updated 01:10 pm EDT, Wed April 18, 2012
Windows Phone 8 summit to talk features
Microsoft may soon provide some of the first real details of Windows Phone 8 (Apollo), including signs that it will keep or even expand its flexibility. An upcoming Reading, UK summit whose agenda was caught by NetbookNews presented a possibly complete picture of Windows Phone 8's feature set and app support with an eye towards supporting carriers. Among them was mention of "customization & differentiation opportunities," suggesting carriers and hardware makers would still have some opportunity to tailor the software to their own ends.
Whether or not this represents an expansion of options isn't known. With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft only offers a limited amount of customization, with the core interface untouched and just a handful of extra apps allowed. Nokia's special privileges are themselves limited to preloading apps like Nokia Drive.
Some hardware designers and carriers have kept to Android partly out of a belief that they need to customize their software to stand out.
Apart from customization, the guide also hinted that companies would get release plans. It would go on to explain how Windows Phone 8 would be "better together with Windows 8," although whether that's harmony in app support or simply a marketing pitch isn't apparent.
The new release is widely expected to ship in the fall, possibly in October.