WP Central Windows Phone 8 brings new hardware and OS features but what about th
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Windows Phone 8 brings new hardware and OS features but what about the apps?

The next version of Windows Phone is just around the corner, with it comes some fantastic hardware and the promise of new features. But what about the next gen apps?

While we have spent a great deal of time looking at the coming phones and peeking at the new underlying operating system did we forget that it’s the apps that matter? While we know that existing apps will work fine on the new OS, what lays in store for those dedicated Windows Phone 8 apps?

The SDK controversy

Unlike previous versions of Windows Phone, the SDK is still in limited circulation, which in turn has led to wild speculation about the readiness of the OS. Developers have become frustrated at not being able to get in and start coding. Regardless of why the SDK has been so scarce it means many devs have either been given very late access or in some cases no access at all. Some worry that when Windows Phone 8 launches it may not have many new or updated apps to show off the new platform.  

We simply don’t know what effect this will have at release time. With an existing catalogue of great apps and a shiny new OS to run them, many may not mind. With the advent of native code and key gaming engines like Havok and Unity coming to Windows Phone 8 we’re certainly likely to see some stunning games. We expect to see some software announcements at launch but which ones is still a bit of a mystery.

WP Central

 

Ch-ch-ch Changes

Microsoft has made some key changes to Windows Phone 8 to allow native code support, better interactive speech and massively improved maps. We are very excited about what new possibilities these advances will bring, but beyond features, will these changes mean a fundamental shift in what apps we’re likely to see? The development community around the platform is excellent and we have plenty of high quality apps but will the changes to the core OS finally change how Android and iOS developers see Windows Phone?

Apps are still regularly created in tandem for Android and iOS without much thought being given to producing a Windows Phone version. That creates opportunity for developers to fill the gap but it doesn’t change the fact that the first party version is nowhere to be seen. We have seen a gradual erosion of those apps but there remains a few high profile ones that won’t budge. The BBC for instance remains insistent that the iPlayer cannot be brought to Windows Phone, although they were able to bring it to the Xbox 360, will they change their tune when Windows Phone 8 arrives?

That’s certainly our hope, with the platform set to possibly overtake Blackberry this year it will be the third eco system. With the “appification” of the Xbox and Windows 8, will this have that important halo effect that we so want? I have already got to the point where I expect to see certain types of apps on all my Microsoft devices. I’m often surprised when there is no parity, I wonder if this will be the eventual thought process others will have when developing for Microsoft products. A situation where you develop an app like Zite or Flipboard for Windows 8 and automatically think what a no brainer it would be to put it on all three screens with built in syncing.

WP Central Windows Phone 8 brings new hardware and OS features but what about th

With the new core capabilities of Windows Phone combined with powerful linking of the three screens by way of the cloud we could be on the verge of seeing something truly wonderful. Picking up where you left off a game across all three screens is compelling as is the possibility of reading news or listening to music and podcasts. If we are to see the true possibility of apps that are all continuous clients the Xbox 360 will form a key part of that. It’s still very early on to tell how the app story for the console will pan out.

 

Are you experienced?

So what of these new app experiences? The lenses functionality in Windows Phone 8 should lead to some fantastic new apps and could even change the way we think about photo processing on the smartphone. The Lumia 920 is going to have the best camera on any smartphone but the OS will allow apps like flickr to upload photos in the background automatically. We are going to see Windows Phone blur the lines when it comes to using traditional voice plans to make a call or simply opt to use Skype or another VoIP provider to make and receive calls. All these are great additions to an already strong platform, will these type of features bring the remaining hold outs to the platform? Only time will tell.

It is an exciting time ahead, could this be the year we see a change in perception from the public and developers about Windows Phone? I certainly believe the platform has finally shrugged off the new kid on the block syndrome and is being taken ever more seriously as the third key player in the smartphone market.

There are of course apps I’d still like to see get ported to Windows Phone but in all honesty I’m more excited at what existing developers will bring to the platform. It’s those software makers that have brought Windows Phone to life and will know how to make the next version sing. We hope they are ready with stunning new versions of their apps.

