Nokia employee XXXXX Â has posted the above image to deviant art with the caption:
â€œQuite a trip at Redmond. There is something I am not allowed to talk but allowed to tease. It is not confirmed in case you make a guess (either right or wrong , I won’t answer ). That is what tease meant to beâ€
XXXXX works for Nokia in Software Quality Assurance for Windows Phone 8, and the picture hints at notifications being centralized into a notification centre.
We already know that Microsoft has said that they intended to implement a notification centre, but ran out of time. We are also expecting a future update named Apollo + to add features such as VPN.
Would our readers be happy with a Start-screen based notification centre (ie one you have to return to the Start screen and then needed to swipe to) or is a draw down one like on iOS and Android or Gesture based one like on Blackberry 10 essential? Let us know below.
Footfall, who last leaked pictures of the HTC Accord, has tweeted this interesting but in fact predictable little rumour.
He is claiming at Microsoft will release a Windows Phone 8 update in Q1 2013 which will be called Apollo +. He did not reveal more, but the update will presumably address the bugs noticed by some recently.
An Spring update after a Fall release has in fact been the usual pattern for the Windows Phone division, although the Apollo + moniker suggests we may also see some new features â€“ maybe that delayed Notification Centre?
The Verge reportsÂ the update may bring always-on WIFI and finally the VPN support some business and Chinese users have been craving.
See the tweet here.
The Oman Observer reports that Nokiaâ€™s Lumia series with Arabic support would be rolling out to the small middle-eastern country in Q3 2012.
â€œThe Lumia series of smart phones built on the Microsoft Windows platform will hit the Omani market soonâ€, Dr Manmohan Singh Rehsi, Director, Computers, Office Automation and Telecommunication division of Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC told the Observer.
â€œLumia has already launched worldwide and is doing very well towards the target of one million smart phones. Its Middle East launch is bit delayed as we are waiting for its Arabic version to come out which is expected by third quarter. That will totally change the smart phone segment in the regionâ€.
It is widely expected to RTL support essential for the Arabic language will only come with Windows Phone 8, suggesting a time scale between July and September for the launch of devices running the OS.
Rehsi acknowledged that Nokia has been suffering from the lack of a high-end offering in the region, but hoped the introduction of the Lumia range would help the company bounce back.
â€œWe still have a huge loyal customer base in the region and Iâ€™m sure this loyalty will help the Lumia series which is cheapest in the marketâ€.
Read more at the Oman Observer here.
On WindowsitPro Paul Thurrott has made a clear and strong claim that there will not be any Windows Phone 8 upgrade for current Windows Phone 7 handsets.
Paul gives a number of reasons, but primarily relies on an unnamed source in Microsoft from whom he has wrung the confession.
Allow me to set the record straight. No. It won’t happen. Not for the Lumia 900, and not for any other existing phone. It wonâ€™t happen partially, through an update that will deliver just some features, and it won’t happen for those who wish to pay for such an update. It simply isn’t happening. Sorry. But please donâ€™t email me about this; Iâ€™m just the messenger.
He gives the following reasons why an upgrade did not ever make any sense, which we will deal with in turn:
First, thereâ€™s no economic imperative; Microsoftâ€™s partners have sold very few Windows Phones, and supporting a new platform on legacy hardware would be expensive.
At WMPoweruser.com we believe around 11 million Windows Phones have been sold so far. By the time Windows Phone 8 comes out it should be up to 15-18 million. While this is not much compared to the 200-300 million phones on other platforms, that is the totality of Microsoftâ€™s mobile platform. If they do not extend their new APIs to this installed base, it will immediately reduce the size of the market for the new apps to just those new handsets sold in that quarter, leaving developers to choose whether to target the vast majority of Windows Phones, or the small segment of â€œadvancedâ€ devices. This is of course the essence of fragmentation, which is not just a curse word all by itself, but cause real practical issues for developers, and real advantages when avoided.
Regarding the cost of actually upgrading handsets, we would suggests Microsoft measure it against the cost of correcting the PR nightmare of not upgrading Windows Phones 7 handsets will cause. We suggest at least $500 million to $1 billion damages would be a conservative number.
Microsoft should of course remember the last time they refused to provide an upgrade, from Windows Mobile 6.5 to 7, their sales dropped from around 4 million a quarter to 0.5 million in Q4 2010. Sales have not yet recovered to those Windows Mobile days, after Microsoft spent several billion dollars. Imagine if Microsoft did upgrade the HTC HD2 to Windows Phone 7. Instead of struggling for 5 months to 2 million sold, they would have had an instant installed base of several million Windows Phone handsets from the start, which would also have jump started marketplace.
