Earlier in July, we reported that Windows Phone 8 may include a new “Rooms” feature based on some digging around in an early leaked build of the Windows Phone 8.0 SDK. With an updated SDK now available in the hands of select developers, details about the feature has surfaced once again. Thanks to a post in the WinUnleaked Forums, we can now see the “Rooms” feature in action in the new Windows Phone 8.0 emulator. Check out the screenshots below:
As you can see in the screenshots above, the new “Rooms” feature can be found in the People hub, under the a section labeled “Together”. By default, a “Family Room” was created in the SDK, and you can invite people on your contact list to privately share a calendar, photos and videos, group chat, and notes (we’re guessing OneNote notebooks here).
What we’re not sure is whether the new “Rooms” feature will replace or complement the existing “Groups” feature in Windows Phone. According to previous reports, the latter is likely to be the case where the existing “Groups” feature will remain but without the interactive features of a “Room”. To put it simply, think of it where “Groups” is visible to yourself only, whereas “Rooms” is an interactive group where people have to be invited to join and other users can contribute contents to the Room.
For those who had been following LiveSide, Microsoft already has a Windows Live Groups service, now part of SkyDrive, that allow members of a group to share calendars, photos, and collaborate on documents on SkyDrive, as well as participating in group chat on Messenger. Whether this new “Rooms” feature on Windows Phone 8 has any relationship with Windows Live Groups remains unknown. But nevertheless this is certainly a nice addition. How do you like this new feature? Let us know in the comments below!