We’d love to hear from you, our readers on what you’re hopes are for Windows Phone 8. What apps would you like to see? With the new features of Windows Phone 8, what apps are now possible? Sound off in the comments bellow, we always value your feedback!

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Reader comments

Windows Phone 8 brings new hardware and OS features but what about the apps?

118 Comments

they will have apps ready. So can't wait when I get my new wp8 smartphone. Even thou I still like my wp7.5 phone and still works great and still fast.

I would like to see Windows Phone versions of some of the Windows 8 apps Microsoft has made like Sports, News, Weather, and Finance.

 

Working with devs to encourage them to develop apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will be key in driving app uptake. Deff like to see everything they do on Windows get a phone version. RB

I think Microsoft is going to announce some very exciting apps come October 29th. They'll prob announce games like Words with friends being available day 1 WP8 launch, and Instagram integration OR a simple app.
I think that will be a very exciting part of their 10/29 event.

Exactly... I know Microsoft has a whole team dedicated to securing apps and maintaining ties with developers... Large and small. And they've been silent as of late. Haven't been too many major apps released into the store lately. I believe we are in the calm before the storm

I really hope that some of the missing first party apps appear on WinPhone 8. Nook reader, Hulu, HBO Go, Max Go, Amazon Prime streaming, etc.

 

Looks like your keen to see the streaming apps fill out for Windows Phone, do you use your phone to consume much content like that? RB

Yes it does seem that way for him. Me personally I would use my phone for that if the apps were available. At least with Hulu I can catch up on shows when on business trips. I dont use Netflix app that much because it's rare I want to stare at my 4.7 inch titan screen (altho big, not enough for movies) for 90 minutes. But then again im purchasing the surface day 1 so soon there will not be as much of a need for streaming services on my phone

I do! I would love more "VIDEO" streaming apps. I use Crackle and Netflix like crazy... (Get bored at work babysitting servers all day)... jejeje

I know I do, when I'm out of town or on a lunch break, I'm always streaming Netflix or crunchyroll. Give me Hulu and I'm good to go

It depends really.
 
I have a Samsung Focus (first gen) and I got my girlfriend to buy a Lumia 900. The problem is that while she loves the phone, I keep hearing about how she doesn't have Hulu and HBO Go anymore. She also has a Nook and would like the ability to sometimes use her phone to read some of her books if she is out and about with a few minutes to spare but not carrying her Nook with her.
 
Of course having previously used an iPhone she had been accustomed to having these capabilities.
 
Me personally, I don't consume as much streaming content on my phone as her, but I want all of the high profile apps to be added to WinPhone.
 
How is it that we have Hulu and HBO Go for the Xbox but they somehow can't make it for the phone? Perhaps there is a real reason but Crunchyroll released an app for WinPhone recently and it's awesome. Even the Crackle app is pretty good on WinPhone. It would seem to me that it's not a limitation of what can be done on the phone but rather a lack of desire to spend the time and money to create and support the apps.
 
I know a lot more games are going to be coming for WinPhone 8 because of the ability to write native code now. Lets hope that market share goes up and our other favorite apps are ported over soon.

I think the current lack of native code support is a part of the problem. Then they can't reuse their library code and simply put a new UI ontop of it. They have to rewrite everything. This will change in WP8 since they get native code support. Then devs can simply reuse their tested and solid base library and just to different UIs for the three different platforms.

I miss Hulu on my 900. I had it on iPhone. Was disappointed to find out Hulu wasn't available for the 900. Hopefully it makes it onto WP8.

We'll never see most of the ones you list in Canada, so no, these don't matter to me.
I'd love to see an Air Canada app, which, amazingly, doesn't exist on Android.

Yes exactly. Its the women that want it so bad. Its probably the single biggest reason why my female friend went for the oneX instead of waiting for the 8x. That... And the fact that she couldn't wait a whole 'nother month for it to release!

+100
im extremely tired of hearing that irritating "does it have instagram?"
no im sorry it doesnt have an utterly useless application that ruins the quality of photos with those annoying ass filters.

