Windows Phone 8 has many great features, but most we know about already, leaving us somewhat deflated.
Here however is one that has not really been rumoured. We already know you can share documents and pictures, but Windows Phone 8 now also allows MP3 files to be shared via NFC/WIFI Direct, which is very fast, or simply Bluetooth, which is slower, but still works.
Currently in Windows Phone 7 a link to marketplace is shared instead of the actual file.
If is not yet know if this will work between an Android and Windows Phone for example, but it works flawlessly between two Windows Phone 8 handsets, with the files being added seamlessly to the music library.
With music being mainly distributed by Bluetooth Sharing in some parts of the world, I am sure this feature will cheer many up.
That HTC promotional video is a gift that keeps on giving. The latest teaser to pop up from the video appears to be the first HTC 8X-specific accessory for the device.
In the video around the 30 second mark HTC shows of a set of headphones to be sold separately, with the control pad of what appears to be a Bluetooth A2DP receiver which appears to be clipped to the backpack strap of the model in the second picture.
Accessories have become a new focus for Windows Phone OEMs trying to raise the revenue per customer for Windows Phone buyers, with Nokia especially going all out with headphones, radios and charging pillows for the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820. It is nice to see that HTC will also be providing ways for us to extend the features of our Windows Phones.
A new Nokia product has been certified by the Bluetooth SIG, and this one is a bit mysterious, but also very tantalizing.
The entry for the so-called â€œAlpha engine controller subsystemâ€ does not reveal much, except that it runs on the latest Bluetooth 4.0 protocol, but the Alpha moniker does of course ring a bell, with the Windows Phone 8 handset with the code-name Juggernaut Alpha showing up all over the place.
Could this then be part of the first Nokia Windows Phone 8 handset showing up on the Bluetooth SIG, running Bluetooth 4.0 rather than the disappointing Bluetooth 3.1 in the general Windows Phone 8 certification? I guess we will find out soon enough at Nokia World 2012 on the 5th September 2012.
The Windows Phone 8 Bluetooth profile list has finally been posted at the Bluetooth SIG, and it confirms that Windows Phones will be able to both send and receive objects, though the exact nature of the data which can be transferred is still unknown.
OBEX is the only new profile added since Windows Phone 7.5, but the Audio/Video Remote Control Profile was updated from version 1.3 to 1.4, which adds the ability to browse and search media on media servers over Bluetooth, and the Audio/Video Control Transport Protocol was also updated from version 1.0 to version 1.3.
It appears the headset profile was also dropped, and the serial protocol remains missing, but we already know developers will have access to this feature.
Unfortunately the version of Bluetooth supported is version 3, rather than the latest version 4, which adds Bluetooth Low Energy, which allows phones to communicate with low energy devices such as sensors and smart watches.
Todayâ€™s leaked developer SDK has revealed one interesting new feature. Developers will be able to access the Bluetooth stack via the API and allow applications to communicate from one handset to another using the short-range technology.
Developers will also be able to program the stack to connect to peripherals such as heart rate monitors via Bluetooth.
Windows Phone 8 handsets will also be able to discover other Windows Phones and devices in their proximity using the new API features, making it a substitute for NFC if this is not available.
The documentation does not make reference to other Bluetooth Stack improvements, but it does suggest developers will have more freedom to add what is missing in Windows Phone 8.
Attribute Protocol Supported over LE Generic Attribute Profile Client Generic Attribute Profile Server
Attribute Protocol Client Attribute Protocol Server Attribute Protocol Supported over LE
Security Manager Protocol
HID over GATT Profile
Profile supported over LE Report Host
The Windows 8 Bluetooth stack has just passed through the Bluetooth SIG certification. The details reveal the usual collection of HID, A2DP, PAN and OBEX profiles, which should reassure Windows 8 buyers that they will not be losing functionality.
What is of course more relevant to Windows Phone users is that Windows Phone 8 is expected to feature very similar drivers to Windows 8, suggesting we may see more of the same profiles on Windows Phone 8 also. Profiles like Object Push are of course much in demand and long overdue on Windows Phone.
All should be revealed in a few days however after the Windows Phone summit on the 20th next week.
This could be related to the many advanced features found in modern mobile chipsets which are not generally exploited by Windows Phone 7 yet, including of course dual processor and high screen resolution support.
Part of this feature set may be better Bluetooth support in the OS, with Microsoft also advertising on the 17/11/11 for a Program Manager to help the team with â€œnew chipsets, new capabilities, and new use cases are all being worked on feverishly to deliver enjoyable and delightful customer experiences in the next release of Windows Phone.â€ Maybe that Bluetooth 4.0 support is coming after all.
Lastly Microsoft is also advertising for a Software Development Engineer in Test to â€œhelp ensure our devices are manageable at the personal, enterprise and operator levels, enabling powerful security features, across applications and device settingâ€, hopefully providing those much desired and missing enterprise features needed to make Windows Phone big in business.
It is pretty clear Microsoft has finished laying the foundation of Windows Phone with 7.0 and 7.5, and Version 8 make sure there are no missing features left over to hold the OS back.
Microsoft has updated the Bluetooth stack in Windows Phone 7.5, with the new stack receiving Bluetooth SIG approval on the 5th June 2011.
New is Hand-Free Profile 1.5, which should mean better support for Bluetooth car kits. Also updated is the AVRCP (Audio Video Remote Control Protocol) from version 1.0 to 1.3, which brings track and other meta-data information transmission and playback status information (paused, stopped, etc).
Unfortunately it still does not bring the stack up to even iOS 4 level, which supports Personal Area Network (PAN) profile, often used of peer to peer multi-player gaming and Human Interface Device Profile, used for Bluetooth keyboards and controllers.
When searching the Bluetooth.org database for new WP7 handsets it is pretty easy to recognize phones running the OS. They tend to be the only ones with extremely limited profile support, mainly A2DP, Headset Profile and Phone book Access.
If this job posting below is anything to go by, this may change in the future. The brief asks for a sharp software developer with â€œhands-on Bluetooth protocol expertiseâ€ and â€œexperience in implementing recent Bluetooth profiles on any OS platform â€ to â€œhelp us in our quest to deliver the best Bluetooth experience of any smartphone platformâ€. For anyone who miss the deep Bluetooth protocol support of Windows Mobile this sounds like just what the doctor ordered.