Microsoft confirms forward facing camera support for Windows Phone

By Tom Warren, on 25th Aug 11 9:23 am with 38 Comments

Microsoft has confirmed its plans for forward facing camera support in Windows Phone.

Microsoft staff revealed the support at Tech-Ed New Zealand on Thursday. “When we have the new handsets we’ll have front facing cameras,” said a Microsoft employee during a demonstration of Lync Mobile for Windows Phone. Unofficial Twitter account WindowsPhoneNZ also revealed that Skype on Windows Phone will support forward facing cameras. Rumors of front facing camera support have existed for months. Microsoft released an updated version of its Windows Phone Mango developer tools in June which included references to a new icon in the camera application. The icon appears to refer to swapping the device camera around, a.k.a forward facing cameras.

Microsoft is believed to be building in camera support directly into the messaging hub as part of the company’s Windows Live Messenger integration. Microsoft will also likely integrate Skype into Windows Phone heavily once the deal is made official by regulators. The software maker purchased Skype for $8.5 billion in May and promised Skype support across Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices.

It’s not immediately clear whether this support will be available in the final shipping code for Windows Phone 7.5. Microsoft may issue the support as part of its Tango update due early next year. The first batch of Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” devices may not ship with forward facing cameras due to this. Microsoft is also working on a global “chatter” application for use across Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices. Details of “chatter” leaked to the internet recently after references to “Chatter” were discovered in early leaked builds of Windows 8. It’s believed that Chatter is a video calling service that will be integrated directly into Windows 8 and subsequently Windows Phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001395218690 Pantou Ekang

    “When we have the new handsets we’ll have front facing cameras,”…and then…

    “It’s not immediately clear whether this support will be available in the final shipping code for Windows Phone 7.5. Microsoft may issue the support as part of its Tango update due early next year. The first batch of Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” devices may not ship with forward facing cameras due to this “….

    Now what is true ?….
    Is Mango = Tango ?

    I Think Mango DONT support FFC…But Tango will support it—FULL STOP

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      MSFT don’t specifically say Mango for the support, they just say “new handsets” so I’m suspicious that this support exists fully in Mango. We’ll see once the first round of devices are available.

  • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

    Please, please, please rebrand Windows Live Messenger.  It’s long, dated, and simply just a victim of Microsoft terrible naming conventions.  Xbox, Zune, Bing, Chatter.  It kind of works, but loads better than WLM.

    • http://simenm.tumblr.com Simen Mangseth

      Why not rebrand the whole Windows Live?

    • Candid Calum

      I think they should rebrand the whole of Windows Live. The names are just a bit too long compared to Xbox, Zune, Bing etc.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      I think they should rebrand some of them, I was just trying to keep my comment quick and concise.
      Sent from my Windows Phone
      ________________________________

    • Guest

      Why not rebrand Windows itself as well? Seriously, it’s dated. If W8 is truly a complete overhaul, then name it something else and make a clean break from the baggage that has accumulated around the Windows name. And yeah, call WL something short and catchy.

    • Anonymous

      windows live messenger is the worlds largets messenger service. easily beating anything google has. Rebranding a product of such popularity is hard. I totally agree the live brand is silly, horrible and the UI/UX of anything with the “live” brand on it is totally unlike anything else with the “live” brand on it. This total disregard for inconsistency among products that never interoperate shows what is wrong with microsoft: too many executives trying to outgun each other, no single head to make them fall in line and work together instead of against each other.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      I understand that, this is evident by the fact that people still call it MSN Messenger. Rebranding is hard, especially when you’re dominating in comparison. However, we know it isn’t impossible. I agree, they need one person responsible for making sure there is cohesion across all consumer targeted products. ________________________________

    • Guest

      That’s meant to be Ballmer, at least ultimately. It’s certainly was Jobs at Apple. But Ballmer let’s every group do its own thing, even when it hurts the company overall. Even the VP of marketing doesn’t really control marketing. It’s axiomatic of a company that really doesn’t hold marketing in high regard. Just like it didn’t hold user experience in high regard. In their world view, user experience was just the final touches after doing the “hard work”. Then Apple came along and did very little “hard work”, but lots of work on UI and user experience. And they marketed the shit out of it. Who won?

