Microsoft is reportedly adding the ability to output audio and video through Windows Phone 7 microUSB ports, according to Windows Phone Secrets author Paul Thurrott. In a post about methods of connecting a WP7 handset to vehicle head units, Thurrott mentions that the company is already using the feature on in-house devices for public demonstrations. However, the software enabling this functionality is characterized as “very buggy” — we’re assuming that it’s primarily a driver issue — to the point that Thurrott is unsure what final form it will take. Still, he tells us with no equivocation via email that Redmond “will be adding audio- and video-out capabilities, over USB, to Windows Phone.”
No timetable for this addition was given, so it’s not clear if it’ll make its way into the announced early-2011 upgrade, which promises to bring copy-and-paste and possibly turn-by-turn navigation and more robust multitasking.
Numerous devices, including several Windows Mobile models from HTC and LG, already do A/V-out over microUSB, although the industry seems to be moving more towards HDMI-out and wireless streaming via DLNA in high-end handsets. Also, A/V-out will still not allow USB-enabled car stereos to read songs stored on a Windows Phone 7 device, as the platform’s unique file structure apparently precludes normal mass storage compliance. We did recently see a PC registry hack that allows the phones to be seen as Zune devices, although Microsoft cautioned against this type of usage.