Developers react to the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK leaks

Details of the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 SDK leaked earlier today. The information comes to us from developers with access to the Software Development Kit or SDK. We’ve seen some screenshots surface and a lot of details shared.

Thankfully, not all the fun was spoiled since the SDK itself still has a few surprises that no one has discovered yet. That and we can tell you there are a lot of consumer features not even in the SDK, like Cortana, the Action Center and a few other goodies. What we got today was the recipe book for Windows Phone 8.1, but you folks still want to see it in action. In other words, there's still more to come.

In the meantime, we’ve talked with a few developers to get their initial thoughts on the details in the leak. Mind you, they haven't seen the SDK themselves, but are familiar enough to know what it all means for them as a trade. We've kept a few of their names anonymous due to the sensitive nature of this leak today (Microsoft is not too pleased), but a few of them you'll be familiar with, so read on!

"I love how they made some of the standard UI functionality that people expect in a Windows Phone app (such as page transition animations, and the tilt effect when pressing items and progress indicators) automatic, so you don't have to code them yourself, just to match everyone else." –Anonymous

“From my perspective the audio and video editing/transcoding are particularly exciting. WP has been particularly lacking in that department up until now.” –Anonymous

“If the information leaked were correct, it looks like Microsoft is finally responding to critics who said their platform is too restricted and should finally provide developers the freedom to innovate on Windows Phone.” –Anonymous

“I can't wait to get my hands on the SDK, and can't wait to see what they announce at BUILD despite all the leaks.” –Anonymous

“The new SDK opens up so many possibilities in terms of unique and interesting applications as well as bringing the SDK closer in line with the existing Windows 8 SDK functionality. I see direct benefits for enterprise applications as well as client applications whilst still growing native OS functionality.” – Charl, developer of LiveGaming

“It looks like Windows Phone 8.1 is shaping up to be an awesome update with some great additions for both users and developers. As the developer of a video-focused app, the hardware accelerated audio and video transcoding should prove to be very useful.” –Chris, developer of myTube

The leaks from earlier today on the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK revealed a pretty big amount of information. Things like single sign-in support for apps, VPN support, Wi-Fi Direct support, media editing, audio/video transcoding and more have been found in the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK.

Are you a developer? User? Sound off below with what you’re most excited about in the recent leaks for Windows Phone 8.1.