Current iPhone user here. Seriously thinking about switching to lumia 920. But instagram is big thing for me. I don't care about the filters. The lure of instagram is not the filters. It is the network. I currently only follow people I physically know, and then it makes for a much more interesting social experience than facebook or twitter, because it is so visual, and has much less bs than twitter.
If I wanted just the filters there are many good alternatives. But the filters don't do it. My friends are the key.

+1000000
Amen to it ruining photos! I could care less about Instagram too, but if it will help drive adoption of our favorite platform then I'm glad it will be available.

I have to agree especially on Facebook. I really do not understand the fascination or maybe I do. I am convinced the previous lack of Facebook integration on Apple is certainly one reason why Apple users seemed to adopt it.
With Skydrive and Facebook I never feel the need for a third. Product like this.

I used to hate instagram, but my friends got me hooked in it the other day :( Just complained about no WP7 app to the CEO's personal Facebook, probably won't read it but still :(

I recall reading, cannot find it now, that xfinity will have Windows 8 app on day one. I would think, from what I have read here and elswhere, that it would also mean a Windows Phone 8 app as well.

The BBC need to stop sucking up to Apple products and do the right thing. Support WP.

Lawrence already showed them how its done with his BBC News app.

 

I totally agree, for a organisation that isn’t meant to do any brand promoting the BBC seem unable to make a single program without an Apple device on display.

Not only are they failing licence fee holders who are Windows Phone users they are also doing a terrible job with Android too.

Someone needs to remove that “I” from iplayer, perhaps then they will stop bolstering Apple products at the expense of all else.

RB

It isn't just he BBC. The other night I was watching TV and switched channels every time I saw something "Apple". First, I believe it was TNT promoting their iPhone app for catching up on shows, then Fox Sports, same thing then my local News channel did the same thing. This in about a 5 minute period. One of them mentioned they also had an Android app, but only showed Apple devices. This to me may be where MS needs to spend some money. Help the networks develop high class apps then have them promote them along with the other apps.

exactly. When a tv station or company mentions an application the iPhone is head and center. What great advertising, for free for that platform. It would behoove MS to get the same type of app support and advertising for w8. Shoot. Tv programs and kids tv, like regular show, advertised the regular show game often for the iPad on cartoon network.

TNT was promoting the S-III on baseball play-off's last night with a social in-game app. Saw several banner adds for Bleacher Report, of course only for iPhone and Android. Our two year contract with T-Mobile is up in December. We have decided to defect to AT&T where my wife and daughter will finally get thier iPhones; I haven't decided whether I am going iPhone, Android or WP yet.
Signed,
Without the apps I want and use, a great OS does not matter.

 

I wonder how happy MS would be to see Opera arrive on their smartphone, that company mustn’t be in their good books! J I think browser choice would be great, think it will happen? As for the photo editor, you’re aware there are tons of those in the marketplace? RB

Only qualitative editor with many features. These are in Marketplace? About Opera - doubt. They begged to version 7 - in response to the silence and no result.

Yeah buddy there are plenty of photo editors. I think people go on the windows phone store, type in the name of their favorite app, see it's not there... And then assume there is no substitute or give up. You can search for key words and great substitutes will pop up! Remember, there are 100,000+ apps in the store! There is bound to be something youre looking for

Nothing like the apps you used to use!
No substitute can give you the same experience, I'm crazy to see some apps I used to had in my android's phone before get my WP!

Why Opera? Any specific reason? Is it for the faster browsing via compression? I think Nokia has the same service plugged in to IE10.

I'm hoping for better looking games. Xbox was my main draw to WP. As a gamer that is important to me. Also, true exclusives would be nice, not just ports with achievements. Still not sure how that makes it exclusive?

I am not a gamer, but am deeply dissapointed with the integtration of the 360. I was expecting some exclusive abilites to assimilate the 360 and Windows Phone. I nearly had my son and cousin (big time 360 gamers) conviced that WP was the way to go, since it was Microsoft and they would "have" to integrate them and have a killer app. How dissapointing. Both stayed with Android.
Signed,
Exlcusive apps, that people want, will bring customers to your ecosystem

I'm also more excited about what could be done with the integrations. Not so much for the apps other os have that we will get but I think having them released at the same time or around the same time as ios & Android would be a major selling point.

