Windows 8 to include phone calling capability?

I love it when puzzle pieces seems to just fall into place. If the three pieces I found yesterday were any indication then it looks as if some Windows 8 slates will actually have the capability to make and receive phone calls through the cellular network. Cue the giant Windows Phone jokes.

The first was inconspicuously displayed at a BUILD 2011 session on tiles and notifications. On a slide showing off all the different default layouts of tiles possible in Windows 8 with samples from built-in apps, a “Missed calls” tile lists a number of received calls.

The second, during a video demo by Windows Live via WinRumors, a detailed view of a contact in the “People” app gives the ability to call the person’s mobile along with email, SMS and chat. While there’s the possibility Windows Live calling is VOIP based, the mobile number would suggest otherwise.

Finally, Rafael Rivera who analyzed the system configuration of the Samsung developer preview slate handed out at BUILD with a fine tooth comb found an Option wireless chip for the WiFi, GPS and 3G capability also included telephonic voice capability. Notably the radio supports quad-band 2G and peta-band 3G.

Even though tablet devices with phone calling capabilities are usually ridiculed for being giant phones, I think the option of being able to contact friends and family through voice calls on any device with a microphone is a useful utility, even if it’s not the primary mobile device.

Of course this also paves the way for the Windows 8 kernel to pave the way for future versions of Windows Phone OS based on it.

69 insightful thoughts

  1. Another possibly-related puzzle piece is Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype.

    Re phone calls on a tablet, I agree; why not? People won’t hold it up to their heads like a huge phone; they’ll use handsfree or a headset. If it makes sense to place calls on my huge desktop tower PC (which I do all the time via Skype) then it definitely makes sense on the devices Win8 is aimed at.

  2. Could always be Bluetooth integration with your phone. The carriers would NOT want to lose revenue by allowing you to make calls from tablets.

  3. i was wondering could this be missed calls from skype, you can use skype to replace all phones and rates are going for under 3 dollars a month. im going to doing it if if im wrong.

  4. I think it’s probably a bit of both, getting Win8 ready to be Windows Phone 8 but also doing a bit of what WebOS does where you can call anyone if you have something that can make a call (like a Skype account associated with it or a phone ‘attached’ to the tablet)

  5. Please stop using the word “whilst.” It’s freakin’ pretentious as hell. It’s like we’re living in the time of Charles Dickens.

  6. I posted this over at WPCentral, but I also wanted to ask the question here.

    OK… Don’t get too excited. This is probably in reference to Lync which serves as a desktop enterprise phone solution. We use it in our offices and it is nice to see that it is being considered in the future of Windows 8 Metro environment. I don’t see why this couldn’t be used for regular phone calls but Lync is a VOIP solution that in the past has had complaints about a lack of notification of missed calls. This may be part of the solution to address this.

    Has anyone seen this tile on their build? I think its probably enabled when Lync is installed. Since none of us have the Windows 8 version of Lync or Skype, I think we would need to see at least the program list of this system to know if it was installed.

  7. If Windows 8 does end up having phone calling capability, then I’m sorry, but it is the one feature in Windows 8 I don’t care for. Not trying to troll or anything, just voicing a constructive opinion. Every other new feature Windows 8 has to offer I really love, just not the phone calling capability.

  8. Sometimes I don’t quite understand computer engineers’ desire to consolidate architectures.

    What good would it be to assimilate WP7 into Windows 8 for WP8?

    It seems more hassle for developers. First, it wouldn’t be beneficial for users if developers don’t spend the effort to design unique interfaces for the two form factors. Second, and I would hate Windows 8 taking over because, at its current state, Windows 8 seems to be less refined in terms of the UI and experience, compared to WP7 when it was announced.

  9. Phone Contract.

    Look at Mary Joe’s article on contracts. You could potentially support this call through any of the above – skype, bluetooth, old=school modems. Integration at the OS level traditionally means some abstraction in the Wintel hardware model already, I don’t see why that would change, and it makes the most sense to expose such an API through the Contract model.

    @Pak-Kei: Consolidating architectures is how we show value in the architect community :)

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