Last night Jay & Michael did an excellent job of updating all the posts as they were announced from the WP8 summit (while I took a nap and woke up halfway through the summit), we saw some really interesting things some slight let downs and have gotten our first look at the new home screen; so here’s a random collection of MY jumbled thoughts on what went down.
What was Announced
- Multi core processors- this has basically sealed WP as a contender in the eyes of Android fanboys who believe that a phone needs seventeen cores to run; well now that’s covered all the way up to 64 cores so we’re good for a couple of months at least; although it’s interesting to note that MSFT seem to have gone down Apple’s route this week where they “forgot” to mention what type of processors are in their new tablets; I highly approve of this strategy and it’s what I’ve begged for for the past 6 months (hopefully Nokia will follow suite); when the consumer doesn’t know what’s inside the device he focuses on the end experience (which will hopefully be excellent); keeping the specs silent will remove any bias expectations of 4 being better 1 even if it’s not properly utilized.
- Higher Screen Resolutions- This was a must do, and frankly if it didn’t come I would have thrown a tantrum somewhere; finally having full HD 720p screens AS STANDARD will be amazing, the screen on the Lumia 900 is awesome enough (non-pentile with Clear Black Display) bump up the number of pixels but keep the same amazing viewing angles and sunlight readability and you have an instant winner.
- SD card support WOOT! Nokia don’t seem to have ever bought into the apple mindset of releasing multiple capacities of the same phone ; which is a good thing because that ideology is now obsolete, hopefully this will also solve the lack of file manager on WP (isn’t it a requirement if you’re going to be using a removable memory card?) as well as making it a bit easier to share those songs.
- New Browser- honestly browsers have never been a major issue for me (which is why Symbian didn’t bother me too much in that aspect) but IE10 is supposed to be awesome, and you can’t go wrong with awesome.
- NFC- This is a second feature that’s never really been an issue for me; simply because nobody in my region even knows what it is, so it’s safe to say I won’t need it; but of course mobile wallets are becoming the new thing in the brighter parts of the world so Yay!
- More Language support, WP8 FINALLY supports a lot more languages including Arabic and Hindi which are practically essential (as there are no WPs in the arab world due to the lack of support), these languages not being included in the original version of WP is nothing short of pure idiocy; but it’s finally here.
What Wasn’t Announced
MSFT were VERY vague when it came to this “improved multi-tasking” I don’t know what to read into that hopefully it’s a work in progress? having an almost unlimited number of cores available should really solve any reason to limit multi-tasking to app freezes, my guess is that at best we’ll see an overhaul of the app freeze system where instead of only the last 5 apps frozen a much larger number (or infinite) number of apps can be frozen.
The other announcement that deflated my bubble a bit was the lack of true Skype integration, although there’s increased and deeper support for VOIP calls now Skype didn’t receive the all start treatment that twitter and Facebook get, staying as “Just an App that can be downloaded”- this isn’t completely bad (check the next section to see why) but I wish they had done something a bit more with it.
Thirdly there was no notification center announced which is a real bummer, I realize that the flexibility of the tiles and the ability to condense more tiles into one area can act as a pseudo-notification center but nothing can make up for the classic list of notifications, I was really hoping for a drop down menu or a second home-screen (Meego style) or anything really.
As you probably know by now the current range of WP devices WILL NOT be upgrade-able to WP8, sad face? not really, all current devices will get Something called WP 7.8 which will bring the new homescreen to those left behind, and when you really think of it what’s new in WP8 that’s NOT hardware dependent other than that? You can’t honestly expect an increase in your screen resolution, or NFC enablement, or for a magical SD port to pop up on your phone now that it’s coming to future phones; WP7.8 will basically be a UI uplift but as one of the speakers mentioned “Someone running WP7.8 will not be able to tell the difference”, and that’s what matters really doesn’t it?
