More on Windows Phone 8 – New Bing features, custom audio alerts and more

With more screen caps from the Windows Phone 8 SDK coming out we can glean a lot of new functionality that is coming to the new OS this fall. In fact at this rate we’re not sure what Microsoft will have left to tell us come September/October.

Head past the break for a break down of a few new features that we’ve come across including:

  • New features for Bing including Deals, Buzz and News
  • Custom audio alerts
  • Bing Map improvements
  • Photo Hub options
  • Email dictation

It’s sure to make an exciting OS and we think many of you will appreciate the new additions.

Bing has always been that technology we wanted to see more of in Windows Phone and now that looks to be the case with WP8. The service has greatly expanded in the upcoming OS with a ton of new features including:

  • Bing Local Deals (via Scoupons)
  • Bing News
  • Bing Buzz (movies)
  • Bing Top Videos
  • Local Events
  • Allow search from Lock screen
  • Personalized suggestions (apps, nearby places, deals)

Bing Deals is what it sounds like. Using the service Scoupon (, Bing Deals will show you all the awesome offers in your area. If you’re thinking “that sounds like Groupon” you would be right though Scoupons seems a little less greedy than the Groupon boys.

Bing News, Top Videos and Buzz are all extensions of the news service in Bing. Now you can get the latest headlines, watch the highest ranked videos and get reviews and “the buzz” on current events or movies (e.g. ratings).

Local Events sounds like a Scout extension with the service displaying the latest in concerts, shows, events and more.

Finally, Bing can optionally recommend apps, nearby places and deals based on your preferences to complete the experience.

Maps of course are going to be powered by Nokia and we’ve already seen a lot with those changes in our previous write up. Two other areas though we forgot to mention:

  • Show nearby Wi-Fi
  • Download for offline usage

The find Wi-Fi feature was mentioned during the Windows Phone Summit and is for showing you free, open Wi-Fi around your location. Perfect for saving data or if you’re in a pinch.

Offline maps will allow you to download the maps in your local area for quick access and savings on data usage, finally matching what Android can do with Google Maps already.

The Photo Hub gets more “tools” to allow easy adjustments of your photos, those features are:

  • Edit photos – crop, rotate, fix, aspect ratio

While many of us use third party apps for those functions, it’s pretty great to have them baked into the OS.

While we don’t know much about the Xbox Music cloud collection, you’ll have access to it on your Windows Phone 8 device. Presumably this is a way to share your music stored in the cloud but available on your PC, Xbox and Windows Phone.

Finally, custom audio alerts are coming to Windows Phone 8. Yes, you can finally set your favorite sounds for your favorite notifications:

  • Voicemail
  • Email
  • Text or IM
  • Email

We’re sure for many of you, this will “complete” the OS and while it is a simple thing to rejoice for (like screen capture) it’s still great to get confirmation that it is there for us to use.

WP Central

Oh and over at Mi Movil Windows, they found out that dictating your emails via Bing TellMe (Voice Command) will also be a new feature in Windows Phone 8. Once again, this is one of those features we would assume is there but it’s great to see it confirmed.

