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Windows Phone 8 Is to Be Based on WinRT?

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Leaked information suggests that Microsoft is working on unifying the Windows ecosystem, while Windows Phone 8 will be based on WinRT rather than Windows CE.

According to, Joe Belfiore, a Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Director of Windows Phone Program Management, presented information regarding Windows Phone 8 in a video intended for Nokia, but the video was leaked on the Internet. Following the leak of information, Paul Thurrott, a Microsoft insider journalist, published a similar post confirming many of the details.

According to those two reports, the most important change introduced in Windows Phone 8, codename Apollo, would be using WinRT, Windows 8’s kernel instead of Windows CE which has been at the foundation of Microsoft’s solutions for embedded devices and phones starting with 1996. The reports mention that WP8 will support all Mango applications and WP8 will share a common ecosystem with Windows 8. If that’s true, developers will be able to write applications that with minor modifications will be able to target both Metro, tablets and smartphones, all under one quite large ecosystem.

It would not be surprising at all if Microsoft goes on the unification path, Apple giving an example on how one can successfully build a mobile operating system (iOS) starting from the desktop one (Mac OS X). It is interesting to see how far the integration will go in Microsoft’s case. Will developers be able to create WP8 apps addressing the kernel directly in native code? Will there be a unified marketplace? Anyway, unifying the desktop and the mobile space is certainly a good move for the Redmond company which is currently in the process of reinventing its flagship OS, switching to Metro, a brand new interface optimized for touch devices, and struggling to catch-up in the smartphone space.

Other features hinted for Windows Phone 8 include:

  • WP8 will share with Windows 8 the kernel, the security and multimedia framework, and the networking stack
  • Multicore processors – which is a must considering there already are Android and iOS dual-core smartphones
  • More screen resolutions – also catching up with the forerunners
  • NFC and “Wallet”-like functionality – this feature is slowly taking off in US and Europe. Tap-to-share will work between all types of Windows 8 devices
  • A much larger hardware ecosystem thanks to WinRT
  • SkyDrive will be used for sharing data between devices
  • DataSmart, a way of tracking data transferred over mobile networks
  • Introducing a proxy for Internet Mobile 10 that compresses the data for faster page loading similar to Opera Mini
  • BitLocker providing data encryption for enterprise phones
  • Companies will be able to distribute apps to selected devices

In the meantime, Microsoft is expected to release during the second quarter of 2012 a minor update to Mango, dubbed Tango, targeted especially at cheaper feature phones that have great appeal in large Asian countries such as China and India. 

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