Microsoft's highly anticipated Windows Phone 8 Software Development Kit (SDK) was leaked to the Web Thursday, confirming previous rumors that the phone's content was available online but still keeping the smartphone's release date in the dark.

The Chinese site WPXAP posted links to download the SDK along with accompanying documents that offer additional details into the development options for Windows Phone 8. Accoding to multiple sources including WPCentral and The Verge, the leaked SDK is a preview version, implying that Microsoft is planning to release the kit to developers within the coming weeks. 

Many of the leaked documents confirm previous announcements Microsoft has made regarding the phone, such as native code support, Marketplace capabilities including in-app purchasing, SD-card support, and new APIs for speech recognition. But the documents also reference a new camera capabilities and apps such as real-time access to the phone's video stream and lenses— special camera and lens apps that would offer additional effects and filters for cameras.

The documents also detail the heavily rumored 3D mode for Nokia Maps, the default mapping experience in Windows Phone 8. Information on hardware-accelerated rendering detailed four available modes available to developers as well as the 3D mode featuring three-dimensional landmarks.

According the The Verge, Microsoft is advising developers that "Windows Phone 8 will support hot-swappable SD cards, but that apps will have read-only access to user stored content on them through APIs." The phone is also adding Direct3D. Although some of the application programming interfaces (APIs) will be similar to WinRT, Microsoft says HTML-based phone apps are "not a supported app model in Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview."

Tech blogs like WP Central and Winsupersite installed the Windows Phone 8 emulator to test the contents of the kit, showing several other smaller changes in the new phone's user interface and apps. The Data Smart app, for instance — an app that allows you to track your mobile data usage — is now referred to as "Data Sense." And as anyone could have predicted, any sign of the name "Zune" is nowhere to be seen in the phone's music app. There are also updated versions of the Wallet app, IE 10, and a new Start Screen. Other minor changes noted from the leak include peer-to-peer Bluetooth sharing, and new app capabilities for third-party app developers to develop programs with greater control over different areas of the platform. Third- party apps will now be able to access lockscreen notifications, work in the background, and access the Windows Phone's media library to add and delete photos, music, video and audio.