Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th Feb 2013 18:27 UTC
Windows "Imagine a phone that could run real Remote Desktop. Real PowerShell. Anything that can run on your desktop PC. Imagine 'phablet' form factors, similar to today's Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which could dock to a desktop setup and utilize an external display, keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals. Imagine a single set of APIs that work everywhere. Imagine that Phone isn't a whole separate platform, but an app. An app that runs on Windows. Real Windows. The Windows Phone team could never make that happen. But the Windows client team? You betcha. Make it happen, Microsoft. It's time to take the phone seriously." I have never agreed with Thurrot as much as I do right now.
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A little context
by Nelson on Tue 12th Feb 2013 18:48 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

I think Paul Thurrot is an insightful person but I think he's really suggesting an eventuality, and echoing a sentiment I've made known before: Microsoft is letting intra-division politics put Windows Phone at a disadvantage.

Windows 8 is firing on all pistons, the bulk of the engineering effort is behind Windows 8, and it shows that some of the brightest minds in the company had input into its developer platform.

WinRT is basically the WinDiv's interpretation of Silverlight and its brilliant.

The problem with Windows Phone is that it doesn't (or didn't, until WP8) reside or have key architectural components residing in WinDiv proper.

WP7 Kernel was in-house CE spin off that they had to maintain and improve on

WP7 .NET CF was a spin off of 3.5 (named 3.7) which they also had to maintain

Silverlight 4 for Mobile was their SL4 spin off, which again, no one else used, so the brunt of maintenance was on them.

The same goes for XNA, their OS telephony and 3G/4G stacks, a lot of their API surface, etc.

There was a tremendous duplication of effort. Why maintain a CE fork if NT is developed by the brightest minds in the room? Why use .NET CF 3.7 if CoreCLR is being used on Windows 8 and maintained by the official .NET team? Why use Silverlight when WinRT and XAML have been pulled into WinDiv?

That explains a lot of the moves in WP8. Moving to the NT Kernel, moving to CoreCLR from .NET CF, and starting to move away from Silverlight to WinRT.

While all of this puts WP8 on interesting ground architecturally, Microsoft can't keep promising that they'll get it right tomorrow. Tomorrow they will have missed the boat, again. What happens when Apple or Google or someone makes their next powerplay? Microsoft will be too busy catching up in Phones to even notice it.

WinRT on Windows Phone needed the WP team's input from the start. WinRT regresses from Silverlight 4 in a few meaningful ways which I think would've been re-prioritized and avoided if they had input from the start.

That said, the WinRT platform and Silverlight Mobile on WP8 aren't really that far apart in performance. In fact, Silverlight on WP8 is the ONLY Silverlight run time to run on DirectWrite and Direct2D (much like WinRT) since Mango. That's an impressive feat for such a (relatively) small team.

Looking forward to WP vNext, I imagine a lot more alignment. I expect to see the Windows Store and Windows Phone Stores merge, if only architecturally.

There's no reason why my Windows 8 app should certify in one day and my WP8 app takes three to five days. There's no reason why the Windows Phone Store has private beta tests and the Windows 8 store doesn't. There's no reason why they both use two different (but similar) dev portals for app submission. There's no reason why I need to pay $99 for Windows Phone, then I think $40 again for Windows 8. It should be one payment.

I think Microsoft just got caught at a bad time in the midst of a transition. Its still going on, and will likely still be for a while.

WinRT includes telephone and SMS APIs as part of Windows 8, so to me, it seems that at least someone was trying to think things all the way through but got scuttled by last minute shipping deadlines.

Still, it is important to look back at the Windows Phone team and all that little team accomplished, against the odds. They operated much like a tiny start up within MS, given that they had to reinvent the wheels for a freight truck.

Edited 2013-02-12 18:50 UTC

Reply Score: 5