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back to article Years of AWOL Windows Phone features finally show up in video leaks

The first major update to Windows Phone since November 2012 is expected to be revealed in April, but details have already started to emerge. Sleuths combing through the new SDK for Windows Phone which developers released privately a week ago have published long lists of new features – and there's a purported video of the long- …

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Missed an actual selling point there, Andrew

Cortana.

Check the comments. There are iPhone toting nerds promising to smash their shinies in order to get new phones where Jen Taylor will call them "Chief".

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Boffin

Re: Missed an actual selling point there, Andrew

Windows Phone toting nerds?

Nah.

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Re: Missed an actual selling point there, Andrew

Hehe! None of my iPhone-owning friends use Siri that much, so I'm not sure how much of a draw a similar system might be for WinPho users. I find the voice recognition system on Android phone surprisingly accurate, yet for some reason it rarely occurs to me to actually use it.

I do like the life-imitates-art aspect of this, though. The fictional Cortana was an AI companion in the game HALO, who acts as a PA and guide to the protagonist (the player), an enhanced 'super soldier'. A lot of the research, later picked up and integrated into Siri and similar systems, was actually conducted by the US military with a view to helping its military commanders make sense of the flood of information that can come their way.

Also, the idea of using a video game to introduce users to a concept is rather fun. After all, the Motorola StarTac wasn't that strange to people who had seen a StarTrek Communicator on the small screen some decades previous.

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Pint

Re: Missed an actual selling point there, Andrew

> Windows Phone toting nerds?

Using nerd = socially inept, you can either be one of the crowd with your android or one of the other crowd with your iphone or not part of any crowd with your wp phone.

I've got an L920. A plaque on both your houses. A nice blue plaque.

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Anonymous Coward

Bluetooth to PC as headset ?

Having discovered that my Nokia620 refuses to see my PC as a headset (this meaning I can't use my PC with a USB headset to make a call), I'm pretty hacked off ....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bluetooth to PC as headset ?

"Having discovered that my Nokia620 refuses to see my PC as a headset (this meaning I can't use my PC with a USB headset to make a call), I'm pretty hacked off"

bluetooth profiles!

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Anonymous Coward

@bluetooth profiles !

When I connect the phone (with no options) to the PC, I can play *music* through the computer.

But no way to use it for calls.

POS.

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Stuck in the doldrums...

On Mango - the hardware of my Lumia 800 (by Nokia) is holding up magnificently, as they always do. The software though (by Microsoft) is outdated and creaking - but I'm not going to trash a perfectly usable machine - I've got an Android tablet for apps, and that will be updated for years - the phone will continue to be a phone - and a darn good one, that's vastly tougher than my office mate's Nexus machines (he's gone through a 4 and a 5 in 6 months) - for probably the same amount of time.

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Windows

Re: Stuck in the doldrums...

Wouldn't say creaking... The feature set is limited but to my utter astonishment, the WP 7.8 on my Lumia 710 has been astonishingly stable. After the last major update had settled down, it basically works reliably indefinitely without needing a reboot, unlike the Symbian I previously used, or every other Windows version I have seen. I guess it has reached the plateau of productivity. ("If it works, it is obsolete", like one character in "2010" grumbled about progress in computer technology).

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Re: Stuck in the doldrums...

Can't believe some twonk downvoted you for that. Where's the controversial bit?

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Re: Stuck in the doldrums...

> Where's the controversial bit?

Failed to criticize WP and/or use a retarded twelve-year-old's nickname like "Micro$haft", I expect.

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Anonymous Coward

With development this painfully slow Microsoft are never going to catch up in any of the important new markets.

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While I doubt it is their plan, it is a very valid strategy to let somebody else work out the intricacies (there are about 93,000 things different between any two markets) then just follow their lead. Obviously, that's not going to put you at the top of the pile anywhere, but it very, very wrong to think only the top few spots make any money.

If you've got no real hope of being first, you can often make as much money as the 2nd and 3rd spots, but do it from way back there in 6th or 7th spot. With mass market products, the least efficient place to be is 2nd-4th(ish). It is stunningly expensive to fend off attacks from above and below and every millimeter of ground gained is never secure with the product selection in circulation, a 1% price change by a competitor can see you lose what you've gained. You've got to wait until everybody has their next generation of products in circulation to determine if gained ground is secure.

Plus, in most industries the marketing costs are just unbelievably high if you're anywhere between 2nd and 4th. Often double the leaders costs. So less work, same, maybe more money, makes being behind a wealthy place to be.

Like I said though, I don't know if MS remembers what not being MS was like. They stopped listening to customers years ago and they developed those really dumb focus group scoring metrics that are basically just like pleasuring yourself while looking at the sexy, sexy beast in the mirror. Maybe they'll surprise me.