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      Well it a case of who won. They are both thriving companies regardless. Microsoft mostly catered to the needs of businesses and funtionality outweighed the user experience. It didn’t matter how nice it looked as long as it worked and was good enough. This is very different from the consumer market. People definitely want things to work, but they also want it work well without the person having to be tech savvy. Microsoft now understands this and now they are creating excellent user experiences for their products. A lot of credit is due to Apple Subject: [winrumors] Re: Microsoft confirms forward facing camera support for Windows Phone

    • Guest

      They have an even more ubiquitous brand now in Skype. So while you’re right that it would normally be a challenge, it should be relatively easy to combine WLM under the Skype brand name. MS can get away with its shitty brand names in other parts of the world for a little while longer but in North America, which is the trend setter in many way, it’s been a liability for years already and needs to change.

    • Anonymous

      Will they rebrand it Microsoft Skype? Or Windows Live Messenger with Skype? Skype Live Messenger…

    • Guest

      FO troll.

    • Anonymous

      I think they are going to rebrand it in the next wave.

    • Aaron

      I must be in the small and insignificant minority of people who actually like the Live branding.  I’m willing to admit though that my opinion is outweighed by the majority of consumers.  So if they can figure out a better branding system that would attract more customers, they should go for it.  But I will miss Live :(

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      It isn’t the Live branding itself I dislike, in the contrary, I too love it. It’s just now seems it would be better to continue with creating easy and catchy names. Microsoft wants consumers to see them as a company that offers a great user experience and simplicity. The need brands names that reflect that. I think the products should remain apart of the Windows Live Essentials but they don’t need “Live” in each product name. ________________________________

    • http://simenm.tumblr.com Simen Mangseth

      +1 for that!

    • Guest

      “Microsoft wants consumers to see them as a company that offers a great user experience and simplicity.”

      Well, first they have to deliver that, which they haven’t. And then they have to brand it accordingly. Consumers want new and fashionable. It’s heavily influenced by the 18-35 set. MS has lost the battle to convince this group Windows is new. For them, Windows is their father’s OS. iOS, OS X and Android are “it”. Many of them will try out Chrome (OS) simply because it’s not MS and ”new”.

      MS should either drop or deemphasize Windows and MS from their next OS. Call it Metro, for example, especially if it uses the Metro UI. Even if it’s formally “Windows Metro”, people will quickly drop the Windows part and just refer to it as Metro. Much better. Fresh start. Then call the retarded mouthful that is WLE, Metro Essentials, which can be shortened to ME. That has negative connotations for those of us old enough to remember the ill-fated Windows ME edition, but most of the target demographic won’t remember that and this generation is all about “Me”, so it’s a nice tie in.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      “For them, Windows is their father’s OS.” Honestly, people don’t care that much. So what if your parents used Windows, it doesn’t make it any less useful. I agree people want new and fasionalble products, but when it comes down to it, most people just want something reliable and that works. All the other stuff is just an effect of marketing. Technically, Apple is older than Microsoft, but they’re considered to be cooler because they’ve created reliable and easy to use products and is a marketing monster. There is no reason Windows Phone can’t be “it”. Windows is one of the worlds most well know and recognized brands. Maybe it’s hurting them in the States because of the small portion who have been burned by Windows Mobile, but that can be overcome if it even matters. WP7 is aimed at first time smart phone buyers, not at converting iOS and Androud users as so many people seem to believe. Subject: [winrumors] Re: Microsoft confirms forward facing camera support for Windows Phone

    • Anonymous

      The Windows brand isn’t cemented in consumers’ minds. Most consumers buy PCs, not Windows. We all say PC when talking about Windows. Apple barely referred to Windows in their Mac/PC ads. Except for Vista, and it wasn’t Windows Vista, it was just Vista.

      Since Windows = PC, someone is going to ask “You mean this phone runs Windows?”

