Windows Phone 8: what to expect

Windows Phone 8: what to expect
Okay, people, today is the big day. Windows Phone 8 is expected to be officially unveiled at 9:00AM PDT (1:00PM EDT) right after the opening of the 2012 Microsoft Developer Summit. Hype is high about this new major version of Microsoft's mobile platform for it is likely to be radically different from Windows Phone 7.5 that we know today – different on the outside, and even more on the inside.

Unfortunately, we don't know for sure what the list of newly-added features will include, at least not for now, but that does not stop us from taking another look at what has been rumored over the past few weeks. Let us begin with...


Support for high-resolution displays

Windows Phone 7.5 supports nothing beyond WVGA resolution

Windows Phone 7.5 supports nothing beyond WVGA resolution

When it launched back in 2010, Windows Phone 7 supported only two display resolutions: HVGA (320 by 480 pixels) and WVGA (480 by 800 pixels). Fast-forward two years into the future and we see that things have not changed a single bit. Windows Phone 8, however, is expected to get along well with high-res displays, as otherwise it will have a pretty hard time competing with other contemporary platforms. Android handsets with 720p displays are becoming more and more common, with offerings from HTC, LG, Sony, and Samsung already on the market, so 720p support in WP8 is an absolute must.


Multi-core processor support

This is another no-brainer. Windows Phone 8 will most likely get multi-core processor support, and if it does, we really hope that the software will take full advantage of that extra processing power. You know, not like the first dual-core Androids that didn't really use the second core that much. Probably the difference won't be that obvious while performing every-day tasks like writing e-mail or checking your calendar, as Windows Phone 7.5 already handles these things with grace. When using some processor-intensive apps, however, such as the web browser or a demanding video game, those extra cores should really come in handy.


Internet Explorer 10

A fresh, new mobile platform deserves a fresh, new mobile browser – Internet Explorer 10. One aspect, in which it will surely be better than its predecessor, is HTML5 processing, or at least that is what benchmark scores on the HTML5test web page suggest. While the current IE9 score stands at 138 points, tests performed using IE10 reach the respectable 300 points mark, not to mention that the software might do even better when finalized. In comparison, the Android 4.0 browser gets 275, while the one in iOS 5.1 reaches 324 points.


Skype integration

Alleged Windows Phone 8 screenshots hint at Skype integration

Alleged Windows Phone 8 screenshots hint at Skype integration

The popular VoIP service Skype, which is now owned by Microsoft, will be deeply integrated within Windows Phone 8. Think merging contacts with your address book, feed with mood updates appearing in the People hub, and things like that. Further details remain scarce, but we guess that Skype will finally be able to work silently in the background, not like the current WP version, which takes you offline seconds after your handset goes into stand-by due to crippled multitasking. Speaking of which...


Enhanced multitasking

Proper multitasking for third-party apps is something that Windows Phone sorely needs. Currently, if a non-stock application is suspended, bringing it forth again is preceded by a really annoying lag. Furthermore, third-party apps cannot do much while they are suspended, which is why Skype for Windows Phone currently does not run in the background, as we noted in the previous paragraph.


Nokia Maps to replace Bing

Nokia Maps might come pre-loaded on all Windows Phone 8 devices

Nokia Maps might come pre-loaded on all Windows Phone 8 devices

Nokia Maps already comes pre-installed on Lumia smartphones adding free, voice-guided navigation that does not require an internet connection. With Windows Phone 8, however, Nokia Maps will supposedly be present on any handset running Microsoft's platform, regardless of its make. Still, that is but a rumor, so don't get your hopes up high before we hear an official word on the matter.


Improved accessibility

Windows Phone 7.5 might be a pretty cool platform as a whole, but it lacks accessibility features, as the One Voice organization pointed out not long ago. For those not familiar, One Voice specializes in accessibility in the IT industry. It was noted, however, that Windows Phone 8 is making progress in that field. There are no details as to what accessibility features will be added, but we will have more details on that sooner than later.


