A few random nuggets on Windows Phone 8 from our Microsoft interview

Here at the Windows Phone 8 announcement, I had a bit of time to sit down with Casey McGee, Senior Marketing Manager for Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business. We had a quick chat about various aspects of what was - and was not - covered in today's presentation, and these are just a few bits and pieces that he shared with me:

  • I asked about the availability of native screenshot capture in the Windows Phone 8 OS. "Stay tuned!" was the reply, with a slight smile; I tried to draw a firm 'yes' or 'no' out of him, but he wouldn't give in.
  • Casey wasn't 100% certain on this, but it's his belief that there is no limit to the number of tiles that can be displayed on the Start Screen.
  • Don't read too much into the fact that only four OEMs - Nokia, Huawei, Samsung and HTC - were identified as launch partners for Windows Phone 8 devices. While there are some notable exceptions - particularly LG and Acer - we should expect other OEMs to make announcements in due course.
  • In the presentation earlier, Microsoft made plenty of noise about WP8 being optimised for multi-core processors. Casey wouldn't be drawn on the kind of optimisation - if any - that Microsoft may have made for single-core processors, so it's not yet clear whether any single-core devices will be sold with Windows Phone 8 on board. This might not seem terribly interesting for developed markets like Europe and the US, but it could be significant for developing markets, where multi-core processors could add more cost to handsets, which could prove critical for more price-sensitive customers.
  • There is, apparently, no development codename (e.g. Apollo, Tango etc.) for the Windows Phone 7.8 update that will be made available to current 7.5 handsets. Internally, the update is simply referred to as "7.8".
  • Microsoft committed to support devices for at least eighteen months with OS updates and Casey was keen to underline that that is Microsoft's "bare minimum" commitment. He told me that MS believes it's important to establish that bare minimum to maintain customer confidence - but Microsoft is working with carriers on a region-by-region basis to try to provide a sensible update program for users (for example, in Canada, where some users commit to 36-month contracts). That doesn't necessarily mean that Canadian customers should expect 36 months of updates though.
  • Updates will still be subject to carrier approval, despite being delivered OTA.
  • I also asked about whether or not a 'silent update' process might be available for the OS - for example, to emergency-patch serious vulnerabilities - such as is available on the Windows PC client, with 'automatic updates' that download and install themselves. Casey told me that it's possible for Microsoft to push a notification to the device, to alert the user that "an update is available", but doesn't believe that there's any auto-update procedure in place that does not require user authorisation at point of installation.

We'll try to find out more about Windows Phone 8 in the hours, days and weeks ahead - so be sure to stay tuned to Neowin for all the latest info!

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Thurrott says no on carrier approval for updates.

From here: http://www.winsupersite.com/ar...ows-phone-78-preview-143476

"Windows Update. Windows Phone 7.8 will be delivered directly to all Windows Phone users, bypassing the carriers. You will be able to download and install Windows Phone 7.8 over Wi-Fi, at home or wherever else, and install this update. This type of updating will be made available in Windows Phone 8, as well, as given my long, loud, and lengthy complaining about the lack of such updating in Windows Phone 7.x, you won't be surprised, maybe, to discover that Microsoft jokingly calls this “the Paul Thurrott feature” internally. "

rev23dev said,
Thurrott says no on carrier approval for updates.

From here: http://www.winsupersite.com/ar...ows-phone-78-preview-143476

"Windows Update. Windows Phone 7.8 will be delivered directly to all Windows Phone users, bypassing the carriers. You will be able to download and install Windows Phone 7.8 over Wi-Fi, at home or wherever else, and install this update. This type of updating will be made available in Windows Phone 8, as well, as given my long, loud, and lengthy complaining about the lack of such updating in Windows Phone 7.x, you won't be surprised, maybe, to discover that Microsoft jokingly calls this “the Paul Thurrott feature” internally. "


Sounds nice. I'm looking forward to this improvement, but wonder about backups... Hm...

rev23dev said,
Thurrott says no on carrier approval for updates.

