Windows Phone Summit: The other big day for Microsoft next week

Summary:June 20 is Microsoft's Windows Phone Summit, expected to be all about the Apollo operating system. Here's what we think we know so far.

Just a quick reminder that June 18 isn't the only big day for Microsoft next week.

Wednesday June 20 is Microsoft's Windows Phone Summit in San Franciso, where the company is expected to share officially for the first time what is coming in its next major phone operating system update, codenamed Apollo.

The one-day summit will be Webcast on Microsoft's Channel 9, starting at 9 a.m. PT.

I've seen a few folks claim that no one knows anything yet about Windows Phone OS 8. Actually, there have been a number of leaks about the successor to "Mango" and "Tango" -- and the last of Microsoft's Windows Phone operating systems releases likely to end in the letter "O."

Here's a list of some of the expected Windows Phone 8 features rumored since early February 2012

* Support for multicore processors * Support for four new screen resolutions * Support for removable microSD card storage * Support for NFC and an associated “Wallet Experience” * Inclusion of core Windows elements, including kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support * New data-tracking capabilities, showing users a breakdown of their data consumption by various networks * Use of a proxy server to deliver pages more efficiently and quickly to Internet Explorer 10 Mobile * Addition of native BitLocker encryption and Secure Boot * A separate but improved Skype application, but not integration of Skype into the operating system * Replacement of the Zune PC client software with an update mechanism more akin to ActiveSync. (The new update mechanism is codenamed Daphne, according to one of my contacts.)

LiveSide had a round up this week of leaks regarding other possible Apollo/Windows Phone 8 features.

Microsoft execs have said a few things about the developer strategy and tools for the coming Apollo release. In short, Windows Phone 7 apps will be able to run on Windows Phone 8, the Softies have said. Microsoft will continue to support XNA in some way with Windows Phone 8. They’ve been vaguer about plans for Silverlight support for the Windows Phone 8 platform. I've seen folks speculating the WinRT interface and framework is coming to Windows Phone 8 in some way, but I have not heard that directly from my contacts.

Here's what Microsoft and its phone partners have said so far about whether existing Windows Phones will get Apollo: Nothing. Like The Verge, I've heard existing Windows Phones (even the recently introduced Nokia Lumia 900s) won't get Apollo. Here's hoping at next week's Summit Microsoft officials provide a much-needed yay or nay regarding the Apollo update policy.

The Summit comes at a critical time for Microsoft, its partners and its customers. Its BPF (Best Phone Friend) Nokia is cutting another 10,000 jobs next year, officials announced this week. Nokia is blaming a soft low-end market for much of its problems. But Windows Phone, even cheaper models meant to go head-to-head with Android, aren't really going to take Nokia where its greatest weaknesses are being felt. And this week at TechEd, Nokia officials told me again that Windows Phone isn't the OS solution for the Asha feature-phone line, even in the future... That's still Symbian territory.

As Microsoft more tightly ties Windows Phone to Windows -- starting in earnest with the Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8?Windows RT releases -- the fortunes on one platform seem pinned to the fortunes of the other. A common look and feel and toolset is good for customers and developers when a halo effect convinces users happy with one platform to try its sibling. But if one of the two platforms stagnates, that halo becomes an anchor....

Should be an interesting week ahead. Anyone have any more guesses as to what we might see and hear on June 20 at the Windows Phone Phone Summit?

Topics: Windows, Smartphones

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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