Second, the experience would be terrible; Windows Phone 8 is based on Windows 8, not Windows Phone 7.x, and requires headier, higher-end hardware with two or more core processors.
This would seem to me to be the weakest reason. Are we to assume Microsoft intends to abandon the low-end market, Nokiaâ€™s bread and butter? While we know Windows Phone will support dual core processors, requiring dual core processors will kill the OS as surely as not supporting dual core in the future would too. For the same reason not all Windows Phones will have HD screens, NFC or other advanced features. China and India will simply not support this.
Third, handset makers and wireless carriers would never support this upgrade; they want to sell new phones.
While we know carriers and OEMs are not eager to push out updates and upgrades, in this case we are often talking about supporting handsets sold 3-6 months earlier. Demand for an upgrade will be loud and strong, and with a larger and larger base of Windows Phone customers, OEMs and carriers both have every incentive to keep their customers happy. In short, the same logic applied to the Mango update, yet both OEMs and carriers complied. Why would this be any different?
And finally, wireless carriers would never, ever, ever, ever deliver this update to users. There is just no way this will ever happen. And thatâ€™s true even when you factor out that I know for a fact that this isn’t happening. Again. Sorry.
In this case Thurrott seems to be relying directly on his credibility. It is of note that Paul has been wrong in the past, most likely because his sources gave him the wrong information. Examples include carriers only being allowed to skip one update, or that the Nokia Lumia 710 was coming to Verizon, or that Tango will not be coming to US phones. When relying on others it does not pay to be so emphatic.
Of course we are not saying Paul is wrong â€“ merely that he can be wrong, his reasons are weak, and he has been wrong in the past.
Despite his statements, we will have to continue to wait and see.
Thanks Joe for the tip.
A poster on the Chinese WPXAP.com forums claims that Windows Phone 8 is currently being tested internally on a number of current and future devices. He cites a friend working for Microsoft in the US, who has been testing the Apollo update on his retail Lumia 800 as well as an unreleased Nokia WP8 device since last month. This, of course, also suggests that current Windows Phones will be able to run Windows Phone 8, unlike earlier rumors. Compatibility with current apps, however, is indeed preserved, with the few incompatibilities that exist being worked on.
While the interface â€“ at least for now â€“ is said to be largely unchanged, according to the poster, speed and touch response are much improved (perhaps all the way down to 1ms?). Other new features include folders, an overhauled Internet Explorer, improved Chinese language support, and “gravity sensing” which we assume to mean an option to lock the orientation. Also, contrary to other reports, the poster specifically says that bulk deletion of text messages is not available yet.
Regarding the VPN support that is currently enabled on the test version, the poster warns that it could be removed once Apollo ships. He claims that the same also happended to some features that were originally being tested for the Mango update. For instance, a feature to close running apps in the app switcher by tapping an X, and an option to disable “gravity sensing” â€“ again, we assume it to refer to an orientation lock â€“ failed to make the cut for the shipping version of Mango as well.
Of course, take all this with a grain of salt, since there’s no way to verify these claims for now. However, after reading through the thread (I’m Chinese, after all ;)) it definitely seems possible that the poster is legit.
A recent, pretty unequivocal statement by Nuno Silva, Microsoft Evangelist, that all Windows Phones would be upgradable to Windows phone 8 caused quite a furore over the last 2 days.
Now Nuno has broken his silence and admitted that he was mistaken, and had mistaken app compatibility with upgradability of devices.
He posted the following statement on his MSDN blog:
My comments on Windows Phone (English)
I recently participated in an interview with the Portuguese website Zwame, where I made some comments on the future of Windows Phone that created confusion. Rumors are swirling, so I feel the need to clarify my statements.
The point I was attempting to make was simply that existing Windows Phone applications will run on the next version of Windows Phone. This is the same guidance that Microsoft shared late last year.
I mistakenly confused app compatibility with phone updateability, which caused the rumors we saw yesterday. I did not intend to give the impression I was offering new guidance on any products under development or their upgradeability.
While we have given Windows Phone developers this preliminary guidance on app compatibility to help them with long term project planning, Microsoft does not have any further news to share on future products at this time.
As always, you can tell I am very excited about Windows Phone and I hope you are too!
This does of course leave us much as we was before his statement â€“ none the wiser, but with numerous unnamed sources suggesting strongly that upgrades will in fact not be coming.
If upgrades do indeed not come, there exists the possibility of multiple generation of Windows Phones existing at the same time in the market, much like various versions of Android is at present. How do our readers feel about the prospect? Let us know below.
Thanks RP for the tip.
Netbooknews reports that Microsoft will soon have a meeting with Windows Phone OEMs and carrier partners, where Windows Phone 8 will be presented to them.
