Microsoft certainly has been busy lately. With Window 8 on the horizon, Windows Server 2012 coming soon. Then there is the recently released version of Office 2013. What’s next? Well some changes will come about for Windows Phone 8. It will have more co-dependency to Windows 8.
The biggest change in Windows Phone 8 is the transition to the NT kernel and related operating system elements. What this means is that Windows Phone 8 will share many of the same features, such as the same kernel, and the same file system, and the same media foundation, device drivers, and parts of the security model from Windows 8. Why go to such lengths? Is it overkill? Apparently not because the core elements of the Windows NT architecture will allow Windows Phone 8 to support multi-core processors, device encryption, and other improvements for IT.
Clearly, one of the most innovative ideas of the last decade was the App. These small, highly focused programs did much to make the iPhone and the iPad the central commercial IT device. Other copy cats followed suit. For Microsoft the problem was how to develop Apps for Windows 8 and Apps for the Windows phone if at the core, their OS’s were different. The solution is simple, if complex. Have the same kernel for both.
This is important for developers because they will benefit from a shared Windows Core in Windows Phone 8. Microsoft will drop the .NET Compact Framework in Windows Phone 7, but instead will move to a Core CLR which will allow managed code to run in a manner identical to how it runs on desktop Windows. The great thing for developers is that their existing apps will continue to run on the current Windows Phone 7 OS even after the Windows 8 platform goes on line.
If Windows 8’s Metro style applications succeed then that’s bound to benefit Windows Phone 8 also, since developers will have an easy way to share common code across each platform.
The main Windows Phone 8 user interface change is the Start Screen. It will have three sizes of live tiles: small, medium, and large. Currently the existing ones in Windows Phone 7 are medium and large versions. It is also expanding the screen environment where you will be going to be able to place live tiles on. The area along the right hand side of the Start Screen will now be filled with tiles.
Skype and VoIP Integration
Another feature about Windows Phone 8 is the integration with two communication elements. One is Skype and the other is VoIP. Skype will be an application that you can download; one that will take advantage of the VoIP integration. The integration sets up VoIP applications to become a full integrated app on Windows Phone 8 handsets, which will allow them to integrate into the phone dialer.
The importance of the changes Microsoft is pursuing show that it is looking far down the road for hardware and software development. This is a new style for Microsoft. Will Windows 8 succeed? Can’t tell yet. Will Windows Phone 8 succeed? Can’t tell yet. But what we can tell is that Microsoft is now engaged in an entirely new way of looking at its software and hardware services. It is pursuing a new direction, one that marks its old way’s obsolete. This sets a new mark on how Microsoft will operate. Will it be a strictly software company? Probably not. It will most likely pursue hardware as well, since it already has XBox and Kinect as successful hardware devices. If the Windows Phone 8 succeeds, and if Surface succeeds, there’s no telling what other hardware devices Microsoft will bring out.
So goodbye Bill Gates. The Steve Ballmer era is now at hand because Steve is driving the change.