Photosynth for Windows Phone 8, what took so long? We’ll show you.

As some of you know, I’ve had the preview release of Photosynth for Windows Phone 8 since late October. The app felt and indeed looked no different than the Windows Phone 7 version although it did have Lens integration. That integration though was little more than treating the Lens as an app launcher and not really unique to the user experience.

Now in a tweet, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore explains why the delay occurred between the version I have and the one that just came out today. The main difference is now the Lens app is a different and indeed much better experience than before. Photosynth in Lens mode is full screen whereas before it was only partial.

It’s a small change that seems to have taking quite some time but in the end, we agree with Belfiore that this was the way to do it.

You can find Photosynth for Windows Phone 8 here in the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store.

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.

  • No I don't agree. If MS would wake up fron its princess dream they would see that the world turns much faster than they do
  • link please?
  • "Photosynth" per Windows Phone
  • Agreed, MS are too slow and too laid back at the moment
  • Then make your own apps if its that easy. Realize that :)
  • Well said!  Well said! 
    If they come out too soon and the app isn't well made, people will whine - how come they didn't take their time.  It's out now - use it.  Or don't.  It's that simple.
  • ^whiners are like a disease.
  • The only cure is more cow bell.
  • Fevers are brought on by viruses, not desieses.
  • ... I'll take this one boys.
  • And the only thing to cure a fever is more cowbell.
  • Lol, "I need more cowbell!"
  • Naa, 42
  • How many roads....
  • I would say that MS should put the focus on Windows Phone and not iOS/Android. It is embarrassing to see apps like Skype and Photosynth exist and get UPDATES with the competition while the hone platform waits. If MS is making the argument to 3rd part developers that WP8 is worth the effort, then they better make sure they practice what they preach.
  • oh nvm i see the other post
  • But it does not display featured pics in the lense launcher
  • but the point of lens is to "shoot" pictures using the app, no?
  • clever! and i agree.
    I think they have made a Lense experience that upped the bar of how other apps will utilize this feature in the phone. Some lenses are just launchers.
  • I read on the verge, pandora has available on the store with free subsidize for 1 year...
    Sorry, i was wrong....:(
  • Once it becomes available, it will be subsidized for one year. They said that back in October when WP8 was unveiled in San Francisco.
  • Clearly, making the lens was 5 months of work... Ugh. Thousands of hours of work for it? If that's REALLY the reason why, then why not release, then update? Ah well. I'm glad it's finally out.
  • Well, 4 months...and really more like 3.5 months but yeah, it took way too long. They could have released it as a "Beta" or "Preview release" and then push out this update.
  • Or not had the beta tag as it seems like a UI thing and just issued an update. Though it's a catch 22, would MS like to be bitched at for no app or a lacking app?
  • Yes! All the screamers would be out in full force. I say it's out now enjoy it or don't. It's your choice.
  • they shouldn't skype launched beta version and people still complaining even when they know its beta
  • They are only complaining because it's NOT beta on iPhone and Android. If there was parity, no one would care. But because they spend so much time on those plaforms and not ours, it's a valid arguement.
  • Ok.  I think you bring up a legit point.  Though my hope is when MS does release a Skype App that's not beta for Windows Phone it's somehow way superior than those on other OS's.  Microsoft should put features in the release for Windows Phone that's not in the other releases.  That's my hope.  Truthfully, since google wont release an app for youtube I don't see why Microsoft even allows Skype to work on Android devices.  Oh well, that's a story for another day.
  • Why not just release it early, then release an updated version later that has full screen?  It's not making MS look any better with these first party apps being on other platforms and not having a version your own OS.
    Now with the lack of WP presence at MWC, it's making it hard to have belief in this operating system.
  • who needs it? where's instafuckinggram?
  • Cojelo suave loco
  • Tu eres Boricua, definitivamente. :)
  • Que muchos somos! Yo conocia a una Kercado en Bayamon.
  • Aribba! Aribba! Andele, Andele.....Beep Beep!
  • Dude that's Mexican. Get it right, LOL!
  • Speedy Gonzales is Mexican I think. :-P
  • Parte 50% boricua 50% dominicano lol
  • jajajaja... hablas como panameño.
  • Yo quiero Taco Bell
  • Its spelled quiero
  • Can there be a thread without the children of Instagram crying and moaning? Have the tantrum over AT Instagram...they are the only ones who can, and refuse to, fix your problem. Now excuse me, I have some Photosynth creativity to make happen because life is more than square cropping and slapping a filter over a crappy pic of your lunch and/or cat.
  • And Instagram is about the social networking aspect as much (if not more) than the filters. I use it, I find it a good outlet for some pictures and my favourite music artist uses it too. So yes, I would like Instagram.
  • And Vine
  • Then, as was suggested, why don't you and all these other people not rage at Instagram? Do you all think they come here to read self-indulgent comments to see whether there's any demand for the app on Windows Phone?
  • Your social network is so awesome that people feel the need to repost on Facebook and Twitter? Regardless, if you want Instagram that's great for you. Why does the topic have to infest every effin thread that has NOTHING to do with the dumb app. It is literally like a temper tantrum. To boot you are crying (and annoying) people who can't help you. Go over to Instagrams site and contact them. Tweet them and Facebook message them, but don't spam every friggin thread. It's not useful and endears nobody to your plight.
