Photo: Ellis Hamburger, Business Insider
This morning, an internal Microsoft video for partners leaked this morning to PocketNow.com, offering many new details about the next version of Windows Phone.Apart from explaining the new features, like a fully integrated Skype client and support for NFC, the video also promised that “Windows Phone 8” (a working title; it’s also codenamed “Apollo”) will share many of the same components of Windows 8, which will allow developers to reuse a lot of their code between platforms. The kernel and networking stack were named as two areas of overlap.
This makes sense. Now that Microsoft has bet on Windows 8 as its operating system for tablets, there’s no business reason to maintain a separate platform for smartphones.
In fact, a person close to the company tells us that a lot of engineers moved from the Windows group to the phone group a few years ago specifically to revamp the Windows Phone kernel to run on Windows NT (the heart of the Windows desktop and server operating systems) instead of Windows CE (which has been the basis of most Windows mobile products so far). Now, we’re starting to see the results of their work.
(Update: Long time Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott confirms that the next Windows Phone will be based on the NT kernel. It seems that Microsoft — or somebody close to Microsoft — told him so, but made him keep it a secret until now.)
Another source familiar with Microsoft’s plans says that the Windows team is already exercising a lot of control over Windows Phone development, although the company hasn’t formally combined the groups.
To be clear, nobody expects Windows Phone to run the EXACT SAME operating system as desktop Windows — it won’t be like Apple with iOS, which is basically identical between the iPad and iPhone.
But a lot of core components and the development model will be very close, making it easy for developers to write apps for both platforms.
The funny thing was, we thought we heard Steve Ballmer say that Windows 8 was coming to Windows Phone at a shareholders’ meeting in November, but the company strongly denied it.
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