Windows Phone Xbox - 31 January 2011
Author: David K

imageAs 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.

So, how crazy am I? 









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(23) Readers Comments

  1. Nice idea, sounds great in theory, but can you really see Microsoft pulling it off (this close to the release of Win8)?

    It does gives some credibility to the effort Microsoft has put into unifying the Windows kernals (even though desktop and mobile remain separate).

    The only way this is going to happen is there is a fundamental shift in the way Microsoft thinks: one user, one data, one application, many (appropriate) interfaces. Like you said, rather than having a dedicated desktop, dedicated phone, dedicated tablet, you have one device, that can be applied in different scenarios, and changing it’s interface to suit.

    In the past, this separation has (sort of) made sense due to the hardware limitation of mobile devices, but as mobile computing becomes more accessible (cheaper), it no longer does.

    I think Microsoft is getting there slowly. I can log into messenger from a webpage; I can edit a office document on the web; I can open a skydrive document in Office. There is only one ‘me’ in the Microsoft world. At the same time though, they keep failing. Why is my Live Mesh ‘synced’ documents separate from my Skydrive Office Documents? Why is Skydrive so poorly integrated into Office for WP7? Where do my text messages live (they keep repapering after I reset my phone, they must live somewhere)

    Microsoft will get there…eventually. They have all of the parts to the puzzle: users, applications, devices; now they just have to put them together. There are pleanty of people making puzzle pieces, but not many putting the puzzle together.

    This is what Apple is good at, on a much smaller scale. They have however been more effective, by getting it right from the start. A good example is the iPod. Almost useless by itself, but with iTunes, it’s gold.

    I hope that Microsoft begin merging their products (windows, office etc), so that I can buy it once, and use it anywhere and everywhere.

  2. What I don’t get in these rumors is this – why would it make Windows Phone dead? If if has a phone interface and phone apps and form factors, but a “big win” kernel, it’s quite alive as far as I’m concerned.

  3. Windows Phone 8 as what we’re hoping for would be dead. There has been a popular sentiment that the Windows Phone UI be the direction Microsoft takes. Now it seems Microsoft is focused on taking integration to a whole new level.

    If Microsoft pulls this off its game over for everyone until Microsoft takes enough of the market to warrant anti-trust or monopoly action.

  4. Excellent article. Thanks

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  7. sounds like the same theoretics that should have made tablet PCs successful. we all know how that turned out. fact is, desktop computing is its own monster and so is mobile computing. the line between then should never be blurred. only the services to tie them together. You heard it hear first ;)

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  14. @vangrieg

    Yeah, I’m with you.

    This sounds more like speculation on the intercompany political maneuvering of Microsoft than a reasonable analytical assessment of how COMPATIBLE Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 could be.

    Also, it does sound like a bit much is being asked of Windows 8 here. This would be such a quantum leap compared to what we have now that I just can’t see that happening by the end of next year (timeframe for W8 and WP8 IIRC), especially considering the data network strain implications of such an approach.

    Maybe Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9 circa fall 2015?

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  16. I think traditional desktop and smartphone OS’s will converge. I think that devices like ipad will replace macbook – and windows 8 on mobile devices will replace the PC – if the price is right. In the ipad2 keynote, apple make more money from ipad/iphone than macbook, so it makes no sense to continue supporting or developing macbook/OSX technology for mainstream users. Ipad and iphone have captured people’s imagination.

    Windows 8 needs to be a quantum leap I believe. I like windows 7, but just spend a few minutes and load up windows 95 or 98 and tell me what really has changed in terms of user experience?

    I think however, ipad/iphone is causing a big headache for businesses. Executives and VP’s like there new shiny device, but you mean to to tell me each user in my business of 10,000 needs an itunes account and company credit card to activate their ipad!!! Is this serious?? Then after this, as the IT team, I can’t even manage one single device or the information that’s on it? One of the strenghts of microsoft is there experience of domintating the business market with products like exchange, active directory//server 2003/2008 etc etc…. If windows 8 could be the software that could be used on smartphones or ipad like devices, and can converge management tools like server 2008/AD/exchange management, with a smartphone and it’s mobility capabilities, microsoft might have something interesting for businesses to use.

    Windows 95 was a big jump in it’s time, so here’s to windows 8 doing the same. I really like the ipad concept, but feel it’s a failure as it is for business. Here’s to the ipad 3 :)

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  18. @vangrieg:
    cuz it’s a great headline

  19. I just traded my Android for a windows phone. This is not the mind of crap I want to hear especially if I’m expected to have to use the WP phone SDK as opposed to the full .net SDK to develop apps that are much needed for this thing to be worth much to me asides from email and a call which.. Yeah no this is not okay

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  21. I would take it even farther and say that windows 8 is paving the way for another kernal migration to midori. I say this because of the ARM and x86 archetectures a inherently incompatable with out the overhead of a VM UNLESS you are using managed code. Rumours suggest that MS will only allow apps using the JUPITER platform to be sold in the windows marketplace. Jupiter is a manage code platform. If the majority of windows programmers embrace managed code, it will ease the migration to Midori which requires managed code and which is processor agnostic. So windows 9 might be the mythical midori and one last thing a managed kernal would need a managed file system (maybe WinFS). So windows 9 could bring all of the past hopes and dreams of MS founders to life finally!

  22. midori/singularity is a finished research project implemintation has begun so win 8 will see a transiton coading into Midori 1 its how they managed to fit the OS on the arm platform and keep two UI stable Windows 9 is Midori1.

    also the integration of the platform markets and formats started with the creation of the windows live market place for the PC they needed a market across all platforms before they could integrate them.
    (windows Phone 7 is the bridge in the mobile market they needed in place to impliment the final piece of there ever growing “puzzle”.)

  23. Windows 8 is not coming to windows phone! Windows phone and windows 8 are two diffrent things.  Micrsoft is going to have 2 os’s this time next year: Windows phone 8 (or whatever they call it and windows 8 (or watever they call it).  The whole point of them doing this is to show the public it is stupid so spend $700+ on a device that only has mobile OS abilities.  Micrsoft has made an operating system that can run efficently on tablet platforms that has the same capabilites as a desktop. It is going to be a breakthrugh when it comes out