Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 20:51 UTC
Windows

Microsoft isn't yet talking about the next update to Windows Phone. Though the company has made a series of small updates to Windows Phone 8, with three delivered so far, the platform is more or less the same as it was in 2012.

A big update is, however, in the cards. A series of leaks over the past few weeks have revealed an abundance of details about what Microsoft is likely to call Windows Phone 8.1. Unlike the three updates already made to Windows 8, Windows Phone 8.1 will be huge: so big that the 8.1 name (no doubt chosen to align the phone operating system with the desktop and tablet one) is downright misleading. If version numbers were determined by the scale of changes alone, this would be called Windows Phone 9.

Inside the bubble of Windows Phone, this is a huge update, and definitely one I'm looking forward to. However, outside of this bubble, this update contains nothing that iOS and Android haven't had for years, making WP 8.1 feel like what the platform should have been from day one.

If Microsoft can keep up with the competition going forward from 8.1, things could (finally) get interesting.

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Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 20:59 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

Leaving the question about the size and scope of the update aside I feel that finally moving to WinRT XAML will be the single most significant change moving forward.

The capability and quality of that framework vs Silverlight is understated by Mr. Bright. This will do a lot towards improving not just app features but app quality.

There's also a fantastic update story. Every WP8 handset will get this update. And every WP8 app will run on WP8.1, you can even opt into 8.1 features from your WP8 app without porting to WinRT.

Maybe not quite the user facing feature many will notice, but as a developer its very exciting.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Nelson
by Morgan on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 21:19 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Even WP7 apps will run on it:

It will continue to support the Silverlight-based applications developed for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8.


I'm definitely looking forward to it; I have a few holdover apps from the 7.x days that I'm glad will continue to be supported on my device.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 14:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Yep, the cloud compilation makes WP7 apps effectively WP8 apps as far as the phone is concerned, which is incredible if you consider that WP7 apps were written for the .NET CF and WP8 apps were written for CoreCLR (or full .NET)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Nelson
by moondevil on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 09:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

I still look forward to a WinRT/.NET only world on the Windows eco-system, but it will take a few OS releases still.

Additionally, what I am looking forward to BUILD 2014 is to know more about RyuJIT and ProjectN in terms of native code generation.

Reply Score: 3

WebGL?
by reduz on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 21:18 UTC
reduz
Member since:
2006-02-25

If it suports WebGL, it has to support OpenGL. If they don't make OpenGL available as an API they will be royal assholes to the whole developer community.

Reply Score: 4

RE: WebGL?
by Morgan on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 21:23 UTC in reply to "WebGL?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

If they don't make OpenGL available as an API they will be royal assholes to the whole developer community.


Or maybe just the game developers? WP isn't strictly a gaming platform. I agree that it would be awesome if they end up supporting OpenGL, but it's not going to affect most WP developers either way.

Anyway, I wouldn't hold my breath; Microsoft has never played nice with OpenGL in the past.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: WebGL?
by Drumhellar on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 21:52 UTC in reply to "RE: WebGL?"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Anyway, I wouldn't hold my breath; Microsoft has never played nice with OpenGL in the past.


Not quite never... OpenGL was a major feature of Windows NT 3.51.

Edited 2014-02-22 21:53 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: WebGL?
by Morgan on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 22:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: WebGL?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Sorry, you're right; I should have qualified that with "since they came out with DirectX".

Reply Score: 4

RE: WebGL?
by jacquouille on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 21:41 UTC in reply to "WebGL?"
jacquouille Member since:
2006-01-02

IE11 implements WebGL directly on top of Direct3D. Other browsers like Firefox and Chrome effectively do the same on Windows (more specifically they implement it on OpenGL ES, but they ship with an implementation of OpenGL ES on top of Direct3D). A OpenGL-to-Direct3D translation layer is no small engineering feat, but there exists at least a good open source one: http://angleproject.googlecode.com/

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: WebGL?
by reduz on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 22:18 UTC in reply to "RE: WebGL?"
reduz Member since:
2006-02-25

This is more complex that it seems.

Angle is near useless on Widows Phone because the version of DX11 they ship does not allow live shader compilation.

