|Microsoft's Greg Sullivan x 3: Plenty More in Store with Windows Phone 8 ... |
Greg Sullivan is Microsoft's senior product manager for Windows Phone ...
... and there are 3 articles below penned by Stuart Miles of Pocket-lint and published by them in the last 3 days. Each is based on conversations with Greg. I've also posted part one of a recent interview with Greg conducted by Ben Griffin of Know Your Mobile on the SI Windows Phone board:
>> Microsoft: We've only shown you a minority of consumer features in Windows Phone 8 so far
EXCLUSIVE: Plenty more in store
2 July 2012
Greg Sullivan, senior product manager for Windows Phone, has told Pocket-lint that the company has so far only showed a minority of features aimed at consumers in Windows Phone 8. We can expect plenty more to be revealed in the run up to the launch later this year.
"We showed a lot at the Sneak Peek event in San Francisco, if you were a developer or an IT pro," he exclusively told us.
"Of the end-user consumer visible features and capabilities, we showed a minority of features at the event."
Sullivan wouldn't share with us what the company still has in store, but confirmed there was plenty more coming besides just a new start screen - maybe a new Windows Phone 8 arched keyboard?
[See 'Windows Phone 8 to get arched keyboard, for better one-handed texting' Pocket-lint article at the end of this post]
Much of the Sneak Peek event focused on Windows Phone 8 developer and IT pro features, with consumers only really getting a glimpse at the new start screen and the NFC wallet. However, Sullivan was keen to tell us that won't be the case in the final version.
"This release has a significant amount of new functionality for developers and IT pros in particular, and because of the planning cycles involved in getting them the information they need to take advantage of the release when it hits, we thought it was important to confirm and prepare them. Which is partly why we didn't detail all the consumer features," he explained.
The news is likely to be welcomed by Windows Phone fans who probably thought that, from a feature point of view, the new update, expected in October, wasn't going to deliver much to the average consumer.
"You have to balance it. We aren’t vertically integrated like Apple, we have a host of partners we work with, a developer eco-system to think about," said Sullivan.
"We [Microsoft] provide a general-purpose platform that provides a choice of manufacturers and a choice of folks building on it, and that really makes it difficult for us to launch hours after we announce it."
It's a schedule that the senior product manager hopes won't have to be repeated anytime soon though.
"The way we are thinking about this is that Windows Phone 8 is a generational shift that has an associated discontinuity that we don't expect to happen again soon," he said.
"The headroom that we get from this new architecture is so significant that it provides us room to grow for a long time."
That headroom is in line with what you see on laptops and tablets today. In theory, Sullivan said, the Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system will be able to support processors with not just dual-core capability, but also those up to 64-cores.
But why the change now rather than three years ago when Windows Phone 7 was announced? Did the Windows Phone team make a mistake? Sullivan doesn't think so.
"We reset our mobile strategy in early 2009. And in late 2010 we delivered a product based on that approach. We went back to the drawing board and started over," he told us.
"We didn't start over from an architecture point of view, but we went very 'low'. It did lots of things, but not what we have today with Windows Phone 8.
"We didn't [go with Windows architecture] because of a couple of dynamics that made it infeasible to do that at the time. The first is that Windows wasn't on ARM at that time. Could the phone team have down it? Yes I suppose, but that work hadn't been done yet.
"The other reason is that the work we've done on Windows Phone 8 and the processors are different in a meaningful way from the previous generation or the ones that we are shipping on today.
"At a risk of over simplifying it, the work on the SOCs [phone processors] today is hierarchy dominated by the modem chip and the apps processor is secondary to it, in the next generation that relationship is reversed and the apps processor is the boss."
But perhaps more importantly for Microsoft, seeing that Apple's iPhone was dominating the smartphone market, and Google's Android platform was starting to get traction, Microsoft didn't want to wait any longer.
"In 2009 it didn't seem a good idea to wait for multi-core processor support," Sullivan rationalised. ###
>> Microsoft: Bringing Windows Phone 8 features to Windows Phone 7 smartphones doesn't make sense
EXCLUSIVE: Let's push on
3 July 2012
Greg Sullivan, senior product manager for Windows Phone at Microsoft, has told Pocket-lint that the current line-up of Windows Phone devices won't be getting the update to Windows Phone 8 later in the year because it doesn't make sense to commit the manpower to making it happen.
"Support for dual-core multi-processors, new screen resolutions, NFC, removable SD card - this awesome Lumia 900 has none of those features, so doing the work to bring those features to this phone doesn't make sense," he explained to us on a trip to London on the way back from TechEd in Europe.
"Instead, what we focused on was making Windows Phone 8 fully exploit the latest generation of hardware, taking the most obvious user changes we are making and bringing that to existing devices."
Rather than NFC or faster processor support for a device that doesn't have it, Windows Phone 7.5 users will be getting a new start screen - among other things - that allows them to get more information at a glance than previously.
Shown at the company's Sneak Peek event in San Francisco last month, the new feature will be coming to Windows Phone users around the same time, if not slightly after the Windows Phone 8 roll out begins.
It's clear though, from talking to Sullivan, that much of the final design is yet to be locked down.
