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

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.

TOPICS: Windows, Smartphones

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


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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  • Anxious but not hopeful

    I really hope to hear Apollo will be put on my HTC Trophy, but I am not optimistic on this.

    Everything else, I am just anxious to see the new API and what I can now do, or still can't do. I'm hoping they release some dev tools. If we're super lucky, we'll get release of a dev beta program like they did w/ Mango, but that'd mean that Apollo will be pushed to present-gen devices. See above :)
  • Hardware

    The honestly exciting features are all hardware and developer related, which will eventually trickle down to consumers (hence a developer event). What really needs to happen to Windows Phone is the release of high end hardware on all four carriers at the same time. It's what made the original Samsung Galaxy S so popular.
    Jeff Kibuule
  • looking forward to unified WP8/W8 app model and dev tools that

    obviously run on W8, roaming app isostore, video encoding and the rest of the W8 media framework, built in RDP client, voice control of everything.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Clues on the Invite?

    I've been expecting someone to mention this; Don't you think those Tiles on that invite look like clues on what Microsoft will/could be talking about on the 20th?

    Here are my Assumptions;

    Tile with the 'Gamepad' Icon - obviously something about gaming, possibly deeper tie-ins with the xbox.

    Tile with the 'Search' Icon - improvements with bing on WP.

    Tile with the 'Camera' Icon - Probably something about the 'camera lens' app that leaked in that video with Joe Belfiore.

    Tile with the 'Shopping cart' Icon - something about apps and the marketplace?

    Tile with the 'Settings' Icon - ?

    Tile with the 'Eye' Icon - Bing Vision? Kinect? I just don't have any good guesses here.

    Tile with the 'Forward' Icon - ?

    What do you think MJ? Could I be onto something here?
  • Something killer is required

    WP is so far behind that MS simply has to come up with a game-changer that is unique. It won't be enough for them to simply catch up with all the features other platforms have, but WP is currently lacking. This has to be a leapfrog release or they will continue to be unnoticed by consumers/small businesses. They might have a shot in the enterprise, but more and more enterprises are consumerizing. It'll be interesting anyway!
    • and what OS features you find missing?

      As a user, I am not finding any gaps in the OS itself maybe few applications missing but nothing to complain about the OS. Metro is enough unique feature, with its activity based approac.
      • agree

        Exactly what a friend said yesterday. He has an iP4, one of the new Sony Android phones and a Lumia 800 (he is a tech guy). He likes the Lumia 800 the best but feels the iP4 is the better because of the apps. I felt the Lumia was very quick and great graphics plus a better feel in the hand than the other 2.
    • A Game Changer?

      I hope you're referring to "a" game changer that is a combination of things. I don't believe they'll be able to change the current reality with a single killer feature. The overall user base is too diverse for one killer feature to do it.
  • Who knows, maybe they're going to announce

    They are going to buy out Nokia. Stranger things could happen too.
  • Microsoft wants to sell an ecosystem...

    If the rumors about a Microsoft-branded tablet are true, I think their strategy is this--subsidize the tablets if you sign-up for two years of Xbox Live Platinum (which is $60 per year). Microsoft wants to sell us an ecosystem with Xbox services as the epicenter and Windows 8 (with the help of SmartGlass) as the glue that holds everything together.

    If they can lure consumers into the full Windows 8 "experience" via Windows 8 & Xbox Live, Microsoft believes that these same consumers will then be more open to buying a Windows Phone, etc.

    This is just my personal theory. I have no inside knowledge of anything.
    • Think of the potential...

      If Microsoft sells their tablets at a loss (like they did the early Xbox), consumers would be more likely to buy them. Once inside the ecosystem, the consumer realizes the full potential of Windows 8... and is more likely to buy a Windows Phone.

      What does Microsoft get? Microsoft gets warm bodies in the seats. It gets to advertise to these consumers (through Xbox & apps, etc). And it gets to collect priceless information on their viewing and purchasing and searching habits.

      Over time, these consumers get comfortable with Metro, with Bing, with Xbox Music, etc. It's brilliant... if it works.
    • What?

      What is Xbox Live Platinum???
  • the Killer Feature is High-end Hardware

    The best feature of Windows Phone 7.5 is its ease of use.
    If Windows Phone 8 delivers all the features listed in the article that will be enough.

    The update mechanism more akin to ActiveSync sounds good to me. ActiveSync was always good.

    The killer feature has to be (as dagamer34 said above) release of a range of attractive high end hardware. However, to be successful that hardware has to be available on all major carriers worldwide at the same time and as soon as possible, preferably tomorrow.

    Every day of delay is is a serious threat to Windows Phone and especially to Nokia.

    I would gladly buy/contract a quad-core Nokia Lumia with a 4.7 inch HD screen, LTE and WP8. Both should have been available a year ago.
    Brown Dog
  • NFC and Security a Game Changer

    What I noticed most about the new features were the two items that have prevented my firm from fully embracing the Windows Phone Interface: Security and Near Field Communications. Both of these seem to be lacking on the other phones at this time. I for one am involved in "Big Data" and this will be the "biggest" of them all. So here's to using your smartphone for everything "in an secure fashion".
  • Calendaring

    Get us multiple calendar (shared calendars) access and let the categories from Exchange (including colors) feed through to the phone's calendar. That's the one thing I'd really like to see.
    • Instant market share!

      Agreed. The sooner that WP becomes a seamless extension of Exchange, the sooner every IT department in the World will start issuing WP devices to all its mobile users.
  • Should Microsoft make its own phone?

    Microsoft is now to build its own tablet. Why not its own phone?

    I would love a WP8 phone with the same quality as the Surface.
  • Windows Surface Phone?

    Interested to see how they repackage everything (Music, Skype, etc). Yes a Surface Phone would be cool with a VaporMg body.