This week at Microsoft: Windows Phone 8, ARM, and Google

This week at Microsoft: Windows Phone 8, ARM, and Google

While the rest of the tech world has had a singular focus this week (Facebook’s filing to go public), Microsoft has been busy stirring up all sorts of narratives. It was a bit of a time getting them all straight, but we think that we have the most important bits in place.

Given the number of things that happened this week, we recommend a stroll through the TNW Microsoft archives; there’s some great, deep track, er news, in there. Now, make sure that you are following this channel on Facebook, and Twitter, and let’s get into the thick of it.

Windows Phone 8

This week Microsoft suffered from a rather public leak of, well, most of Windows Phone 8. And we mean it. A video escaped from Finland (we suspect, as it was made for Nokia), and landed in the capable hands of the tech media. Its information was later confirmed by another independent source. Here’s our short version:

  • Hardware: More screen variety, NFC, multi-core processors.
  • Apps: Code reuse between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, UI normalization, massive Skype integration.
  • Other: DataSmart to limit data usage, better security for enterprise clients.

That’s only a sampling. For the full list, head here. Most critical of all of the news, from our perspective, was the idea of platform unification:

For the end-user on a Windows Phone 8 device, the user experience will be all but the same (albeit on a smaller screen) as on a Windows 8 tablet, we suspect. The same interface on your PC, phone, and console is no small feat; Microsoft is essentially all-in with Metro. If the design aesthetic fails, the company will pay a price for years and years to come.

For developers, this is Christmas. Code once, run in multiple places? That’s a dream come true. The Windows Store, the Windows Phone Marketplace, and the Xbox LIVE Marketplace should be reachable with a single app by the end of year, we think. That’s a simply massive audience and sales potential for any app; it’s larger than the iOS store, or will be, once Windows 8 machines begin to sell.

Microsoft is tying it all together. All of it. The current Windows desktop feels like a damn afterthought at this point.

Taken all together, we are still very much on page one of the Windows Phone novel. What is coming next is far more exciting than Mango. Apollo cometh.

The ARM Controversy

Microsoft has yet to put to bed the rampant rumors about just what ARM-based Windows 8 machines will, and will not run. There is the idea that only Metro-Style Apps will be supported, those applications that are designed for touch. Another source has it that certain, certified ‘desktop’ apps will run on ARM, but only those few.

This irks the heck out of us, but it has to have developers in even more of a tizzy. Why Microsoft refuses to come clear (not clean), is unknown to us, but we decided to throw a signal into the air:

Microsoft needs to make public its plans for ARM-based Windows 8 tablets. Developers are currently stuck in a position of ignorance. As are consumers, and the press. Windows 8 on tablets has great potential, at least so far as we can tell. But this secrecy is not effective, it’s detrimental. You have to wonder why Microsoft won’t be upfront with the information: either desktop apps will work on ARM systems, or they will not (the idea of partial support is new, and we think, weak).

Microsoft has yet to comment. Our take? They don’t have a final plan yet. Perhaps when the Windows 8 beta comes out, we’ll know.

Microsoft v. Google: The Mudfight

We are going to do this in one swoop: Google is taking flack for its privacy policies. Microsoft is getting off on the controversy, taking out ads in various newspapers and generally making a glorious hash of things. It’s been quite funny to watch. We trust that you enjoy such things.

Therefore, take a peek at our coverage here, here, and here. Make some coffee first, you must have something to spit on your monitor in mirth.

Xbox: The Delay

And finally, the bad news has to taken up: According to Microsoft France, there will be no new Xbox in 2012. Yes, after all that hype, and what were thought to be credible leaks, Microsoft has apparently laid down the ban hammer. Here’s the quote that shut down the Merry-Go-Round:

We’re in an industry that talks a lot, that likes telling stories. I am not convinced that things will happen this year. The Xbox 360′s cycle is not over at all. The proof is that we haven’t price cut this year.

“Afterward, what will happen at E3, it’s still too early to say. What’s certain is that there will be nothing new in 2012. If we wanted to counter Nintendo, we would have to be in a position to release something immediately, and that is not at all the case.

“We’re not here to counter Nintendo and they’re not here to fight the other manufacturers. Nintendo has put itself in a different cycle, it’s going forward to its own rhythm, with success as we have seen with the Wii, and now it’s their turn to present their innovation.” [Bold: TNW]

If you need some help with the pain, head here. You’re welcome. That’s all for this week folks, more as it happens.

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