Clean slate again for Microsoft’s Windows (Phone) 9. Major rethink of Metro UI, one OS for tablets and phones

Almost 3 years after it started shipping, Windows Phone is anything but success. Microsoft’s mobile market share remains in the low single digits, and even a major OS redesign from WP7 to WP8 , failed to ignite sales. Their pure ARM tablet OS is even a bigger failure.

So what’s next for Microsoft mobile push?

Back to the drawing board, according to Mobile-Review’s Eldar Murtazin, who correctly predicted that Microsoft will kill Windows Mobile back in August 2009, long before anyone else.

Microsoft has now formed a working group to develop a blueprint for the next version of Windows mobile OS. And they are doing it from more or less clean slate, again. Group’s task is to create the new single OS for both smartphones and tablets, and everything is on the table. Including the Metro UI, which may either see a major redesign, on be scrapped for something else in Windows (Phone) 9.

Neither the new UI, nor the feature set for the next generation of the OS exist yet. Working group’s recommendations on both should be presented to company management in early fall, with the new OS scheduled to launch sometime in 2015.

Windows Phone

Given the current lack of traction in the market, Microsoft has to do something about its mobile platforms. Merging Windows RT and Windows Phone ARM platforms into a single OS, sounds like a smart thing to do. As is a major soul searching of what’s wrong with Metro UI. Which may have won a lot of critical praise, but failed to ignite customer interest on smartphones, tablets and even traditional Windows laptops.

I just hope Microsoft is serious about those 36 months of support for current Windows phones, they promised recently. And that support does not mean only token updates, with a huge compatibility break when the next generation OS arrives. You know – the way things happened in transition from Windows Phone 7.5 to 8.

Windows Phone development is already too slow. Every new WP update/version release, when it ships, is at least a generation behind in chipset and other top of the line component support. When do you think the first 1080p Windows Phone on Qualcomm 600 CPU will ship? My guess – right about the time Qualcomm 800 WQXGA (2560×1600) Android flagships hit the market.

Microsoft has to close this feature gap somehow, and waiting until 2015 Windows (Phone) 9 to do that, won’t cut it. But if they can catch up to Android in the core Windows Phone 8.x capabilities within next 12 to 18 months, and then come out with the new, fresh looking next generation unified platform in a couple of years… Now, that, sounds interesting.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • kemite2

    An article full of nonsense as its author … If you can not understand why Windows Phone will not support Snapdragon 600, then you can not understand why the next Windows Phone- CpU will be the Snapdragon 800.

  • davenoodle

    Absolute rubbish – they are already running a shared NT kernel – At least do some basic research !

  • FunnySheet

    I agree that Microsoft is due to redesign he Windows Phone UI and in fact will pretty much use WinRT API’s and UI. The current vertical scrolling tile screen is a no go and will be scrapped.

  • http://www.staska.net Staska

    No, I have no idea why Windows Phone will not support Snapdragon 600. Would be interesting to hear the reasons

  • EJLEE072006

    This guy is so Fos

  • http://www.staska.net Staska

    And your point is?

    Yep, I know perfectly well that WP8 runs shared NT kernel. Which may help in future OS development, probably helps with shared HW drivers, etc;

    May not help as much in App development. You still have to write separate apps for WP, RT and x86 Windows. And if there’s a big UI break from Metro, who knows what that’ll do to WP8/9 app compatibility.

  • Theri0n

    That Murtazin is well-known lunatic famous for his failed prophecies regarding the death of Nokia or sell-of to third parties at 2011 and 2012. Nokia is still alive while guy is balancing on the edge of sanity.

  • Ben A

    agree. that doesn’t make sense since they merged the windows phone to nt kernel. its a lie. he doesn’t know shit he needs to get some research and this is old news so 2011 (windows phone/windows unifed). 2015 hahah. Microsoft already did that in 2012, now all they doing is unfied store and a new metro refresh ui for 2014 not 2015, Microsoft also said is no rapid releases not 3 years wait anymore. so this guy is talking bullshit through his mouth, Russian idiotic cunt.

  • Ben A

    a unifed store is slated for early 2014. not 2015.

  • Ben A

    that comes out with windows phone 8.1 BLUE, Same as windows 8.1, with same APIs, tweaks UI.