  • Do you want some Cheese to your Wine? Seriously, posting such comments like yours under a totaly non instagram related news article won't get you such an App any sooner. If you are soo eager to have an official App for this hipster photosharing platform, then please, please go bug the owners of instagram semselfs (official support ... what ever) to get their shit together and stop wasting database storage on WPCentral. jeez!  
  • Mehdoh can link your Instafuckinggram account into your column. So why bother? :P
  • I'm just happy we have this one now!
  • MSFT is slow as word.
  • Molasses actually moves. MSFT is slow as US internet connection.
  • You going to "hit the lights" again in frustration of your internet connection?
  • Hahaha man that guy is famous around here now!
  • I'm starting to think MS had one big party after the release of WP8/W8 and they are still recovering from the resultant hangover.  Hopefully they sober up soon and get back to work.
  • When using the lens full screen version I get a show stopping bug that won't allow me to take pictures :(
  • Same thing here, goes so far then gets all shaky and can't finish. All I get when I go back into the camera is a green screen (of death :S ) until I restart my phone.
  • "We took ten months to get it right, and released overnight for iOS"....get it right....minus this flipping glitch.
  • You can actually view the photosynth results or panorama on mobile devices too.
  • Yea, that's the problem i have with Microsoft, they move like molasses and they are betting on their name. I have to blame management with their laid back approach to everything. Steve jobs would have done a better job running Microsoft
  • My mouse pad would have done a better job than Microsoft
  • Microsoft. Move faster.
    You are now in the business of mobile software that does not work in 4 year cycles. 
  • I think Microsoft is committed to this platform. This opens up a brand new revenue source, they will not give it up. I am betting in one year the overall platform is much improved. Thanks for Photosynth!
  • MS is committed to mobile but not necessarily this platform.  The problem with MS is they have a lot of cash so I think they think they can just keep putting stuff out until they get it right.  A company like Blackberry has to try and get things right the first time to stay alive, whereas MS doesn't have that same urgency or motivation.  Even Apple knows the iOS stuff is the core of their business, & try to move as quickly as possible.
    MS is in fact like Blackberry was before their new CEO & OS came along. They are counting the money coming in and thinking they have  lots of time to update and refresh their platform, not realizing they don't until it's too late. 
  • Thank you for the thoughtful response. I disagree, even though the windows phone team may seem slow they are still moving ahead. If they were not committed those activities would be stopped or slowed down. Yes, Microsoft is not Nokia or blackberry. But they are where they are now because of listening to customers and making improvements. I expect that same philosophy to bleed into handsets and tablets. Blue will be revolutionary, no one has done it before. Slow yes but they are learning, they will speed up.
  • MS success in the past had as much to do with the stupidity of others, rather then just coming out with a good product.  Who actually thinks anyone would have picked to use DOS over the original Mac?  The only reason they did was because PC's were cheaper & had the software business wanted.  GUI was nice & preferred but not needed.  People were moving from paper, pen & typewriters & DOS text based applications were enough of a leap forward.  MS was always the value proposition & Apple the premium brand you would like to have.  It's all about value & software, which at the moment MS lacks both of with WP.  Android has value & apps tied up & Apple the premium end.  MS is trying to live in the middle & is getting squeezed. 
  • Please see this article:, Microsoft is pursuing the old Sun Tsu strategy, use your enemies resources to your own advantage, effectively android is subsidizing wp8 to grow, not a bad place to be at all
  • Very interesting article.  I agree MS makes a lot of money & will continue to do so.  IBM makes a lot of money as well but it is hardly talked about, because they are not consumer focused. I guess I don't get why people aren't holding Microsoft's feet to the fire more. Does Photosynth work better on WP8 then it does on competing platforms, because it too longer to complete?  MS has been treating WP like a third class citizen when it comes to releasing its own titles, yet many here are willing to give it a pass because it will get better in the future. Unless I misread the article the author suggested that MS may dominate mobile in the future but didn't say WP would dominate.  As I said in one of my earlier replies  MS is committed to mobile but not necessarily this platform. :) 
  • Lol fair enough. Oh, I am very critical of Microsoft for being slow. I retweet every article Daniel and Paul have had with wp8 issues and Xbox issues. They are not fully committed to wp8 yet, but activities suggest they are getting more serious. Lol, we will have to agree to disagree, yes they will dominate mobile, I just think wp8 will be a large part of that strategy.
  • Does anyone know what the difference is with the Nokia's Panorama, and Photosynth?  Is one better than the other?  I want to delete one of them, but not sure which one.
  • Photosynth is for taking 360 degree panoramas, not just normal panoramas. For just good old panorama, nothing to beat Nokia's app. I suggest you keep both.
  • I didnt know about this app till 5 minutes ago.  Just tried it and its awesome! 
