Microsoft planning ‘child-friendly' mode for Windows Phone 8?

The leak last week of the Windows Phone 8 SDK revealed dozens of new features, both large and small, with new discoveries continuing to be made every day. Some of the many additions recently uncovered include improved Bluetooth support, cloud SMS back-up and major enhancements in Internet Explorer 10.

But not all of the changes are quite so obvious, and require a lot more digging and a very keen eye before they are unearthed. While poring through the WP8 registry, one interesting discovery was made which hints at a possible new ‘child-friendly’ mode for the mobile OS.

Under Software > Family in the registry, a subkey called ‘KidZone’ can be found, which Windows Phone Hacker believes – based on the name and configuration data – is the foundation of a ‘child-safe’ mode for Windows Phone 8. A web search for KidZone spews up details of a trademarked Android app with the same name; this suggests that the registry entry is likely using an interim placeholder name.  

Exactly what such a child-safe mode might look like in Windows Phone 8 is unclear as there do not yet appear to be any branded KidZone features or functionalities in the SDK – but the existence of those registry entries is interesting, and might just be a clue towards a feature that hasn’t yet been announced, and which could be made available in a future SDK update, or which may even still be in early development.

But with confirmation that the Windows Store on WP8 handsets will feature optional PIN protection to prevent children from making inappropriate or unauthorized purchases, the inclusion of a broader and more robust set of parental control features throughout the OS doesn't seem entirely unreasonable.

As Windows Phone Hacker says though, take this all with a big dose of salt as, for now at least, this remains very much the stuff of speculation.

Source and lower image: Windows Phone Hacker (via WPCentral)

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I am pretty sure they already talked about this technology... (Don't have time to dig it up.)

They specifically talked about three different things this can be associated with.

1) The phone would be able to recognize when a child picked it up and was playing with it, rather than an adult, thus invoking a child proof mode.

2) They also talked about a mode to lock the phone down and still let children play with Apps.

3) Additionally, there is an additional 'lock' mechanism that comes from the Wallet portion of the phone that keeps kids or other users from buying Apps. (This was shown at Summit if I remember right.)


I am not sure which one of these technologies the keys are related, but maybe someone can dig them up, as this was fairly recent information from Microsoft, like the past few months.

I remember reading somewhere that Windows 8 would have a child option that you would turn on and it would lock them out of settings and remove admin features. Maybe this is something similar for the phone?

Bertch said,
I remember reading somewhere that Windows 8 would have a child option that you would turn on and it would lock them out of settings and remove admin features. Maybe this is something similar for the phone?

I like the idea... LOL

There will be a tile with a pinwheel icon for this "Kids Zone".
No idea if it will be an option you turn on which hides and disables access to NFC and some apps, or if its an app which displays apps deemed child friendly.

But the native apps on the phone, have an entry in their manifest file...
PinableOnKidZone="true"
So perhaps it is just a list of child-safe apps, so you can hand the phone to your child and they can not access anything else

mdtaUK said,
There will be a tile with a pinwheel icon for this "Kids Zone".
No idea if it will be an option you turn on which hides and disables access to NFC and some apps, or if its an app which displays apps deemed child friendly.

But the native apps on the phone, have an entry in their manifest file...
PinableOnKidZone="true"
So perhaps it is just a list of child-safe apps, so you can hand the phone to your child and they can not access anything else

Hm... Interesting...

swanlee said,
I have a 2 year old and would like to let him play with my phone without calling 911 every 5 mins.

My god yeah. How do they ALL know that number?? LOL

Because kids LOVE "kid versions" /s

Maybe it's just me, but back in the day I always wanted my tech full blow and not "dumbed down" or "kidded down". Eugh...
Might be just the nerd in me though

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,
Because kids LOVE "kid versions" /s

Maybe it's just me, but back in the day I always wanted my tech full blow and not "dumbed down" or "kidded down". Eugh...
Might be just the nerd in me though

GS:mac

I agree, but it would be nice for example to be able to restrict their use of the credit card on the account, or in app purchases, etc. There are definitely situations that would be nice to have something like this.

drazgoosh said,
This is a feature that's quite necessary as more and more children are getting phones earlier on.

The biggest gripe my wife has with her iPhone is that the kids might screw something up trying to play and she has to do a whole bunch of stuff to make her not worry about when the kids get ahold of it.

M_Lyons10 said,

Well... The kernal at least...

No, it is BS. The Kernel is programmed in machine language, so it is not possible that both Kernel are the same (ARM and x86), they could act simular but it is not the same.

Brony said,

No, it is BS. The Kernel is programmed in machine language, so it is not possible that both Kernel are the same (ARM and x86), they could act simular but it is not the same.

No, believe me it is. Obviously its not exactly the same but its core is almost identical. They've spent a lot of time trying to get the real NT kernel onto ARM and mobile platforms and WP8 will be the first real test of this. Everyone else has tried and failed (ie iOS and majorly Android) so we'll see how this goes.

Brony said,

No, it is BS. The Kernel is programmed in machine language, so it is not possible that both Kernel are the same (ARM and x86), they could act simular but it is not the same.


Should look up HAL.

The kernel of Windows is so flexible, it's a dream for Microsoft.

GS:mac

Xerax said,
WP8 comes with regedit? awesome.

WP8, just like previous versions has a Registry, but the browsing and analysis of it is done on a Windows PC. (That's regedit on win7).

Brony said,

No, it is BS. The Kernel is programmed in machine language, so it is not possible that both Kernel are the same (ARM and x86), they could act simular but it is not the same.

Only BS here is that comment. No human writes machine code. Only compilers do that. The Windows kernel is (and always has been) written in C/C++.