Microsoft is pulling out all the stops as it tries to make Windows Phone 8 an attractive proposition for smartphone buyers. Their latest effort involves a deal with Devicescape to power the Wi-Fi maps portion of its mobile operating system’s Data Sense feature, helping users locate free and quality hotspots.
Devicescape maintains a network of 11 million+ crowdsourced and curated hotspots, which have been tested for quality, availability, speed and reliability. Although hotspot finder apps are available for other platforms, the idea here is to make the data available as a core capability in Windows Phone 8 and make it easier for users to locate a working Wi-Fi hotspot to offload mobile data usage.
The company doesn't provide the hotspots itself, relying on free hotspots such as those provided by cafes, railways stations, airports and other public bodies instead. The deal with Microsoft doesn’t include any automatic or background Wi-Fi syncing components either -- it is limited to a live feed of quality Wi-Fi locations presented on a map. But Devicescape can automate at least part of the process, according to The Register, allowing users to skip those annoying forms you are required to fill when logging in to a free hotspot.
Verizon Wireless is so far the only U.S. carrier that will take advantage of Data Sense for its Windows Phones. Besides offloading mobile data usage, the feature also provides users with useful information regarding how much data each app is using, compresses webpages, and can be configured to restrict background data usage (like the continuously updating Live Tiles) to keep you from hitting your plan’s data cap.