If they end up allowing live shader compilation in WebGL but not DX11 they are still assholes.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: WebGL?
by 0brad0 on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 03:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: WebGL?"
0brad0 Member since:
2007-05-05


If they end up allowing live shader compilation in WebGL but not DX11 they are still assholes.


This is Microsoft we're talking about; of course they're assholes.

Reply Score: 7

RE[4]: WebGL?
by moondevil on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 09:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: WebGL?"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

No different from Apple and Google with their WebGL restrictions. Are they also assholes then?

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: WebGL?
by Nelson on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 14:00 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: WebGL?"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

That, and DX11.2 on Windows 8.1 includes live shader compilation and ahead of time linking.

If that comes to WP remains to be seen, but the use cases for the former aren't extraordinarily significant.

Its such an odd issue to obsess over, as is the whole OpenGL and DirectX thing. I'd argue that a lot of indie developers end up using middleware like Unity which is already on Windows Phone and Windows 8.1

Reply Score: 3

RE: WebGL?
by Nelson on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 22:22 UTC in reply to "WebGL?"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

At this point they probably leave out to troll you ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE: WebGL?
by Drumhellar on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 22:54 UTC in reply to "WebGL?"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

WebGl support doesn't necessitate hidden OpenGL capability.

While WebGL calls map very closely to OpenGL ES 2.0, there's no reason why it couldn't be implemented in Direct3D - Wine implements Direct3D as a wrapper to OpenGL, and performance is very good. There's no reason why the reverse shouldn't be true.

I'm pretty sure IE 11's WebGL support is implemented using Direct3D. I might be wrong, but I think that, when you get your video drivers via Windows Update (like most people do), you don't get advanced OpenGL support - only Direct3D support (And an OpenGL 1.2 wrapper, maybe?). Implementing WebGL in OpenGL for IE 11 would be broken for many, many people.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: WebGL?
by reduz on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 16:54 UTC in reply to "RE: WebGL?"
reduz Member since:
2006-02-25

You guys don't understand WebGL/OpenGL compile shaders in real-time. DirectX11 on mobile does not, so It's impossible to make a wrapper on that specific platform.

Reply Score: 5

RE: WebGL?
by moondevil on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 09:16 UTC in reply to "WebGL?"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

What developer community? 3D jumping banners on web pages?

Graphics API come and go, learn to live with it and code accordingly.

Apple and Google are also assholes by your words, given that they won't support WebGL on their mobile OSs.

Reply Score: 3

Keeping up? S(t)ync.
by tomz on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 21:37 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

People have already lost interest.

Keeping up will fail even worse, they need a quantum leap.

Note people hate Ford cars - Microsoft is causing their quality ratings to sync. (I rented one when I needed to. I hated it. It was stupid. I would never buy a Ford with Microsoft Stynk).

Reply Score: 5

RE: Keeping up? S(t)ync.
by Morgan on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 22:37 UTC in reply to "Keeping up? S(t)ync."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Fords are actually great cars, considering they are an American automotive company. The dashboard features may suck, but their engine technology is amazing. They are finally looking good on the outside too, though they borrow heavily from European and Asian designs to get there.


Edit: I wonder if this will end up any better?

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140222/BIZ/302220033/Ford-seen...

Edited 2014-02-22 22:43 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Keeping up? S(t)ync.
by unclefester on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 11:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Keeping up? S(t)ync."
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Ford's non-US models are generally fantastic. The Ford Focus was the best selling car in the world in 2013. 'nuff said.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Keeping up? S(t)ync.
by moondevil on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 12:06 UTC in reply to "Keeping up? S(t)ync."
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Note people hate Ford cars - Microsoft is causing their quality ratings to sync. (I rented one when I needed to. I hated it. It was stupid. I would never buy a Ford with Microsoft Stynk).


Oh man, the typical Microsoft FUD without facts.

Ford platform sucks thanks to the in-house development and the off-shoring that Ford did to the code they bought from Microsoft.

So before blaming Microsoft, what about blaming the Ford developers and their off-shoring buddies?