Agreed. When they integrate it, it's awesome... I hope they keep that trend going because it distinguishes the OS from ther other app-obsessed ones

Robert, this is one of the best write-ups I have read about the WP8 app conondrum. I have great hopes for the platform as well. Like you pointed, the amazing new capabilities of the OS like better gaming engines, NFC and true VOIP support, native code, lenses, smart glass, some of them unique to the platform, as well as the fact that Windows 8, shipping on millions of new PCs at the end of the month, and WP8 apps will share most of their codes, makes it very probable the WP marketplace will explode next year. 
You haven't mentioned there are loads of business and security features WP8 will bring to the table, which would make the platform easier and more secure to deal with in the enterprise world.
However I thinks we're still a long way from the platform being considered as premium as iOS and automatically being considered for new appp development and this is the steepest road the OS has to climb. Although some may argue apps aren't that important, every individual working in specialized field, like doctors or nurses, designers, musicians, etc, right now has a much better chance of finding apps related to their needs on iOS (and maybe Android) because of the simple fact that developers targetting a narrow audience just won't spend anytime on a platform that's so unpopular. But give it a year and I'm sure things will have vastly improved. Hopefully the tech blogosphere will continue to change its tone on WP from blind, suspicious cynicism to the realization the Windows ecosystem has tremendous potential.
 

My wife will be getting the iPhone 5 in a few weeks partly because of this. She is a nurse and needs a few apps for work that have drug information in them, plus her hospital has a specific app as well. They are definitely not on WP. Though I know when we're out and about doing stuff, and I do something cool with my L920 (maybe something like a lenses feature), she's going to be all upset that she can't do that on her iPhone. But she's tied to the apps she needs.

My wife is leaning towards s3. Trying to talk her out of it because of the OS. Told her if she isn't going for WP 8 then upgrade to the iPhone 5 and she'll at least have LTE. I do like having both OSs in the household. My daughter likes my WP better though. Can't wait for this new OS.

Thanks for reading vp710! Windows Phone has been in the market long enough now to show people it isn’t going to go away. This alone means things are changing for the better. Let it continue. RB 

+1
 
Microsoft is well known for providing development platforms that are far more developer friendly than others. Now, Microsoft has set the foundation for an even better platform that is cross-form-factor. While it's not the most mature, it has the most potential.
 
Shared code among Windows 8/RT and Phone 8 alone is a major go for devs. And just like you said, give it a year, and the platform will truly explode.

What have we heard about geofencing with WP8? I want reminders based on location and the ability to turn wifi/3g on or off when at certain locations. Also, the ability to silence the phone based on time and location.

This is something I have been asking for. The reminders option is a great one, I have my work Exchange sync'd with my Mango HD7 and would love to see those reminders only when I am in the office. What I really want though, is the ability for my start screen to automatically move my live tiles based on location - if I am at the game, I want my MLB 2012 app (very sub standard compared with other OSs), and other sports pinned tiles to be at the top of my screen. If I am in a moving vehicle, I want GPS, Yelp, 4th and Mayor, et al, front and center. At work, I want Office, Exchange, and other tiles I designate "work" at the top. If I go to an airport, GateGuru at the top. I think you get the idea.
My co-workers S-III does something similar based on calendar. On work mornings, he has traffic conditions, weather, and a couple of GPS routes preselected. While it is not what I want, it is things I have to manually look up using my device.
Signed,
Apps are important, but if you are going to replace the work device (BBY), then make it truely useful with the above ideas.
 
 

As long as the "big boys" release their apps to shut up the haters I don't really care.
 