  • Really, was that it, it took Microsoft for ever to make a change from a small screen to a big screen. Really... I love the windows Phone, what I don't love is the lack of of updates, good apps and the lack of support from OEM partners willing to bring out more innovative phones due to Microsoft's WP8 short comings. Galaxy 4 is coming and Windows Phone is headed to a down fall if Microsoft can't get things going. Very frustrating..
  • Maybe I'm using it wrong but I can't get the pictures to connect. The dragging in a straight line is not as easy as they make it sound. If anyone has some advice it would be appreciated. Thanks
  • Where ever you start at, twist the phone 360 degrees, not dragging in a line.
  • Classic Microsoft; this app doesn't even link in the Photos Hub, it doesn't have a live tile nor a double wide tile....they don't even support their own innovations.
  • Its an option for that. Mine saves to the picture hub.
  • I mean launching the app from the photos hub. All my other photos apps do. I guess maybe cause it's a lenses, but the app has other features.
  • No one is ever happy. Seems like some people aren't happy unless they are complaining about something. It's here, we got it , it's great. You know what I mean Boo Boo
  • mine is like the developer release, any reason for that?
  • Same here.  I have a yellow lumia 920 from at&t
  • Same here.  I have a yellow nokia lumia 920 with at&t.
  • I like WP, i really do, but stuff like this is really sad. So if I start the app from a lens, is there a way for me to go to the albums without starting the app itself? And this is from msft themselves? I've built apps that were better than this and I don't even get paid for it!
    My hope is that Nokia will demand MSFT to just gift them the OS so that Nokia can show them proper innovation.
    But seriously though, with progress like this, it makes me sad say, but WP may die sooner than later...
  • Amazing app, I like it!
  • UK 1.5 version in store with Old UI.
    :( sad face.
  • Its not great is it. Has anyone actually managed to get anywhere near a 360 panorama without it making a complete mess of areas of the image? It doesn't piece things together well at all, straight objects appear curved and there are a lot of overlapping errors.
  • Unless you are using a tripod your not going to get a perfect capture. You are the one causing all the issues in the image because its impossible to keep the phone in the proper position manually for all your captures to get a proper images.
  • I wish MS would make this a killer app by making it capable of making synths -- not just panoramas.
  • Anyone wondering what a synth is:
  • What's with the green camera screen?
  • I'm running into that same bug.  Sometimes when I hit the Back button to get to the Tap to Start screen the display just starts flashing at a 1/2 second rate.If I hit Back or the Windows button and then try to get back into the camera, nothing but green display with the Tap to Start on it.  Only a soft reset fixes this.  FAIL.
  • Requires your appointments and contacts... I am not installing this and I am surprised that MS dares to publish such an Android style spyware app.!
  • You do realize it's a MS app and if they really wanted that information they could just get it from the OS that they made right? I doubt there is anything malicious from it most likely they just want access so you can share your pictures with your contacts when you click the "Share" button...
  • I don't like the overall discontentment tone of the comments here, but I have to fully agree. It's nerve wrecking that it took them 4 months (one third of a year!!!) to update an app they created. What message are they sending to developers? It's just a bloody panorama app, which they took away from their users who updated from wp7.5 to 8, and it took a third of a year! It's surreal. Meanwhile, skype (one of wp8 main selling points for me), still in it's messy beta state, facebook app a ridiculous pile of crap which never gets updated, instagram nowhere to be seen etc etc etc. 
    i've been using wp for over a year and i love it, had many of my friends change to it in the meantime, but if they don't change their attitude, they are going to lose the traction they are so slowly and painstakingly gaining.
  • Photosynth is crashing my Nokia 920... not the OS but rather the camera. I get one image made then the camera crashes to a green screen when using it as a Lens. Same from the AP. I have to turn the phone off / on reboot to recover. Not ready for release. Hope they get this fixed
  • I had this weird green screen too. We shall call it GSOD. #gsod. Glad we've finally got this app on what really should be its native platform.
    Sadly, I'm actually finding the stitching in this version of Photosynth a LOT less accurate than it was even back on my iPhone 3GS and my Lumia 800 on WP7.5... Anyone else finding this?
    I also CANNOT get a full 360 degree panorama. Feels like we've gone backwards a bit on this one.
  • Yes I used it yesterday it seemed far more inaccurate then the old app.  No idea why but MS probably botched it up somehow.
  • I still don't understand why this took so long.  If MS is so commited to this platform wouldn't they have internal teams working on this before the release of Windows 8 so when it launched their full array of mobile apps would work now with Windows Phone 8?  It feels like this whole Windows 8 launch was mismanaged and pushed out at the last second.  Then they completely disregard everything after the launch.  I like the OS but MS seems uncapable of showing anything proper support after the fact.  Almost half the stuff they talked about in June we have yet to see: Data Sense is still only on Verizon (I know that is in part due to carriers slow uptake), updates are still only available through the carrier, apps they discussed haven't even been released yet, Skype integration is still not done (I am so glad though Skype is better supported on everything else except Windows which is pretty sad when you own them)  We had the whole issue with the Xbox Live games.  Its like they have no idea how to support a product release.