Source: Imgur; Thanks, Himanshpal, for the link

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Bing maps improve?? I thought it was Nokia maps for Apollo.
  • It's Bing maps powered by Nokia Maps.
  • After Nokia's last map update, I was hoping Bing can get turn by turn going in Windows Phone 8. Without me having to touch the screen that is. The 3.0 update was a big letdown for me. I decided to just buy an app for the road.
  • Sorry no Nokia Hard on for you today
  • I thought email dictation was briefly touched upon at the WP8 summit? From the sounds of this article, I must have been imagining it, unless it was a very brief mention while they were demonstrating the use of TellMe in apps.
    All of this looks pretty awesome :) Thanks for the updates, WPC :)
  • My two problems with tellme on wp7 is it thinks I am done speaking when I'm not, and the Lumia 900 has a noisecancelling mic but tellme can't use it and so it lowers the accuracy. Do you think they'll fix it?
  • And im excited for wp8 but im more interested gor 7.8 keep up the good work WpCentral
  • You are getting a start screen. Deal with this.
  • There have been hints that it's more than just start screen changes. Keep up with the coverage on here. Don't be surprised if alot of wp8 features make it into 7.8 like custom alerts.
  • No, there really haven't been. The only speculation suggesting there's more is from commenters who keep saying there's more. Is it possible? Yeah, but likely? Not really. Doing so would really fragment the Windows Phone platform, and I don't see Microsoft going "Android" on this matter.
  • I believe Stephen Elop and also a product manager gave subtle hints there could be more as stated by this
    Nothing concrete but it does offer some hope.
  • Belfiore hinted it himself in a recent video interview so yes, there really have been
  • All things in this article don't need new hardware to run. I expect to get all this on my Quantum .
  • As if you're entitled to all of it
  • My thoughts exactly...
  • Custom audio alerts! This I want!
  • This should have been in WP7, cheap crappy phones have it.
  • Seriously, what will be left for Microsoft to talk about? You have to think this is not exactly what they had planned. Maybe I'm wrong tho...
  • Custom audio alerts, awesome, but I hope developers have the ability for custom audio alerts for their apps!
  • Custom app alerts? Don't know how logical that would be. Numerous different alert sounds for numerous different apps seems a bit far reaching.
  • been needing this when my friend texts me i'll know wiether to answer or not, or my mom, etc
  • Absolutely loved this on iOS.
  • hopefully they improve bing search, sometimes when i search something,  i get a
    no results message. not sure if anybody experiences that..
    annoying to me. 
  • You are all alone on a deserted island with that one.
  • That's never happened to me either.
  • Ya I have and I hit search again and I then get results it only happens rarely though
  • Happens once in a great while for me.
  • Never experienced it.
  • Bing is almost useless, especially outside of the US. A light year behind Google, sorry to say.
  • Perfectly fine here in the UK on my HD7....
    I use Bing more as Google is crap!
  • it's most likely your data connection (weak signal)
    I used to have issues with my old carrier, they disappeared when I switched carriers.
  • I just wanna make the star trek communicator chirp sound for when I unlock the phone. :D
  • Looooooooooooooooooooooooool
  • Yes!  Just that little chirp you hear when the communicator was opened in TOS.  That would be brilliant.  So happy that my number 1 feature has been added, custom audio alerts!  Come on, Sprint!  Announce your WP8 phone!
  • Nice
  • Anyone knows if wpcentral has a windows 8 app in the works ?Anyone knows if wpcentral has a windows 8 app in the worksAnyone knows if wpcentral has a windows 8 app in the works?
  • We're very aware of the demand ;) We're also aware that forum integration in the mobile app is very much anticipated too. Lots of work!
  • Cool :)
  • lol lots of work for Jay you mean :D
  • Spot on... I have to prioritise all the new work as Daniel has pointed out :) I also have to get time off my day job so I can actually write it all!
  • Hey, Daniel. We can already search from the lock screen.
  • Spend more time in the forums than the actual site!! I hope that you can work it into the app, though I have my Forums attached to my start screen right next to my WP app. We are a small but dedicated community....
  • What do we need a web browser for if people keep demanding apps for every little thing?
  • I'm working on a app for people who want an app for every little thing
  • Times change, lol
  • The WP7 app will work on WP8, will it not??...
  • All. Windows Phone 7 (&7.5) will work on Windows Phone 8. It was mentioned already in many previous articles.
