Joe Belfiore, the corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone, held a Reddit AMA today where he answered various question about the future of the platform. Among the answered questions was whether Windows Phone would be getting a File Manager, a highly-requested feature the community has been asking about for years, and Belfiore confirmed that yes, an app would be in the Windows Phone Store by the end of the month.
As you can see below, the provided screenshots show users will be able to navigate the device’s built-in storage as well as SD cards. The app will also let you create new folders, move files from one folder to another, and search within folders.
Belfiore got very excited when the question was asked, as he was saying to confirm the news on Reddit:
WOO HOO! SOMEONE ASKED THIS QUESTION!! I’ve been waiting! in fact, I’ve avoided tweeting on this very topic just for all you redditors. Seriously.
in fact– you GET A CORTANA T-SHIRT FOR ASKING!! :) (PM me your size and we’ll get it to you.)
*** YES *** We are doing a File Manager for WP8.1! I know a LOT of you are looking for this (thanks for the tweets, I’ve read them all). In fact, I’ve been running a build of it on two of my phones for the last week or so and it’s getting to pretty good shape.
Here’s what it looks like: http://imgur.com/a/hvqGD#nRuOFXp
We are expecting to get it into the store HOPEFULLY by the end of May.
Belfiore also confirmed his team is talking to Snapchat to get an app on Windows Phone. In response to the lack of Google apps, he explained that Microsoft would love to see them on the platform, but it’s not up to Redmond:
We think we’ve developed an awesome platform with Windows Phone, and definitely look forward to welcoming Google’s apps on it. We have these apps high on our “want list” so it’s something we’ve invested in (ahem, YouTube) and are absolutely willing to continue investing in.
Unfortunately, the apps are Google’s and I can’t say when they will act. Only our friends in Mountain View know timing.
You should ping them! (often!)
New apps aside, he also talked about existing apps. In particular, he promised major updates were coming to both Skype and Facebook, both of which Microsoft develops for Windows Phone:
You mentioned Skype and FB — on Skype, we have new version in development that our team (and me) have been using and it certainly helps with perf– we’ll keep going– and on facebook, we’ve been working with FB on an update to that app too, targeted for the June timeframe – this update brings improvements to perf, having full-width photos in the newsfeed, and seeing photos & comments at the same time.
In response to a question about Cortana coming to Windows 8, Belfiore hinted that it’s certainly a possibility: “Nothing specific to announce, but Cortana herself is always telling us she’s a fan of PCs herself.”
It’s great to see an AMA from Microsoft that actually includes some news tidbits. If we missed something, do let us know and we’ll add it in.