One of the topics of the meeting, which will be held in Reading in UK, will be customization of the OS, with the particular topic being called â€œCustomization & Differentiation opportunitiesâ€.
Customization of the Windows Phone 7 OS has been a sore point with some OEMs and carriers, with Microsoft resisting it, but some carriers blaming this for poor sales.
Given the lacklustre performance of Windows Phone 7 so far in the market, it is quite possible Microsoft is now prepared to make many concessions they refused to before. On the other hand the leaks we have seen so far suggest only that OEMs will be able to skin the camera app mode deeply.
The full agenda, according to Netbooknews, is below:
- Apollo Review
- Windows Phone Schedules and release plans/processes
- Customization & Differentiation opportunities
- New Windows Phone 8 application development capabilities
- Whatâ€™s new feature review of Apollo
- Connectivity and APN management
- Better together with Windows 8
Hopefully we will see some leaks from the summit which will give us better clarity into Microsoftâ€™s 2013 Mobile OS.
How would our readers feel about HTC Sense and TouchWiz for Windows Phone? Let us know below.
Thanks Michael for the tip.
While there have been very strong rumours and leaks, Microsoft has never officially confirmed Windows Phone 8 will run on the NT kernel as used in Windows 8.
Now a recent Microsoft job posting strongly suggests that this will indeed be the case. The posting is looking for a software engineer for the OS Platform Group to deliver â€œa robust, performant and extensible OS for the Windows Phone.â€
Crucially however Microsoft are looking for an engineer with â€œExperience with Win32, WinNT â€œ, obviously components of desktop Windows, rather than all previous generations of Windows Phone, which ran on Windows CE.
There have been some counter rumours to suggest Windows Phone 8 will not in fact make the move to the Windows 8 kernel. I think this job posting should lay those concerns to rest.
See the full job post after the break.
Windows Phone 8 rumors: Nokia prepping PureView and QWERTY devices, Lenovo and Asus to join the game
His self-appointed retirement from leaking Microsoft rumors later this month is apparently not stopping the MS Nerd from revealing some new tidbits concerning the upcoming Windows Phone 8 “Apollo” release in a series of tweets today.
He sheds some light onto Nokia’s WP8 devices, which will include a PureView flagship (albeit with the Nokia N8′s 12 megapixel sensor) with a ClearBlack 1280×720 display destined for Verizon, and a QWERTY landscape-slider with a traditional 4″ WVGA display set to arrive on Sprint. The rather interesting part here, however, is the chip these devices are supposed to be running on: the MSM8960, part of the Snapdragon S4 family. For readers unfamilar with Qualcomm’s product range, the S4 is the second generation dual-core Snapdragon that can also be found Android devices such as the AT&T version of the HTC One X; despite only sporting two cores, its CPU performance is actually comparable to â€“ if not better than â€“ the quad-core Tegra 3 from Nvidia, whereas its GPU performance falls short.
As for the other two major US carriers, MS Nerd claims that T-Mobile will get an HTC device for launch while AT&T is getting two Samsung devices.
Regarding hardware partnerships, Lenovo and ASUS are said to be joining the likes of Nokia, HTC and Samsung as Windows Phone OEMs, whereas there’s “no sign” of LG, Dell or Acer. Considering the latters’ spotty track record â€“ LG’s refurbishing of a first-gen device under a designer brand name, Dell’s failed execution of what seemed to be a great portrait slider, and Acer’s low-end second-gen offering â€“ that doesn’t seem entirely unlikely, although we would still take this with a grain of salt. On the other hand, the notion of Lenovo and ASUS as new hardware partners is much more plausible and corroborates earlier rumors.
So, what do our readers make of this? Is the strategy of seperate flagship devices for each US carrier sustainable?
Digitimes claims Taiwanese handset OEMs (likely short for HTC,Compal and Acer) have been asking Microsoft to allow them to customize applications and the user interface in Windows Phone 8 so as to be able to differentiate their devices.
According to Digitimes handset OEMs have complained lack of differentiation led to the inability to properly market devices, compounded by uniform device specs.
Ironically the only OEM with the ability to customize Windows Phone, Nokia, has not done anything so far, and have of course also enjoyed the best sales, suggesting software customization was much less important than the commitment OEMs made to marketing the devices.
According to rumours Microsoft has already conceded some control to OEMs by allowing them to skin the camera interface, again ironically one of the most unique features besides the Live tiles of Windows Phone 7.
Read more at Digitimes here.
Cosimo Kroll, from Meetmeego.org, a Nokia fan site, claims to have met a Nokia employee who has access to Nokiaâ€™s prototype Windows Phone 8 Apollo hardware and found them â€œunbelievableâ€ and â€œincredibleâ€ and not at all comparable to current Lumia handsets.