Screenshot in lede photo via @AngelWZR

  • So where is the leak coming from? Didn't the developers sign NDAs? Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Obviously someone broke the NDA, which is never a good idea. Hard to keep a secret in the digital age.
  • So what's the deal with Facebook support on WP?... Will it not be there in 8.1 like it is now?
  • there will be a New Built-in App Called " Facebook Blue" For a better FB Experience ... :D
  • Sounds good
  • I really hope they bring Facebook messenger to the platform. The built-in Facebook chat is a little unreliable - mainly when you have low signal and the Facebook app itself is missing some basic messenger features like the 'seen' feature and the ability to see when a person is typing. I'm so excited for Windows Phone 8.1!! :D
  • Main limitation for me with the built in app is the lack of support for group messages and them not showing.  Can live without the bells & whilstles, but it's not reliable with the current Facebook API  
  • I don't really care about the facebook experience in itself as much as I care about integrating my facebook friends into my contacts hub and getting to their news quickly and easily. Facebook Blue topping that is yet to be seen.
  • It will be there, just implmented differently.  Official social media apps will be able to INTEGRATE themselves into the OS.  The official 'Facebook Blue' app which will be included will be the first app to showcase this new integration.  Pretty much, you sign into the app, and it automatically associates into the OS.  Similiar to how Skype can do that on WP8.0 today.  :)   Imagine the possibilities.  This would giver greater flexibility for newer social medias to jump on and for current ones to expand their functionality.
  • Are you a developer?... Do you have a link?
  • aren't we already using this feature? this is moving backward. @benthepcguy can't do the wp challenge again for posting status on several social networks. way to go ms!
  • Any possibility of Instagram being integrated into the People hub?
  • You are correct.
  • FB is dying
  • It will be up the app to provide the integration rather then Microsoft developing and maintaining the integration.
  • Can Ms contact places like the purge and get information as to where they got the info from. And then next time threaten legal action against any one that puts leaks on their site ???
  • If any site reveals info on who leaked the SDK or anything for that matter, no one would be a source to them for their employment's sake. And Microsoft has already threatened legal action when they find the person. And this is the internet and the US includes free speech and news sites have a right to report on potential leaks.
  • Why does someone have to break the NDA? What if there is a hot-sexy reporter that likes to leak things so she can get credit and she does this by seducing and sleeping with known developers in order to get into their phones.   Shouldn't always think the worst in people =)
  • Everything reported on this is based on a developer leaking the info in the SDK. I like your theory, but if someone did that they still pointed at the developer as leaking it.   To be honest, I like the features but don't like how most of it leaks on day one. Takes the fun out of announcement day.
  • For a lot of developers NDA means nothing and being a "source" is more important than having ethics
  • Depends on your school of ethics
  • What is the supposed penalty for breaking an NDA like this, if the leaker is ever prosecuted for this?
  • Death by heart disease.
  • Your copy of Windows gains sentience and will travel back in time to kill your mother
  • The penalty will most likely be reduced trust from Microsoft in the future releases. Going back to where developers find out new information with the rest of the public. As this trust is lost, so is the ability for application developers to integrate new features in before or shortly after a major update. Remember how we complained because we didn't get that extra few weeks to make application improvements? They extended trust, and now we break it.
  • I'm particularly happy to see support for Silverlight and freaking Geofencing. There is a lot of very exciting news here for developers. (Please utilize geofencing, Microsoft and developers). I can just see Cortana being able to play your gym playlist and launch your fitness apps once you enter your gym, or utlize Play To to start a playlist when you get home, simply by presence of geofencing. Question: Where is text message search or news of an updated Wallet?
  • Dear god please add text searches and a media section like Whatsapp has.
  • Isn't that what smart search is, like on Windows 8.1?
  • I just hope they keep the  facebook integration and dont do the same as windows 8.1 taking off the messaging app from the OS 
  • Oh god that was the worst thing in 8.1.
    WP should strive for the opposite: expose an api to add your messaging service in the phone's app. It's the future, man.
  • Indeed, the facebook integration was good, albeit a little unreliable. However adding an API to "allow app to integrate with messages app" would be great. Might as well have one app to rule them all, rather than 3-4 different apps running simultaneously. Also would allow better integration and consolidation of contacts between services.
