Microsoft has WP8 locked so tight, even OEMs must learn about new features from Microsoft presentations

Ever wonder why, with only 2 days to go until official Nokia Windows Phone launch, we’ve only seen hardware and some home screen pictures of leaked devices? Why even officially launched Samsung Ativ S didn’t give us any additional insights into Windows Phone 8 functions?

It’s because of unprecedented security measures Microsoft is taking with Windows Phone 8. Even OEM development prototypes are locked so tight, that employees working on those phones do not have access to a big part of WP8 functions.

This info comes from Mobile Review’s Eldar Murtazin, who says he had an opportunity to check out some WP8 devices at IFA. According to him:

It is the first time as far as I can remember, that OEM prototypes are locked to special accounts inside Microsoft, and each device has its own activation key, tied to the unique number of each smartphone or tablet, and not an OEM employee. As far as security goes, Microsoft did an outstanding job – at IFA even those companies who allowed me to take a quick peek at their Windows Phone 8 devices said that most functions are blocked and are simply inaccessible. This was done at Microsoft – you press a menu and get a warning pop-up or nothing happens. It’s not because those functions are not there – it is because they [Microsoft] are not ready to show these functions even to partners. I do not remember such a draconian measures anywhere else – usually when you have a prototype, you can work with it. Some network/cloud functions might be absent or inaccessible – but you could check out what you have, more or less. Today, even people who work for OEMs do not really know what they have in Windows Phone 8, because they only learn about the platform from the same Microsoft presentations, but can not try all the features live. It is a unique situation, when OEMs are working on hardware, but have absolutely know influence on software. The hubs they are working on are in fact separate programs/apps, that do not interfere at all with the main functionality.

The closest analogy would be an artisan who is working on a body for a standard car chassis. He knows the size of the car, engine and transmission specs, but has no idea what a car interior will look like and what will they put inside. He knows that the interiors for every other artisan be the same and the only way for him to stand out – is to create the great finish/external covers. Furthermore, he will only learn how well his finish fits the overall car design at the last moment, when it is already to late to change anything.

Doesn’t sound like a very attractive proposition for OEMs. Well, except Nokia, who says that they have a direct access and ability to influence anything in WP8 codebase, and have been involved in its development from the very beginning.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • Nathan Thirlby

    those at the top of the OEMS probably have seen all the features, just not the people below them.

  • FavBrowser

    > Furthermore, he will only learn how well his finish fits the overall car design at the last moment, when it is already to late to change anything.

    This analogy does not work because unlike in Android, OEMs cant modify the inner parts of OS and screw it with malware, all they can do is install apps and that makes no difference what other features WP8 has, all DEVELOPER RELATED FEATURES were already revealed

  • secrets

    from wp8 reg : ActivationCode
    now we know why this key is there 😀

  • mkr10001

    why do we need an analogy….? It’s not that difficult a concept to grasp….

  • mr_frisky

    who cares ????????

    Sure Nokia will be bankrupt in a few months