Recently there has been much speculation about the upcoming Windows Phone version, called Apollo. A number of leaks have indicated that the mobile OS will share the same kernel as Windows 8. This new information clearly indicates that Microsoft plans to create a single unified ecosystem that will work seamlessly on smartphones, tablets, personal computers and other multimedia devices. Other companies like Apple and Google, on the other hand, have been quite conservative and have separate development platforms for their mobile and desktop products. This move by Microsoft is touted as a promising but grand initiative which may backfire on the software giant if not properly implemented.
Windows Phone Apollo is expected to share many features like Bitlocker, networking stack, kernel and some other security elements with Windows 8. It was earlier believed that Microsoft would develop Apollo on the Windows CE kernel which provided the base for the Windows Phone 7 OS as well. However, it is now probable that Windows Phone 8 will come with cross platform support, including C/C++ programming on smartphone and tablet devices. This also ties in well with the Metro UI, which Microsoft has already implemented in Windows Phone and is going to be the foundation of Windows 8 as well.
According to IDC Analyst AL Hiwa, Microsoft wants to improve the cross platform compatibility of applications on tablets, smartphones and desktops, which necessitates the need for Windows Phone 8 utilizing the same code as Windows 8. Many experts believe that if Microsoft manages to successfully implement its new grand strategy of a unified ecosystem for all devices, it will certainly get an edge over its chief rivals Apple and Google.
The major problem which is currently faced by the Windows Phone 7 & 7.5 is that the number of software applications developed for the OS is currently number around 60,000 compared to over 300,000 apps for the Android platform. Apple’s iOS leads the numbers with over half a million apps for the highly popular platform. However, with cross platform compatibility developers are expected to be able to easily port popular x86 applications for Windows to Windows Phone, which will vastly accelerate application growth as Windows still has the highest number of developers, even compared to iOS and Android.
The major inconvenience for most users today is that they want their user experience to be the same, regardless of whether they’re on a mobile device or on a PC. Windows 8 and Windows Phone Apollo might just solve this conundrum as it provides a common development environment across all mobile and desktop devices. There is an element of risk involved, but if Microsoft manages to provide a seamless integrated experience, the possibilities are limitless for the growth of the MS ecosystem in the mobile sphere where it currently enjoys limited success.