That being said it would be nice if certain board game to iOS adaptations made their way over to WP (Magic the Gathering, Ticket to Ride, Elder Sign, Summoner Wars/Hero Academy etc)

What Microsoft should do since they have the deep pockets for it is pay the makers of the top ten apps that aren't on WP yet. Like instagram, Pinterest, Pandora and so on to make the decision easier for a lot of people to switch to WP.   Pay out about 5 million to the best and biggest developes. That's nothing for a company like Microsoft.  I'm sure they'll get their money back cause a lot of people don't switch due to app selection.

Im just hoping MS and the Zune team can start improving on the music experience (Zune app). Why cant I have my embedded albumart as a lockscreen wallpaper? (Zune service is no working here and I dont care about it either)
 
-Why cant I scrobble my mp3's to Last.fm?
 
-Why cant I get to the library if I go into the player from the volume-control?
 
-Why arent they improving on the simple features as an mp3-player? Give us something other than streaming services we have to pay for. Equalizer, hello?!
 
Its time to slap the Zune team in the face so they wake the F up.
Other than that Im just hoping MS is working hard on the big companies etc. as here in Sweden it looks like we wont even get the biggest TV-channels working on WP. So sad.

Im talking about the phone! I dont care what they call it, the music-player on the phone, it need improvements its like from the 90's.

Zune is dreadful software, and the only worse music software is the native Windows media player. MusicMatch used to by my preferred player; since it was bought by Y! it too is useless. Now I use iTunes. I only use Zune to create a playlist and put on my phone and occasionally check for a force upgrade to 7.8.
Here is an opportunity for HTC or Nokia to rock the app world and create an excluse W8 music/media app that is useful.

Recently went on a road trip with some friends. At one point we decided everyone can add some songs to the plalist which is then shuffled. We used a iPhone for that. On WP adding multiple songs to a playlist is a pain in the ass. No idea what MS has thought there.

I lean more towards features but cannot deny the importance of apps in the marketplace. I can't wait until October 29. It should be like Christmas, LOL!

I'm happy with the apps available on wp7 right now.  Just want them to run faster and startup quicker, almost like the native apps.  Make a super slick facebook and whatsapp and i'll be satisfied.

Personally I have felt the same way. How are you going to launch a brand new platform and then have nothing but old platform NON HD non new api using apps. 99% of these apps cant even utilize the start screen tile re-size feature. As a developer i am quite pissed that they haven't released the sdk and that it wont be out until the phones are basically out. I could have prepared all my apps for WP8 but instead I will be months behind.

Way to go microsoft.

Regarding the tile resizing capability, I thought MS said that all 7.5 apps would handle it. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

??? You don't have to do anything to your app except maybe make a long tile...Nothing vital in your app will break, and if you want to, just redraw your graphics (which won't be hard at all) I'd say you can "prepare" app in as little as a couple hours...at most

I don't give a rat's ass about apps. I use what comes with the phone and then the web browser for all else. Apps for just accessing web content to me is totally lame. You almost always only get a subset of what's available on the full site.

Apps may not be important to you, but are important to millions of customers across the globe. Perhaps a better forum for you may be the Motorola flip phone from the 90s.

Dear MoronAB,

I was giving my opinion. Unlike you and others, I realize the rest of the world may not share my opinion. The author made a claim that "it's the apps that matter" and I made a counter-claim. Is that too hard for you to understand?

Name calling, isn't that mature. Opinions are like @$$holes, we all them and they all stink. Have a nice day.
BTW, when giving an opinion many forum writers use the convention IMHO, or probably better for you would be IMO.
Signed,
As soon as you make something idiot proof, along comes a better idiot.

I don't really think I'm allowed to say much, but I can say we are discussing some funky new features to our app.....although a Windows 8 version has taken precedence for us.

My understanding is that pretty much all WP7 apps will work very well with WP8

Also, and I think this is true for the UK. Features such as the Wallet aren't fully supported by any(many) of the networks due to needing a secure SIM??. This of course may be one of the big announcements coming....or of course, I could be entirely wrong too!!

I prepare to be disappointed and take it from there. To much is still unknown to start getting any hopes up, and that selected developers philosophy will give us a smaller choice foe new apps, so, I prepare to be disappointed and then I can only be positively suprised.

