A senior Microsoft developer, who was verified by the Reddit Mods, has held an AMA on Reddit discussing Windows Phone 8.1, and some tasty titbits surrounding its development and the future.
He revealed details such as that by replying with a keyword like Knock Knock your inner circle can break through your Do Not Disturb barrier.
|BAADFOOD 1 point 1 hour ago |
Also you can set ‘inner circle’ to enable them to ‘break through’ on texts by replying ‘knock, knock’. Or just let me through.
I choose ‘knock, knock’. I get texts all the damn time from my ‘inner circle’. 0.001% is important.
BAADFOOD 59 minutes ago
There are three settings
1) Don’t let inner circle through 2) Let them through if they call three times on the phone, or reply ‘knock,knock) 3) Let inner circle through
Basically if I get a phone call if I’m in a meeting (thanks Calendar) or probably asleep I won’ hear it and it goes to voice mail. If I get a text during any of those times I won’t see it unless someone in my ‘inner circle’ (you pick who) does it. And if they do, it better be damn important.
BAADFOOD 35 minutes ago
the second your meeting or ‘quiet’ time ends you see all.
unless you break the rules and text first. because we’re not stupid like that.
He revealed in Windows Phone 9 users will have multiple options for video calls – currently there can only be one video call option at a time.
|BAADFOOD 3 points 2 hours ago|
Skype is an app, and AFAIK (Again, I’m a Microsoft employee and only doing this to entertain myself and help tide you over, on my own dime.. I don’t work in the winPhone group and don’t know their current plans that much except 9 is going to rock the world….) that multiple video apps can hold that spot in the ‘call’ screen.
right now when I’m in a call, or get a call, I have ‘Video’ as an option. If I install Skype (maybe I’ll try tonight) I would have a ‘Skype’ option.
He also revealed WP 8.1 users will not be able to select a 3rd party SMS service, but that this may come in WP 8.2 or later.
|Can you show what the Change Default SMS option is like/does? It leaked back in feb and we havent heard anything about it since|
BAADFOOD 2 points 1 hour ago
8.2 :). Or later.
He also revealed the pace of development is set to pick up tremendously, and blamed the delay in WP 8.1 release on re-orgs and mismanagement.
|Windows (Windows Server, Windows Phone, XBOX, (Unnammed thingy)) are going to take drops from our next release ‘Threshold’ which will be out like in October-December. the WinPhone team has had their asses handed to them and have been told to develop in parellel with us in the core OS group so I’d expect a 6-8 month ‘major’ update going forward. QFE’s, Bug Fixes, Security Fixes etc in the interim but something cool and new every 6-8 months…|
BAADFOOD 2 points 1 hour ago
We’re trying to be like apple, and focusing on the consumers rather than sit around and argue over how things should be done for YEARS. That was old microsoft. YEARS to do something. YEARS. When in reality it takes about 10 people to do anything here.
They won’t be HUGE updates, some will, but most will be enough to keep you going and respond to feedback about what sucks, what’s missing and how we can own the mobile space, server space (my interest, we actually do…) and gaming space (1080p for everything… wait what? Lazy game devs suck…)
He suggested the update cycle for Windows Phone will shorted from yearly or more to 6-8 months.
|[–]samcode7 51 minutes ago|
I have to apologize for my ignorance first. I’m not a software engineer. But why does it take so long (1.5 years) for 8.1 to come to fruition.
BAADFOOD 50 minutes ago
reorgs and bad management. As a Principal SDE ( I write code, have managed, know the ins and outs) it’s purely bad management and too much of an Ego
[–]samcode7 44 minutes ago
Thanks! So will we see a faster update cycle in the future? 6-8 months you said?
BAADFOOD 41 minutes ago
we have two trains
6-8 on minor/major features if it’s done
12-24 of major releases
This is for Windows. Windows Server is a bit different because we have a smaller audience but make a metric fuckton more money than any other group at Microsoft and our Customers expect nothing but AWESOME at a release.
But generally, XBOX, Windows, Windows Phone, (New thingy I can’t talk about) will have a 6-8 month cadence on releases including new features, and of course immediate bug fixes and security fixes.
[–]samcode7 34 minutes ago
so you’re saying 6-8 months like GDR1,2,3? And 12-24 months like 8.1? Hmmm…
BAADFOOD 34 minutes ago
no I’m saying you’re getting 8.1. And probably 8.2 or 9 or whatever they call it shortly.
He called Cortana a 0.5 version app at present, and suggested some features may be cut before the final version.
|BAADFOOD 2 points 1 hour ago|
Well Cortana is v0.5 right now. It’s a ‘beta’ release and they claim its because lack of countries but really a small portion of Microsoft was dedicated to making it happen and things get cut because of things like ‘it can’t be tested’.
we can do the code. we are all the pick of the litter. It’s a matter of resources. not engineering.. engineering here is the best of the best (yes I’m cocky) it’s about the way Microsoft works and that every major feature gets tested by a second pair of (sadly uneducated) eyes.