Also rumored is that WP8 will be available for Whoever wants to test it out on a Wp 7.5 device unofficially through MSFT, which is pretty darn awesome; if you REALLY want it then you can get, everybody satisfied? Not yet? well how about promised support/updates to all Lumia owners for the next 18 months.
Since Skype is destined to remain “forever an app” there technically shouldn’t be any reason for the current generation of WP to get this same app with all the overhauls it’s going to undergo, bringing a little sunshine into your world of single cores.
It’s possible that alongside the new homescreen we might see increased language support as that would fit in nicely with the claims that the current line of Lumia phones will support Arabic sometime in October.
My personal opinion is that it was ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL for Nokia to be there at the WP summit last night in some form or way, just to prove their commitment to the platform simply because the Pureview 808 launches in the US Today/Tomorrow which might have planted a seed a doubt in some people’s mind about conflicting strategies and backing out of WP, (keep in mind that the main reason Nokia’s share dipped after an amazing set of MWC announcements was that the best phone to be announced was running on their “soon-to-be-extinct” platform) hopefully this involvement will show the world that Nokia is mature and capable enough to focus on more than one objective without losing focus of its goals.
Secondly Nokia basically proved that they weren’t willing to screw over their early adopters, true us Lumia owners won’t be getting the full-blown WP8 but that doesn’t mean we’ve been forgotten, promising to release a slew of new apps in the upcoming weeks to all Lumia devices is about as much as you could expect for anyone to do (also note that Nokia was the only OEM there at the conference to take the stand, and use that opportunity to toot its own horn – special relationship paying off?); the apps announced include (check out Michael’s post here):
- Smart Group Shot: Capture great group shots in just one attempt by choosing the best faces from a burst
- Action Shot: Capture fast-moving action shots with just one click and significantly improved shooting speed
- Panorama: This new control feature makes it easy to capture beautiful panorama shots by finding the image in the sequence
- Self-timer: Set up your Lumia on a stand and get yourself into more photos
- Data Counter
Also announced was that Nokia Drive (along with Nokia maps) will be the default navigation application on WP, I already knew this was coming from the meetings with the Nokia people at MWC but don’t be confused people this is a good thing and here’s why:
- MONEY!- Nokia will undoubtedly receive royalties on every device that’s sold running Nokia maps, whether MSFT is the one paying these royalties (as part of the licensing fee) or each OEM will pay directly makes no difference, the point is there will be an increase in cash flow for Nokia, which is always a good thing. Also keep in mind that Nokia stopped charging for their navigation fees, although it was 5 years ago the 8.1 billion they dropped on acquiring Navteq will definitely pay it’s dividends soon enough.
- Increase in WP Market share- this goes back to the age-old “increase the size of the pie, rather than your slice of it” This month alone both Apple and google unveiled their own new mapping applications, both bringing turn by turn navigation (albeit online navigation) along with 3D maps for Apple; Bing maps would have been considered a joke compared against these, but with Nokia maps as the default MSFT can advertise the hell out of it bringing more publicity to its awesomeness (For the record I’ve tried Apple’s Maps on iOS 6 and it shouldn’t be taken lightly, with Siri to listen to you and live traffic updates it’s no longer the joke that was navigating on Google maps).
- Secure’s Nokia’s place as an essential OEM for WP furthering the special relationship between the two as well as a sort of insurance policy to protect them from being screwed over.
- Gloating Not really an important factor but when your friend fires up his HTC WP and has to use NOKIA maps to get home instead of HTC’s own failed navigation applicationit’s a reminder to buy a Nokia next time.
Honestly I was expecting an announcement of the removal of Microsoft Zune MUSIC services as well and the incorporation of Nokia Music as the default as well, simply because of the wider foot hold that Nokia has on the world and larger availability, maybe we’ll see that later.
Keep in mind that yesterdays summit was a Windows Phone 8 PREVIEW- meaning that there will probably some more features that weren’t discussed and won’t be discussed until we’re closer to the launch date ( to prevent anyone from beating them to deployment of these ideas; which is practically custom these days).
Anything on your wish list that didn’t make the cut?