From here: http://www.winsupersite.com/ar...ows-phone-78-preview-143476

"Windows Update. Windows Phone 7.8 will be delivered directly to all Windows Phone users, bypassing the carriers. You will be able to download and install Windows Phone 7.8 over Wi-Fi, at home or wherever else, and install this update. This type of updating will be made available in Windows Phone 8, as well, as given my long, loud, and lengthy complaining about the lack of such updating in Windows Phone 7.x, you won't be surprised, maybe, to discover that Microsoft jokingly calls this “the Paul Thurrott feature” internally. "

To be honest, though, which sounds more believable: what he states or what we read here ... ?

rev23dev said,
Thurrott says no on carrier approval for updates.

From here: http://www.winsupersite.com/ar...ows-phone-78-preview-143476

"Windows Update. Windows Phone 7.8 will be delivered directly to all Windows Phone users, bypassing the carriers. You will be able to download and install Windows Phone 7.8 over Wi-Fi, at home or wherever else, and install this update. This type of updating will be made available in Windows Phone 8, as well, as given my long, loud, and lengthy complaining about the lack of such updating in Windows Phone 7.x, you won't be surprised, maybe, to discover that Microsoft jokingly calls this “the Paul Thurrott feature” internally. "


Whilst that sounds great, wasn't that already the promise with WP7?

Microsoft committed to support devices for at least eighteen months with OS updates and Casey was keen to underline that that is Microsoft's "bare minimum" commitment. He told me that MS believes it's important to establish that bare minimum to maintain customer confidence

Had to laugh at this after what we've learnt today about upgrades for existing devices. I'd say they've lost more confidence than they could possibly hope to gain with that pledge - which shouldn't even need to be made, phones should be supported for at least the duration of their contracts anyway.

what said,

Had to laugh at this after what we've learnt today about upgrades for existing devices. I'd say they've lost more confidence than they could possibly hope to gain with that pledge - which shouldn't even need to be made, phones should be supported for at least the duration of their contracts anyway. Actions will speak louder than words, too.

First, existing devices are getting another update, second, which contracts? In Canada, we have 1, 2 and 3 year contracts, and MS has no control over the length of contracts that carriers choose to employ

what said,
Had to laugh at this after what we've learnt today about upgrades for existing devices. I'd say they've lost more confidence than they could possibly hope to gain with that pledge - which shouldn't even need to be made, phones should be supported for at least the duration of their contracts anyway.
Because they are still supporting phones that have 2 years old hardware requirement and bring to them a free major update ?

Sraf said,

First, existing devices are getting another update, second, which contracts? In Canada, we have 1, 2 and 3 year contracts, and MS has no control over the length of contracts that carriers choose to employ

They're getting one more update, which is likely to arrive less than a year after the first Lumia launched last November.

If you can get a 3 year contract on a phone, it should be supported for 3 years. If the manufacturer/Microsoft/the carrier can't make that commitment, they shouldn't offer a 3 year contract for it.

what said,

Had to laugh at this after what we've learnt today about upgrades for existing devices. I'd say they've lost more confidence than they could possibly hope to gain with that pledge - which shouldn't even need to be made, phones should be supported for at least the duration of their contracts anyway.

18 months? come on I just bought my Lumia 900. I should have listened to people who found lumia translation in spanish which means prostitute. they are so shameless that they made advertisement campaign called: "Beta test is over" *******.

what said,

Had to laugh at this after what we've learnt today about upgrades for existing devices. I'd say they've lost more confidence than they could possibly hope to gain with that pledge - which shouldn't even need to be made, phones should be supported for at least the duration of their contracts anyway.


You know, as how Android is grossly growing I think this should matter a bit. I'm scared to buy a low/mid end Android phone just because I'll be left out in the dark in 1 year.

On iOS is a different story. Hate it or like it, Apple has done a great job on making support for at least 3 years (now 4 with the 3GS) with each of their iOS devices, including iTouch (Of course, I'm not stupid enough to buy a new iPhone when it's on more than halfway of its life cycle).

I like Microsoft seeing this approach. Since Windows Phone is the lightest Operating System out of the big 4 (BlackBerry, iOS, Android, Windows Phone) I can see more than 18 months of support very easy. Imagine a device as powerful as Samsung Galaxy S3 with quad core and a supposed 2 GB RAM upgrade.
Unless the whole hardware chassis happen to change, with Microsoft set to polish their OS as far as they can, I could see that device running "Windows Phone 10" without problems.

Long story made short:

More extended life support = more value for your money.