Thursday, July 26, 2012
Posted by Saad Hashmi at 12:57 PM —
This is the big kahuna folks: what appears to be the official Windows Phone 8 SDK has hit the web ahead of schedule. The leak comes courtesy of Chinese forums WPXAP, but trust me when I say there's no way you're going to get your copy quickly enough. The website hosting the SDK require a download manager to be installed first (which is entirely in Chinese), and adding insult to injury the download speeds are horrendously slow right now.
Of course, that depends if you can download the SDK or not because, as previously rumored, the developer tools require the Windows 8 Release Preview to run. So if you're not using the test build of Microsoft's latest OS, you might want to get started on that download first. In addition, LiveSide reports that you'll need very well-spec'd hardware to run it: a 64-bit (x64) motherboard, 8 GB of RAM (recommended), and a minimum of 4 GB free hard drive space to actually install.
Head on past the break for more info, including a ton of new features that have been revealed as a result of the leak. It's exciting stuff you won't want to miss!
Alright so let's get started. Paul Thurrott got his hands on a copy and dived head-first into the emulator to reveal some new functionality, redesigned apps, and a couple of other unannounced features. First, the new Start screen actually does include an app list, and all you have to do to reach it is swipe to the left just like you would today in 7.5. Beyond that little tidbit, the emulator has bundled in a lot of preinstalled apps including Wallet and Data Sense, the latter being a new built-in app that measures how much data your phone uses and lets you set a limit. Rounding out the apps is a redesigned Camera app, which includes the ability to use other camera apps by default ("Lenses"), and a new Music + Videos Hub (minus the Zune branding).
Meanwhile WPCentral has blown out their coverage of the SDK too, so we'll just do a quick list of what they've dug up so far. Apps will be able to create custom Lock Screen notifications, and will also be able to update the phone's wallpaper. Windows Phone 8 will also support background auto-uploading for photo apps, which seems to mimic the built-in SkyDrive uploading functionality only for other services' apps like Flickr. There's also the new voice command features, including the ability to tell an app to do something from wherever you are in the OS (example: "Metrotube, show Subscriptions"). A huge new feature could be the ability for apps to associate themselves with certain file types, kind of like how Windows 7 knows to open a program like Windows Media Player to play a .WMV file. The same thing will be present for developers in Windows Phone 8, according to the documents.
Rounding out the coverage is WMPoweruser, who have also done a good job covering everything. Apps can now add music files to your phone's library, creating a huge new opportunity for third-party music marketplaces like Amazon MP3. They've also dug up screenshots and more info about the new Lens apps for the Windows Phone 8 camera. And in case you forgot, Nokia Maps will be the default mapping service and references 3D imaging as well as map layers for landmarks and more. A feature that's sure to be popular is the new peer-to-peer Bluetooth sharing that WP8 will include, as well as much more open access to the stack for developers.
Phew. That's pretty much all of the features that we know about so far, and we'll know more once we get a copy of the SDK ourselves. So, when can we expect the official release of the SDK? Well we heard rumors that the tools would be released in the last week of July anyway, but we're not sure if that's supposed to mean this week or next week. Either way, now that a complete and apparently final version is on the web we'd expect Microsoft to publish the official version sooner rather than later.
Source: LiveSide, WinSuperSite, WPCentral, WMPoweruser