  • This maybe has potential
  • It looks like they WILL keep Facebook integration. They're just doing it another way so that it can be improved over time. I wouldn't be that scared if I were you. Dumping the current way Facebook integrates into the OS for embracing a new way that will allow development and improvement seems like the smartest decision they could have taken.
  • Man; if they take away FB chat integration in the messaging app, that is SO gonna suck. That is one of the phone's top features!! :(
  • well i think they are providing authentication methods in windows phone and anyone app can be installed in messaging app , facebook , whatsapp etc. lets hope it will be a true and it will be one of the best upgrades
  • As a developer who wasn't asked to participate in this preview (have in all others) I'm annoyed that it took about 5 seconds for someone to break the NDA. This is why they don't trust us.
  • How serious is this.. Legal action?
  • Potential, after all by releasing this information you are breaching your contract. Microsoft could decide to take legal action, but outcomes depend on wording and where the developer is located. Worse, that they continue to contract their rounds of previews until eventually there is release only and no previews.
  • You think a multimillion corportion went intot this without thinking ahead. This was though through by MSFT they are some scrubs they know someone will leak and guess what its free advertisement because they would have to fork out money to advertise themselves.   Someone fell for a trap.
  • I agree! Although hearing about the new things in the pipe for WP8.1 is exciting, breaking the NDA is not the way to do it. I guess they think the “Anonymous” bragging rights are more important than respecting the NDA.
  • I was gonna ask, did Microsoft intentionally want to leak some of the new features?
  • I agree.  They didn't jus release 1 or 2 features they spoiled EVERYTHING they could.  I was a part of the XBOX NDA at one point.  I felt that keeping the NDA rules sacred was a big deal.  While i am excited for the new WP features the breaking of the NDA kind of makes it less exciting IMO.
  • This ^ I was part of the Xbox NDA also and I never shared that information.
  • Absolutely agreed. I was angry that we didn't all get the early look at 8.0, and now I'm upset, though far less so, that we don't get to see 8.1 now, but it's this kind of crap that is the reason why. By the same token, though, doesn't Apple give all their devs early looks? Doesn't seem to have hurt them any...
  • I never understood why companies try to keep everything so hush hush at this stage of the game, call me naive, because I am, but I think its a good thing, as a customer, to at least have some ideas of what to expect in the update as far as new features. Though I feel companies are the naive ones in this digital age to think ndas will even be effective anymore.
  • They were going to tell us early, just not this early.
  • It kills the launch day excitement. Also in case something isn't working and is removed the reception during launch is negative..
  • Early leaks has before shown that it slows down selling of current hardware. For a platform like WP that struggles to get market share this is a huge friggin deal. Not to mention there's compete issue with competiors, wrong message getting across, people freak out due to misunderstandings etc etc. It's completely ridiculous that people break this NDA. It means that in the future it's less likely they will open up early access to a broader set of people, meaning the SDK will get less testing and thus it'll suck way more. And also shame on the news media (like Windows Phone Central) for wildly blasting this stuff out. Yeah yeah you're just trying to get page hits and sell some ads, but you're totally part of scewing Windows Phone - the platform you're all about.
  • true !  +1
  • True - Consider the pending release of the Lumia Icon.  It doesn't have SD card support, so the leaked Install to SD card feature could make some (myself included) rethink this device.
  • The update won't be available for some time. Giving google and Apple a heads up on what is coming gives them a chance to add features to their os as a response. I recall ios getting the split keyboard shortly after Microsoft announced it but way before windows 8 arrived for consumers. Plus you get better press coverage if you announce something that wasn't reported previously.
  • Chivary still exist. Im just saying.   On another note. The reason why corporations keep it on a hush hush well, many reason but the best one I knwo of is because before patents are granted they dont want anyone to steal ideas.
  • "Microsoft is not too pleased"   Bah, come on, they knew perfectly well that this would happen. They knew perfectly well that the information would spill and they knew that signing NDA's wouldn't prevent anything. That's why they didn't put everything in it. That way they build excitement and momentum towards the official announcement.
  • ^^this
  • Agree!
  • +920
  • Right!!!!!!!!!!
  • I tend to agree. I can imagine the other features (Cortana, et all) have many developer-specific functionality they they could have previewed, but they left it out because they knew leaks were going to happen.