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Anonymous Coward

iOS - No one can be taken seriously, using a kiddies toy.

Android - Its bloated & FUGLY with a noughties UI thats just not fit for purpose.

Why oh why do winphone want to do an Apple and "innovate" others ideas?

Never needed a notifications area, the live tile does the job nicely and looks different from the rest of the pack.

Don't ruin it by innovating other useless features.

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The problem Microsoft face is that Apple have done such a great job of persuading tech journalists to review everything from the point of view of "How much like an iPhone is this?" I've seen so many reviews which simply claim flat-out that WP has no notifications at all, just because it doesn't have a copy of Apple's notifications system. If MS can introduce an Apple-style second-rate notifications system that can be turned off, they get to stop at least one stupid aspect of negative reviews while we users still get to keep the far superior tiles system.

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The only feature I'm looking forward to is the one that has not been mentioned in the article - context aware volume control. Changing the volume with an app open currently changes the volume of the text and call alert. I can't say I've missed anything else that was in Jellybean except maybe the quick access swipe down settings - they were pretty useful.

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I have mixed feelings about the volume control. On the one hand, yes, obviously. But on the other, my iPad recently suddenly started blaring at me when it was muted, because an app's dev had assigned certain sounds as notifications instead of sounds (or something) and it took me bloody ages to figure out how to stop it (had to turn down the ringing volume, when it has no phone so shouldn't be doing any bloody ringing. Ridiculous). I also remember my old Symbian Nokias would occasionally make loud noises when muted too, I think if a calendar alarm went off.

So I think, even if they do introduce context-sensitive volume controls, I'd still like the option of a master volume control too. Especially a master mute.

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I think separate volume controls and a swipe down quick access thing are both in WP8.1.

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Two issues fixed a year? That might take a while as I have ~50 of them. Glacial update speed is the last thing an immature OS needs.

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Glacial update speed

Yes, it's pretty poor how slow MS puts in updates to WP8.

Even BB10 has seen more updates in 6 months than WP8 had since it came out.

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Mushroom

Also missing......

Podcasts for outside the USA....

Its a joke that MS realy need to fix.

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Re: Also missing......

There's hundreds of podcast apps...?

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Re: Also missing......

there are loads of podcast apps and I use one of them. Fact is windows phone has built in podcast support with background download over wifi but you can't use it outside of the US which is plain stupid. Even if the podcasts aren't made available in the store they should provide a way to grab the xml link and subscribe that way.

One of the big features on Windows Phone is the integration, you don't need separate apps for facebook or twitter because that stuff is built in to the OS. Podcasts are also built in to the OS just disabled outside of the US

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Will all the poor WP7 users be left out?

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Yes.

But shouldn't you stroking and licking some Symbian source code somewhere?

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Symbian?

Hey, I'm using Symbian (after being disappointed by WP8) and I'm more than happy with it.

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Will all the poor WP7 users be left out?

My guess is yes. My wife has a Lumia 900 and I have a 920. The number of updates I've had compared to her (on AT&T) and how lots of the apps for the 900 dont seem to be being updated gives the impression that WP7 is unloved and becoming obsolete. She is now thinking about an Android or iPhone (where as I really want the 1020).

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> Will all the poor WP7 users be left out?

Of course. Why would this update be any different?

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Wow

And I thought Amiga OS updates weren't frequent or substantial enough hahha!

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Depends what counts as an update?

WP8 has had DDR2 & DDR3. Some of that is stability fixes, some updates. Just this morning, I've had a couple of new features added. Nothing exciting, but it does move. Biggest pain is working out which update is which - DDR2, 3, Amber, Black, Blue???

Apple change the font and call it an update. Is that what we really want?

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Re: Depends what counts as an update?

Well, it is an update. I agree that a font change, or similarly simple thing, isn't a big deal, but you have to be careful. Beginning in the late 1970's and going into the 1990's both the US auto industry and the general public side of banking went through major vocabulary shifts as part of their evolution and it was an absolute disaster.

Billions of dollars were spent to accommodate the changes and things still fell through the cracks. Terms that had meant (x) for decades, now meant (y) but only in some instances, and in some locations. The original meaning remained the vernacular, and was still used on some customer collateral, but not in all official documents. I still have my copy of the 'Exhaustive Concordance of US Auto Industry Manufacturing, Sales, Finance and Insurance' (or something very similar to that). It is eight or nine volumes each about 8-9" thick. It had dozens of definitions and areas of use for the term 'service' and other instances of synonyms of 'service'. It was hilarious in court cases because all the legal teams brought their own copies of the various reference texts because they were so complicated even the publishers couldn't keep it all straight. It sucked.