The new generation of Windows Phone 8 handsets expected at the end of the year are of course expected to have â€œincredibleâ€ specs compared to current handsets, with dual core processors and HD screens. Hopefully they will also look as distinctive and attractive as this current generation of Lumia handsets too.
MSNerd, who has been pretty reliable when it comes to Microsoft leaks, is getting out of the business, and is dumping all his insider knowledge along the way.
There is much relevant on the Reddit page where he conducted the Q&A, such as that Zune is DOA, but the one hot-button issue which is bothering anyone considering buying a generation 2 Windows Phone is whether they will get Apollo eventually.
In response to the question he writes:
Windows Phones 1st, 2nd gen and Windows Phone 8. Any hope for upgrades?
Yes, all current Windows Phones will receive a subset of Apollo. The carriers are the primary obstacle in the US. I hear Microsoft is pushing hard for a Mango-like delivery schedule, as are Nokia & HTC.
Some Apollo features will be exclusive to the 3rd-gen devices expected to be released this fall on the MSM8960 platform.
If true this is rather good news, and something Microsoft need to start reassuring buyers about before the release of the Nokia Lumia 900.
On the other hand MSNerd also revealed that he is in fact not a Microsoft employee, so, despite his track record we he could still be completely wrong.
As usual, we shall just have to wait and see.
Sprintfeed claims â€œsources familiar with the matterâ€ has confirmed that Sprintâ€™s LTE roadmap includes a Windows Phone 8 handset powered by a dual-core Qualcommâ€™s MSM8960 Snapdragon processor.
Sprintfeed was unable to identify the OEM, but Nokia has been named in previous rumours.
The handset is still to go into testing, meaning it will not arrive before fall at the earliest.
Sprint has previously said they will be focussing on the iPhone and Android, but will hopefully make a come-back with Windows Phone 8.
Microsoft reps claiming Windows Phone 8 definitely coming to second gen handsets, probably to first gen
While we of course hope the Windows Phone 8 update will come to all handsets, we have been worried about signals from senior Microsoft officials which suggest older handsets will be left behind. Thomas from WP7app.de claims to have spoken to Microsoft employees at CeBIT in Hannover and to have received some interesting news.
While one rep stuck to the party line, saying there was no information to release for public consumption, another said second generation handsets, like the HTC Radar and Nokia Lumia handsets will definitely get the update, and that first generation handsets â€œin some formâ€ will probably get the update, but not with all features, such as video calling for example using Skype.
The rep also revealed that Microsoft is targeting â€œlate 2012â€ for the update.
Hopefully we will get official confirmation at some point that the update will indeed come to current and older handsets, so we could buy great hardware like the upcoming HTC TiTan II with confidence.
Read more at WP7App.de here.
With the recent Ars Technica article on finding iOS 6 iPad with a HD screen in their server logs, we decided to see what was hiding on ours.
The look at our last monthâ€™s server logs showed 10 visits to our mobile website with an IE10 browser, all originating either from a Microsoft or AT&T IP address.
The screen resolutions had the most interesting story to tell, with 4 hits from an IE10 browser with a 480×480 screen resolution, and 2 from an IE9 browser with a 480×480 screen resolution.
We know Nokia is looking at a Blackberry or E6-type design with a front-facing keyboard, but the screen resolution is somewhat unexpected. One would have expected Microsoft would have merely used landscape 480×800, but on the other hand, by merely making the screen less tall but still the same width this does prevent compatibility issues with apps not designed for landscape mode.
Would our readers buy a Windows Phone with a front-facing keyboard and small square screen? Let us know below.
MSNerd, who has a reputation for being at least somewhat accurate, has just posted on twitter some encouraging news for Windows Phone users.
Firstly, contrary to rumours spread by Eldar, MSNerd claims Apollo will be coming to all Windows Phones, and that the Apollo generation of devices will include both high end and low-end handsets. This logic is of course obvious, with even Apple playing in the low-end game by still selling the iPhone 3GS very successfully.
Some have claimed that supporting Apollo on old generation handsets will result in Windows Phone 8 not taking full advantage of the new capabilities of modern hardware. To that MSNerd responds, again logically, that Apollo will include features that will only be available on newer chipsets, and that even even lower end Tango handsets will get only a subset of Apollo features.
It does however sound as if Microsoft will maintain the unity of the code base over all Windows Phone 7 handsets for some time still, which is great news for users, developers and the ecosystem in general.
Hopefully we will hear confirmation rumours over the next few days when Microsoft talks about Tango and possibly Apollo.