PCs, tablets and smartphones drive today’s world. The user experiences on Windows and its smartphone counterpart have been traditionally kept separate because of the vastly different ways each was utilized. However, with smartphones becoming more powerful and ubiquitous, this, as well as the Windows experience, is changing.
Microsoft is unifying its platforms with the upcoming Windows 8/RT and Windows Phone 8. These three operating systems will work on across PVs, tablets and smartphones, but are also symbolic of Microsoft’s desire for a complete and coherent ecosystem.
The full version of Windows 8 is an OS that will be seen on upcoming devices which sport x86 processors from Intel and AMD. It’s more powerful than the tablet-oriented Windows RT, and supports both the Metro UI and classic desktop environments. When in the Metro UI environment, it behaves exactly the same as Windows RT. The difference lies in how you switch to the more familiar desktop environment, which lets you run legacy applications that aren’t written for the Metro UI. That means programs that work in Windows 7, should run on the Windows 8 desktop, even if the device is a tablet.
Windows RT is the Windows 8 variant made to run specifically on touch-enabled devices powered by ARM processors. Windows RT was revealed when Microsoft introduced two Surface tablets, one running an Intel processor, and the other and ARM processor. This OS variant will only be available pre-installed on Arm devices, and will not be sold as a stand-alone product. It can only run apps written for the Metro UI environment, so users won’t be able to access the traditional Windows desktop environment that they’re familiar with, and will be unable to run legacy apps written fro the desktop.
Windows Phone 8
The upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform will feature a host of updates as the tech giant shifts its focus to PC/mobile integration. Future WP8 devices will receive significant hardware upgrades, with WP8 bringing support for multi-core processors, NFC technology, microSD storage and new screen resolutions. The upgrades aren’t just superficial; the new platform will utilize a “Shared Windows Core” that will help developers churn out apps which work meaninglessly across WP8, Windows 8 and Windows RT, preserving a unified user experience. WP8 will also come with extensive enterprise support in a bid to attract users from one of Microsoft’s most lucrative market segments.