Microsoft: We've only shown you a minority of consumer features in Windows Phone 8 so far

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?

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.

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