Disclaimer: These are my personal top 5 features and have been chosen based on my personal usage situation. Feel free to chime in on what makes your list.

In no particular order.

1) Conversations with Apps


  • This is one of those things where Apple’s marketing of Siri proves just how important marketing is and Microsoft needs to market this feature like crazy. instead of Style over substance like is the case for Siri the new Conversations with Apps is Style AND Substance. Being able to have hands free conversation within a specific app is awesome. Microsoft showed off this feature with a video showcasing Audible. No need to keep pushing te voice button to issue commands instead have a natural conversation with the app. For third party developers this is an important branding distinction too. Apple makes their user become intimate with Siri but on Windows Phone 8 the developer’s app is what is at the forefront of the conversation.

2) New Start Screen


Coming in Windows Phone 8 users will have the ability to scale tiles from small, medium and large sizes. This gives live tiles the scalability of Widgets. As the user changes the size of the live tile the information overlayed changes with it. For example, if you change a small tile to large in Nokia Drive instead of getting a text overlay on the backside of the tile you would get a full view of your route. Nice! Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore showed off how you could create your own little favorite Games Hub section on the Start Screen by having the Games Hub tile be medium size while your 4 other favorite games could be on each side of the Games Hub tile as small tiles.

For me this means I can line up all my email folders in a row using small tiles (linked still of course) and take over very little room on the Start Screen leaving me with another opportunity to place more information on the Start Screen. Also means you can have Groups assigned as small or medium tiles to get even faster access to info and contacts.

3) Skype and 3rd Party VOIP Integration


For the millions of users that use Skype or other VOIP services this is a huge boost to their using it on the Windows Phone platform. Skype will not be integrated like Facebook and Twitter is in the OS but it will be deeply integrated in the sense that you can make and accept Skype calls using the same phone screen as regular calls. All contacts that have Skype information in their profile will be automatically added to the separate Skype app too and in your People Hub. The best part is that this type of deep integration isn’t just available to Skype but to all developers.

My mother-in-law gets confused using her Windows Phone People Hub so to be able to just receive and make Skype calls like any other phone call is a big, elegant deal. For me its great because that means with the improved background multitasking that calls will be able to be received without the need to have the app running in the foreground. I can now feel free to have people call me or chat with me through Skype to their hearts content.

4) Improved Multitasking


As an  entrepreneur who is constantly driving around to meet with clients and running errands for my wife I fnd I spend an insane amount of time in the car. The improved background multitasking will now allow me to listen to books I’m interested in using the Audible app and also can have the directions alert me when I need to be alerted. This brings me to..

5) Nokia Taking Over Mapping


As we had previously heard, Nokia Maps is taking over for Bing Maps. This is an example how every user phone user benefits from the Microsoft/Nokia partnership. This brings native support for turn-by-turn navigation and brings it on par with iOS6 and Android in that respect. Owners of coming Nokia phones will also get the fast improving Nokia Drive and Nokia Transit apps to further utilize Nokia’s features.

There is also a Map control for developers coming so that 3rd party devs can utilize Nokia Maps in their apps. As someone who is driving around a lot the off line turn by turn directions will be great. Because of my calculative nature I like to plan out my day and trips to the most minute detail. Being able to make my upcoming 1,000+ mile road trip to Texas would have been great to have offline maps stored on a micro-SD card thus saving tons of data.

Although not announced we all know that Nokia Maps also include 3D mapping technology. This means that each of what I consider big smartphone players (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) have 3D mapping and turn-by-turn native options. As of right now I’d consider Nokia maps to be a close second to Google Maps especially when considering international coverage.


So there you have it. My personal favorite top 5 features. Things that I think are awesome but didn’t make the list are NFC Support, the Wallet Hub and MicroSD removable storage support. The fact that WP8 has removable SD support means we can expect  to see high end phones coming this fall with lower (8 to 16gb) of onboard memory so the price will be lower to customers and for users who desire more storage they can buy MicroSD cards to fll their needs. Sine we know the iPhone won’t have removable storage Windows Phone users will get the ability to have far more capacity on their phones then their iPhone counterparts especially considering the difference in pricing as you increase memor on iPhones. For example, you can pick up a 32GB microSD card today for $20, but to upgrade from a 16gb to 32gb iPhone costs you an additional $100. That’s an extra $80 tacked on. SkyDrive synching can now be done with removable storage so the microSD cards can be used to house all the SkyDrive synched files which is a big deal.


  1. Totally agree on all of these. I think the MicroSD feature makes me really happy also, I want to hold more of everything on my Titan and I just can’t with only around 12gb available after the OS takes it’s share.

  2. OK list, but if you are going to spend anytime with (1), plan to spend a lot of time alone in a quiet room, or very quiet car. No surprise that Samuel Jackson and John Malkovich are in quiet suroundings when using Siri. Just have not found too many good places to use TellMe or Ask Ziggy without getting strange looks.