Sure, Microsoft quality is not always the desired one, however this case is not one of them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Keeping up? S(t)ync.
by ricegf on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 12:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Keeping up? S(t)ync."
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

I don't know who wrote the software, but my experience was a big Microsoft logo on the dashboard and a horrid user experience. If Ford engineers screwed up Microsoft's code, the latter should freaking sue!

We rented a C-Max hybrid for an extended drive to a technical conference in Florida, and I grew quite fond of the car overall. It got about 37 MPG - not as great as expected - but the ride was smooth and silent, and the displays generally quite informative. I even grew fond of the "leaves" app, that sprouted new leaves when in electric mode and dropped them in gasoline mode (yeah, sounds cheesy, but maybe I'm just cheesy ;-).

But the rest of the code was atrocious. I connected my Nexus 4 via USB, and the software directed me to disconnect it lest it be damaged. When my wife connected her ancient Galaxy Nexus, it insisted on playing her ringtones full volume over the car speakers. We never got the GPS to work, since it required some special phone app that we couldn't find for Android. And the voice command system failed miserably - even though I used commands specifically listed in the manual (which I read cover to cover, since I couldn't believe the software was really that bad), every time it responded with a long-winded "I don't know how to do that. Here's some things I know how to do: " and then giving an eternal list of commands including the commands I just gave.

That incredibly frustrating software is my sole reason for scratching the C-Max off my interest list.

Whoever wrote it, whether Microsoft or Ford, should be fired. Utterly atrocious.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Keeping up? S(t)ync.
by moondevil on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 14:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Keeping up? S(t)ync."
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

If Ford engineers screwed up Microsoft's code


Yes they did, I got my information from this discussion thread, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7284682

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Keeping up? S(t)ync.
by ricegf on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 20:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Keeping up? S(t)ync."
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Thanks, I'd vote you Informative if I could. No reason to think lukejduncan isn't being truthful.

But Microsoft should know better than to allow their logo to be used all over the car and in the screens if they don't control the actual experience. Trademarks are too valuable to tarnish so foolishly.

In any event, put a well thought out Android-based UX in there, and I'll write a check today.

Reply Score: 2

A whole minor release
by Vanders on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 21:57 UTC
Vanders
Member since:
2005-07-06

The scale of the changes are impressive, but one has to ask why they didn't release more frequent updates with the changes spread amongst them?

Windows 8.0 was released in late October 2012. Between then and now, Android has had three minor releases (4.2, 4.3 & 4.4) and Apple have had one minor (iOS 6.1) and one major (iOS 7.0) release.

You can't blame people for thinking that Windows Phone is stagnant when it's taken them nearly a year and a half to release a minor version. Microsoft appear to be using desktop & enterprise release cycles for a mobile world, which isn't going to fly.

Reply Score: 6

RE: A whole minor release
by Nelson on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 22:02 UTC in reply to "A whole minor release"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Windows Phone has had five updates since 8.0 launched. GDR1, GDR2, Amber, GDR3, and Black.

This is just the major release in their 18 month cycle.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: A whole minor release
by Vanders on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 23:03 UTC in reply to "RE: A whole minor release"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Windows Phone has had five updates since 8.0 launched. GDR1, GDR2, Amber, GDR3, and Black.


Those are patch releases. If we count patch releases, Android & iOS smoke Windows Phone so badly it's even more embarrassing.

This is just the major release in their 18 month cycle.


Except a) It isn't a major release (8.0 -> 8.1: minor) b) iOS has done a major release (6.1 -> 7.0) in that time c) if we count 8.1 has a "major" release than so has Android (4.4/KitKat).

No matter how you frame it, Microsoft are lagging with their Windows Phone releases.

Edited 2014-02-22 23:03 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: A whole minor release
by Nelson on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 23:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A whole minor release"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

8.1 is a point release in name only, this very article explains that.

As far as the GDR releases, the contents of the updates has varied but they at the least introduce new features.

