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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