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Is there more to Windows Phone 8 than just the current SDK? We discuss.

Yesterday we revealed to you the current Windows Phone 8 SDK, giving you a brief tour of some of the new features. Nothing exactly new was revealed that had not already been discussed or leaked out previously, but it was still interesting to see it in action.

Today we were planning on a follow up video to catch up on some of the areas we missed and truth be told, there wasn’t anything earth shattering their either (though the new Office does look quite nice).

Unfortunately, black helicopters surrounded our headquarters here in New York and any plans for an immediate follow up have been placed on hold. And since we’re not in the business of ruining surprise parties for people, we’re okay with that...

We want moar?

But that does leave us to another question we can talk about: is there more to Windows Phone 8 than what we have seen so far?

The preview SDK is just that…a preview. That language to our ears and others sounds like the SDK may only partially reveal what the OS can really do. And in fact, we should not confuse the “OS” with the “SDK emulator”. Sure there is significant overlap but they are not one and the same.

Some credence is lent to this notion by this nugget: the “OS” build in the preview SDK is 9900 but WPDang have found that Microsoft has been using another, later iteration, build 10119.

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In of itself this doesn’t mean too much. Even with Windows Phone 8 going RTM, it is not like Microsoft would stop cranking out new builds. But even though we know that Windows Phone 8 did RTM, it is not clear which build it contains—9900, 10119 or something else. In addition, no one knows what those Lumia 920s are running either.

Microsoft though is adamant about the fact that they have not shown the public all of what Windows Phone 8 is about. Belfiore and others have stated this numerous times when discussing the OS, especially when “bits” were shown off like with Nokia in New York. Is that because there really are more things to show (that haven’t leaked) or is it because Microsoft wants to have a grand unified presentation

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What more is there? Why so secretive?

And then there’s this other question: What exactly could Microsoft show off that has not yet been revealed? Although we like to think there could be more, it’s a legitimate question.

Sure, we can think of a lot of little things: custom alerts, a better color picker, “folders” or “custom hubs”, etc., things that you’ve asked for in the past. But honestly, those minor things seem like they wouldn’t necessarily be hidden either as they’re hardly game-changers that Microsoft would want to keep off the books.

Microsoft has already done a tremendous amount with Windows Phone 8—new kernel, multi-core support, new display resolutions, NFC, Wallet, increased multitasking, family features, native support for gaming, new Tile options…it makes us wonder, what else could they have up their sleeve?

Not so much in that we expect more but rather we just don’t know what would fit the bill.

Windows Phone 8 can do over-the-air (OTA) updates, meaning Microsoft will roll out regular new features and fixes but should we expect even more from Windows Phone Eight Point-0? It does seem like a lot to ask of Microsoft, who famously added 500-new features to the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update.

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So why is Microsoft holding back so much? We’ve heard from some reports that although the Mango-launch went off well, Microsoft revealed too much, too early. In turn, it gave their competition a heads up on what do work on next and cuts down Microsoft’s edge. Is it true? We don’t know but it certainly does make sense and it may be a good reason why Microsoft is holding back a bit.

What about the Windows Phone Summit? We think part of it was to keep Microsoft in the news by keeping the conversation going and also as a way to hush up the naysayers by finally answering that “legacy question” about current Windows Phones. That topic had been hounding the company it was about time they put an end to it by going on record.

In the end, we do think Microsoft will have a few small tricks to reveal next month but no, we the public haven’t seen the full OS and Microsoft wants you to see it when you can go buy it—not after waiting three-months. And that's probably the real motivation here.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