  • You have a point, but I still don't think breaking a NDA is the correct way to gain bragging rights. It just sucks that it has come to this. I agree NDAs no longer have a place, but who/what are you if your word/handshake no longer means anything? I guess this is why NDAs were created in the first place... and now they no longer mean anything. So what's next, complete abandonment of all agreements from now on?
  • I totally agree. Its a scumbag move. I disrespect that developer already. But in this day and age "commitment issues" have escalated badly. This isn't ethical at all, I don't care about legality for a second.
  • I totally second what DJCBS has said this time.
  • Why do you say this time?
  • I don't always agree with everything he says. So..that's the reason.
  • Haven't you read his ever-so-gloomy-and-vengeful writings after MSFT purchased NOK's D&S division? That's why lol.
  • Yeah and this info when we users spread to others will spread the word to others who are desperate to buy WP but werent buying b4 due to lack of features.
  • Shame these so called devs leak info and screenshots. An agreement is an agreement and should be respected. I do suspect MS, like Apple before, doesn't mind a leak here or there for publicity.
  • What if it wasnt a dev that leak this info what if it was a MSFT black-ops employee that pretended to be a dev.   /tinfoil hat
  • lol no tinfoil needed.  I buy into it... I just think it's nice to have a surprise or two with new updates and features.  We've all become acustomed to everything smartphones can do so I am not overlly taken back 50 different articles abou a screen-rotation lock or new colour theme.  When they introduce new functionality or dev's build new apps that are so insanely usefull you question why no one had done it before....that is the stuff worth writting home about.
  • Um Sam, in your pictures copyrighted with "Windows Phone Central", they show the actual 8.1 photos. Do you actually have 8.1, or have the screenshots and just showing it on the phone?
  • It's probably a screenshot on a WP8 device.
  • The real question to me is will it be worth waiting on the 8.1 hardware?  The Snapdragon 805 isn't that much of an upgrade over the 800.  Perhaps a faster GPU in the summer hardware refresh.  I don't see the 8.1 hardware being that much improved although if it's closer to Win 8.1 then it's likely we'll see the ability to snap multiple applications like Win RT.  That would make a 1520 type device with a stylus worthwhile.  So many decisions. I wish we had some rumors of what the new hardware will be already.
  • When will Microsoft be able to start making hardware for WP?
  • They already do from their recently acquired handset division they purchased from Nokia. :)
  • WiFi Direct -> possibly Miracast support? YAY!!
  • This.
  • Well it said that you could use Wifi Direct to mirror your phone on another device, so that's likely to be Miracast.
  • Hmm. Perhaps that's because it's running on a virtual machine? Which only has a virtual WiFi adaptor (and isn't capable of WiFi Direct). Though USB sounds good too, for places you can't use WiFi. Internal Microsoft/OEM devices have a system you can activate that broadcasts the screen to desktop software using USB, perhaps they've made this part of the OS now.
  • Got the invitation. Still haven't got time for hands on it but will soon...
  • /Disregard/
  • Or MS wanted someone to break it... That's probably why they left out the consumer fun parts out..
  • All they have to do is sue one developer and the leaks would dry up. Bad press but apple effective.
  • I'd sue then set aside the judgment, just to send a message. Overall it hurts the buzz come April. Yes, the blogs love this kind of news because it makes them relevant, but for a company that needs to change their consumer perception, having these features revealed closer to hardware people can buy is important.
  • Ok Bane.
  • The closer WP gets to Windows 8, the better. As a developer, its a dream-come-true kind of thing.
  • Windows Blue
    - Windows 8.1 it! - Windows Phone 8.1....Can't wait! Too me Windows 8.1 = to Windows 7 SP1 Next year NT 7.0 "Windows 9"
  • Like this...
  • So. Who is exited they joined the dev preview!
  • Me!
  • yeah i exited as soon as i got in
  • If only there is a file manager in WP8.1....
  • It's baked into OneDrive, although weirdly it appears you need a Microsoft account to use it.
  • Do people really use WP without an MS account?
  • Right?
  • I can't imagine a intentional leak when it comes to these types of items. Competitive advantage is paramount for companies and leaks null that out.
  • Which feature leaked is a killer feature? All these functions are available on Android or iOS
  • A ring that features a diamond is better than a piece of turd that features a diamond.
  • Will we be able to connect to wifi having static ips????...plz anyone.
  • Lumia 920 ROM from Rogers carrier has it. Not sure about other Rogers' ROMs
  • Just do a MAC reservation in your router, just as good as a static.
  • Still didn't get it...plz router is ZTE zxdsl 531b
  • goto ZTE site and select your router and done ! steps steps must be written there