    No immediate need for microSD, but I am sure it will come in handy one day, and will definitely quiet those who need to choose one of 10,000 songs in their collection 24/7.

    NFC is going to take some time to gain traction, with competing platforms, and general user acceptance, so this is not a high priority, at least for me. The Wallet Hub did look interesting though and I wouldn’t mind tinkering with that side of it.

  3. @Jim-I’m a media director and visual designer who works from home in my home production studio. I spend about 75% of my time alone editing video or photographs. I definitely have the quiet environment that will allow me to use it. I also don’t play music much when i’m in the car by myself as I prefer to be alone with my thoughts. Admittedly i’m a weird introverted guy so 99% of people won’t be like this.

    I get it too on the microSD but for me its not so much about music as it is about video as it will give me the chance to carry along my video and photography portfolios. Also the ability to load offline map data to the microSD saving the bandwith is awesome.

    You can bet your bottom dollar the next Nokia Lumia phone that debuts with Windows Phone 8 will have NFC and have some really great ways to take advantage of it. In fact its really Nokia who has been the one pushing NFC tech importance to Microsoft. They are betting big on location based services and NFC plays a huge role in that.

    Looking back on my list I think the multi-core support is more important when considering the location based services that will be coming in WP8.

  4. My favorite feature is the “stab the early adopters/lumia owners in the back” feature. It’s awesome.

    Just another example of why I’ll never buy another MS product ever again.

  5. As a business owner I understand the backwards compatibility perfectly. Simple thing is for Microsoft to offer through carriers the ability to upgrade for $99 to a WP8 device. Heck send out voucher to all who buy a WP from this year.

  6. The most basic question – will I be able to transfer ALL my call details, history and text messages over to WP8? Also, does Microsoft – finally – have a complete backup solution (again including EVERYTHING) for WP8?

  7. Et tu Brute? Nobody stabbed me in the back, or had a gun to my back when I walked into the AT&T store on April 8th. As I said in another forum, if the Lumia 900 were to be released tomorrow, for $99, I would happily buy it again. It’s a wonderful phone with a silky smooth, fluid operating system.

    Why you say. Well, let’s review.
    -I have an FFC on my L900, along with Tango (the app) and Skype. But I have yet to make/receive a call using either app. Not sure if I ever will. So if full Skype integration does not come with WP7.8, who cares.
    – Expanded Voice Control – As noted above, unless you are in the right environment to use this technology, tapping your screen a few times is still the preferred method. I can live with or without this.
    -Improved Multitasking – Don’t use my phone for navigation much, but when I do, that’s more than enough to distract me. Don’t need to text someone, send/receive emails or search for music while navigating, and driving my car.
    -Wallet Hub – No word on whether this will be included in WP7.8, but without NFC I can understand if it’s not. Wouldn’t mind having it, but won’t cry if I have to wait for it.
    -Already have Nokia Mapping and the cool new Windows Phone 8 screen has been promised, along with more accent colors. Actually looking forward to that.

    Note that the following new features are “hardware dependent” and only a total idiot would be dissapointed that Microsoft was not going to somehow add these to current Titans and Lumias:
    -I still have about 6.5GB of the 14.5GB available on my L900. Don’t expect to use much more. I add stuff, and remove stuff all the time. Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer listening to music on my 3′ tall DBX speakers, as loud as my neighbors will tolerate. So the microSD might be nice, but I expect this to be pretty locked down. Like choose where you want your music and video to be stored; microSD or internal. No file explorer or option to move things around at will.
    -NFC – Until at least 30-40% of phone users and businesses adopt this (compatible) technology, it will be nothing more than a novelty. I jumped through hoops to get the first Bluetooth equip phone, and it took nearly a decade for 30-40% of new cars to offer the option. Actually I am not sure if 30% actually do offer it today. No rush.
    – Dual Core – Unless it can save me 25%+ in battery usage, no rush for this either. Don’t play Call of Duty, and even if I did, I wouldn’t be playing it on my phone.

    Based on past history, I don’t expect new WP8s to hit the stores until mid-November, as has happened the past two years. That’s 6 months from now, and eight months since the L900s launch. Plently of time to enjoy my beautifully different phone. But I am sure that by next February-March, I will be getting th upgrade itch, just in time for the second wave of WP8s.

    Now that Microsoft Surface. Different story. Can’t wait.

  8. Why should we care about Skype or VOIP? We’re all going to be forced onto a metered data plan, and this will just eat up the data!

  9. @Rivercat: WiFi is our friend. Most of my time is spent at home or at work, and I have access to WiFi at both locations. My data-over-cellular is minimal because of that.

  10. @MartiM I find that I am the same way with my data usage. I have a 2GB per month data plan and I very rarely go over 1GB because so much of my time my phone is tapping into Wi-Fi.

    Look for a ton of new apps taking advantage of the new APIs as i’m predicting the marketplace will grow to close to 200,000 by the middle of next year.

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