Windows Phone 8 gets new Start screen, shares common core with Windows 8

Microsoft this morning confirmed that Windows Phone will share a common underlying core with Windows 8 starting later this year, blending the company’s mobile and PC platforms.

The company just made the announcement at an event previewing Windows Phone 8, the next version of its mobile operating system, launching this fall.

The move could give a boost to apps on both platforms, and allow Windows Phone to tap into more of the advances from Microsoft’s PC operating system. The change, which involves a shift away from Microsoft’s legacy Windows CE technology, had long been rumored.

“With a shared common core, developers who are working on Windows 8 have an incredibly easy transition to Windows Phone,” said Windows Phone executive Joe Belfiore, speaking at a Microsoft event in San Francisco this morning.

Among other benefits, he said, the move will allow Windows Phone to support new types of hardware.

The event is still going on, providing a behind-the-scenes peek at Windows Phone 8, and the live stream is available here. Check back for updates.

Update: Belfiore described a new mobile wallet hub that Microsoft will be adding to Windows Phone, leveraging Near Field Communications or NFC. It will start with the carrier Orange overseas.

The company is working with Isis, the mobile wallet initiative from some of the major U.S. wireless carriers, to integrate with their technology. Windows Phone 8 will also include a “deal card” feature for coupons.

Windows Phone 8 will also come with Nokia mapping technologies built in, including turn-by-turn directions.

Other upgrades include new features for enterprise use, including encryption and secure boot, app deployment by businesses without going through the Windows Phone Marketplace, and device management through the same tools for Windows PC management.

Update 2: Microsoft is also overhauling the Windows Phone start screen in Windows Phone 8, making it more customizable with new tile sizes, making it more similar to the Windows 8 start screen. Here are a few screenshots from the webcast.

Update 3: Microsoft will offer some of the new features, such as the upgraded Start screen, to existing Windows Phone users in a new update called Windows Phone 7.8, but Windows Phone 8 will come on new hardware and won’t be available as an upgrade for existing users. The Verge has more details.

Update 4: Microsoft Windows Phone chief Terry Myerson confirms that existing Windows Phone devices won’t get Windows Phone 8, but will be upgradable to Windows Phone 7.8, with the “marquee” feature, the new Start screen.

Follow-upWindows Phone reaches 100k apps, still taking a back seat for top titles

  • Dracono

    So Windows Phone 7.x was a beta product after all.

    • Guest

      Not a beta product, just an earlier version. No need to be bitter.

  • Guest

    Looks great! I’m especially impressed with Windows Phone 8′s emphasis on commerce, supporting in-app purchasing (something Google’s app store STILL lacks) and the kind of cards and deals we’ve come to expect.

    Microsoft continues to lead the way in mobile user experiences. Thank you for picking up where the erstwhile innovator left off.

    • Bob

      In-app purchasing is nothing new, iOS has had it for a long time. And it is a terrible idea from the user perspective; it just enables developers to sell a half-baked app, then nickel and dime you to death in order to get the full functionality.

      Also, Microsoft can’t “continue to lead the way” as they’ve never done so in the first place.

      • http://profiles.google.com/edensoto Eden Soto

        I believe he said “… in mobile user experiences”… in which case, I have to agree… Windows Phone makes Android and iOS look antiquated as far as user experiences go

  • guest

    How are they going to dump the inventory of their Win7 phones now? Their value just dropped to $0.

    No upgrade to 8.0 (only some vague 7.8 gesture).

    Basically, all those who took a risk on the platform the last 6 months are stuck. An aggressive replacement policy should have been implemented to keep some level of customer satisfaction in the equation.

    • Guest

      Precisely my thought. Windows Phone 7 is now a “burning platform” just like Symbian and Meego after Elop’s memo.

      Why would you put money into a dead end phone now?

      I wonder what Nokia is thinking about this all?

  • ChuksOnwuneme

    What’s the guidance for new app devs just getting onto the platform? Target win 8 now? Amazingly, Windows Phone 7 had just started making some good traction, with the Lumia series phones from Nokia.