As you probably know we have lots of internal chatter amongst the writers and a topic we’ve been discussing has been Windows 8 and what that means for Windows Phone 8. And it turns out we’re not the only ones who are thinking that the outcome is that there will not be a Windows Phone 8. See, it’s like this. Microsoft has 100% confirmed that Windows 8 will be able to run on ARM chips and this means you can use the system on a chip designs we know and love (like Snapdragon, Tegra, etc) and run the real deal Windows on it. Not some mobile version. We’re talking Windows 8 here on a device with the specs of your phone. It’s also known that there are at least two UIs that Windows 8 will have. One is for a PC and it’s a fluid/3D design that’s apparently going to customize itself based on the user. The other is some crazy tile type design intended for tablet…I can’t even imagine what that must look like (right, it’s WP7). We also know that Windows 8 will include a marketplace and it’s believed to finally tie in the phone/Zune/Xbox marketplaces into one Market that can run on any device, including desktop.
So what does this mean for Windows Phone 8? Well just imagine if Windows ran on a phone but it had a UI that was phone friendly. Let’s go in baby steps. Your ‘phone’ can run Windows 8. When you go to sit at your desk you take out your phone and through the wonders of wireless technology (wifi, DLNA, BT, etc) your phone is your PC and wherever you take your phone your PC is there and wirelessly your PC goes onto the monitor, is linked to the keyboard/mouse and of course storage is no problem because of the cloud (or whatever non-local server you’re using). See, wherever you sit you’re essentially at your computer so you go to the office, take out your phone and there it is, your PC turns on at your desk with a proper resolution fitting your monitor. Go home, same deal. Your phone is your PC.
But wait, that’s a Windows 8 device…not a phone per se. Well yes, but remember there’s a dynamic UI here. So taking it one step further, assume that if it’s not in docked mode the ‘phone’ switches the resolution and UI to a Windows Phone type UI and some of the Windows 8 services turn off (or at least run in a background state to reserve power) and the phone/finger friendly settings kick in.
This concept makes Windows more modular. Want a tablet? Ok, pop your phone into a tablet or a laptop or whatever configuration you want. The CPU/OS reside on something the size of your phone and however you want to use it is up to you so tablets, desktops, laptops and phones are just interchangeable hardware that’s essentially a skeleton.
So why kill Windows Phone 8? Well, my thoughts were that MS has to complete their ecosystem to compete with Google and Apple and this would crush them because in one move they would take back everything. By buying either a phone or a PC you’d be buying everything and go anywhere have everything is simply awesome. Windows IT Pro has this take on it:
…it may mean the continuation of Windows and Windows Live Division president Steven Sinofsky’s longstanding policy to thwart internal projects and products that compete with the company’s first-tier solutions. He did it before by killing a web-based Office competitor called NetDocs. He could be doing it again … this time to Windows Phone…When you combine the implications of these two rumors [a changing UI and a method to deploy Silverlight apps through their store] with Microsoft’s Windows Everywhere strategy, you can see where Windows Phone, suddenly, looks like it might be living on borrowed time.
Now assuming this is where things are headed, it’s a bit aggressive of a timeline for Microsoft. Even though Windows 8 isn’t expected until 2012, Microsoft isn’t known for being the fastest. But a lot of what they’re doing with WP7 may be testing grounds for how to deploy a mobile UI and mobile set of services for Windows 8. In other words, I think there’s ultimately a tie-in here. Current WP7 apps come in a single resolution but so did the first generation of iOS apps. There’s no reason why the current set of apps and the current solutions MS is coming up with (in terms of UI, experience, etc) can’t be rolled into the phone experience of Windows 8.