I would bet on them making tie in games with the new xbox released next year along with further intergration of the consoles programs (I hate the new word apps).

This is why I may hold off on a device at launch. The SDK isn't even in circulation yet. My Trophy is buzzing right along so I'm in no rush.

1500 developers have been given the SDK, , all I can tell you is, you will not be disappointed at Win phone 8.sorry can't expose too much.
 

Hey Robert, I'm still wondering where/if Bluestack, or a variant will fit into the app question?  Would sure fill an app void rather quickly. 

 

 

I’m not sure the answer the app question is running Android Apps on Windows Phone, I’m all for flexibility though. RB 

Guys we need to start doing our own push for WP. I say we start tweeting or facebooking every single article about WP and flood social networking. Make it so wherever they turn they see a lumia 8x or ativ-s. LETS DO IT!!!!

I've started posting some things after I started seeing ppl ask which device they should get, iPhone 5 or S3? So I post WP8 with the High-end devices images. Ppl really just don't know and I feel alot of ppl just don't want to know, sad

I do my own WP guerilla marketing. I make sure and use the People hub for ALL of my Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary wishes on Facebook because it has that little line underneath your name - posted "via Windows Phone." So far, of my 285 FB friends, I only have two others who are also in WP groups, or I have seen the pVWP line.

Can anyone tell me how I can send music to my Windows Phone out of the Music app through "Devices" instead of having to open Zune?

I really wish they would have brought Foursquare integration to the check-in support. Facebook check-ins were deprecated in favor of place tagging in statuses something like 2 months after 7.5 became available.

Biggest problem with the apps is not the number of apps, or availability of one app or another. The problen with the apps on WP7, which I hope is addressed on WP8, is the performance of 3rd party apps compared to the core OS. Just look at whatsapp, Audible, Facebook, or any other "heavy" app. Performance is just mediocre at best. If you look through comments on Marketplace, the number of people saying they're switching back to iOS or Android because of performance is staggering, which is sad. There is no way Microsoft can compete with iOS and Android (putting Marketing asise) if performance issues aren't addressed

While i agree that we need some new hot apps on the platform from my point of view it's also important that MS got their act together on country support for all the features (e.g. no Zune pass in Germany, no official Local Scout support,...) and really has improved on some of the annoyances of the built in apps like music hub (failing to load artist background images even on songs bought at Zune marketplace, inconsistent UI by their own WP design guidelines,...), video player, phone app (having no Visual Voicemail support on German carriers).

Yes, I think the best thing would be not to restart the app if tapped on a live tile. Instead resume the last state... But I think this would be a too big change for MS to do it...

That would be logical for publishing, but you still need an app (Or integration in the Me tile like FB) for viewing content and such.

I apologize if this is mentioned already, but will apps created using the new SDK be backwards compatible with 7.5/7.8 phones?

I believe so unless they take advantage of APIs and such that are specific to WP8, or of course hardware not found on pre-WP8 devices.

Windows 8 will bring apps to Windows Phone 8. Developers are now easier to port apps to Windows Phone 8 because it finally has native code.

1.   Bring Halo. FPS..what are you waiting so long? It should showcase the technical capabilities of the new system. Ok it will sucks with smartphone controls but at least it a start..
 
2. Age of Empires RTS and no "free" to play crap version please. but a remake of AoE 1 and 2. 
3. Bring Microsoft Studio and other editing programs to little screen too. 
4. Better facebook and twitter applications
5. Pinterest application
6. Instagram ....
7. dragon dictation or microsoft voice dictation or microsoft siir
8 nokia maps are nice but we still want google maps
9 Some Final Fantasy Vii portable remake wouldn't hurt...if needed pay money for them
 
More exclusives..
 

When I emailed BBC's iPlayer team about the possibility of an iPlayer app for Windows Phone devices they stated 2 reasons for not having developed the app, one being the OS's low market share, and the other being the fact that the DRM streaming services used were only in two formats - Adobe's Flash and Apple's HLS. They had no plans to adopt any other formats, such as IIS streaming and would only consider this option if WP's market share increased.