149 Comments
  • O like this sort of approach even tho maybe next time there should be a better timing between Phones announcement/releases and New OS! Ciao!
  • Marco300 Timing what is
    Apple apple iPhone. IPhone. As much what I have seen form WP8 this OS stand out awesome November - December is awesome time to lunch phone bes it Christmas.
  • What the ...??
  • I think that comment was missing many words and any form of structure.
  • or perhaps it was typed on an iphone?
    or some great abstract art? could pate.axit be james joyce back from the dead??
  • http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/23566695.jpg
  • Wut.
  • Kinda sounded like a bad poem. It needed some bongos tapping along
  • I am more than happy with whatever been revealed. One thing I do want is "when"? Lot of competition out there. MS shouldn't give too much time gap, to think :-)
  • Perhaps they improved the voice commands to the point Siri is a joke!
    Wishful thinking I know... Not that Siri is such a big deal but they do use it to make people think iPhone is better.
  • There's a guys voice now, so there's that, lol.
  • What ever happened to that TellMe service that was on YouTube?? The one that had that ladies voice that was talking to those two ladies?
  • maybe it's chanageable ?
  • i was just thinking something similar, TellMe with better than Siri capability AND offline... lol wishful thinking aint it? (just want it for voice texting conversion when driving...)
     
    then another idea popped up may be it can take over the screen for Ford Sync (or better integartion) lol
  • Or better yet, intigrate something like the Xbox Kinect into it
    Instead of "Xbox" though, I dunno, "Phone - next song"
  • I've thought about this as well.  I wonder what it would do to the battery and overall speed of the phone if it was "always listening."
  • You know, you can voice text already...
  • I think Nataku was saying that it would be nice to be able to voice text without using data. That would be nice for people on very limited data plans.
  • Texting may be a data transmission but it is usually separated from data costs
  • I use that a lot when driving....hold Windows button for a few seconds, Voice prompt, send text to XXXXX, and it's just like repying via voice to a text...
  • I'm quite happy with what has already been shown (officially). What I'd really like to know though is what exactly has changed for multitasking and if toast and tile notifications will work more reliably in WP8 than they do now. And if MS is going to raise the limits for live tiles.
  • Amen!
  • Geez, I hope notifications get better, too much battery drain right now. No too efficient and slow.
  • Agreed
  • If Microsoft has an Ace up there sleve they should have played it by now, before the iPhone launch.  I believe that anything that is left to announce is just minor things, here and there.  The one area where they could surpise is in the gaming department.  Halo and Gears could move phones.
  • If MS had an ace up their sleave, they would not have played it by now.  That is the point of the Ace up their sleeve saying, you are saving this for the very last moment. 
     
    This will be weeks from now if they have one. 
  • If they did have something big, they would of announced after the iPhone event but just before the iPhone launch.. A lot of people have rushed to get an iPhone 5.. They may not of if MS announced something big..
  • It wouldn't have made a difference. The ones who rushed out are the ones who were going to buy it regardless and don't care about WP. Let people rush out, be disappointed and let the hype die down a bit, then reveal and launch. People see something flashy and rush towards it, see more about the 920 and others, and success... iPhone forgotten for those people.
  • How many people that would rush to get an iPhone will pay attention to what MS announce anyway?
  • Having an ace up your sleeve is not necessarily a last minute reveal. You use that ace when you can hurt your opponent the most. I think the previous post was thinking that revealing the ace before iPhone shipped may have caused some people to wait for windows phone rather than get the iPhone 4.5s...i mean iPhone 5.
  • You play it after the hype is all gone on the iphone and after the returns and complaints start. There doing it exactly like apple now they show you what coming and a release date for phones as well that with in the same month a weeks or days away from availability. The same is the reason for the sdk lock down they know that people will leak it and give it a review good or bad before its even out, plus they know about the android and ios fan boys that either going to say we don’t need that new feature like wireless charging, or that keep in mind ns told what was coming first last year and some of the things they told ended up in ios. Like me i don’t think that the sdk is locked down i think its a whole different beast , it’s the core elements but that’s all and the final will have much more, so much were as you have to have a whole different review of it. And I also believe that some game titles are coming with or on release something like halo, but im sure that’s just wishful thinking.
  • Disagree.  The ace is saved for later in the game.  Revealing the 920 garnered lots of buzz and at least chipped somewhat into the iPhone reveal which was lackluster at best.  Now MS is positioned to say "Not only is the hardware better but *kaboom* the software is better and here's why" ***unicorns fly in with ballmer in tow***  .......... ok maybe that's a bit much but you get the idea. :)
  • Lol unicorns would be awesome
  • Awsome ? Nah, EPIC is more like it
  • Is this official???? WP8 ships with unicorns?! That's it. I'm all in.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if they're holding back some ace-in-the-hole features. The Lumia 920 was the anti-iPhone ace. The impact may not have shown that hard, but I think it hit big time in the minds of the tech-savvy. Post-Lumia 920, the flame wars seem less anti-MS and more reasonable, with a lot of people planning on getting an L920 on sites like Engadget and the such. It really shook the iPhone 5's foundation a bit, and the jury is still out on how big those cracks are. When it comes time to launch, MS could really use some really amazing, unique features to build that sudden hype that products get in the days or weeks right after a reveal. So yeah, there could still be some aces hiding up Ballmer's sleeve. A strong launch can make a big difference.
  • Apple would release the iCorn to compete.
  • Lulz
  • I wish they would take a different approach versus the current model of special features.
     