  • I'm excited abotu the features but I'm most excited because the Developers are excited. If they're happy, then they're going to program for it and help develop and bring new features to the OS. As far as the NDAs, I'm sure that Microsoft has their own avenues for releasing information. It's only February and the new devices with all these features won't be released until June at the earliest which means that competitors have a four month advantage for coming up with their own answers to WP8.1 and all the new features.
  • So, what WP8.1 will have that others don't? Even cortana, everyone knows for ages what it will be...
  • Balmer always said... "You will love blue" and looks like he was right
  • This is the good phone OS, that nobody important wants to develop applications for. It is a shame, but many of the great apps are only published on iOS and Android. Hate seeing app ads with the Apple and Google Play icons only. After 3 years with Windows Phone i am switching back to Android
  • Goodbye. Hope everything you use is on TV.
  • Hahaha.
  • Hah, 3 years and jumping ship at the most exciting time. Good luck with Android.
  • at least on Android i can find most apps. Good luck being a distant #3 at the market.
  • You have lots of apps...though I can't really see any that would make me switch right now.
    For me - a smartphone is my music player, my camera and my navigation device. There is no better platform right now for those three things (Nokia MixRadio/Nokia Camera/Here Drive+).
    Windows 8.1 is a huge moment in the progression of Windows Phone. If you don't fancy sticking around, that's fine by us :). You'll be back though ;)
  • On iOS the app that runs on your phone, runs on your tablet, same SDK. With Windows Phone you have two separate SDKs (one for the phone another for Windows 8). Also I hope you can upgrade the OS on your phone like iOS and Android and don't force you to buy a new phone again. All the people stuck with contracts with WP 7 phones cannot upgrade to the latest OS, that was a low blow for the initial customer base.
  • This is why it was a bad idea to launch wpc app on Android.
  • that's beacouse your tablet is so limited it sucks. mine has full w8 and even emulates wp8 :p oh no, what about people stuck with 6.5? hope your god feels sorry for them too...
  • As a developer I did find the previous SDK a tad restrictive. There was no access to the call history or we could not write plugins that launch when a call comes to the phone (truecaller?) Access to the videos was restricted too and a few more things. I can't wait for the SDK to arrive.
  • damn it. was gonna ask a similar question.. so no truecaller or call recorder? we have to wait another year for that I guess :S
  • Flac support???    Please MS, please :)
  • Any proper support for ID3 tags, File Explorer
  • File Explorer should be baked into OneDrive.
  • Everything
  • Been playing with the sdk last night. Looking pretty nice! But there are some missing things that people are finding. Unsure if they are removed yet or just temp missing.
  • I shall accept the invite and test the features today............can't wait.
  • i am developer also , is there any way to join program for wp8.1  
  • Yeah, if you don't know, then you can't join. Welcome to the club
  • Can anyone explain me what audio and video transcoding is, or what it can be used for by developers? And what is single login? That you can sign in in apps with a MS account?
  • I would hazard a guess that it will allow developers to access the camera roll for the purpose of on device video editing (hence the video transcoding). Great news for the platform...and something I wasn't expecting in the WP8.1 update. Hopefully MS will also release a Movie Maker type app.
  • Any updates about the "Storage Sense" app found in the WP8.1 emulator?
  • Ok I got it from a youtube video. It is for managing where my app gets installed and abt my storage space.
  • Please fix the camera issue! I bought a windows phone because of its camera! 920's camera results are yellowish and blurry! Fix the efin camera algorithm! That would be the most innovative update of 8.1!
  • That's Nokia's job not Microsofts
  • Facebook integration is one useful feature that shouldn't go. Why will MS even think about stripping it off of WP
  • As I understand it, they are removing the baked-in Facebook integration, but at the same time make it possible for social networks (including Facebook) to make apps that integrate into the system as a sort of plugin.
  • I just hope that doesn't mess up and look and feel of the Facebook integration we're used to on WP
  • "audio and video transcoding" - Does this mean, that i can play any video and it will not reset my 'now playing' audio stream which made any audio player lose its own states?
  • Nope
  • That's disappointing. I was hoping, WP 8.1 would allow the user to play audio and video independently.
  • If they are going to remove facebook integration. I will not update my phone ;) 
  • I wouldn't go that far, but I agree. I hope one can still access FB and other social networks directly from within the People Hub. That was the best part of the People Hub. Not only do you have detailed contact info, you could also see any social networking activities they are involved in!
  • I wana become a developer, plz help me out..what is the procedure,,,,I dont have a credit card...I want free registration,,,plzzzzzzz