It's not exactly news that Microsoft is planning a major update to Windows Phone this fall, one that's supposed to fill in many of the promising smartphone OS's deficiencies. But mobile reviews website PocketNow seems to have revealed the most substantive details to date, thanks to a purported intercept of a Microsoft executive's video presentation. Though it sounds to me like an intentional leak from Microsoft intended to get coverage, the information itself appears genuine.
Rumors about the "Apollo" upgrade -- which some are now calling "Windows Phone 8" -- have been circulating for months, and analysts who follow the space have long said Microsoft was working on several of the issues that PocketNow reveals: adding on-device encryption, better integrating with the forthcoming Windows 8, and beefing up the hardware support.
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PocketNow also says Microsoft is adding support for SD cards -- which is not quite true, as Windows Phone 7 supports proprietary-format SD cards that most device makers decided not to use after customers complained. It's unclear if "Apollo" will work with standard SD cards so that they can be used in other devices such as PCs. And PocketNow describes planned integration with Skype, a company Microsoft bought last year, and a replacement music player for the little-loved Zune.
Analysts have been saying for some time that we'll see a minor upgrade called "Tango" this spring that probably adds even more social networking capabilities to the current Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango." They also claim "Apollo" will be the update that matters, mainly because it will add some of the security management features that have kept it out of large enterprises and, conversely, let the iPhone and increasingly Android in.