Announcing Windows Phone 8 [Joe Belfiore on Windows Phone blog, June 20, 2012]
Many of Windows Phone 8’s new capabilities come from a surprising source: Windows, the most successful and powerful operating system on the planet, and one used by more than a billion people.
Yes, you read that right: Windows Phone 8 is based on the same core technologies that power Windows 8. As a result, Windows Phone 8 will unleash a new wave of features for consumers, developers, and businesses.
We’ve based the next release of Windows Phone on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8. It means Windows Phone and its bigger sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system.
The new Start screen is so useful and emblematic of what Windows Phone is about that we want everybody to enjoy it. So we’ll be delivering it to existing phones as a software update sometime after Window Phone 8 is released. Let me repeat: If you currently own a Windows Phone 7.5 handset, Microsoft is planning to release an update with the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen. We’re calling it “Windows Phone 7.8.”
Some of you have been wondering, “Will we also get Windows Phone 8 as an update?” The answer, unfortunately, is no.
Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware. BUT we care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones fresh, so we’re providing the new Start screen in this new update.
Developers, developers, developers
Since we’re talking about apps, I want to tell developers a little bit about what they can expect in Windows Phone 8. Some of the exciting changes on the way include:
- Native code support: Windows Phone 8 has full C and C++ support, making it easier to write apps for multiple platforms more quickly. It also means Windows Phone 8 supports popular gaming middleware such as Havok Vision Engine, Autodesk Scaleform, Audiokinetic Wwise, and Firelight FMOD, as well as native DirectX-based game development.
- In-app payments: In Windows Phone 8 we make it possible for app makers to sell virtual and digital goods within their apps.
- Integrated Internet calling: In Windows Phone 8, developers can create VoIP apps that plug into our existing calling feature so Internet calls can be answered like traditional phone calls, using the same calling interface.
- Multitasking enhancements. Windows Phone 8 now allows location-based apps like exercise trackers or navigation aids to run in the background, so they keep working even when you’re doing other things on your phone.
This is just a taste. Later this summer, we’ll have much more for developers on the Windows Phone 8 Software Development Kit (SDK) and the new Visual Studio 11-based development tools. So stay tuned.
The first wave of devices for Windows Phone 8 will come from Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC, all built on next-generation chips from Qualcomm. …
Introducing the New Windows Phone Start Screen [Windows Phone YouTube channel, June 20, 2012]
Watch Microsoft introduce Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone Summit video [YouTube copy of the MS recorded summit session, June 20, 2012]
From the whole presentation for the subject of this post the most important is this:
- Shared Windows Core: Technical Overview
- Developer Platform Early Preview
which is available in the following parts of the whole video:
1. Microsoft Windows Phone 8 Summit Complete Video – Part 6 Developer Features
- Established driver ecosystem
- Focus on optimized driver
- Better devices, faster
- Hardware-based security of Windows
- Never regret installing an app
- Your content under your control
- NFC, tap to share
- Improved Bluetooth
Graphics & Media
- Built on hardware accelerated Direct3D
- Media Playback and Record
- High-fidelity experiences
- Share more code (both native code and .NET code) because the same builiding blocks are shared
- Native code: C/C++ [especially for games because the same DirectX componentry between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, even the same gaming middleware, like Havok could be used making porting easier]
Use the same native code to make it easier to port applications to Windows Phone 8
- Same .NET engine that runs on the Windows desktop
- Compile in the Cloud enabled as part of taking that .NET engine
Basically what happens is, when developers publish their applications to the Marketplace we will compile them in the cloud to machine code, and then when the end user installs that application it will start faster and run faster.
