Windows Phone 8 Hits RTM Status
According to multiple outlets, Windows Phone 8 reached the release-to-manufacturing milestone late last week.
"Tonight we can confirm via two known sources that Windows Phone 8 has RTM'd," reported Web site wpcentral on Friday. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley and Web sites The Verge and WMPoweruser reported the same shortly afterward.
So far, Microsoft has not revealed any specific milestone dates relating to Windows Phone 8 or Windows Phone 7.8, the incremental update for older, Windows Phone 7.5-era devices which are not upgradeable to the new OS due to their hardware limitations. While demonstrating Windows Phone 8 for the first time in June, Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president for Windows Phone Program Management, said only that the OS will arrive this fall.
Last month, rumors surfaced suggesting Windows Phone 8 will launch on Oct. 29, with the first devices becoming available for sale soon after, but Microsoft responded at the time with a "no comment." The same goes for the recent RTM reports.
"Microsoft doesn't have any comment on the RTM rumors, or anything to share at this time around an official launch date for Windows Phone 8," wrote a Microsoft spokesperson in an e-mail.
If Windows Phone 8 has indeed reached RTM, the next step is for Microsoft's device partners to begin testing the OS on their devices. Samsung and Nokia have each unveiled Windows Phone 8 devices -- the ATIV S from the former and the Lumia 920 and 820 from the latter -- but have not officially announced their availability dates. HTC is expected to unveil its first Windows Phone 8 device, the HTC 8X, in an event on Wednesday, while Huawei is expected to join the fray later this month with the Ascend phone.
For developers, the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Developer Preview program stopped accepting applications on Monday after starting last week. Rather than make the entire SDK available publicly, Microsoft is giving access only to developers of Windows Phone apps with the highest download rates.
"I know that many of you want to know why we simply don't publically release the full SDK now. The reason is that not all Windows Phone 8 features have been announced and our SDK includes comprehensive emulators that allow developers to test apps against a wide range of Windows Phone features," wrote Todd Brix, senior director of Microsoft's Windows Marketplace, in a blog post last week. "We recognize that this is a different approach to delivering tools than we've taken in the past. Our goal is to generate as much Windows Phone 8 excitement as possible to attract new customers when phones go on sale."
Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editor of Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and AWSInsider.net, and the editorial director of Converge360.