  • Arun Lobo

    You are the only one who keeps giving Eldar attention that he badly seeks. This madman has a history of claims that proved to be false. Let me bring some of Eldar’s fake gems:

    Windows Phone 8 won’t run Windows Phone 7 apps: http://www.knowyourmobile.com/products/15968/windows-8-wont-be-compatible-windows-phone-7-apps

    Tizen is dead: http://www.gsmarena.com/tizen_is_dead_not_delayed__says_eldar_murtazin-news-6322.php

    http://tech2.in.com/news/smartphones/tizen-isnt-dead-samsung-offering-developers-4-million-to-populate-app-store/907376

    Nokia will bring 4.7″ Nokia phi (Aug 2012): http://wmpoweruser.com/eldar-confirms-4-7-inch-thinner-nokia-phi/

    And many, many more. By giving a liar credence, you are bringing down your own. Continue the good work you are doing, rather than promoting an attention seeker.

  • Ben A

    because of nokia pureview since that snapdragon 800 has 55mp support and new directx gpu graphics directx 11.2, with smoother and better graphics than aderno 320 found on 600 and phalets in the way to take advantage of Full HD 1080P phones on windows phone

  • umar

    Isn’t Murtazin the one who said that Elop would be resigning at the end of 2012 and Nokia would go Android after that?
    Murtazin is just an ace card that Samsung plays just to put doubts in consumers mind and discouraging them from adopting WP. Its a well played card but its not gonna work with Lumia 1020 which is set to be the blockbuster device.

  • Ben A

    there is not such thing as clean slate in 2015. that clean slate was 2011

  • bibleverse1

    Nokia and M$ need another strategy. They are gaining traction but not enough to gain market share. I suggest 99.99 handsets available unlocked worldwide. I also think if there is a redesign the software must be compatible with current hardware. And please make a hero device on par spec wise with latest android. I know the OS doesnt need quad core or octacore processors but people who upgrade phones every 6 months love it.

  • Ben A

    yeah obviously Microsoft is doing something here not sitting by 2015. this windows 8.1 will help to unify app development which is slated for 2014 for windows phones,xbox not 2015 which you have not research. do you believe this bullshit guy. please shut up, we already know there is a gap within app development between two platforms windows 8/RT and windows phone and Microsoft is filling that gap by early 2014. so your point is?

  • Ben A

    the current vertical scrolling tile screen will not be scrapped in your dreams, live with it this is 2013 not 1995.

  • kemite2

    It is the modem:
    Snapdragon 800 modem supports all possible Connections.(

    True 4G LTE World Mode, supporting LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WCDMA, CDMA1x, EV-DO, TD-SCDMA and GSM1

    4G LTE with Carrier Aggregation for speeds up to 150 Mbps)

    http://www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon/processors/800

    Snapdragon 600 has the same modem only in option. Windows Phone Team will choose, like in the past, the most complete CPU.

    http://www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon/processors/600

  • Ben A

    there is no such thing as octocore so shut up is marketing bullshit to get you hyped up for nothing and splash out 600$ for crap and THAT M$ SIGN IS GETTING OLD GET A NEW MS IMAGE, EVERY COMPANY BY THE WAY WANT MONEY AND THAT IS BUSINESS. android USELESS specs who cares they can have it all but they don’t have 3 things, quality and unique selling points and real ecosystem that Microsoft and nokia have and that is quality over quantity. and they are gaining market share idiot and its the worlds fastest growing mobile platform yet, faster than android.

  • Ben A

    some oem and Microsoft will chose both actually 600 and 800. 800 goes exclusively to Nokia with its pureview next gen tech for its next phone which is slated for late 2013 or early 2014.

  • http://www.staska.net Staska

    What do you mean 800 will go exclusively to Nokia? SGS S4 LTE-A already shipping with Snapdragon 800 in Korea. LG G2 will have 800, and so will other Android flagships this fall.

    And I am still not convinced about the reasons to ignore Snapdragon 600 and go with less powerful Krait on Lumia 925, 928 and 1020.

    The only reason I see is – current version of Windows Phone does not support 600, so Nokia had to go with inferior chip

  • dansus

    Something needs to change, WP8 is a bag of hurt.

  • http://www.staska.net Staska

    Is it really filling that gap between WP and Win RT by early 2014?