In a quick demo of a Nokia Lumia 900 running an early build of Windows Phone 7.5, we noticed that double-digit notifications on the smaller tiles don't fit. The clock - now rather unsightly - overlays the Live Tiles, and the arrow to move to the app page is now gone (although the app page is still present).
The response from Sullivan?
"It's not clear that the arrow on the start screen may stay gone. We may figure out how to bring it back. It's still early days."
We are sure it will be fixed. Sullivan and Microsoft seem very proud of the Metro design.
"If you type in your Live ID, your Facebook and LinkedIn credentials, right away that phone is more obviously yours than any other platform," Sullivan said.
"It automatically personalises itself. With the new start screen you can take that to another level. The phone really reflects you.
"We've taken this core principle around the design approach around Metro and made Windows Phone about your content. We don't have faux 3D, or pretend highlights. The user interface is trying to get out of the way. We are really tweaking it around personalisation and customisation."
Windows Phone 8 is expected to be launched on a new bevy of smartphones available later in the year. ###
>> Microsoft: Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 to be separate for now...
EXCLUSIVE: Different thinking
4 July 2012
Greg Sullivan, Senior Product manager for Windows Phone, has told Pocket-lint that the company opted out of creating a phone version of Windows RT (the tablet version of Windows 8) because it felt that having the two operating systems still made very good sense, for the moment.
In an interview with Pocket-lint in London following Tech Ed in Europe, Sullivan detailed how - while the two platforms are very close in what they can offer - Microsoft believes that it is worth keeping the two separate, while at the same time allowing the two to benefit from each other to beat the iPad.
"We believe the phone - and the aspect ratios of the phone form factors - is unique enough to devote a specific effort to building a phone operating system and differentiating that," he said.
"Will there be more of this convergence we are seeing between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 in the future, absolutely, it makes a lot of sense. We still think there will be a discrete offering, but you will get more and more of this efficiency that we are beginning to get with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
Sullivan went on to explain: "There are meaningful differences between the two. Take iOS: while the iPhone and iPad versions look the same, underneath they are very different. If you write an app for both of them you have unique code that is targeting the different devices.
"Our approach is really not any different except they [Apple] drew a line between phones/tablets and then the Mac, while we've drawn a line between the phone and the tablet/PC operating systems. We have a significant amount of code reuse, we have the same device driver code, we have a similar user experience with Metro."
Sullivan believes that in the long run this should help Microsoft gain the upper ground and help it show the iPad's forthcomings.
"When I use an iPad I think it’s a really pleasurable experience, it’s a great consumption device, but I constantly run into guardrails. I want to connect a USB mass storage, oh a can't. I want to print to a printer other than the one Lexmark or whatever, I can't. I keep wanting to do things I can't do. I think it's primarily because of the fundamental strategy where they took a phone OS and stretched it up to a tablet.
"We are taking a PC OS and shrinking it down. We could have done the same thing, but it doesn't make sense. When we deliver Surface or any Windows 8 device, the Pro model will run every Windows app ever written. That think will run Visicalc 1.0 from 1981. I saw a demo. It's amazing. It's part of the promise."
Given Apple's history and success with the iPhone, Sullivan said he completely understood why Apple made the choices it did, and why Microsoft was coming at it from the direction it is.
"Apple was coming from their area of strength. They own the API in the mobile space. It made more sense for them to go with their area of strength and stretch the API so developers could benefit from that [with the iPad]. In their true way they've done an elegant well integrated one.
"People have asked us why we haven't just put Windows Phone on a tablet and said it's good, that's what Apple did? But our approach in fundamentally different and the long-term benefits mean I won't run into those guardrails, there will be printer drivers, everything will work, and those things will keep adding up and adding up. I think our approach will end up with a much more powerful functionality, less limited, less constrained device."
Sullivan added: "They draw the line between the phone/tablet and the PC, and we are drawing the line between the PC/tablet and the phone.
"Over time we will already, in Windows Phone 8, share more things like the architecture, and user experience level, and as I hinted that kind of convergence will mean it will make more sense to invest in our platform in the future." ###
A new feature of Windows phone 8?
>> Windows Phone 8 to get arched keyboard, for better one-handed texting
2 July 2012
A leaked image showing a curved virtual keyboard has emerged that suggests Windows Phone 8 could be implementing a better way of typing one handed.
The image is allegedly from a Microsoft Research presentation and shows a keyboard arching itself across the display of an HTC Trophy handset. WMPoweruser.com says the keyboard enables users to reach the alphanumeric panels more easily when texting one-handed.
In addition the keyboard will help remember what words are being typed, depending on how you hit the keys, to help create a more accurate but faster typing method. It won’t just be Western keyboards that will be getting the curve treatment either, with WMPoweruser also revealing a Korean design. The site is even speculating that the arc keyboard could debut on Windows Phone 7.8.
We’ll reserve judgment until we’ve tried it for ourselves, but the theory appeals. Typos are all too common when trying to text one-handed, particularly with devices with larger displays.
Windows Phone 8 is set to arrive later this year with Nokia, Samsung, Huawei and HTC all revealing they will have handsets that run the OS.
Via: wmpoweruser.com ###
- Eric -