Windows Phone 8 Details Leaked then Confirmed
Last night, an internal Microsoft video leaked onto the web, causing quite a stir. The video is of Windows Phone Manager Joe Belfiore demonstrating the features of Windows Phone 8, and was intended for its hardware partners Nokia.
We’ve only recently upgraded to Windows Phone 7.5 aka Mango, and Windows Phone 8 is still a little way off, but thanks to the leaked video we now know quite a lot about how the OS will perform. Well-known Microsoft insider Paul Thurrott has since confirmed most of the new features of Windows Phone 8 on his website.
So what will Windows Phone 8 entail? Well, the key components are as follows:
Internet Explorer 10 Mobile – Microsoft will be improving on the current Internet Explorer web browser further for the next big update to Windows Phone. It’s said to be “highly tuned” and containing the latest web technologies.
NFC and Mobile Wallet – As we recently learnt from a Nokia design chief, Windows Phone 8 will include support for NFC wirelessly connectivity, which means space for mobile payment systems. In the future we could be paying for things by swiping our Windows Phones at the till.
Business Focus – Microsoft will be adding a lot more business-focussed functionality into Windows Phone 8. Data will be encrypted with full-device hardware acceleration plus BitLocker. This is a feature that will be in Windows 8 for PC also. We’re told business will be able to securely send out apps to employees’ Windows Phones wirelessly.
Better Data Management – Microsoft wants to look out for its customers with WP8. The software will try to automatically connect a phone to a Wi-Fi hotspot to save on your mobile data plan. The Local Scout app will be able to show realtime local hotspots on the map to help you cut down on data usage, too. Finally, a Live Tile can be placed on the homescreen to give you your data usage at a glance, which sounds pretty neat.
Improved Camera – The camera app will be overhauled to bring a more powerful camera experience to Windows Phones. New ‘Lens apps’ are said to be coming, though we don’t know more on that just yet.
Higher Spec Compatibility – Microsoft hopes to stop the talk of Windows Phones not being able to compete with the latest iPhones and Android smartphones in terms of spec with WP8. The new OS will include support for multicore (Dual, Quad) processors, higher screen resolutions and removable MicroSD card storage. This means we could see much faster, more powerful Windows Phones in the near future.
Windows 8-alike – Windows Phone 8 will look much like Windows 8 for PCs, adopting the Metro theme. The jump from Windows Phone 7.5 to 8 is apparently comparable to that of Windows Mobile to Windows Phone. The new OS won’t just borrow its look from Windows 8, it will also use a lot of the software development sides. In the video Belfiore says this will make it easier for developers to re-use the code from their Windows 8 apps, in order to quickly and easily make the same app available on Windows Phone.
Overall, the theme for Windows Phone 8 is said to be “scale and choice”. The software is codenamed ‘Apollo’ and should follow on from another update codenamed ‘Tango’ which is likely to come later this year. The key is bringing Windows Phone in-line with Windows 8 for PC, so much of the mobile OS will be based on the Windows 8 kernel.
Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8 will be compatible with the ever-expanding library of Windows Phone 7 apps, and likewise apps for WP8 will be backwards compatible with older versions of the OS.
We’re still none the wiser as to when Windows Phone 8 will hit, but this bevy of information is more than enough to whet our whistles for now.