    I wish they would make the OS rock solid versus adding whiz-bang features
     
    Look at this wiki article on OS feature comparisons
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_mobile_operating_systems
     
    + I get tired of at least 2 verge senior editors stating that they would take WP8 and put android on it....WP8 goal should be to finish the OS with no missing basic features...then and whiz-bang features to pull away from the pack.
     
    and get it done on a quicker release cycle...like google did with androing in the early days
  • I just get tired of at least 2 verge senior editors ;)
  • That wiki page is interesting, there are a few basic things that would be nice to have like browser functionality, added search ability throughout the OS and better Video player.
     
    Also bear in mind that list is not complete for WP8. Things like NFC tap to share have not been updated under 'file transfer' in the table, and I also thought there were basic image editing functions in WP8 (like crop) that do not appear in the table.
     
    Anyway, hopefully we see a few more of those basic features (maybe a notification centre of sorts) to come.
  • The browser and video player are the only things I hate on WP7.  The browser is slow.  On my 10Mb DSL my phones browser gets crushed by my rooted Kindle fire running dolphin.  The video player is just awful.  On the same 10Mb connection my phone cannot play a video straight through; it pauses and buffers constantly.  It's almost like the phone is using 3G for video instead of the wi-fi connection.
    I'm hoping they resolve those issues in WP8 because it's a big deal to me.  That said Sprint might not even carry WP8 devices.  I got an iPhone 4S today because the Arrive is just not doing it for me anymore (slide keyboards suck).  If I like iOS as a daily driver MS might end up loosing part of my business.  I doubt that will happen though because I hate Apple.  (It's moreso that I've always hated the smug Apple users.)
  • This is an HTC issue, not WP.
  • You win this thread, sir.
  • Can you elaborate on the helicopters bit?
  • I wouldn't take it literally. It was most likely a sarcastic wasy of saying they were contacted by MS and told to lay low with the details of the OS until they do their official unveiling. I'm assuming..
  • Yeah, I wanted to know what was meant by that. Lol
  • MS time and time again has mentioned they will be revealing more in future dates, they said it again at Nokia as mentioned in the article. 
     
    For me, not logical for MS to release a FINAL SDK to be unvealed by sites like this or other techy sites.  I would lean on the assumption that the SDK is not final. 
     
    Not saying they will have a huge announcment of awesome features, just saying that they rather would reveal themselves instead of websites which means there should be more.
     
