Will Windows Phone 8 makers be more free to tweak the OS?

A purported agenda item for an upcoming Microsoft summit on the new mobile OS points to customisation opportunities as one of the key topics.

(Credit: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

Windows Phone 8 device makers could find more opportunities to tweak the OS — at least, if you read between the lines from an agenda reportedly for an upcoming Microsoft summit.

A "high-level" agenda for an "Apollo" MO Summit in Reading, UK, uncovered by Netbooknews, lists "customisation and differentiation opportunities" as one of the topics.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that Microsoft is about to open the floodgates for manufacturers to tinker with the interface. But assuming that the information is accurate, it could point to a more open environment for Windows Phone 8, or Apollo.

A spokesperson told CNET that Microsoft has no comment on this matter.

The company has retained a fairly tight grip on Windows Phone, triggering complaints from some manufacturers who like to tweak the interface to distinguish themselves from the competition.

But either way, Microsoft needs to tread carefully here, as too much customisation isn't always a good thing.

Apple is able to maintain complete reign of iOS by controlling both the hardware and the software, promising the same interface and experience for all iPhone and iPad users.

Though many gripe about the closed nature of iOS, such control ensures that upgrades, updates and other features work across the entire line-up.

Google maintains no tight control over Android, allowing manufacturers to customise the interface as they see fit. Sometimes that freedom can benefit consumers. Samsung's TouchWiz interface runs on top of the OS, and provides certain features not offered by Android alone.

But in other cases, too much tinkering can lead to confusion and fragmentation, a complaint often hurled at the Android ecosystem. Upgrades and other new features typically need to be rolled out per device and per carrier, stretching the amount of time that users have to wait for the latest updates.

If Microsoft does open up Windows Phone, it needs to work with its partners to ensure that they can tweak the interface without confusing consumers and fragmenting a product that's just starting to gain some traction.

Via CNET



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