Microsoft unveiled today what will be the future of their phone software, Windows Phone 8. Building upon the foundation of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s newest iteration of its phone operating system brings some new features and enhancements that tie both Windows on the desktop and Windows on mobile devices together. With the introduction of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft laid the groundwork for a new, company wide strategy which closely resembles that of Apple’s.
Many of the improvements and added features to Windows Phone 7 are now making their way back to the desktop, in the form of Windows 8 and Windows RT, the tablet variety. Windows Phone 8 further unifies the operating system structure across all devices, and also brings some new functionality to the table which will compete directly with iOS 6, come fall.
One of the major announcements out of Microsoft today was what they called the “Windows Core.” In a nutshell, this means that Windows Phone 8 will share many elements of the Windows NT architecture with Windows 8 on the desktop. This includes things such as the kernel, filesystem, and device drivers.
This switch to a shared core is in a way similar to how iOS, from the very beginning, was built on top of the UNIX foundation of OS X. Taking another cue from iOS 6, Windows Phone 8 will also now be able to seamlessly handle multiple screen resolutions. While not handled entirely the same, this is without a doubt reminiscent of iOS’s Auto layout feature we reported on yesterday.
These features are more or less small potatoes compared to the push for NFC in Windows Phone 8, which will undoubtedly rival Apple’s new Passbook solution. It’s tough to say whether or not Microsoft will become a major threat to Apple in this regard, but all will be revealed in fall when both operating systems are set to be released.
Microsoft has made it clear that they are going after Apple with their NFC technology, directly saying: “Google has the NFC payment part, Apple has the Passbook thing, we’ll have both.”
Windows Phone 8 may want to be the next iOS, but is Microsoft’s latest offering enough to bring its platform up to speed with the likes of Google and Apple? It’s shaping up to be an interesting fall.
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