Words from WPDang indicates that Microsoft is intending to do localization works right with the release of Windows Phone 8, at least make it right in China.
When Windows Phone 7.5 formally launched in China earlier this year, it practically didn’t have a People Hub. Chinese users do have “People” tile on the start screen, but the function is restricted to nothing but a fancy looking contact book. There’s no social network integration that Windows Phone users have been so proud of so far. Facebook and Twitter integration was yanked off the People Hub because these two massively popular services have been blocked by China’s internet censorship system. And LinkedIn integration was cut off as well, for some unclear reason. That’s all reasonable, since offering services that do not work is counter-productive, not to mention politically unsound given the situation in China.
The real problem is, as we’ve mentioned a few months ago, that no replacement have been added. The People Hub for Chinese devices is utterly blank except for Windows Live integration, and the options to add email accounts from a few providers. End of story. And it’s still so as you are reading this post.
With the launch of Windows Phone 8, Chinese users will be able to tie their Sina Weibo accounts to their beloved phones. For those wondering what is Sina Weibo, let’s just say it’s China’s answer to Twitter when Twitter itself is blocked nation-wide, with pretty much the same basic functions, and very heavy content policing. The service currently has over 300 million registered users, nurturing the social needs Chinese netizens along with a few other similar services.
Another much anticipated China-specific social integration is Tencent, the company who runs China’s biggest onling gaming network, overwhelmingly most popular instant messaging service, absolutely ruling portal website, and the most extensive social network. There is no final words about the Tencent-Microsoft cooperation yet. Supposedly they got stuck somewhere in the negotiation.
The most obvious question now is… Will Chinese Windows Phone 7.8 users get any of these social love?
Meanwhile, Xbox Live, another part lacking in the Chinese manifestation of Windows Phone, is still left in the air thus far. There’s no word about whether or not it’s going to appear in Windows Phone 8.