Microsoft launches Network Speed Test for Windows Phone 8

Microsoft steps in once again to beef up the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem. The software giant just released Network Speed Test, an app which allows users of the tiled mobile operating system to verify cellular data and Wi-Fi connection speeds.

Network Speed Test is one of the most striking to look at apps available on Windows Phone 8. The app features an elegant and minimal design, using only a couple of colors throughout the interface. From a personal point of view, it portrays how other platform offerings should look. Let's go through the features.

In the main "Test" tab, the app displays two speedometers which indicate the download and upload speeds and, underneath, it also lists network delay and max jitter latency (in milliseconds) as well as packet loss (as a percentage of entire data traffic).

The "Network" tab displays information related to the current connection -- type, name, status and host name. In "History" users can view a list of all completed tests with network, date, delay, download and upload data.

With privacy being one of the most controversial topics these days, Microsoft also warns that Network Speed Test collects some user-related data. "When you test a network connection using the App, certain characteristics of your device and the network connection will be sent to Microsoft to help improve our understanding of network quality and availability", says the software giant. "If you consent, we may also collect information about your location at the time of the test. The data we collect is not associated with you, and will not be used to identify or contact you or for other purposes like targeted marketing".

Network Speed Test is available to download from Windows Phone Store.

Are Developers Affected?

Network Speed Test, however, raises an important question related to Microsoft's impact on the long-term success of the platform -- is the company's knight in shining armor act affecting third-party developers?

The software giant releases an app which adds unquestionable value but does not tie in with any of its popular services and even competes with Ookla's excellent Speedtest.net (one of the most popular and competent offerings in this segment). Microsoft's name also carries considerable weight for platform users and it might just be enough to sway plenty of folks from other offerings to the company's own.

Developers are already skeptical of entering the Windows Phone market and, with apps like Network Speed Test, Microsoft could (involuntarily or not) add another barrier which keeps the former at bay.

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