Interface tweaks and other features

In general, we expect seeing the all-familiar Metro interface gracing Windows Phone 8. After all, why change a design that is already highly acclaimed? Still, it is rumored that more than a few enhancements will be added, among which a universal search bar, possibly similar to the ones we have in iOS and Android. The camera UI is said to be getting redesigned as well, although it probably will be about as minimalist as the current one. Additionally, the live tiles might be tweaked with the ability to display more information than they do now. Last but not least, rumor has it that apps made for Windows Phone 8 will be compatible with Windows 8, although you might want to take that with a pinch of salt for now.


Compatibility with current Windows Phone smartphones

Some sources claim that no current Windows Phone handsets will get updated to Windows Phone 8, while others suggest the opposite. In all honesty, we don't really know which rumor should be trusted more, but we hope that WP8 will land on at lest some recent smartphones, such as the Nokia Lumia 900, HTC Titan II, and Samsung Focus S. Or perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle? According to a recent rumor, select Windows Phone handsets will be treated to an update that will add several WP8 features on top of Windows Phone 7.5, and Windows Phone 8 will be reserved for future handsets. But that is all speculation, so it is better to sit tight and wait until Microsoft itself gives us the details.


What we want to see in Windows Phone 8

Isn't it annoying that every time you want to transfer a file onto your Windows Phone device, you have to use the Bing application? For moving albums that is fine, but for a single song, that is overkill. Perhaps it is time for Microsoft to finally add mass storage device mode to its platform. Something that we also think should be improved is the way apps are organized. The more your app list grows, the harder it is to find the app you need. Would it be too much to ask for an app grouping feature? Independent volume controls for multimedia, incoming calls, and alarms, will also be nice to have. Last but not least, the camera interface is okay the way it is, but burst and panorama modes will really come in handy on certain occasions. 

And that concludes our list of features that we expect seeing in Windows Phone 8. Is there anything that you wish to add? Feel free to do so by dropping a comment below. Also, don't forget that we will be reporting all you need to know about the event today, so stay tuned for our coverage!

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29 Comments

1. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

mass storage support please and a way to sideload apps. a less closed system than mango please.

25. PhoneLuver

Posts: 481; Member since: Jul 05, 2010

Something we seem to be forgetting is the total cost of ownership. How much does it cost to own an Android handset vs Apple and Microsoft. The Microsoft apps are expensive! If the devices are as expensive as the Windows Surface then this is a still born baby!

2. mrfalure

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I expect failure... seeing how badly Microsoft treat their WM 6+ user and then how badly WP 7+ the user will have a big anti reaction to any Microsoft product. not to mention how microsoft play rough in this field (see Nokia, Sendo)

9. JSern

Posts: 282; Member since: May 22, 2011

That's why you have no friends

13. snowgator

Posts: 3614; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Always makes me smile to see you post, J.... :-)

14. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

so i guess i must be the only one the understands that as time goes on microsoft needed to change their OS. unfortunately you will always have those that complain complain complain. if apple had a previous mobile os before iOS would you complain when they changed and left theat behind? how about android? does anyone realize windows seemed to be the first in the mobile os game here in the states??? apple and google forced microsoft to change now go cry in a corner

3. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2348; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

We want BADA OS!!!!! Please!!! Haha...jk (again) .. I'm looking forward too a W8 phone...

6. Anthony_Gonzalves

Posts: 46; Member since: May 11, 2012

If peter knows this...he will kill ya...arrghhh...

4. PhansMuneeb

Posts: 371; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

All i want is that my Lumia 710 gets the wp8 update :)

20. B3BLW29

Posts: 238; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

Same here I want an update for Lumia 800.

5. pokharkarsaga

Posts: 545; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

whatever the features it may launch.but it cant be better than Linaro android ice-cream sandwich.MS is a year behind android

10. JSern

Posts: 282; Member since: May 22, 2011

You must be a professional marketing researcher, please tell me more.

26. indigo87

Posts: 40; Member since: Dec 09, 2011

lmao that one almost made me cry, your a awesome troll JSern keep up the great good sir

7. shadez10

Posts: 427; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

BLUETOOTH FILE TRANSFER~!

8. Suts_97

Posts: 128; Member since: May 05, 2012

I would like to know when WP8 devices will make it to the market. Im looking forward to buy a Lumia 800, so I hope it gets the software update! But is it worth it to buy a Lumia 800 now?