He showed a preference for Google Search, but suggested Microsoft had something up its sleeve to address performance gaps between Bing and Google.
|BAADFOOD 3 points 1 hour ago|
Google. It’s faster. And I used to work on that team. They are fighting a battle they won’t win. Not in search at least. They have an interesting plan however that sadly I can’t share. You’re going to be surprised.
BAADFOOD 4 points 1 hour ago
Yup. Bing has some performance issues that are ‘easy’ to address (actually pretty hard, but some smart people and a year or so fixing it problem solved)
Bing’s biggest problem is ‘Google’ is a household name. ‘Bing’ isn’t. And that’s been ingrained in multiple generations (Seniors, Elders, Midway Crisis, 20-30’s, teens, younger…). That is google’s biggest advantage. It’s a household name.
He revealed one Cortana, which takes over the Bing Search button, will not be able to scan barcodes (or QRCodes presumably) which is one of the most popular features of the app.
|[–]pizzaboy192Trophy > 521 > 810 | Radar > 8x 1 point 1 hour ago|
Did you install it as an update or a wipe and flash? If it was an update, how big was the update? (so I know how much space to free up)
Also, can you ask Cortana to scan a barcode or qr code? Or do you have to use the Bing vision lens?
BAADFOOD 0 points 1 hour ago
Update. Tho I can’t tell you…
I had to update to an interim build (you probably wont) which took about 15 minutes, then the final build which was about 30 on my 929.
And no. You click the ‘lense’ icon on the new camera app, pick ‘Bing Vison’ and scan your QR code. You can also use the AWESOME office app they released to scan documents. It’s a lense now too.
He suggested a Web service was coming to let users manage their backed up SMS messages.
|[–]BucIt 1 hour ago|
Can you search or manually backup/download Sms? I keep texts with some people. And to g back in its history months ago, takes forever to sit there and scroll and scroll and scroll…
BAADFOOD 58 minutes ago
I don’t think manually. From what I’ve seen the SMS backup is just as it was before. If you restore you phone, you get texts from 10 months ago…. that’s it.
They need to expose a WebUI to allow you to manage your stuff. It’s coming.
He noted that Cortana compared well to Siri.
|[–]Bogey6MaizeLumia 925 56 minutes ago|
With ur time with Cortana & it being beta & all how does it stack up to ur prior phone I4 siri & if u ever messed with G Now hows it stack up against that.
BAADFOOD 55 minutes ago
close. I’m trying to get her to recognize home.. can’t find a way to do that. She is supposed to tell me to get off my ass and go to work, how long the drive is, etc… I may have messed that up.
Outside of that great. Apple owns her on the reservations. If you look in my history I tried to make a reservation at a steakhouse last night and she told me to call them. Not acceptable. Look at what I told her. I told her to do it.
He confirmed that the trick to enable Cortana by changing phone regions also worked on real life handsets.
|[–]talmuthLumia 925 53 minutes ago|
I saw how phone region can be changed on emulator, is it possible on real device with 8.1?
BAADFOOD 45 minutes ago
Yes when you set it up. Just pick ‘reset my phone’ and party on
He was happy with the new Xbox Music app.
|[–]goodpricefriedriceLumia 920 + Lumia 520 52 minutes ago|
Hows the music app? I think you posted a picture somewhere else and it just looks like the current “xbox music” app which is terrible for playing local files (album art doesnt work, slower than the default app, keeps prompting you to buy an xbox music pass every time you open the app and telling you the app wont work without one (previously the app used to just flat out close if you didnt have a pass)).
Pretty disappointed in that department…:(
BAADFOOD 46 minutes ago
You know what, It’s not what I wanted but HOLY FUCK I can now download music I own, create a playlist, and add XBOX Music to the same playlist… and it works!!!!
No skipping. But I probably have a pre-release app. Apps I can’t really talk about. I have no idea if they are final, close to final, etc. I work on Windows Server and the Windows Kernel. I do things like play with bootmgr, network boot (no disk, boot over the internet into windows, no problems), etc.
He revealed an official Facebook app was on the way, coded by Facebook itself.
|[–]goodpricefriedriceLumia 920 + Lumia 520 51 minutes ago|
How about facebook? The tiles in your screenshots look a bit different, is the app a bit less terrible?
edit: thanks for answering all these questions man!
BAADFOOD 49 minutes ago
Eh it’s usable. It’s the latest Facebook app right now. It’s not a new one.
Facebook will be releasing an official app and will be supporting this platform shortly so it will no longer be catchup.
I don’t facebook often. I just have cute daughters and share their pictures with my friends and family.