  • Exactly :-)
  • It will. But the question was a windows 8 app, not Windows Phone..
  • The list of coming features and integrated services is going to be huge.  I can't wait for their official announcements.
  • I just hope these features are going to be available in all regions especially Australia and not just US
  • And nz
  • And in the Netherlands!
  • FYI we've always been able to search from lock screen
  • Lots of these features seem like they wouldn't be to dificult to put into 7.8. I mean they added the ability to add custom ringtones to mango so it may not be far off. And on a side note you already can go straight to bing by holding the button as long as the screen is on and if you can unlock the passcode when you hold it :p
  • Granted they could implement a lot of it in to 7.8, But I personally would rather them invest more in wp8 and just buy new hardware
  • Diminishing return, dumping everyone onto the WP8 team won't necessarily increase productivity. There's no reason why Microsoft can't have a small team porting features back.
  • Agreed.  Get win8 out and on killer hardware because the platform is running out of time.
  • This is all looking great. Im also hoping for FourSquare integration in the OS as well.
  • Yeah foursquare would be pretty sweet. I also wish Bing integrated Groupon (since its more popular) but that's ok
  • Or bought Groupon
  • This. Please integrate foursquare! In the style of 4th & Mayor. My life would be complete!
  • Or if they let apps integrate themselves into the deals!, I wish they did that for everything!
  • First, these are all GREAT features, and as pointed out in the article... they really "complete" the experience I've been looking for. Second, WP7.8 is NOT going to have these features. I'm sorry. It's just not, and it's really time that everyone accepts that. Unless you're a developer, you don't get to say what's "easy to implement" or not when an entire OS core is different or when a company is trying to make money and push people forward.
  • Microsoft needs to get as much services and UX into 7.8 as possible to make up for the lack of a full update. They have to, or the platform will be ripped to shreds by the less friendly members of the tech press. If it's easy or not has nothing to do with the matter.
  • Why not? All of the features listed here are NOT hardware dependent..and these are not apps-they are additions that MS is adding to the OS..
  • How is it any different to apple bringing out a new iPhone and not giving new features to older Gen pones. Don't act like others don't do it..
  • And people need to stop pretending that software development is the hardest thing out there. It wouldn't be a huge ask of a team of experienced programmers to create an interface to interact with the backend services being introduced here.
  • Push people forward from, what, five month old Nokia Lumia 900s?
  • Please tell me that the new Bing Maps will have a Public Transit direction option?
  • I'm wondering this too but I just use mango transit for now, it's like it's integrated.
  • Is there any word on when the 7.8 update might b out..?
  • after 8, there not gonna release 7.8 till weve been wowed by v8
  • And you've bought a new phone too!
  • Shortly after wp8 is released
  • If ATT wants to..
  • But the big question is, will we finally be able to zoom in Bing images, without having to open IE?? Pretty glaring omission from 7/7.5 IMHO...
  • Yeah this drives me nuts.. And to be able to save a picture too. As it is currently, the image search is completely useless without those features
  • Yeah that's a good question! Plus what about flicking through images rather than open and go back to every single one? Annoying!
  • +1 and +1
  • This is awesome. Thanks for the info... I can't W8 for WP8... jejeje
  • I hope it had led alerts like Blackberry's. I really miss this feature. It was cool to know who was calling, emailing, texting or IMing me just by looking at my phone. Then again Nokia is to cheap to put a led indicator like HTC and Samsung I doubt they will.
  • So the LED indicator performed a Morris Code like function by which you knew who was calling you :-D or did you open it and the knew who was calling.
  • -1
  • You could color code your contacts. You could give your mom, dad, girl, work etc their own color. With your screen locked and black u could know who it was just by the color of the led indicator.
  • @cdbstl76 you must have a Nokia without a led indicator
  • I have an HTC with the led and it only turns red or green based on battery status.
  • Love these integrations. It offers something for every need. My wife would be all over the scroupons . I would like the Local Scout to be a little more efficient and have a better search.