    That is my take. 
  • I think we've seen 99 percent of what is in the new Os. Much of this is pure bluster on the part of MS as evidenced by the 500 "enhancements" that was supposed to be in Mango we never saw and now won't see in Mango/Tango. Onto Windows phone 8.
  • But we did see all of 500 in Mango...
  • The only thing I think can be held back is perhaps the integration of the phone and the desktop counterpart. Something that hasn't been announced as far as how the ecosystem will play nicely together. Smart glass, tablet, Xbox , PC, phone. A nice big one that rolls out somewhat together. Hard to imagine what other "smartphone" features that would demand the kind of secrecy. I agree with Dan, those small features aren't worth hiding.
  • I agree.
  • One thing I've recognized recently is MS is better about keeping secrets.  We all thought we had the out of the blue "huge" MS announcement earlier this year figured out and BAM!  They hit us with a tablet.  
    We had no idea they were going to announce HTC's new phone as the "signature" device and BAM!  New signature device. 
    I won't make any claims until the fat lady gives it up and she seems pretty content to wait it out until close to or on Oct. 26th.
     
     
     
     
  • I agree with u.....
  • It's very plausible that Microsoft has capped the SDK...i mean, if the IT guys at your work can limit what you see on the internet, it most certainly isn't impractical that Microsoft is limiting what you can/can't do on the SDK. I myself am not holding my breath for a game changer, but it wouldn't surprise me if there is going to be one. The anticipation is getting the best of me...and a watched pot never boils, lol.
  • Aha, so what this boils down to..ahaaaii couldn't resist :-D
  • When is the WP summit?
  • It was June 20, 2012
  • Really hope that theory is true. Microsoft is horrible with announcing stuff too early
  • I want universal phone search...I hope WP8 gets that!
  • So do I!!
  • Maybe the final build will have the USB Out baked in. Maybe they will showcase the insane synergy between Xbox/W8/WP8. They ate definitely showing something but what is it? It's anyone's guess.
  • I love my lumia 900 and I'll be upgrading to the 920. Only wish is that they make better apps and also alot the games are way overpriced and they look crappy and never get updated its like half,ass apps being pooped out. I'm hoping with the new OS the devs don't forget about the people that buy their apps.
  • WP8 supports C++ so this won't be a problem.
  • Its all going to change with native c++ and custom vertex/pixel shader support my friend :)
  • I just want to have independent volume settings. Is that too much to ask?
  • Absolutely +1000! What kind of modern smartphone doesn't have that kind of functionality, especially one with a world-class music player built in! I need my volume at 20 for music in my cat, but I certainly don't need the ringer to also be at 20 when I unplug the phone and put it in my pocket!
  • How exactly does one go about playing music in their cat?  This seems kind of cruel. 
  • my volume is at most 11 when in my cat.  unless its nicki minaj -- then my cat gives me that look that says "that's my jam, pump up the volume."
  • LMFAO
  • HAHA!!
  • :oD
  • Bahaha
  • Haha cats are much better when they come with music!! Lol *car
  • I hope this is true but I don't think it is.  Bought some MSFT today for the long.  :o)  I think it will do good either way over the next 2 years.
  • Maybe they'll roll instagram in with native support in the pictures hub and as a lense for the camera. That would kill the #1 request slowing adoption from the 13 to 25 crowd. You have to be practical about how to attract the most users and this is something that should be a high priority for the good of the platform. Give everyone interested in the platform instagram access instead of an app.
  • What is the big deal with Instagram?  I am being serious...I just don't understand why it is used at all.
  • Its falls under the social aspect of just sharing pictures only and since it was so popular among iPhone folk it became a must have for everyone
  • thanks!
  • Oh yeah I also do like the idea of having instagram as a lense and direct uploading like Facebook and SkyDrive
  • Instagram needs to open its API's to us is what they need to do .. With that said I would have a lense in the market the next day.
  • They have to be holding back a real game-changer. Let's face it, a function here or there isn't gonna make the world go wow...i reckon it's going to be something that glues the whole Win8/WP8/XBox platforms together and will make those on PCs say "I NEED a WP", those on XBoxs say "I NEED a WP". Just think what that'll do to sales and revenue!!! Maybe Project Glass integration?!!
  • Lets hope they are. I'm stoked so far as what's coming in all devices (less so the ATIV S) It won't be Project Glass though as that's a Google thing.
    MS are working on something along the lines though but no where near ready yet.
  • Microsoft's one is smartglass. From what I've heard it should be ready pretty soon.
  • Sorry, I meant SmartGlass...
  • I think it's just hype, keep mindshare(Windows 8) and momentum(WP8 hardware) afloat during the news of Apple.
  • All I want is for them to improve multitasking. I like the design they have now and I am happy they are bringing true multitasking but I really hope that they keep the original layout of multitasking but show all open apps, not just the previous five, and have the ability to swipe up on the apps (or down) in the multitasking pane to close apps. 
  • I'm gonna be furious if it's ever confirmed there will still be no VPN support.
  • Solidstate89 - I think you're on the right track. I think there are still many missing enterprise features. VPN. Remote Desktop. Join a domain. Even better Exchange Server integration. Lync Server integration. Office 365 integration.
     
