When it comes to operating systems, the generally accepted method is to have one mobile OS and one desktop OS. These can be related, but they are also kept separate.
This is what we see for both Google and Apple. With Apple we have OSX for desktops and iOS for mobile devices. On the Google front, Android powers tablets and smartphones. Google is pushing its cloud-driven Chrome OS for desktops and laptops.
And then comes Microsoft, which is doing things a bit backwards. You have a tablet and desktop OS with Windows 8, and a smartphone OS with Windows Phone 8. Is this the right path going forward, or should we see a closer merger between these efforts?
Honestly, I would like to see Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT come together. I know what you are thinking, using a desktop screen on a smartphone would be more than a disaster. The solution, as mentioned yesterday, has to do with removing Windows RT’s desktop mode.
If Microsoft can put together a real Metro version of Office, there is really no good reason for ARM devices to use the legacy desktop for any reason. Let’s push forward and leave the desktop behind on Windows RT.
With Windows Phone 8, we saw a positive step towards unity thanks to the use of NT technology. Is it enough? I think the idea of maintaining separate markets and ecosystems is quite confusing and unnecessary. As it stands, porting from Windows 8 to Windows Phone 8 is easy, but with Windows 9 and Windows RT 2, what if Microsoft phones, tablets and PCs all share the same ecosystem?
It seems to work okay for Apple and Google, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work here.
Windows RT 2 and Windows 9, Simplifying Microsoft’s Ecosystem
By relying fully on RT technology in Windows RT 2, we get a truly mobile OS that wouldn’t have to be so massive. Right now, I can guarantee you that quite a bit of the huge file size bloat from Surface RT is due to the legacy desktop code.
If Microsoft re-writes Windows RT 2 from the ground up to rely only on Metro, you will get a versatile OS that is app compatible with Windows 9 but otherwise is flexible enough for smartphones and tablets. This would also make it easier for vendors to make devices as small as 3 1/2-inches or as big as 20-inches+. Right now, Windows RT’s desktop mode is hard to use on smaller screen devices, and Microsoft says it will never let Windows Phone run on a tablet.
Is there a downside to ditching Windows Phone and creating a new Windows RT version that runs on both ARM tablets and ARM phones? The biggest I see is that Microsoft would once again probably require new hardware for Windows Phone 8 owners, meaning yet another instance of leaving users behind like with what happened with Windows Phone 7. Also there is likely other factors that I might be missing that makes this idea impossible or impractical.
So how likely is all of this? In time I think that Microsoft could unify its PC, tablet and smartphones under one OS– but it is the desktop mode that is holding all of this back. As for merging Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT? I think it is possible, but probably not all that likely. Still, it is at least an interesting and fun thought.
What do you think, should Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 merge efforts or not?