Microsoft is lifting the curtain to provide a preview of some of the software and hardware changes for its Windows Phone 8 operating system today. NFC, dual- and quad-core support are all set, and Microsoft has shifted over to the NT kernel for Windows Phone 8 to make it even easier for developers to code for its mobile and desktop ecosystems. There's a new Wallet hub, deeper integration of Skype, and an updated Start Screen interface with support for small tiles. Despite the improvements and hardware support, Microsoft will not release this particular update to existing devices. Instead, the company plans to rollout a Windows Phone 7.8 update separately that will bring some of Windows Phone 8’s user interface changes to existing devices, but many of the other improvements will require new hardware.
After shipping an initial Windows Phone 7 release in November 2010 and a major 7.5 "Mango" update less than a year ago, Microsoft’s mobile efforts excel in some areas but also lack the big name app support and feature sets of its rivals iOS and Android. While Microsoft isn't discussing all of its Windows Phone 8 features today, it's clear the fundamental platform change will help the company achieve feature parity in some areas, greater support for a wide range of hardware, and ultimately attract new users to Windows Phone. Discover the first details about Windows Phone 8 right here. WINDOWS CORE FOR WINDOWS PHONE 8
The biggest change in Windows Phone 8 is Microsoft's transition to the NT kernel and related operating system elements — defined as the Windows Core. Steve Ballmer and company have been hinting at the change for months, but Microsoft is detailing this fully today. Windows Phone 8 will share the same kernel, file system, media foundation, device drivers, and parts of the security model from Windows 8. While this might seem like overkill for a phone operating system, the core elements of the Windows NT architecture will allow Windows Phone 8 to support multi-core processors, device encryption, removable storage with microSD cards, and a whole host of improvements for IT pros and businesses.
Developers will also benefit from a shared Windows Core in Windows Phone 8. Rather than taking advantage of the .NET Compact Framework in Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8 moves to a Core CLR which will allow managed code to run in a manner identical to how it runs on desktop Windows, with improved performance benefits and shared components for developers to leverage across desktop and phone apps. Despite this change, all 100,000 existing Windows Phone apps will continue to run on Windows Phone 8. "We architected Windows Phone 8 in a way to drive full application compatibility so that every existing application will continue to run," says Microsoft's Larry Lieberman. Developers will get access to new tools and an updated SDK later this summer that are based on Visual Studio 2012 — supporting apps for both Windows Phone and Windows Phone 8.
"Developers will be able to leverage one codebase to drive an application," says Lieberman. "They can use one code base to build applications that will run across Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices." The changes also mean that developers can use native C and C++ libraries, alongside SQLite and Direct X support. "This means is that it's going to be radically simpler for games studios to port their games to Windows Phone," explains Lieberman. "Developers will be able to build games for Windows and Windows Phone at the same time".