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Rumors Persist: Will Windows Phone 8 use Windows 8 Kernel?

01.25.2012
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The keyword here is rumors (because at this point that's all they are) but as you may have heard, the Windows Phone 8 OS (aka 'Apollo') may very well be based on the Windows NT kernel as opposed to Windows Phone 7 OS which is currently based on the Windows CE kernel.  Essentially this means that Windows Phone 8 would essentially be a minimal version of Windows 8.

This rumor isn't new:

Sept 12, 2011: Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 'Apollo'

Sept 13, 2011: Windows Phone 8 'Apollo' and Windows 8 to Converge to Single OS


As Brad Sams put it:

There is nothing far fetched about the post, it has been rumored for ages and ages...I know you want a smoking gun because that's what everyone demands...unfortunately, you will have to put the pieces together in your head to fully understand the concept.

-- Brad Sams

None of this information has been confirmed by Microsoft and the source of this update comes from 4pda.ru, a Russian site, and unfortunately, I don't speak Russian (though the "Microsoft Documentation" was posted in English).  The validity of the information has been highly debated, and while it follows a similar format to typical Microsoft Documentation, that format has become so familiar that it is now much easier to accurately fake.  But while nothing is concrete, the rumors do point to the possibility of the two platforms being linked together in the future.

As fellow DZone curator Mitch Pronschinske stated back in November while discussing Hal Berenson's thoughts on the subject:

If you have two things that do similar things and you want them to behave in a similar way, then you should unify them.  Although, I'm not sure that Windows NT could be modified and branched to support a mobile environment with the all of the unique challenges that it has.  Does Apple have a unified OS for its desktop and mobile platforms?  No.  Mac OS X and iOS are separate because the experiences will always have fundamental differences.

-- Mitch Pronschinske

The debate will continue until something definitive comes from Microsoft on the future of Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone.  In the meantime, there are still lots of questions to ask regarding the benefits of moving towards a unified platform for both desktop and mobile application:

  • How will this benefit the OS in a nutshell?
  • What effect will this have on user experience and applications?
  • Will this allow more developers to use the platform?