As Microsoft and its partners try to win smartphone users, the company is reportedly hard at work on Windows Phone 8, the next version of the smartphone platform. Codenamed “Apollo,” Windows Phone 8 is expected to have deep integration with the similarly named Windows 8, the next version of Microsoft’s PC operating system for tablets and PCs. Deeper integration with PCs and other home devices could encourage more people to give Windows Phone a try, enticed by expected features such as wireless data transfer and enhanced SkyDrive features.
However, persistent rumors suggest that Apollo will not run on current Windows Phone hardware. Microsoft will not comment on future versions of Windows Phone, but if the speculation is accurate, that incompatibility could hurt Microsoft’s short term gains by upsetting users who may feel stuck with a Windows Phone 7. Developers could also be frustrated if they have to rewrite their apps, although most Windows Phone 7 apps may run as legacy software under the new system. Microsoft may answer some of these questions during a Windows Phone event in San Francisco on June 20.
As for Windows 8, the new touch-friendly OS (expected in October) could also help Windows Phone since it will introduce a similar Metro-style interface to users. “I think it will be additive,” says Kindel of Windows 8. “I don’t think it’s going to be the thing that tilts the scales, but it is definitely going to have a positive impact.”
Myllyrinne expresses similar sentiments. “Once [the Metro UI] becomes the norm [on PCs] it might be easier for people to adopt that sort of logic on phones as well.”
In the meantime, Greg Sullivan, Microsoft's senior product manager for Windows Phone, says to expect more from the software maker in the coming months. “We’ve been in the market with Windows Phone for about a year and a half,” Sullivan said via e-mail. “And have seen great response to our new approach, and we’re really just getting started.”