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.
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.