  • Is there any chance you could try to find out if Windows 8 will be custom reminder times in the calendar at last? Me and my brother both hate not being able to do that! I want to be able to select a time and day when I want a reminder e.g. 2 hours, 3 days, 5:30pm on 26th May etc. The set times are just too limited! We get custom times for "how long" so surely the same for the reminders shouldn't take much.
  • *have
  • I would think we could get custom alert tones "prior" to WP8. This would just be a software update. Please don't tell me it will only be available in WP8 and higher.......
  • I'm hoping to see Bing Rewards become integrated. I get a ton of points when I use Bing on my desktop, but I do many more searches on my phone than I do on my desktop. And yes, I know I can go to the mobile site, but I'm talking about earning rewards NATIVELY when using the search button.
  • Take that iOS!!!!
  • Fantastic improvements. I love the polish they are giving the OS at the smaller levels because that's what you interact with every time you pull out your phone. I can't wait for Septemeber/October/November/December... Lol.
  • It's nice that custom alert tones are coming, but iOS/Android already has the ability to set a custom ringtone per contact and many other types of alerts. THis is just the beginning.
  • So did Windows Mobile and Symbian, before droid and iPhones werre on the market, so im not sure what your point is??
  • Windows Phone allows you to set custom ringtones too. Oops?
  • Thank God we're finally going to get custom audio alerts
  • Yes, thank god. I don't know how I've managed to live this long without custom alerts. Oh yeah that's right, I used my eyes to look at who was contacting me.
  • So new features are bad to you? They're more useful than pointless sarcasm IMO. :-P
  • It would be nice if you could have different sound for SMS and IM.
    At least in my case, they are used a bit differently, with IM being used more for longer, ongoing, conversations, where sound alerts feels less needed, and with the other person using a PC to chat with half of the time, the alerts can feel a bit spammy.
    I ended up turning sound alerts off, but since they are tried together that mans no sound alerts for SMS either, which I'm a lot more interested in receiving notification for (as they are less frequent and often require a bit more immediate attention).
    I realise people use these things differently, but I wish there was an option to seperate the two.
  • Microsoft needs to get it together fast with windows phone 7.8 and 8 because the all "Hype" iPhone 5 will be released Sept. 12th! Who's going back to iOS? NOT ME!
  • I read that Sept 12 will be the day the new iPhone is announced, not released. Of course in Apple's world, there's only about a week difference between announce and release.
  • I doubt that you can custom the ringtones, because when you look closer you can see that in the screen where you can choose your custom ringtone there on the top stands "Windows Phone" but if you want to choose a "New Email" ringtone then there's nothing like that on the top. I think this Windows Phone stands there to distinguish between your custom and those that were preloaded. So it's the same as it is right now.
    EDIT: I just played around a bit with the emulator and I don't think that there is a way to add a custom E-Mail tone etc. If I add a custom ringtone with an app on the emulator it only shows the standard ones and not the custom in those areas except for the usual ringtone.
  • There better be a better speech recognition software
  • Indeed.. Hopefully they will have partnerships, nee games and apps to announce etc. Second, beyond the tech blogs this has not been widely reported yet, so hopefully the main stream media will talk about wp8 when it's announced. Third, a live presentation of some features in particular is much more interesting than just looking at emulators. :)
  • I have my serious doubts about these custom alert tones. The screenshot really doesn't tell a bloody thing... Just a different color pickerbox here is not enough.
    Daniel: can you inform us on how you can be so explicit that this is really coming? What other proof than a screen do you have?
  • TogglesTogglesTogglesToggles?
  • Anyone know if there are custom volumes? For example, at night I want all of my sms / phone / email notifications to be very quiet or off, and my alarm volume to be earth-shatteringly loud :P Yes, I realise that the alarm gets louder over time, but I've still missed it a few times.
  • Unless I'm crazy...I can already set-up custom notifications right now on my Omnia W running Tango. Is there something I'm missing?
  • So custom audio tones/notifications requires NFC, HD screens and dual cores?
    Wondering why this can't be back-ported to current Lumia devices.  My old Nokia Symbian E71 did this, five years ago.
  • WTF? Custom notification sounds on WP8? Whatever you still can't do it...