The release date for Windows Phone 8, said to be code-named "Apollo," is likely to come in the fall, but some of the smartphone's features have already surfaced online. On Wednesday, the software kit for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 leaked via Chinese website WPXAP, and revealed new camera improvements and 3D maps.
This software development kit was able to provide some insight into Microsoft's next mobile operating system, and even more features have been uncovered by The Verge. The new Start screen was visible in the SDK, and the ability to change size of titles could benefit those who are looking to customize their phone's appearance. At its summit in June, Microsoft revealed that there will be greater color customizations for its Windows Phone 8 release, and it seems that a number of theme colors will be offered via the settings menu. As of now 20 colors are available, according to The Verge.
However, there are two new features that Microsoft hasn't detailed yet that surfaced in the SDK. The first is Data Sense, which is a built-in app that lets users monitor their data usage on Windows Phone 8. When initially launched, a prompt will appear asking the user to configure single-use, monthly or unlimited data allowance and the date is resets. This information lets Data Sense accurately monitor how much data allowance is used. This can be tracked through a tile on the Start screen, and the app will warn a user when he or she is close to the limit.
The second newly discovered feature for Windows Phone 8 is backup. The Verge reports that Microsoft has built in much greater backup options for its upcoming Windows Phone 8 device, offering users the option to store SMS data in the cloud along with app lists and settings. The automatic upload to Skydrive feature will also still be present on Windows Phone 8, but the new version will give users greater control over video and photo backups.
The tech news source added that most hubs have been updated with functionality on the "Apollo" device, such as the built-in Maps app which is now powered by Nokia. Users can download these maps for offline use as well, and the Internet Explorer now includes additional setting that let Windows Phone 8 users alter the functionality of the address bar button. Users can change this button from fresh to favorites and tabs.
Another noteworthy addition is that users can now have access to the Xbox Music store through Windows Phone 8. The Xbox and Music and Video hubs have all been refreshed with a redesigned user interface as well. Camera functionality gets a reboot, with the added ability to select multiple images for sharing or deletion. There's also editing options to crop, rotate, or fix pictures. In terms of the actual camera itself, Microsoft is adding a Lenses feature to Windows Phone 8 that puts all the apps that use the camera into one uniform UI. The Verge has tested the Bing Vision feature, but there's a link to include more Lenses which indicates that this could be expanded.
Windows Phone 8 is rumored for a November 2012 release date, as Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet wrote last week. A source had shared Microsoft deliver targets with Foley, which indicated that Windows Phone 8 will come at the end of 2012.
Check out the video below to get a hands-on feel for the new features to come with Windows Phone 8.