I don't know how Android/iOS have done comparatively because I don't have phones that run those OSes but that's aside from WP.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: A whole minor release
by Morgan on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 01:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A whole minor release"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

You have to remember that Windows Phone is a much newer OS relative to Android and iOS. And no, classic Windows Mobile doesn't count. Especially regarding WP8, it's a completely different animal. Also, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 are fundamentally different OSes under the hood, while maintaining a consistent UI and familiar interface. The two are difficult to distinguish without digging into the guts of the OS, something that can't be said for iOS 6 and earlier vs iOS 7, or Android 2.x and earlier vs 4.x.

iOS came about as iPhone OS in 2007. Android had been in the works before that, but it was first usable on a phone in 2008. Windows Phone wasn't released until 2010, nearly three years after the iPhone. In that time, we've seen major WP versions 7.0, 7.5 "Mango", and 7.8, with a small "Tango" release between the last two. WP8 came out in late 2012, and has had three major GDR updates. Nokia phones have had "Amber" and "Black" minor updates that addressed the Lumia series specifically.

So, in its relatively short lifetime, Windows Phone has had several major releases, each one addressing core issues and bringing much needed improvements. It's far from a perfect OS, but for some of us it's a nearly perfect fit. And I for one am happy to see it improving and thriving.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: A whole minor release
by terra on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 02:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: A whole minor release"
terra Member since:
2012-11-01

iOS came about as iPhone OS in 2007. Android had been in the works before that, but it was first usable on a phone in 2008.


That statement silly because if iOS came in 2007 it means that iOS "had been in the works before" the release too, and to be usable and to be release there is certain period is needed for developers to accomplish just as Android did. You are saying if iOS came out from no where without any development time. Duh

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: A whole minor release
by Morgan on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 04:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: A whole minor release"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Sorry, I should have clarified that. Both iPhone OS and Android had been in development since around 2005, and some people speculate the iPhone had been talked about since Jobs came back to Apple (though I don't believe that). Android wasn't originally a Google project; they bought it from the founders in 2005 and had their first public release of the OS in late 2008, over a year after the iPhone was released. The iPhone had been rumored about for a couple of years before release, was demoed in early 2007 by Apple, and released in the summer of 2007.

But anyway, my point in the previous message was that Windows Phone was a late comer to the party, yet has had a steady stream of updates just like the other two. To claim otherwise is disingenuous at best.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: A whole minor release
by The123king on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 14:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: A whole minor release"
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

I think it's quite likely that Apple were considering a smartphone almost as soon as Jobs moved back to Apple. The reason it took so long to fruit was because the technology simply didn't exist. If you look at the original paving-slab-of-an-iPod released in '01, with it's MASSIVE 5gb mechanical HDD, you can see that there's just not enough of everything to make a practical all-in-one device. I'm sure the iPhone was a long-time goal, much like the iPad was. Technogoly takes time to mature, it's still almost a miracle that they made the iPhone just 6 years after the iPod

Reply Score: 5

RE[7]: A whole minor release
by Morgan on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 16:54 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: A whole minor release"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Well, in a technical sense, there were smartphones when Jobs returned. The Nokia Communicator came out in 1996, and while it's nothing like smartphones of today, it was a true mobile computer with cellular capabilities.

But, it's pure speculation to say that they might have been thinking of it way back then. I'm sure all kinds of ideas floated around the campus in those days, but I was saying that Apple didn't get serious about it until the early to mid 2000s and didn't release until 2007, as a point of reference to the first Windows Phone device which was released at the end of the decade.

And I also realize that Microsoft stood on the shoulders of Apple and Android/Google to get their phone platform out after failing repeatedly with WinMo6 and earlier devices.

I just don't understand why some people feel that version number parity should be used to judge releases. They are three different platforms by three radically different companies; they should be judged on how far they've come in the amount of time they've been on the market, not "platform A has 12 releases, it's better than platform B with only 5 releases". It's the amount of improvement in each release that should be judged, and having used all three platforms extensively since each was released, I can say that Microsoft has come a very long way in a very short time. For that, they should be commended, regardless of how you feel about the company itself.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: A whole minor release
by caudex on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 10:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: A whole minor release"
caudex Member since:
2008-07-05

BlackBerry 10 is also a relative new platform, but it hasn't stopped BlackBerry from releasing 10.1, 10.2 and 10.2.1 under the first year of its existence. They are all quite big updates, which bring new functionality, lots of improvements, bug fixes, etc. Microsoft should be able to do better than what they've done so far. Maybe (and hopefully) the Nokia team can take over from the slow developers at Microsoft - and then, just maybe, the platform will be more than just a follower of others.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: A whole minor release
by Vanders on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 11:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: A whole minor release"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

You have to remember that Windows Phone is a much newer OS relative to Android and iOS.

