What Nokia and Microsoft didn’t announce today

Microsoft and Nokia Joint NYC Event - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Today was a big day for Nokia and Microsoft, with the former unveiling its next generation hardware based on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS. But while we know a lot about the Nokia Lumia 920, Lumia 820, and even Samsung’s ATIV S, we know very little about the actual Windows Phone 8 OS. Microsoft announced a few high-level features at the Windows Phone Summit, but the focus was more about the OS’s support of new hardware capabilities than actual consumer features.

Microsoft briefly discussed a few Windows Phone 8 features at the joint Nokia/Microsoft event in New York City, but the Redmond software giant left many of the leaks and rumors untouched, promising to reveal further details “at a later date.” Our sister site, Anythingbutiphone, has been maintaining a list of new, confirmed, rumored, and debunked Windows Phone 8 features. We were hoping that many of these would finally be confirmed today, but that was not to be. Read on to find out which recent rumors and leaks Microsoft and Nokia have yet to discuss.

Companion App on Windows 8

Windows Phone is rapidly moving away from its reliance on a physical PC. Eventually, the Zune software client will no longer be needed to sync your music, photos, and video. Instead, Microsoft plans to make available a companion app on Windows 8, which will provide you with access to the content on your phone. Some reports seem to believe that it will have remote access capabilities, similar to how the Photos app works with other Windows 8 PCs. This companion app will allow you to transfer documents, music, photos, and video, as well as view recommended apps in the store. Those still on Windows 7 will be able to download a desktop application with similar features.

Rooms

Windows Phone 8 will reportedly include a new feature called Rooms, which will allow you to privately share calendar items, photos, and notes with a select group of people. New Windows Phones will come with two pre-made groups, Family Room and Best Friends, but you’ll be able to create your own as well. While cross-platform compatibility is unlikely (although it’s theoretically possible that Microsoft could release special apps on Android and iOS), Rooms should be an excellent way to keep in touch and in sync with friends and family. Especially if everyone owns a Windows Phone.

Kid’s Corner

Another unique feature on Windows Phone 8 is something called Kid’s Corner, which essentially allows you to create a customized Start screen specifically for children. Only apps that are pinned to this special Start screen are accessible, and you can further refine what can and cannot be accessed. Personalization options will also be available, allowing you to differentiate the full OS and Kid’s Corner with unique lock screens, themes, and more.

Nokia’s Other Two Devices

While Nokia was only expected to announce the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 today, early details on two other devices have already begun to leak out. The Finnish manufacturer is reportedly going to manufacture a lower-end Windows Phone handset, codenamed “Glory.” Interestingly, this device will run Windows Phone 7.8, not Windows Phone 8, and it will include an 800MHz processor, 256MB of RAM, and a 4-inch display. If Nokia is planning to launch a new handset running the now-outdated OS, then the frustration regarding the lack of an upgrade path to Windows Phone 8 for existing devices might not be as warranted as many had believed.

Equally curious is the Nokia Lumia “Zeal,” which is reportedly a 4.3-inch handset with an industrial design. The Verge calls this device “Zune-like,” but it’s doubtful that the Zeal is a true successor to something like the Zune HD (e.g. a phone-less Windows Phone). The Zeal is expected to come with a 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of memory, a microSD card slot, and, of course, Windows Phone 8.

Miscellaneous Windows Phone 8 SDK Leaks

A number of Windows Phone 8 features have been discovered in leaked versions of the Software Development Kit (SDK), including music storage on and streaming from SkyDrive, remote phone access via SkyDrive, mapping improvements, file associations, lock screen notifications for third-party apps, phone backup to SkyDrive (for app list, settings, text messages, photos, and videos), nearby WiFi hotspots map, improvements to the People Hub and Groups, a wide range of new accent colors, email dictation, news and local deals through Bing, personalized suggestions, custom audio alerts, and much more.

The obvious question is when Microsoft plans to reveal the full Windows Phone 8 feature list, which hopefully still includes a few surprises. Unfortunately, we might have to wait until as late as the Windows Phone 8 launch on October 29 for the full details. Microsoft has supposedly locked down many non-essential aspects of the OS, even for OEMs who are hard at work making the hardware the OS will run on. Microsoft, more than likely, is hoping to unveil most of the consumer details about Windows Phone 8 (features, pricing, and availability) at the launch event, followed by general availability soon afterward. Hopefully we won’t have to wait nearly two months for the next nugget of information.

[Anythingbutiphone 1, 2 | The Verge: 1, 2, 3, 4]
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William Devereux

William Devereux is the former Microsoft editor at Pocketables, as well as a Microsoft MVP and SkyDrive/Outlook.com Insider. As his title implies, he wrote about all things from Redmond, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. He is currently carrying a Windows Phone 8X by HTC and a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet.

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