    With BlackBerry 10 getting pushed back to 2013, the pressure came off Microsoft to announce enterprise, and government/security, features.
  • I need all of those if my company would even consider a WP for their EEs
  • Call me crazy, but I think MS should have called it "WP8" for legacy devices, too. Older phones get the new OS all the time but don't necessarily get all the features that the hardware can't handle anyway. Do you see older iPhones getting "iOS 5.8"? No. Older iPhones get the new OS like everyone else, minus some features that they can't run-- like, say, Siri. But everyone still feels happy that they got the new updated OS. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe that would be MS being disingenuous, but I don't know... I think it would have been a smart move.
  • The only problem then is that people will have 'WP8' devices but they won't have access to an apparently arbitrary (from an uninformed user standpoint) set of apps that were designed for true WP8.
     
    Edit: Also hopefully all WP8s will get WP9 in a year or 2, and at some point WP7 hardware has to be left in the past, they may as well cut their losses now while the user base is small, and have a consistent, easy-to-follow upgrade path from WP8 onwards.
  • The main change between WP7 and WP8 is the Kernel.  It's moving from WindowsCE to be WindowsNT based. 
    It's the Kernel that has prevented the upgrade from 7 to 8 not necessarily the hardware specs.
    You can bet that future windows phone OSs will be using the NT Kernel for many years to come (just as they will be for Windows 8 and higher) 
    So poor WinPhone7.x is the only one that will not get the upgrades in the future (I think 7.8 will be the last Windows 7 upgrade too IMO)
  • But they can't. Except the iPhone 4S and 4 are really getting iOS 6, but without a lot of new features. The underlying frameworks and kernel ARE iOS 6. If they called WP7.8 "WP8" they would by lying. It's a totally different kernel, different frameworks, and different app compatibility (and not just things that take advantage of new hardware). WP7.8 is nothing like WP8 and would just create confusion. 
     
    "This app works on WP8 and higher"
    Then people with legacy devices just wonder why and yell that their "WP8" phone can't run it. Even things such as background GPS require WP8 but have no technical reason they can't be done on WP7. WP7 phones have GPS and have a modern multi-tasking operating system.
  • +1 for someone who gets it
  • +1 Yup :]
  • We really haven't see any of the Xbox features in WP8 either. There is the whole smartglass deal that really hasn't been shown. Is it baked in? That would make sense. I'm with the other poster in regards to voice commands. If they did something like they do on the Xbox that is definitely something to promote. I would also think they in fact do have a notification center up their sleeve as well. Obviously something hidden here. Is it a game changer? I would argue no. Helicopters were after you Daniel because you were on to something. Funny how big brother MS is closely watching.
  • I so hope I can be in "ANY" app and be able to stream the image/video over wifi to my xbox 360 like AirPlay on iOS. If this is not baked into the OS I will eat my hat.
  • i'm pretty sure there will be no more of it
  • Still quietly hoping they'll announce that swiping to left of the start screen yields a unified notification center
  • Same here, hope Nokia will do it even if microsoft doesnt.