Right, which means if anything you'd expect to see a much more rapid release cycle as Microsoft attempt to reach feature parity, not a slow release cycle where nothing much happens for nearly 18 months.

So, in its relatively short lifetime, Windows Phone has had several major releases, each one addressing core issues and bringing much needed improvements.


GDRs are not "major" releases. Both Android & iOS have also had patch releases that addressed issues or added functionality. During all these "major GDR releases" Windows Phone has stuck doggedly to version 8.0; it hasn't even had a minor version bump, let alone a major one.

Like I said, Microsoft appear to be trying to apply a desktop & enterprise release schedule onto a mobile world. Perhaps it's because they still don't understand the mobile market?

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: A whole minor release
by Nelson on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 13:11 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: A whole minor release"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Your argument places a lot of its weight in versioning semantics, which is something that's completely arbitrary. You, as a developer definitely know that.

What the GDRs did in aggregate was provide a steady stream of updates while the major release was worked on, Nokia helped along with their own updates and with their barrage of app updates (which along w/ 2nd party API hooks had more functionality than your run of the mill ap.)

Could the pace have been better? Absolutely pace can always improve. I think more than that transparency could've improved. Tell people in no uncertain terms that you're addressing specific pain points.

But still, given the massive reorg, the integration of Nokia, and the CEO change, I think Windows Phone has had a respectable (not perfect) update cadence.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: A whole minor release
by Nelson on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 14:02 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: A whole minor release"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Just adding to this: The Windows Phone 8.1 SDK seems to have references in its WinMD file (.NET Metadata which describes the WinRT API) to "Windows Phone 8.5"

So it seems the final name may not even be WP8.1, further adding to the complete arbitrary nonsense that is software versioning.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: A whole minor release
by Vanders on Mon 24th Feb 2014 10:42 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: A whole minor release"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Your argument places a lot of its weight in versioning semantics, which is something that's completely arbitrary. You, as a developer definitely know that.


I am, I admit, being slightly facetious. However, the market does care about version: every minor Android update gets plenty of media coverage. Windows Phone 8.0 GDRs didn't.

Users can see when a number changes and know that a higher number is better. Microsoft are for some strange reason doing it differently to everyone else.

Reply Score: 2

Good new for WP
by cjcox on Sat 22nd Feb 2014 23:53 UTC
cjcox
Member since:
2006-12-21

I'm just happy to hear something is happening with WordPerfect after all of these years.












:)

Reply Score: 11

RE: Good new for WP
by phoenix on Thu 27th Feb 2014 21:40 UTC in reply to "Good new for WP"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

WordPerfect 16 was just recently released. Corel releases a new version every year, whether it really needs it or not. ;)

And you can still open WP 16 documents in WP9. Try doing that with MS Office. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by franko
by franko on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 03:39 UTC
franko
Member since:
2012-05-25

"If Microsoft can keep up with the competition going forward from 8.1, things could (finally) get interesting."

Microsoft better get their skates on because Google will be introducing 3D modelling of space around the phone in the near future with the help of a specialised 3d vision chip.
http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/20/inside-the-revolutionary-3d-vision...

http://www.google.com/atap/projecttango/

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by franko
by drstorm on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 16:40 UTC in reply to "Comment by franko"
drstorm Member since:
2009-04-24

Basically phone Kinect?

Reply Score: 2

v Deleted Windows 8 With Extreme Prejudism
by ioconnor on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 03:55 UTC
drstorm Member since:
2009-04-24

Are you sure you don't have Win8 SLIC in BIOS?

Reply Score: 3

on desktop Win 8.1 update was catastrophic
by pica on Sun 23rd Feb 2014 19:30 UTC
pica
Member since:
2005-07-10

I had to reconfigure many, many options I configured before. That started during update and ended up with reconfiguring my Visual Studio installation. For me that is an absolute no go. An update should not alter any existing settings.

What is the update like on Windows Phone?

Greetings,
pica

Reply Score: 2