My point, is that if you start slicing up the standard terms in any industry to increase their precision everything goes straight to hell. You'll end up with a huge birds nest of shit that is incredibly complex, but absolutely meaningless. Very much like the legislative system here in the US.

You know how you read about a straightforward legal case where a guard dog bit a kid but the kid ends up paying the owner of the dog because 'bite' does not automatically imply intent to harm because dogs use their mouths, teeth and tongue as their primary means of interacting with the world. The dog was just saying hello and your child is the one at fault because he has weak skin and should probably be moved from your custody because caring for such a weakling is obviously beyond your capabilities.

Obviously I made that up, but, and this is true of all things, when you increase precision beyond a certain point it screws up everything else around it that has a lesser degree of precision. Bolts are a good example: If you've got a hole to pass a bolt through to join two parts or assemblies and the bolt is a high precision part, but the threads in the hole are just 'up to standard' the bolt will destroy the threads in the hole and may require the destruction of the bolt in order to extricate it.

The entire IT industry is already overflowing with stupid, illogical terms that serve no ones interest except the lawyers and drive up the price of your kit and drive down your salary. We really don't need to contribute more.

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WP8 - Microsoft's failure

The most distressing (from a WP8 owner's point of view) thing is that WP8 is really not that bad. I've likened it a lot to early Android but with more polish in some areas. Unfortunately Microsoft dropped the ball in a massive way by updating at such a slow pace. They needed to come out with WP8 and then aggressively update it so it was at a similar state to both Android and iOS within the first 12 months. That might sound too fast but they've already had a year with their other failure - WP7.

The notification issue is a massive missing step but overall there are a lot of minor niggles that really make using it a pain. I've tried many times to like it because I have a really nice looking phone but when I feel like I'm fighting the phone to do what I want it's more trouble than it's worth. The biggest annoyance for me continues to be the awful keyboard. If I press "i" as a first letter then both Android and iOS offer the word "I" as a suggestion first but WP8 has it a scrolling bar away. It doesn't learn at all and sometimes it will offer the correct word but without bold meaning you have to tap it instead of just pressing space to continue. It really feels like a kid at school scared to do anything without asking the teacher first.

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"The WP team has released three updates since 2012"

Nope. The Windows Phone team has only worked on Windows Phone 8.1 since the release of Windows Phone 8.

All the updates to Windows Phone 8 have come out of the Windows Sustained Engineering team, which is part of Product Support Services. That's why they have only done work that OEMs have requested (plus egregious bugs) rather than advance the product forward.

The reason for the long wait for WP8.1 is the heavy engineering to complete the port of Windows Runtime from Windows 8.x. I'm pleasantly surprised to see that they have actually implemented a pretty good slate of new features as well as that, I had feared that the updated developer platform would be all we'd get.

Why do I call it "heavy engineering"? Windows Runtime's implementation on Windows 8.x is implemented using Win32 GDI, USER, Direct2D, DirectWrite and numerous COM components. The dependency chain on this is a nightmare, with seemingly every component having cross-references into some other component, and would break if those other components were missing. It's taken them years to decouple the lower layers to the extent that Windows Phone 8 is even possible, that it's not expecting to find a full copy of GDI in there. (The MinWin project reportedly started in 2003.) Windows Phone has to fit into a relatively small footprint (my Lumia 820 has 8GB of storage and indicates that 1.8 GB is used by the system). Taking the Win32 dependencies as a whole is not an option, it's too big. So, to port it to Windows Phone, they've had to either follow the dependency chain and work out where to cut it, or to reimplement the feature without taking the dependencies.

It won't be complete in Windows Phone 8.1 - there will still be APIs available on Windows 8.1 not in WP8.1, and possibly vice versa - but it will be possible to have common UI code, which *wasn't* possible in WP8/W8. I hope that after this, the Windows code will be changed to the WP8.1 version, and the Windows team will write any new APIs cleanly so that it can go into both products without causing huge lag. If the aim is to change the 'Windows RT' SKU to use the Windows Phone codebase rather than the Windows 8 codebase, this will have to happen.

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I'm finally getting rid of my Windows Phone 7.5

Never again.

May Android crush Windows Phone, drive its developers before it, and hear the lamentation of Microsoft.

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wow

I tried a nokia one when they first came out. Was mildly interested in the interface, but when it wouldn't give me the option to assign a manual ipv4 address; I handed it back and haven't tried again.

If the new release has lots of cool in it then I might give it a second looksee

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Re: wow

Why would that matter? If it's just for a home network then can't your router do it based on MAC address?

P.s. why would you do that to that poor defenceless semicolon?

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