11. ajoshi06

Posts: 20; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

home screen personalization.... of some sort....ehhh!!! well at least to replace ugly tiles with icons... or slide it down or side on home screen???. microsoft, you figure its out somethings... its your job.. my job is to get excited everymonth when apple, android or microsoft announces some mundane or useless updates and pay $$$ for new gadgets that can be replaced with new ones every month

21. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

i dont understand why everyone wants other OS's to have personalization or customizations like android. if you want to change your home screen get an android phone... it seems like its hard for us to accept a product from a company "just the way it is". i could understand hardware/software enhancements but changing tiles is just stupid...

27. indigo87

Posts: 40; Member since: Dec 09, 2011

I love tiles I don't know what ajoshi06 problems is. dude try it out tiles are awesome cause doesn't ask you do you want to put a file, folder, or a widget(like some OS's), I'm sorry phone I ask you too much to pin a app to my start page see what I did there it takes me seconds to pin a app to my start page where other OS asks you are sure ? and what way do you want to pin it to your start page? minutes laters.....ok people like ajoshi06 needs to leave my tiles alone, I don't want a clone os of another os so stop your suggections and leave it to your os please and thank you

12. snowgator

Posts: 3614; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Truly jazzed!! Especially after Mondays announcement went so well and how much Microsoft emphasized compatibility across the whole ecosystem. Will wait and see. ICS is a fantastic OS, well rounded and easily the most optimized version of Android yet. Apple has shown their hand, and it is more or less a touch up and daring other mobile systems to catch them when they launch the iPhone5 (ride the horse until it's dead mentality!!). BB10 is in the wings, with RIM all in on a do or die for their core professionals and CrackBerry addicts future business. Microsoft is not in a position of power. There are truly only a handful of us WP Geeks. They cannot afford a "preview" that doesn't answer questions or gives HUGE excitement to their community, and produces HUGE interest. WP 8 must put them in the big arena with the big players. I am jazzed!!!

15. satydesh

Posts: 71; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

nfc support?

16. fongy

Posts: 41; Member since: Feb 09, 2010

I think they need to get the basics right... Which to me is all about giving the user choice and the ability to customise. For example, using your own mp3 as a ringtone... USB file transfer.. Grouping things, sorting things, organising things, all to your own INDIVIDUAL taste... I like metro on phones it gives it a clarity and ease of use that iOS and Android lack... But it's so underdeveloped at the moment, I wouldn't touch it with Elop's... It needs to open up a bit more and become more flexible before people start adopting it... They also need to reduce the cost of apps - sometimes charging 3x and over for the same app on a different system might make sense to M$, but consumers will vote with their wallets... and not pick Lumia...

17. omacmagics

Posts: 42; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

Bluetooth file transfer, customization, added home screens, SD card, ability to set mp3 as ringtones and notifications, true multitasking...

22. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

just get an android phone dude...

18. sbr999

Posts: 79; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

They should also enable developer-made themes. If user X wants to use theme 1 made by developer Y, I don't see why a WP7 user couldn't do this. If user X wants customization, give him what he wants! Even a little bit, such as custom ringtones, custom lock screen, custom themes, custom mp3 players, etc etc

19. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

a must is, usb mass storage,bluetooth file transfers & micro sd card support. Upgrading at least the 2nd gen handsets to windows phone 8(imagine you jst bought lumia 900 and no upgrade to wp8,microsoft would loose alot of customers. after a wow experience with the surface tablet, microsoft BETTER Keep the good news coming!!!!!

28. indigo87

Posts: 40; Member since: Dec 09, 2011

wp 7.8 for phones that is not compatable with wp 8.0

23. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 619; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

WP8 needs either higher capacity phones and/or sd card support.

29. indigo87

Posts: 40; Member since: Dec 09, 2011

wp 8.0 is going to have sd support watch the videos

24. dax0330

Posts: 23; Member since: Jun 01, 2012

wish wp8 could be more akin to windows RT for tablets.. how about running desktop grade programs with phone functionality right in your pocket!? should be awesome..

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