2. Microsoft Windows Phone 8 Summit Complete Video – Part 7 Developer Features
[08:55] Focus on developers … [09:15] Maximizing Developer Investments: Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 applications will run on Windows Phone 8. Also this technology I talked about, compiled manipulation in the cloud, will go to compile every existing Windows Phone application in our Marketplace, so that Windows Phone 8 end-users get the benefit of every application being faster, and developers will not have to do anything beyond that of having supplied their applications, do any work. It will just be done for them. Also Visual Studio 2012 will support development for both Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 applications, and of course they already support Windows 8 applications. This means that as a developer you can use one tool to build for all the platforms that matter to you. [10:06]
[between 7:17 and 8:15]
We created a brand new, organized OS. It is based on [Windows] CE* [renamed Windows Embedded Compact] kernel, but it has virtual memory support, paging, security, networking, just like Windows. It’s a modern OS. One of the key functionality we added also, when we are writing device drivers it used to be a big issue, that for OEMs had to do a lot of heavy lifting to interact with the hardware and write device drivers. We changed the game there as well. We are writing most of the device driver software, and so hardware vendors need to write only the very silicon specific part of the device drivers. And we write a lot of the software ourselves, which of course also have established a common foundation across all devices.
Note: Because the first “partner only and confidential” information of February 2010 was that the WP7 OS is based on Windows CE 6.0 kernel you can still find such misleading information even in wikipedia (althought stated as of “Kernel type: Windows CE 6/7.0”). The reality was nevertheless that it was based on CE 7.0 (Chelan) kernel code base, more precisely both the Chelan derived Windows Embedded Compact 7 and the Windows Phone 7 were based on the same Chelan kernel with the Compact 7 product having more resamblance to Chelan kernel than the Windows Phone one:
Windows Phone 7 and Windows Embedded Compact 7 are based on the same kernel.
By the Way, Windows Phone 7 is based on the Windows Embedded Compact 7 core
Discussion with analysts on 2012 Mobile World Congress [Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone Division, Feb 29, 2012]
I joined Windows Phone in October 2008, and that was right about the time Android launched, the iPhone had been out a little over a year, and our product was Windows Mobile 6.1, which was a product that really was optimized for what we call the QWERTY monoblock form factor. It had a hardware keyboard, a small QVG screen, sort of the canonical products at the time, were the Blackberry ‑‑ I’m sorry, the Samsung Blackjack, and the T-Mobile Dash. So, that was the products of October 2008, and we had the iPhone out for over a year.
You know, at that time, we decided to commit to a new vision for a consumer mobile experience, and we developed Metro, and we shipped Windows Phone 7 approximately two years later. And so, from there, now we need to get the message out to consumers, and here we are today.
More information on that history is in the:
- Tackling the Android tide [Experiencing the Cloud blog, July 16 – Aug 17, 2011]
Experiment 19: Re-imagining the Windows Phone OS [MS Research video, recorded on June 25, 2009]
Experiment 19 [Microsoft Research, June 21, 2012]
A skunkworks project in 2008/2009 to re-imagine the OS platform for Windows Phone. The prototype proved that Windows NT and the CLR could deliver better performance than Windows CE and the .NET Compact Framework on identical hardware. Within months of the completion of Experiment 19, Microsoft launched efforts to build what would become Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT for ARM tablets.
Re-imagining the Windows Phone Platform
In the fall of 2008, our Operating Systems Group was participating in the Menlo project to explore new phone-related experiences. At the time, Windows Phone 7 was in early development using the Windows CE kernel and .NET Compact Framework. We had been experimenting with these “legacy” platform components for over a year. While they performed well, we were frustrated by their lack of compatibility with the Windows NT system and .NET Framework Common Language Runtime (CLR) used on PCs. We realized the time had come for a bold experiment: could we replace CE with NT and replace the Compact Framework with the CLR?
We undertook a skunkworks project, codename “Experiment 19”, to re-imagine the software platforms used by Windows Phone. We started with a core set of windows system components (called MinWin) and a port of the Windows NT kernel to the ARM processor. Working closely with MinWin pioneers—Adam Glass, Mark Russinovich, Richard Pletcher, Richard Neves and Bryce Cogswell—and with partners at NVIDIA, we created the device drivers and firmware necessary to boot and run MinWin on our prototype phones. We created an ARM JIT compiler for the CLR and ported the CLR runtime to ARM. To complete the system, we ported the phone implementation of Silverlight to run with our ARM implementation of the CLR.
