We’ve been hearing that Windows Phone and Windows RT might merge but a new rumor suggests it will be more like Phone displacing RT. Microsoft is working on a Windows Phone 8.1 update, which will allegedly add support for 7 to 10 inch screens to enable WP8.1-powered tablets and merge parts of the API so developers can easily create apps for both platforms.
Multitasking is reportedly the biggest issue ahead of this plan – the GDR3 update will let users close apps manually, but apps running in the background are still a no go. Not until the 8.1 update that is.
Microsoft is working on “universal binaries,” which combine the WP8.1 and RT code in one package. At the moment only 33% of the APIs between the two OSes match, but with WP8.1 that will increase to 77%. This will make developing apps for both platforms much easier.
And it’s exactly apps that are Microsoft’s problem, the rumor claims. User satisfaction with Windows Phone handsets is at 53%, behind iOS and ahead of Android. Apparently, the majority of unsatisfied users claim lack of apps is their biggest issue, but Microsoft thinks it needs only about a dozen key apps to satisfy most complaints.
Finally, an interesting change that will affect the UI is the removal of the back Button – Microsoft will allegedly drop that button and have users exit apps with the Home key instead, as some find the Back button confusing (it’s a common problem on Android too).
There’s also the leaked notification center.
Keep in mind that this is all an unconfirmed rumor, but with the massive underperformance of Windows RT, I won’t be terribly surprised. In fact, I was surprised to find Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 were separate OSes when they were announced – Microsoft hit the reset button after WP7 anyway, having a combined OS made sense.
Microsoft is reportedly looking to expand Surface 2 availability with trials starting in Australia, so that the company doesn’t repeat the Surface RT fiasco.
Source | Via