Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

Summary: Two reports with lists of alleged Windows Phone 8 "Apollo" features have leaked. Developers and business users may find a lot to like, if the information is true.


It looks like information about Windows Phone 8's operating system, codenamed "Apollo," is starting to leak in earnest.

On February 2, posted a list of what the site says are Windows Phone 8 features revealed in "a video hosted by senior vice president and Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore, and intended for partners at Nokia." (The site seems to have seen a video of Belfiore's talk, but has not posted it to the Web or referenced where its editors saw the video.)

Shortly thereafter, Windows SuperSite Editor Paul Thurrott posted about some of those same Apollo features, which he said he can corroborate will be in the product.

Microsoft isn't commenting as to whether or not these features will be in Apollo. (In fact, Microsoft still has not officially confirmed even the Apollo codename, as far as I know.) But here's what both of these sources said are coming:

  • Support for multicore processors
  • Support for new screen resolutions (a total of four, although actual pixel counts weren't specified, according to PocketNow)
  • Support for removable microSD card storage
  • Support for NFC and an associated "Wallet Experience"
  • Inclusion of Windows' core elements, including kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support. (I believe this is confirmation that elements of Windows 8's MinWin core will replace Embedded Compact with Windows Phone 8.)
  • 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
  • Of special interest to enterprise users: Addition of native BitLocker encryption and Secure Boot
  • Of special interest to developers: New app-to-app communication capability that sounds like Windows 8's  contracts feature, as Thurrott noted
  • 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 Mobile World Congress (MWC) show kicks off later this month and Microsoft's Windows Phone team is going to have a big presence there. I've heard from my contacts that Microsoft is going to start talking about Apollo at MWC.

I have to say I'm doubtful the Redmondians are going to talk about it publicly at the show. If I were to place bets, I'd say Apollo talk will be mostly if not entirely behind closed doors with select partners and carriers.

Why? Microsoft and Nokia haven't even launched their "hero" device -- the Nokia Lumia 900 -- here in the U.S. yet. That is supposedly happening around March 18. If Microsoft were to start talking about all the great features in Windows Phone 8 (allegedly due to ship on phones before the end of 2012) now, it would be like the Windows team talking about Windows 9. Momentum for the soon-to-be-announced products would plummet before it even had a chance to build.

I can't say for sure whether these new reports about Windows Phone "Apollo" are on the money, but I'd have to say they definitely seem plausible.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

    They may not all be "on the money" but the certainly hit all the high points on the wish lists of enthusiasts.<br><br>As for a guess for what the resolutions may be: 480x320 (HVGA), 800x480 (WVGA), 960x540 (qHD), and 1280x720 (720p).
    Jeff Kibuule
    • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list


      having a phone with 480x320 resolution is pointless with all the hi-resolution smartphones out now. Any smartphone with a screen resolution below 960x640 is not worth it.
      • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

        @smulji Phones with QWERTY keyboard?
      • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

        @smulji You are fogetting, that they will also be addressing emerging markets, where the smaller screen makes the device a lot cheaper, which is the key feature.
      • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

        @smulji I would say the same of having a phone with no qwerty, but can't disagree with you on the 480x320; but please something in between that and the power hungry wastes of glass we are offered now with just enough space for a decent keyboard (and yes I've tried soft keys, failed, and gone back contentedly to my very tired BB)
      • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

        Even though screens on phones are small what is the point in having such a high resolution on them as you will never see the full detail, I understand if they can upscale to a tv that has a high resolution?
      • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

        @smulji I doubt most folks will notice the difference.
  • Is speaking with someone "like a phone" one feature? ;-P (nt)

    Bruce Lang
    • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

      @Bruce Lang
    • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

      @Bruce Lang

      I believe those days are long gone. You need a second instrument designed for telephony to handle voice. These glass slabs are media consumption and game machines with a bit of navigation and browsing tossed in. Personally I have a Nokia E52 and a laptop.
  • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

    Windows Phone today runs faster on single core processors than android does on dual core processors. WP is a lean operating system. Unless they add a bunch of resource hogging bloat, dual core processors are going to make WP8 blazingly fast.
    • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

      @frankwick wait till he quad core Nokia comes out next year. You'll see a 2 second boot time and WP 8 will blow everything else out of the water.
      • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

        @Stephen-B Yeah because people boot up their phone all the time. I never turn my phone off totally. I seen the dam thing "boot up" maybe twice?
      • If Windows Phone survives to see Apollo being born...

    • Yeah right....

      @frankwick : don't know where you get your benchmarks, but last time I checked the Linux kernel (aka Ubuntu) booted two times faster than Windows CE... so a leaner distro like Android surely is even faster...

      Or do you mean... but into the tiles... which by the way... also use the trick created in Windows of sideloading the compact framework after boot. That's the reasons tiles are static at first and then come to life a minute after booting...
      • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

        @cosuna Do you have a link to the Linux vs WinCE benchmark?
      • Huh?

        @cosuna - we are talking about smartphones here, not computers. Processors in computers are obviously more powerful. You are comparing massive apples with tiny oranges.
      • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

        @cosuna Just curious, but how fast do Ubuntu's tiles boot? Oooh. Don't have tiles on Linux yet. Still stuck in the Steve Jobs Icons era are we?
        Major Plonquer
      • RE: Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

        @cosuna: don't know where you get your info, but tiles come alive in about 1 or 2 seconds from boot... you obviously have not used wp7 so you make untrue statements about it. I'm using only a 1GHZ single-core device yet it boots fasts and tiles come alive within a second or two.
    • I agree

      I have observed my Wife's BB 9810 with a faster CPU, albeit single core, and with iPhone 4 (not sure about 4s), there is absolutely no doubt that my [i]old[/i] Venue Pro is smoother and more responsive. I'm glad I am not the only person who has observed the incredible performance of these single core Win7 devices.

      Mango made a big different for my overall impression and experience.

      And as for innovative, well I would like to see some features that other devices have such as the track-pad of the BB, some of the UI ideas of BB and iPhone would be nice additions to WP. But that being said, having used iPhone 3 and 4 and various BB's, I could not give my WP because it is simply superior in most every way.