      I think MS has a confused Windows message in the consumer space.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      People understand when you explain to them that phones have operating systems like computers. They know there is a difference between a Mac and a PC and they know the difference between an iPhone and Android. There is no reason, aside from sheer stupidity, that someone cant grasp the fact that Windows Phone is just an operating system for phones. Billions of people see the name Windows everyday when starting their computers. To say it is cemented in their mind would be an understatement. I agree its kind of confusing at first for some people, but it really doesn’t matter after they start using the phone.
      Sent from my Windows Phone
      ________________________________

    • Anonymous

      Who ever said that most consumers were smart? Sheer stupidity defines a lot of things consumers do. Like using credit cards with 35, 45, or even 55% interest. You’d be amazed at how stupid people are. And they buy computers, and phone… And cars…

    • Guest

      “Technically, Apple is older than Microsoft, but they’re considered to be cooler because they’ve created reliable and easy to use products and is a marketing monster. ”

      My point exactly. It takes the right product + the right marketing. And frankly, fantastic marketing can cover a variety of product sins. Whereas even the best product will fail if it’s not marketed effectively.

    • Anonymous

      I was thinking the same thing, Metro is shorther and fresh. Metro OS, Metro phone, Metro slate…

    • Anonymous

      The bad publicity you refer can only hurt their share very little. In the end if the product is brilliant people will use it. Windows, besides being father’s os, also has ubiquity, something only electricity, railroads, and tap water also ‘enjoy’. Plus it has its fair crowd of convinced users, like gamers. The staleness you indicate is subjective.

    • Guest

      Sorry, disagree. Look how much trouble WP7 is having trying to establish itself, or Bing. Look how WIndows share continues to decline despite W7 being a very solid product. Perception is an important element in a product’s success.

    • Guest

      Windows Live vs iLife.

      Nuff said about sucky the branding is.

    • Guest

      Windows Live vs iLife.

      Nuff said about sucky the branding is.

    • Anonymous

      I never will understand Microsoft’s refusal to shorten their names. They need to fix it fast. Verbose names do not attract customers.

      Windows Phone 7? How about WinPhone? WinTab? WinSlate?
      Look how hard it is to say Windows Phone 7 vs WinPhone?

      WinChat vs Windows Live Messenger. What’s a messenger?
      Xbox 360 isn’t called the Microsoft HiDefinition Gaming Console.

      Microsoft…  Listening?

  • Anonymous

    I thought the feature was in the API and was left for OEMs to provide the hardware. why wouldn’t it be supported.

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      Yeah it was sort of already confirmed by the API itself.  They would never allow a developer to do a ”Camera = Front” unless it was actually supported by the OS itself ;-)

  • OMG55

    The only question I have is, “Will Cellular Provider offer a buy back or some sort of rebate for current WP7 users to trade-in or upgrade current devices”

  • Aaron

    Personally I think this front facing camera thing is way overblown.  The only application I can think of for it is Skype and even with that I doubt the majority of people honestly care about it.  Problem is, its just one of those check boxes that MS needs to fulfill for perceptions sake.

    • Anonymous

      it’s really useful, I’ve always used it, on my iPhone and on my galaxy S2 so if Mango gets it I will consider one to get its luscious UI :)

    • Guest

      I don’t know that it’s overblown; twenty somethings eat it up. But it’s another example of Apple setting the trend even though they didn’t start it. But ever since FaceTime, Apple “invented” video chat and it’s now a “gotta have” feature for competitors. That’s the power of effective marketing.

  • Justfortherecord

    The point here is that we are seeing a integration of all services. Regardless of what name is ultimately chosen it will be a matter of managing all these services in a seamless manner. That allows for a friendly inviting user experience.

  • http://twitter.com/alexwilks88 Alex Wilks

    I guess it’s a bit ironic that the phone I bought in 2007, a Windows Mobile ‘XDA Orbit 2′, had a front-facing camera that was able to do video calls with the girlfriend’s Sony-Ericsson, and yet it’s now almost a novelty to have it in a phone 4 years on.

    At least Skype should get some more mileage out of it than I was able to do before, and another feature on the ‘competitive smartphone’ checklist can be ticked off :)