He also revealed a new Spotiy apps was coming, coded mostly by Microsoft, which will be a universal app for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox.
|[–]phendromeLumia 800 & 920 42 minutes ago|
I can’t help but to ask what Spotify version you are using. Is that perhaps the new one coming out this spring? 🙂
BAADFOOD 40 minutes ago
Sadly it’s the stupid old sucky one. The new one will be out for WinPhone 8.1 and windows 8 in a week or so
[–]phendromeLumia 800 & 920 36 minutes ago
That’s some awesome news. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Are you speaking of the desktop version or perhaps an upcoming RT version?
BAADFOOD 35 minutes ago
All three. It’s a universal app and we’ve wrote most of it.
BAADFOOD 35 minutes ago
you can snap it to the left while playing Titanfall.
BAADFOOD 34 minutes ago
tho XBOX One is adding background tasks and music in about 6 months….
He had no information about actionable notifications.
|[–]samcode7 32 minutes ago|
Will actionable notification be implemented? Maybe in 8.1 update 1? Or 8.2? I assume 8.1 doesn’t have it right?
BAADFOOD 28 minutes ago
I’d imagine so. I can click a text, and immediately say ‘Cortana, Reply get fucked’ and bam the person who sent me a text is feeling like shit.
He revealed Windows Phone 8.1 will in fact not have a file manager but suggested it may make an appearance in Windows Phone 9.
|[–]manmeetvirdiLumia 920 32 minutes ago|
Is there any word on sand boxing? Now in 8.1 can one app access other apps data? Say for example can youtube app will now be able to let me save downloaded video on phone videos hub?
BAADFOOD 29 minutes ago
There is a shared-key-exchange app data sharing. You can’t just look at an app’s data, but you can see what they authorize with you to share.
[–]manmeetvirdiLumia 920 22 minutes ago
Sorry but I didn’t understood! Does that means a particular app can store files outside the app folder?
[–]Abe_Linkin 8 minutes ago
In regular english, I can’t make an app to take whatever I want from your app. However, you can make an app and create a sort of catalogue of things you are willing to share with me, and by reading your documentation I will be able to code my app to take whatever bits of info you allow me.
[–]BucIt 31 minutes ago
You say you think WP9 is going to be awesome. Have you actually seen much of it? Not being specific, is it vastly different from WP8.1 or just major improvements?
BAADFOOD 30 minutes ago
[–]veenthepooh2487 1 point 2 hours ago
Is there some sort of file manager in Windows Phone 8.1?
BAADFOOD 3 points 2 hours ago
Nope. And I don’t think you should expect one. Maybe in 9. What files do you want to manage?
In terms of UI tweaks, he noted that WP 8.1 used smaller fonts than WP8, which should mean less information will fall of the side of the screen.
|[–]Bogey6MaizeLumia 925 0 points 1 hour ago|
In 8.1 is there any font settings especially for when u have in out calls & the names are so big it just looks dumb. I put peoples 1st & last names always in my phone & sometimes there long just wondering if u are able to tone it down in the size at all. Thanks. Can’t wait for 8.1
BAADFOOD 1 point 1 hour ago
I haven’t found any. I know the Text/SMS/Messaging font is way smaller…. but they are using better fonts and font-styles for positioning, etc for inbound calls.
I don’t know if it wraps. The longest name I’ve had is Svetlana Johnson and it shrank-to-size.
He noted once again that Windows Phone 9 will be very impressive.
|[–]Bogey6MaizeLumia 925 1 hour ago|
Yea well if Tmo or MS or Nok don’t give my damn 925 this update with Cortana in the 1st week or 2 @ the most I’ll be getting that Lime Green 8.1 phone from Nokia. After reading all ur good feedback I can’t fucking wait now. Thanks again.
BAADFOOD 57 minutes ago
I’m brutally honest. One of the core competancies of a Microsoft employees, sans our VP’s etc…This thing isn’t going to kick the iPhone’s ass.. but it’s damn close and well… WinPhone 8.2/9/whatever marketing decides to call it is like 8-10 months away so..
And I’ve seen what they are doing and OMFG you are going to pop a boner.
He also revealed Microsoft would like to integrate with Facetime, but have been turned down by Apple.
|[–]Bogey6MaizeLumia 925 43 minutes ago|
LoL Take it easy & keep it coming with ur damn good info.
BAADFOOD 1 hour ago
So what do you want?
I want them to integrate Facebook Messenger into the Messaging Hub so I can look at ONE place to get my messages.
I’d also like an option for a consolidated email view. I have 5 accounts I use (I’m weird, but aren’t we all) and would like one place to view, and reply to emails. Using my originating accounts settings.
I want Microsoft and Apple to score a deal on a FaceTime protocol they can both use between Skype and FaceTime. Apple is being a bitch and not sharing. We would happily implement it.
I am not an app user but I think our recent updates to Visual Studio will make it easier… Just wait until 2014/15 when we ship a piece of code that pretty much auto ports from iOS and Android to WinPhone….. 80% of it is the goal.
We kinda rock and can do this. This is an amazing platform… Ya’ll run so much of My code even tho it’s not in your face it’s not funny.