NEW WINDOWS PHONE 8 ADDITIONS
Alongside the new video from The Verge, many have downloaded the “leaked” WP8 SDK to discover many of the new features available in Windows Phone 8, effectively putting it alongside iOS6 and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in terms of features.
1) Most basic is the live tile sizes, which include small, medium, and large. Small is just an icon (no name) which displays some sort of counter to indicate the most basic of information, like new emails, messages, or updates. The medium size is the size we all know and love, which displays a bit more information, like name of the app, as well as pictures. It can slide to reveal a photo or flip over for additional information. Also, what has been announced is the ability for developers to introduce 9 mini-images flipping within the main tile, like the People hub tile. And finally, the large size, which displays the most information, takes up the most space, and indicates high priority. What is not known at this time is if the large tiles can slide or flip over.
2) The new lock screen notifications is also an awesome addition. There are 5 icons at the bottom, which in Windows Phone 7/7.5/7.8 are locked to calls, messaging, and 3 emails, in that order. In Windows Phone 8, you can set what the 5 icons will show: for example, any new game updates, like when its your turn on the upcoming Words With Friends. Also, you can set an app to show its “detailed status”. Currently, its locked to the calendar, but it can be changed to, say, a news apps, which will cycle through all the new articles.
3) Other features pertaining to the lock screen include the ability to set when the lock screen times out (it seems ~5 seconds is the default for Windows Phone 7).
4) More changes in the Settings include a color picker for theme (opposed to a list), the Battery Saver option automatically showing battery percentage (as opposed to having to open it up), a Tap+Send function (for NFC), a Phone Storage button that allows you to [presumably] manage your phone’s storage (and SD card), and a Backup function that allows you to backup everything besides app data. This includes IE settings, text messages, and media content, including quality of media that is backed up (good or great).
5) DataSense allows users to manage theri data by setting different types of data limits, such as how long the limit is (one time, monthly, or unlimited) and then how much data you can use during that limit (inputted by user, such as 512 MB or 3 GB).
6) There are now 20 total accent colors, which should help you further personalize your device.
7) In IE10, you can set the address bar button to switch between refresh/stop, favorites, or tabs now, allowing further control for the user.
8) Find on Page also returns in IE10.
9) The Camera has been substantially redesigned, much to my chagrin. 4 buttons now dominate the right side: apps, flash, front, and video. Apps obviously refers to the new Lenses function, which is basically app extensions. Flash cycles through various flash settings, and front and video are self explanatory. In the ellipsis menu, there are options for photo settings and video settings, which presumably lead to the settings for resolution, ISO, metering, etc. In my personal opinion, this new UI will actually detriment the user and is much less streamlined than the previous version, as well as less attractive. I hope Microsoft hasn’t settled on this design, as this is still an early version.
10) There is some wanted improvements to the Photos hub though, including multiple selection of pictures, which should help users when cleaning up clutter. There are also basic editing functions for pictures, such as crop, rotate, auto-fix, and aspect ratio.
11) Bing gets some massive improvements. Opening up the Bing app will show you the default Bing picture of the day, but swiping to the right will reveal more features, such as new movies in theaters, top videos, top headlines, and local deals, which looks to be an extension of the Local Scout feature. Local deals will utilize the Scoupon service.
12) Music+Video has obviously replaced Zune with Xbox Music and Xbox Video, which isn’t changing anything as its essentially a rebranding of Zune. You still get the same functionality, except now so does your Xbox. The new music marketplace however looks to be more generic Metro than the funky typographic style that I loved. Perfect example being that the old highlights section where a small thumbnail was accompanied by large text is now replaced with a generic green box. Hopefully, the music marketplace more closely resembles the current design, but one can only hope, as this is the SDK emulator, after all. Lots can change.
13) Custom audio alerts are finally here for Windows Phone users! You can set a specific tune for various contacts, emails, and other functions, so you know what exactly is bugging you during anytime in the day!
And there are probably hundreds of new features that we don’t know about. Even amidst the leaking of the SDK, Microsoft still touts more features. Stay tuned!ch