The resulting system proved that the “desktop” code bases actually performed better on modern phone hardware than the legacy mobile systems. Why? Because mobile chips now provide advanced features and capabilities, such as multiple cores, rivaling PCs of just a few years ago. The Windows NT and the CLR code bases had long since learned to exploit those capabilities to maximum benefit. With Experiment 19, we proved that Microsoft could build mobile devices using the desktop code bases (NT & the CLR). Within months, Microsoft began efforts to build the systems that would become Windows RT for ARM tablets and Window Phone 8.
Note: Samuel Phung, ICOP Technology, Inc. described Windows Embedded Compact 7 Advantages [Oct 26, 2011] (this also gave a glimpse into it) after it was released in March, 2011:
- Small-Footprint, Modular, Scalable and Optimized for Embedded Device
- Platform Builder: Efficient Tool to Develop Custom OS Image
- Visual Studio: Efficient Environment to Develop Embedded Application
- Silverlight for Windows Embedded: Enables Designer and Developer to Jointly Develop Compact 7 Application
- Compact 7 Advantage: The Development Environment
- Develop Compact 7 OS Run-time Image
- Develop Silverlight for Windows Embedded Application
Microsoft’s own description in History of Windows Embedded Compact 7 is:
Windows Embedded Compact 7 is the latest release of the componentized, hard real-time operating system for small footprint devices. Compact continues the history of embedded innovationwith:
- Silverlight for Windows Embedded, a UI framework included with Compact, combines the flexibility of declarative UIs with the performance of native code. Silverlight for Windows Embedded is based on Silverlight v3.0 and allows developers and designers to create and update device UIs using Microsoft Expression Blend.
- Compact also includes an updated Internet Explorer, built on the same core as IE in Microsoft Windows Phone 7 and includes support for Flash 10.1, panning and zooming, multi-touch, and viewing bookmarks using thumbnails.
- product microsite: Windows Embedded Compact 7 (Formerly CE)
- a new product blog (since May 15, 2012): Approaching Embedded Intelligently / Windows Embedded Compact
- What are the differences between Silverlight and Silverlight for Windows Embedded [Olivier Bloch from the Windows Embedded Compact team, Dec 13, 2010]
- Maximizing Internet Explorer in Windows Embedded Compact 7 [the new product blog, June 11, 2012]
In Microsoft Drives Agile Approach to Intelligent Systems [Nov 14, 2011] press release Microsoft announced the following changes for the next release:
According to [Ben] Smith [director of Program Management for Windows Embedded], the power and complexity of tomorrow’s distributed computing, such as intelligent systems, will require a shift from less frequent, full-scale software upgrades, often the industry standard, to ones that are more frequent and incremental.
“The industry has reached a point where successful companies are those that can iterate the smartest and drive value in terms of the customer experience,” says Smith.
With that in mind, Microsoft has made the following specific changes:
- Combining the development teams for each of the Windows Embedded solutions — Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Embedded Enterprise, Windows Embedded Compact 7 — into one larger team focused on creating many products with a common platform
- Adopting agile methodologies that help developers avoid last-minute feature cuts and respond to customer feedback with midstream course adjustments
- Creating more focused and frequent code release cycles
In the adjacent Microsoft Unveils Product Road Map Delivering on Intelligent Systems Vision [Nov 14, 2011] feature story the following information was given about the roadmap:
[Kevin] Dallas [general manager of Windows Embedded] also confirmed that Microsoft updated Windows Embedded Compact 7, the current generation of the Windows Embedded CE platform, in October 2011, and Windows Embedded Compact v.Next will follow in the second half of 2012, introducing support for Visual Studio 2010.
Windows Embedded Standard v.Next will support the ARM architecture, in addition to continuing support for the Intel x86 and x64 architectures. Windows Embedded Compact will continue to provide a proven, real-time operating system and a full tools suite for a streamlined development experience on small-footprint, specialized devices. Windows Embedded Standard v.Next will deliver technologies for customized, rich user interfaces, enhanced always-on connectivity, and all of the management and security functionality provided by Windows 8.
“Windows Embedded Compact and Windows Embedded Standard represent Microsoft’s platforms for intelligent systems.” Dallas says. “We need Windows Embedded Standard v.Next to take the lead around application-rich devices, and Windows Embedded Compact v.Next to take the lead around real-time, small form-factor devices. Both are critical to the success of our partners and enterprise customers building intelligent systems.”