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Microsoft clamps down tightly on Windows Phone 8 features

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Microsoft clamps down tightly on Windows Phone 8 features
Microsoft has apparently become so concerned about leaks of the upcoming Windows Phone 8 OS, it has tightly clamped down on access to the software. According to Eldar Murtazin at Mobile-Review, OEM prototypes of Windows Phone 8 handsets each have a special activation key. During IFA, those who were allowed to look at Windows Phone 8 models found features blocked and inaccessible. Those pressing buttons on the devices received a pop up message or there was no response at all.

The Samsung Ativ S Windows Phone 8 model

The Samsung Ativ S Windows Phone 8 model

Just because the features were inaccessible didn't mean that they weren't on the handsets. Microsoft is said to be so paranoid with Windows Phone 8, that has not even showed certain features to its partners. According to the report, even OEMs working on Windows Phone 8 models have no idea about all of the features that Microsoft has provided for. Imagine that you are manufacturing a Windows Phone 8 smartphone and you are designing the hardware. Somewhere down the line, it might be important to know what Microsoft is planning so that you can incorporate it into the device.

The one exception is said to be Nokia. Perhaps because of their special relationship with Redmond, Nokia says it has been involved in the development of Windows Phone 8 from the beginning and had the ability to influence the code jockeys writing the software. Does that give the Finnish based handset manufacturer an unfair advantage? With anything in this life, money talks and, well, you know the rest.
"It is the first time as far as I can remember, that OEM prototypes are locked to special accounts inside Microsoft, and each device has its own activation key, tied to the unique number of each smartphone or tablet, and not an OEM employee. As far as security goes, Microsoft did an outstanding job – at IFA even those companies who allowed me to take a quick peek at their Windows Phone 8 devices said that most functions are blocked and are simply inaccessible. This was done at Microsoft – you press a menu and get a warning pop-up or nothing happens. It’s not because those functions are not there – it is because they [Microsoft] are not ready to show these functions even to partners. I do not remember such a draconian measures anywhere else – usually when you have a prototype, you can work with it. Some network/cloud functions might be absent or inaccessible – but you could check out what you have, more or less. Today, even people who work for OEMs do not really know what they have in Windows Phone 8, because they only learn about the platform from the same Microsoft presentations, but can not try all the features live. It is a unique situation, when OEMs are working on hardware, but have absolutely know influence on software. The hubs they are working on are in fact separate programs/apps, that do not interfere at all with the main functionality.

The closest analogy would be an artisan who is working on a body for a standard car chassis. He knows the size of the car, engine and transmission specs, but has no idea what a car interior will look like and what will they put inside. He knows that the interiors for every other artisan be the same and the only way for him to stand out – is to create the great finish/external covers. Furthermore, he will only learn how well his finish fits the overall car design at the last moment, when it is already to late to change anything."-Eldar Murtazin, Mobile-Review

source: MobileReview (translated) via UnwiredView

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posted on 03 Sep 2012, 19:20 1

1. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)

I ask one reason. why? is there something that doesn't work yet? are they trying to build anticipation?(most likely)

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 20:09 2

5. Whodaboss (Posts: 176; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)

Why ask why? Drink Bud Dry. ^_~ It's because it's good business I suppose.

posted on 04 Sep 2012, 01:39 1

16. snowgator (Posts: 3604; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

Great, I laughed. Kinda showed our age on that reference, boss. Thanks a lot....

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 20:30

8. MeoCao (unregistered)

I think leaking is better way to build anticipation. MS can choose what to leak, even things WP8 does not have.

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 22:00 7

13. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1642; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

I do think that anticipation has some play in it, but also I think the main reason could be to not give away information to the competition. Imagine if they had shown all of the features of Windows Phone 8 back in June when they first introduced Windows Phone 8. It would have given Apple and Google enough time to either incorporate those features or try to create a spin on how features already incorporated in their respective OS' stack up against it. Heck, even if Microsoft had shown features last week at IFA, it would have given Apple enough time before its iPhone announcement to try to create a spin to consumers that their OS features are better.

One feature that I haven't heard about in a while that I think maybe included in Windows Phone 8 is an update to TellMe. I remember last year when Microsoft showed a video demonstration of what they believed was the future of the TellMe software and how it would be more like a personal assistant than Siri. I can imagine TellMe being updated to the point where you can control your TV through it, use it with Xbox features, and even interact with your tablet or desktop PC. I would be really excited about Windows Phone 8 if they really worked on TellMe and it became more like the video demonstration of where they wanted to go with it.

Here is the video for reference:

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 19:43 12

2. lsguntu (Posts: 67; Member since: 06 Aug 2012)

If everything is leaked, whats there to show it in main event :) ?

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 19:59 6

3. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

What isguntu said. There needs to be excitement and anticipation, like at Nokia and Samsung events (and sometimes the fruit company's). The Galaxy S3 and ATIV S weren't letdowns because few had strong anticipations for them, and with few leaks, none of Samsung's thunder was stolen. Same with the 808 PureView, though there were some VERY good teases there, and the actual product (that is, the camera and tech, less so the phone) were staggeringly good, even somewhat overwhelming.

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 20:07 7

4. Whodaboss (Posts: 176; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)

This is wonderful news! It's like Christmas. Allow the kids to open one present Christmas eve and then on Christmas day enjoy all the goodies. Way to go MS. I am patiently waiting to hear all the good news!

