Posted by: Onuora Amobi
Microsoft, Windows 8
When Microsoft announced that Windows Phone 8 was ditching CE and moving to NT, it opened a world of possibilities. The idea of a unified architecture that meant making apps for Windows 8′s Modern UI and Windows Phone 8 would be basically the same experience, allowing apps that worked with one platform to work with the other.
The idea of NT on Windows Phone also opened up the idea of running more powerful utilities on a Windows Phone handset. Heck, even the idea of hooking up your Windows Phone handset to a big screen where it would have access to the full version of Microsoft Office and much more.
While Windows Phone 8 continues to gain traction and IS much easier to develop for than Windows Phone 7, it still isn’t quite were it needs to be. And where is that? It needs to be fully unified with Windows 8.
Imagine Windows Phone as an SKU
Right now, Windows Phone 8 is still considered a different OS that shares a similar root in Windows NT technology. They have different marketplaces, app coding is different (though porting back and forth is actually not too hard) and so on.
What if Microsoft eventually just makes “Phone” another SKU of Windows. In this kind of scenario, Windows Phone would run on the same marketplace as Windows 8, the Windows Store. Both would have access to the exact same apps and so-on. This would make life easier for programmers, and would likely make Windows Phone more attractive for business users and everyday consumers as well.
The good news is that this might be happening. We recently reported that a rumor has popped up that a unification is in progress, at least on the storefront side of things. This is only the beginning. While a full desktop experience on a phone might not be practical, having the full power of Windows 8′s Modern does make sense.
Having a few special utilities that work outside of the typical modern UI might possibly make sense too, though I have a feeling that Microsoft wants to rely completely on the new UI as much as possible going forward.
Could Blue be the answer?
Windows Blue was once believed to be an update to Windows 8 that would add new features and functionality. Now there are insider sources indicating that Blue is much more than that. It is believed to be a series of upgrades across Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft service apps like Skype and even Windows Server.
Considering that the unification and recent Blue rumors both popped up at the same time, you have to wonder: Is Windows Blue going to see the end of Windows Phone Store? I certainly hope so. Considering that the groundwork (NT) is already there for Windows Phone 8, I don’t think this would have to be a major change.
Ideally, Windows Phone Store apps would simply roll into the Windows Store. Some Windows 8 apps would be upgraded to work with the little screen, and some Windows Store apps would be reworked to play nicely on the high-res Windows 8 screens. This isn’t too different than what we see with the Apple AppStore.
Windows Phone 8 has captured the attention of many more folks than Windows Phone 7 did, but ultimately the path forward is to bring both Windows Phone and Windows together. Combining the marketplace is as good of a starting place as any I would wager.
What do you think, should Microsoft merge the marketplaces? Do you think that this could be happening with Windows Blue?