In an earlier post on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft engineers talked about how the Push Notification infrastructure used for Windows Phone 7 will be implemented in Windows 8. I wondered as to which other technologies and concepts from Windows Phone 7 will be borrowed by the Windows 8 team. Today’s tablet is a mobile OS turned into a tablet; Microsoft’s strategy is the complete opposite. Microsoft is taking a desktop OS and a mobile UI to give us a tablet.
Steve Sinofsky’s prologue to the upcoming thesis on Windows 8 for ARM brought to light some more concepts that have been taken from Windows Phone 7 and will be seen in Windows 8. Here are some:
Metro: The soul of the Windows 8 tablet is Microsoft’s design language—Metro. Metro has its roots in Zune but Windows Phone 7 showed Metro’s scalable capabilities. Live Tiles making it to Windows 8 is very exciting; the screen looks lively and active.
Marketplace only; no Side-loading of apps: Like Windows Phone 7, Windows on ARM will not allow sideloading apps (unless the device is rooted). Apps will be distributed through the Windows App Marketplace only.
Webpages as apps: IE in Windows Phone 7 lets users pin webpages to the homescreen. This meant, if websites had smartphone-enabled mobile versions of their websites, the pinned webpage would essentially act as an app. My favorite example here is GetGlue, and even Techmeme. In Windows 8, the Metro version of IE will offer full screen browsing akin to a Metro app.
Connected Standby: Steven Sinofsky explained in post that Windows 8 on ARM will not hibernate or sleep like traditional Windows but go into a state called Connected Standby—a mode same as when you press the power button of a phone. Several apps will work in the background (such as mail) but Windows will be smart enough to suspend resource hungry tasks. In fact, users will be able define which apps can run when in Connected Standby.
Background Tasks: Windows Phone 7 lets users choose whether an app can run in background, the user can stop the app from running the background, and even define if the app should run in the background. From Sinofsky’s post, Windows 8 on ARM will have similar capabilities. Sinofsky explains:
For end-users, a unique capability of WOA is that you are in control of what programs have access to background execution so that those apps are always connected, and information like new mail is always up to date.
Push Notifications: The infrastructure and tech that powers the (untrustworthy) Push Notifications or Toast in Windows Phone 7 will be available for Windows 8 on ARM. Microsoft did a technical post explaining how Push Notifications on Windows 8 will work in a manner that battery life isn’t hampered.
Chassis Specs: Microsoft does define a minimum hardware requirement for OEMs to follow, however, with Windows 8 for ARM, Microsoft will be using the model they used for Windows Phone 7 hardware. As pointed out Rafael Rivera, Microsoft has defined the hardware specs for a Windows 8 on ARM tablet. The specs include the sensors, number of hardware buttons, and some other technical details. For Microsoft, it is crucial that the tablets nail the experience.
This is what Windows Phone 7 has given Windows 8 but there’s one thing that Windows 8 has given Windows Phone.
Mobile Data Consumption: Recently leaked details about Windows Phone 8 or Apollo mention a capability to track mobile data consumption. Detailed in an old post on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft explained how they want to avoid “bill shock,” by letting users keep track of the data being consumed; Windows Phone 8 will offer something similar.
It is pretty cool to see Microsoft’s two Windows divisions finally tag-teaming their way to product development.