Windows Phone 7 was Microsoft’s closely guarded secret; Windows Phone 8, however, has been the least guarded one. A while back, a video for hardware partners showed Joe Belfiore talking about some of the upcoming features; last week, the SDK leaked. The software development kit for WP8 has been a treasure trove for enthusiasts and everyone have been going through documents to unearth new features.
Windows Phone 8 will be another reset with several new features not being available for Windows Phone 7 handsets. The primary reason for this being, WP8 has a new kernel—it’s Windows NT and not CE. Here are my top 8 Windows Phone 8 features discovered through the SDK & talked by Joe Belfiore:
- Start screen
- Data Sense
- Bing News & Movies
- Offline Maps
- Lock Screen Notifications
- Bing Local Deals (refer to link #3)
- SD card data swapping
I have detailed all these features in previous posts that are linked above but a quick short recap of why I like these features:
New start screen:
The new start screen will finally allow me to resize tiles so I can add more tiles. There are several apps on my phone that I don’t want to give prime real estate on the home screen but would like to have them since I want quicker access to them; with the new variable tile size option, I will be able to do this.
No more do I have to keep going into AT&T app to check how much data have I consumed; Windows Phone 8 will track it & even reduce the page size to be downloaded.
Bing News & Movies:
What can I say, I’m a news junkie and love going to the movies. With Bing having these features, I will be able to get my information without launching third party apps.
Of great use and life saving, offline maps will improve the phone use drastically since they’ll save me precious data and conserve battery life while I am in dire need of a map to reach my destination.
Lock Screen Notifications:
Windows Phone 8 will have the Me tile but at this point we are not sure if it will be available to developers to turn it into a Notification Center much like in iOS and Android. Given this scenario if I can customize the lock screen to tell me if there’s an unread message from an app of my choice, it decreases my desire for a notification center.
Bing Local Deals:
I like to travel and when I get an excuse I do travel. It is a pain searching for deals when I am in a new city and to scour the several local deals websites. If Bing can do it for me based on my current location, I can see myself using this to my advantage, a lot.
One feature that I can’t wait to try out in addition to NFC, is the Wallet. Joe Belfiore has talked about this feature at length during the Windows Phone 8 Summit and it looks exciting. The neat touch added to Wallet is Bing Local Deals.
SD Card Swapping:
Though I personally don’t really miss an SD Card (my Focus supports them), I can see myself using the feature to transfer music and pictures to and from phone and a friend’s PC or mine. It’s a nice to have feature that should reduce the number of critics.