Earlier today while the East Coast was raiding convenience stores to stock up for Hurricane Sandy’s after-effects, Joe Belfiore was showing the final features of Windows Phone 8. At a West Coast announcement, Belfiore took stage in front of the press to talk about how Windows Phone 8 enhances users’ lives. The event from Microsoft comes after 3 other Windows Phone 8 events held by OEM partners Samsung, Nokia & HTC. At Nokia’s event, Joe Belfiore showed some of the new features. And he promised some more.
Unfortunately for those tech enthusiasts who have been following Windows Phone developments, they already knew about what Microsoft showed today. That aside, Joe Belfiore’s event was aimed at showing features that affect the regular users’ daily life. And for this, Joe Belfiore, a father and family-man, had his kids on stage. With three kids who like to play on their parents’ devices, Joe Belfiore eloquently demonstrated how Kids Corner is a feature for normal/regular users. Go under settings and select games, videos, apps & music that your younger ones can use and that’s what they get. As an elder sibling, I can relate to this feature. Belfiore’s demo had his kids that added a touch of genuineness to the feature. It was personal experience of a father.
The other feature that was spent considerable time on was Data Sense. I’ve elaborated on the feature and it’s usefulness but Belfiore had a compelling narrative. In addition to Microsoft’s Opera-mobile like page optimization backend, Belfiore explained how the architecture reduced 45% data consumption, something that Data Sense helps track. Unfortunately, at launch, Verizon is the only carrier enabling this feature. Not AT&T; so I have some expletives for the carrier. As someone who has the limit of 200MB, Data Sense built-into the phone would definitely be a handy app.
The third Windows Phone 8 feature we knew little about, except the leak, is Live Lock Screen. Introduced with Windows Phone 7, users could use their Now-Playing Zune artist as their background. For Windows Phone 8, Belfiore explained how the lock screen is the most viewed screen, and having a static image was just a waste of real estate. Welcome Live Lock Screen. Have Groupon show the latest local deal or Facebook show pictures from your album and calendar invites, Windows Phone 8’s lock screen is now filled with information you want. Once again, Belfiore sold the feature as something we didn’t miss till he talked about.
The feature that I personally find the most interesting and useful is Rooms. Windows Phone 7 had Groups under the People hub but besides seeing social updates from members, it was pretty useless. In Windows Phone 8, Groups have become Rooms and have several useful features. As a family member I have some notes for my family; as a group member, I have some notes I want to share with my co-workers; Microsoft has OneNote; putting all of this together, Rooms lets you share your current location, chat and share a OneNote notebook with the group/room members. It’s another feature that we all didn’t miss till we knew it existed. If sharing Office documents with co-workers for collaboration was useful, imagine a pre-configured, synced OneNote notebook for every group.
Joe Belfiore then brought on Jessica Alba to talk about Windows Phone 8. A mother herself, Jessica Alba’s endorsement for the phone will catch the attention of regular users, the ones that this event was meant for. It was the normal user in everyone who attended and saw the event. It wasn’t for the tech enthusiast in us, it was for the human in us.