The software developer kit (SDK) for Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 8 release has leaked to online forums, revealing numerous features and enhancements before Microsoft can officially announce them.
A Chinese blog scored the code first, with the WPCentral team the first to sift through its contents. It has uncovered quite a bounty of new information, too, including Microsoft's plans to expand the photography experience, SD card support, Nokia Map APIs for developers, several new background task APIs and a comprehensive list of the video file codecs that are supported by the system.
The camera is one of the key areas for change in Windows Phone 8. Microsoft will add an API called Camera Lenses, which will let developers identify their tools as a lens filter in the default camera app. Developers will also be able to access the live video from the camera in their applications, and trigger photo uploads as a background task.
Nokia Maps will be the default mapping app on Windows Phone 8 handsets, replacing the Bing Maps seen in previous versions. These new maps also include new features, many similar to those found in Google Maps. Examples are the ability to add 3D landmarks to a mapped surface; the ability to tilt the perspective of the map for a richer, 3D-like experience; and access for developers to download portions of the maps for offline use within their applications.
OEMs designing new Windows Phone 8 handsets will have the option to include expandable memory slots in the new devices; a first for the Windows Phone platform. Changes to multimedia include a de-branding of the Zune media app and developer access to create, modify and delete all media types stored on the phones. The SDK also details exactly which media file types are supported by the new OS.
There are several other improvements to the platform buried in the SDK code, most of which we expect to hear more from Microsoft about in the coming weeks. Peer-to-peer file sharing over Bluetooth is listed, as well as the new Wallet app, and a customer data tracker called Data Sense was also found.