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 20:12

6. Android4u (Posts: 456; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)

I've owned all iphones, and a few androids but never got around to buying or trying out a windows phone. So my question is, how is windows? Compared to other OS. The HTC accord and Samsung ativ look pretty awesome Imo.

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 20:49 8

9. Alistaire (Posts: 132; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

I switched from Iphone 4 to WP7.5 (Nokia Lumia 900) and love it. I use it for work and traveling with it in Europe and Asia is awesome too.

Got tire of ios and the same iphones generic designs and annoyed by the small improvement they made to each new iphone.

My sis switched from Iphone 4S to HTC One X. The phone is beautiful. Personally, I find the android UI too cluttered.

Really I think there are not a whole lot of differences in the things you want to do with your phone. Just test out the UI you prefer best.

By the way, my sister dropped her HTC One X from on top of the fridge, it bounced a few times on concrete floor. Not a scratch, no harm at all. Really surprised by the solid build.

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 21:04 5

10. crankyd00d (Posts: 191; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

That's HTC for ya, good build quality. I love my Galaxy Nexus but the build quality is nowhere near that of HTC's or Motorola's, were they to release a Nexus I would jump right there

posted on 04 Sep 2012, 21:40

22. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

It's great! Simple, yet with advanced functionality, and smooooth like butter. Microsoft have thought hard about how a mobile OS is supposed to work, and what people actually do with their phones, and crafted the whole user experience based on it. This is the reason it always manages to beat all Android superphones in daily tasks that people actually do frequently, like taking a picture and uploading it to Facebook, or update your status on Facebook or Twitter, map stuff or just other social stuff. Maybe you've seen some of the videos of the "Smoked by Windows Phone" campaign?http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/cmpn/smoked-by-windows-phone.aspx

With Windows Phone 8, the platform takes a GIANT leap forward since they it will now use the same kernel ("core") as big brother Windows 8, which allows it to take advantage of numerous new features and programming languages, app-porting between Win8 and WP8, DirectX, multi-cores, HD-displays, on-device encryption, pretty much anything you could imagine is now possible (which was not possible in WP7 due to restrictions in the old kernel/core).

There's a whole new world opening up, starting TODAY with Nokia and Microsoft's press event! :-) Welcome to our side, any time you want!

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 20:20

7. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1584; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

Microsoft will probably this month reveal more info to it's oem's because in october windows 8 Smart phone will officially be revealed to the World and dates for the sale of the Windows 8 smart phones revealed. the Verizon Nokia smart phone is the real
announcement everybody is interested in. Verizon is the Number one favorite Cell phone net work Carrier in the USA, Verizon customers who want to jump from a feature Cell phone to a Smart phone will want to have Information about Windows 8 smart phone Many first generation current Verizon windows 7.5 smart phone are nearing the end of their contract to buy the windows 7.5 Mango and the service plans that went with them, It's upgrade time for them. if they want to stay with a windows smart phone they will want to know what it looks like and it's new features. Verizon could cut them a new sweet deal to upgrade to a Windows 8 smart phone,

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 21:05 5

11. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)

ahahha.. thanks to nokia WP8 is so cool!!!

i hope WP8 will include features that is really a must now... i think microsoft need to buy that voice assistant NINA... and include it to WP8 since android 4.1 and iOS 5 has voince assistant (iOS 6 will be just deep integration) and BB10 is also working on a voice assistant.... so i think microsoft should make a move about this...

TellMe sucks and i think buying NINA will be good for WP8.. its par to SIRI and Google Now!

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 21:14

12. Gaurav008 (Posts: 328; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

I read somewhere it is already working on that

posted on 03 Sep 2012, 23:55 2

14. twenti7 (Posts: 152; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)

That picture is the Galaxy S 3. You'd think you'd need some sort of prior qualification or at least a vague familiarity with current phones to write and edit for a tech blog who's main focus is phones, but apparently not.

posted on 04 Sep 2012, 00:02

15. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

Indeed. Their WP8 phone is a SG2 clone. I'll be watching apple's move on whether or not they really are suing over "principle" instead of just trying to stifle competition.

posted on 04 Sep 2012, 01:46 1

17. snowgator (Posts: 3604; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

Microsoft and Apple have a cross-liscencing agreement. They can not sue each other based on established patents and designs. So, Samsung's ATIV is safe as it has MS's OS on it and is covered by the agreement. It is one of the selling points MS has to manufacturers of Android and why some analysts say the verdict over Samsung may help WP 8. (I do not believe that, by the way.)

posted on 04 Sep 2012, 18:19

21. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

Irrelevant. Samsung is NOT Microsoft.

And whether or not an agreement is in place, they cannot CLONE either.

posted on 04 Sep 2012, 03:50

18. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

Good this mean more surprises to come

posted on 04 Sep 2012, 06:53

19. speckledapple (Posts: 892; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)


posted on 04 Sep 2012, 07:25 1

20. lyndon420 (Posts: 5020; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

And people thought the Google/Motorola deal would cause an unfair advantage over their partners...lol. Not expecting anything very innovative with this, besides just playing catch up with the other guys features. But hopefully what ever it is makes people want to buy their products finally.

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