Windows Phone 8 secrets leaked

The Apollo is coming in for a landing -- although, to be honest, no one is exactly sure when. Still, while the date continues to elude us, new details regarding the Windows Phone 8, code-named "Apollo," are continuing to emerge.

And the latest information, according to details obtained by an online news site, is that Microsoft will integrate the phone with the core Windows 8 operating system and restore enterprise-focused features to the company's smart-phone platform.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on reporting Feb. 2 by Pocketnow.com about details in an allegedly leaked video that Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president for Windows Phone Program Management, reportedly created for Microsoft's phone partners at Nokia. However, another prominent news outlet vouched for the report's authenticity, and SuperSite for Windows' Paul Thurrott used the occasion of the leak to release similar information that he implied he had been sitting on from other sources.

Judging by the information in the Pocketnow.com report, Microsoft is making architectural changes with Windows Phone 8 to leverage the biggest potential market share advantage in its considerable arsenal.

Currently, Microsoft badly trails Apple and Google in smart-phone market share, making its efforts to persuade app developers to dedicate their limited resources to the Windows Phone OS a tough sell. However, if Microsoft could make Windows Phone apps interoperable with Windows 8 tablet apps and Windows 8 PC apps, the addressable market for Windows-focused mobile apps could become large enough to make the opportunity irresistible for developers.

According to the reports, Microsoft plans to take the integration of the desktop/tablet and phone OS much deeper than just the "Metro"-style tile user interface, potentially allowing intensive cross-platform development.

The phone and regular OS will share several key components, with heavy overlap in the kernel, the networking stack, security and multimedia, Pocketnow.com reported Belfiore as saying in the video. The steps will allow developers to "reuse -- by far -- most of their code," Belfiore reportedly said.

The Belfiore video also revealed that Microsoft expected 100,000 apps to be in Microsoft's marketplace when Windows Phone 8 launches. With a rumored release date of Q4, that seems reasonable given that the Windows Phone Marketplace recently passed 50,000 apps. Even a 100,000 app count would leave Microsoft well behind Apple's 500,000-plus apps and Google's 400,000-plus apps, but Belfiore apparently promised Windows Phone 8 will help address that gap. The inclusion of native code support in the new version should ease porting of iOS and Android apps, according to Pocketnow.com. Meanwhile, Microsoft is also vowing backward compatibility for Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 apps in Windows Phone 8.

When Microsoft threw out the Windows Mobile platform in favor of a clean break with Windows Phone 7, the company abandoned many of the enterprise-friendly features that had helped that earlier Microsoft smart-phone OS to a respectable market share.

After establishing Windows Phone as a consumer-first interface consistent with consumerization of IT trends, Microsoft now appears ready to try to once again build in those business-friendly features on the back end. According to the reports, new enterprise-focused features will include native BitLocker encryption, Secure Boot capabilities, some sort of return to ActiveSync (whether next to or in place of Zune seems unclear), Exchange ActiveSync policies, System Center configur ation settings and the ability for businesses to distribute internal business apps behind the firewall.

There's also a slew of end-user features on tap, including support for multi-core processors, four different screen resolution options, removable microSD card storage, NFC radios, tap-to-share capabilities, the ability to track data usage, revamped Skype and Xbox clients and automatic preference for Wi-Fi connections.

If all of the details leaked Feb. 2 are correct, and Redmond can execute on the plans, Microsoft will be taking a long stride back toward the center of the IT world with the Windows Phone 8-Windows 8 combination.

Reader Comments

Mon, Feb 6, 2012

First of all, I've been hearing this about Win8 since the beginning of Win8 marketing. So I don't know what is new or interesting about it. Secondly, having the same app on a desktop and a phone is a failed idea. After all, HTML was going to make all web pages work on every platform just the same right? And what happened? There's an app for every specialized thing that a web browser could do just as well.

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