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:
Belfiore details all the forthcoming hardware support for the software platform. Below is the list of the major hardware changes coming. We'd also add LTE to the list (although, that will be here before Windows Phone 8's arrival with the Lumia 900).
- Multi-core processors
- Four screen resolutions
- Full microSD card storage support
- NFC radio support with contact-less payments "wallet experience"
Windows 8 integration
Synergy between the phone and the PC / tablet is going to be a big one. Not only will Windows Phone 8 share the same Metro style user interface as Windows 8 for tablets and PCs, but developers can reuse the same code for both operating systems. Additionally, the Zune Desktop is being scrapped in favor of a sync relationship with a companion app and the Xbox companion app will have a partner client on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Similar to Windows 8, seamless SkyDrive integration will also play a big role with cloud syncing. And then there's NFC: in addition to providing that aforementioned "wallet experience" it will allow for tap-to-share capabilities between hardware-supported phones, tablets, and PCs.
Apps and Skype integration
Microsoft looks to be streamlining application development: there will be native code support for developers and app-to-app communication support. However, the biggest app details revealed are related to Skype integration. It is said to be fully integrated at the OS level. The camera app is also explained; OEMs can skin the app with viewfinders from third-parties; Microsoft is working especially close with Nokia on this.
Data management and business support
Like Android 4.0, Windows Phone 8 will do quite a bit on the data usage and management front. Windows Phone 8 will have a live tile for tracking usage and consumption. Called DataSmart, the feature will also attempt to give "WiFi connections precedence," says PocketNow. In addition, Bing local scout will include real-time location of nearby hotspots and Internet Explorer 10 will have built-in server-side compression to reduce data usage.
On the enterprise side, there will be BitLocker encryption support for full-disk encryption of Windows Phone 8 devices and a line-of-business application support for businesses to deploy apps behind company firewalls.
It's without a doubt a very hefty and exciting update, one that's expected to arrive later this year. Stay tuned as we learn more over the next couple of months, and perhaps at Mobile World Congress at the end of the month.
Update: Microsoft says it has "no official comment" on the leaked video.
Joanna Stern contributed to this report.