1.5GHz system-on-chip is undergoing tests to make it ready for at least one Windows Phone 8 handset due later this year. Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 has been making waves recently thanks to its impressive performance in recent Vellamo benchmark results, beating Samsung's Galaxy S II and Motorola's Droid 4 by more than double. Microsoft is testing the chip to see if it can bring similar results to Windows Phone.Read Article >
We are told that Sprint is interested in a potential Windows Phone 8 device running the MSM8960 and that it has shared its LTE specifications with Nokia. One source has suggested that the carrier may not introduce any further Windows Phones on its network until Windows Phone 8 is ready later this year. Sprint released its first Windows Phone, the HTC Arrive, in March last year and has not yet offered any new Windows Phone 7.5 handsets on its network. Although the testing of new dual-core chips is ongoing inside Microsoft, HTC is preparing to release the One S and an AT&T version of the HTC One X, both powered by the S4. With the rumored release date of Windows Phone 8 set for late 2012, Microsoft appears to be playing catch-up to enable Qualcomm dual-core functionality on its mobile operating system, but there's also the possibility of rival chipset support in future.
Feb 28, 2012
When asked about its ongoing partnership with Microsoft on Windows Phone in a roundtable with journalists today, Qualcomm's Rob Chandhok noted that it's still "strong" and that the company has been "amazed" by how deeply and effectively Microsoft has been able to integrate and utilize Snapdragon's capabilities. We specifically asked about the possibility of seeing the Snapdragon S4 — Qualcomm's latest high-performance processor with two Krait-based cores — in the platform, to which Chandhok said that he didn't want to steal thunder from its hardware partners. "You should ask OEMs about that," he said, but added that "there's no structural problem" to doing it.Read Article >
As it stands today (and with the latest announcements at MWC this week), Windows Phone doesn't support multicore processors like Qualcomm's S3 and S4, but the company has already committed to launching that capability in the future. It's notable that Chandhok specifically says that the S4 is ready to go, though — the S3 is also dual-core, and it stands to reason that Microsoft might choose to integrate a more conservative processor considering the platform's relatively pedestrian specifications (by 2012 standards).
Feb 2, 2012
Microsoft's Director of the Windows Phone program, Joe Belfiore, has detailed a number of Windows Phone 8 features in a leaked video intended for partners. PocketNow managed to secure a copy of the video and the feature list is long. Through speaking to PocketNow editors, we can confirm that the video is authentic, intended for internal use only, and Microsoft is planning the following for its next-generation of Windows Phone:Read Article >
Dec 28, 2011
Now that every Windows Phone out there is upgradable to Mango, Microsoft appears to be pushing ahead with Tango and Apollo, the next two versions of the software. WMPoweruser has obtained an alleged roadmap that indicates the Tango update will arrive in Q2 of 2012, and Apollo in Q4.Read Article >
The roadmap is said to be "up to date as of October 2011," implying that Microsoft’s plans may have changed since it was put together. The Mango update is listed as a Q4 2011 release, whereas its distribution began in September. It appears to form part of an internal presentation but it's not clear whether the dates indicate availability to end users or device manufacturers.
Dec 28, 2011
Microsoft filled in a lot of missing functionality with Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, but the platform is still lacking in one area: convenient backups. A recent job listing suggests that will be changing this coming year, with Redmond currently in the hunt for a software engineer to join the Windows Phone Backup, Migrate and Restore team. According to the post, the team is building features to ensure that users can "quickly and seamlessly get their phone back to a good state," whether it's been erased, destroyed, or the customer has simply purchased a new device. While no specific implementation details are given, it is noted that the new features will be included in the "next version" of the mobile OS, likely indicating Windows Phone 8 — also known as Apollo.Read Article >
The current Zune client doesn't allow users to manually backup their devices, instead tying the procedure to the update process only (strangely, Windows Phone 7 Connector for the Mac does). While there's no specific mention of cloud services made in the listing, "quick and seamless" doesn't sound like tethered syncing to our ears — and with Microsoft already incorporating some cloud-based syncing and backup for Windows 8, we wouldn't be surprised to see a similar strategy in play for Windows Phone. Apollo is expected to arrive in mid-2012.
Dec 14, 2011
Over the past couple days we've gotten some additional details surrounding the circumstances that led to Andy Lees' removal from his role at the top of the Windows Phone org chart inside Microsoft.Read Article >
First off, we're told that although Lees still reports to CEO Steve Ballmer, his ill-defined new role "focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8" is, in fact, a demotion — the exact phrase that was used with us was that "he's been benched." The specific "Windows 8" language suggests that the position may change or go away after the platform is released next year, so he could be seeking a new role after that — it just remains to be seen whether that position would be internal or external to Microsoft. Generally speaking, it's pretty rare for executives at Lees' level to accept a permanent demotion rather than departing for greener pastures.
Oct 27, 2011
Windows Phone Mango (aka 7.5) has spread its sweet multitasking nectar to just about every WP7 device out there, but Microsoft's software strategy doesn't end with with a juicy fruit. Engadget spoke to Nokia VP Michael Halbherr, who confirmed that Windows Phone Apollo will be a "very different game" when it arrives in the "middle of next year."Read Article >
That's not the first time we've heard the word Apollo, mind you, as rumors about the supposed Windows Phone 8 have run rampant for months, appearing on fansites, ex-Microsoft employee resumes, and via veteran Microsoft newshound Mary Jo Foley's anonymous tipsters. Usually, though, the rumors were accompanied by references to Windows Phone Tango, another version of the OS supposedly in development for low-cost Windows phones, which would allegedly be created by Nokia in particular for poorer countries around the globe. However, at least part of that idea seems to have been disproved; Nokia did announce phones for developing nations, but as you can see here, the new Asha series doesn't run Windows. What will Apollo bring? We can't say yet, but Andy Lees spoke about the future of Windows Phone briefly at Asia D last week.