    As of June 27th, I haven’t heard of such a thing: http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-developer-directions-one-windows-core-doesnt-mean-one-store-7000017430/

    And regarding compatibility break. They had the same kernel between WP7 and WM (Windows CE) and there was a huge break then. Then they switched kernels between WP7.5/8 and there was huge hardware compatibility break then. And some app compatibility break, need of app recompile and/or re-writing then too. Or did you have Spotify app on WP8 from day 1?

    So me wondering how MSFT will handle transition between 8 and 9 is a pretty valid thing

  • kemite2

    you should first give us your desired traction. Then we will compare this number with Nokia results on Thursday. Are you ready ?

  • johala02

    The app development for Windows Phone 8 growing fast:
    http://wmpoweruser.com/growth-returns-to-the-windows-phone-store-as-microsoft-announce-160000-apps-200-million-monthly-transactions/

    And the GDR3 update coming around september:
    http://www.technobuffalo.com/2013/06/25/htc-one-windows-phone-8-rumor/
    Not a good idea to change to much in this time. As they did between Windows Phone 7 and 8. If they did the same thing it would kill WP8 and the user would go to Android or iOS.

  • idlelimey

    Hi Staska, I had come in to this article thinking it would be click bait, but you won me over by the end. Nice article, well done.

    Personally, I’m of the opinion that, while Metro might be on the table, it won’t be going anywhere. It makes sense to have a familiar front-end on tablet, desktop and phone (and ‘SmartWatch’?). I would like to see ‘Blue’ make the WP8.1 home screen an expression of the Desktop/RT metro UI – side scrolling, shared apps where possible with the same touch gestures (swipe in from the side or top etc.) Basically, a carbon copy of the desktop metro screen (including a swipe up, a la Windows 8.1, for full app list).

    I hope that, in the end, Metro (or is it Modern UI) succeeds and consumers start to get it, or at least get used to it.

    On the feature gap, I’m sure that will take care of itself in future iterations but I think the biggest obstacle to this is the Android-esque update process that leaves users with the same hardware on different version depending on their carrier. If this were improved, roll outs could happen with greater frequency perhaps. Should MS will it so.

  • Mhe She

    If Microsoft makes another drastic change, it will be eaten alive by Android!. The only choice Microsoft has now is to unify Windows 8.1 and Windows phone 8.1 Development.

    The OSes and UI is already quite similar! They cannot afford to have another reboot.

  • bibleverse1

    Useless specs are marketable. Fastest growing mobile OS is as useless a metric as those specs you say are useless.

  • Ben A

    I don’t believe zdnet crap. the store will will be unifed but not fall all like xbox, because it might be a tough one that’s all. so there will be compatibility backwards versions for all wp7/wp8 apps work with wp8.1, some are broken because of lack of compatibility tweaks to wp8, when wp8 was release, due to sdk late releases. so I already know that spotify was not there on wp8 by day 1 but now its has been fixed, so Microsoft has no time for 2015. so they are already working on wp8.1 since early 2013 for early 2014, in the same time working on general releases for GDR 2 & GDR 3. so I know that the they switched from windows ce to wp8 in the june 2012 annoucment they did that since 2011 when developing for wp8, nt, so the core of windows is unfied with windows phone and their next step Is for xbox to come closer with addition to update xbox sdk and xbox system updates. windows phone 8.1 will be unifed with windows store on windows 8.1 with new APIs,other windows nt stacks, chipsets. etc. so its early 2014. read the reports on wp8.1 store merges with windows store on windows 8.1.

  • Ben A

    I only believe some zdnet articles not all of it. some can be flying off the walls.

  • Ben A

    I rather have quad core than useless octocore that doesn’t take any advantage of the operating sytem as you call fastest growing mobile os metric. android is useless as a VCR.

  • http://www.flavors.me/warmth Daniel @warmth Delgado

    I think is the first time ever I hear/read a person talking/writing about Windows (Phone) and Android in the same speech/article in such a neutral way. Congrats pal, that’s what people want to hear/read: precise and concise information, not surrounded by fanboy’s thoughts.

  • Arun Lobo

    Except that the original source is from a hater and an infamous liar and the piece of information is totally baseless.

  • Franc012

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, the Metro UI is an acquired taste. Because it’s so different from the competition’s UI’s, most people refuse to even try it. For those open to a different UI, however, once they’ve used it, they can appreciate its well planned layout. Hopefully, the next version of Windows Phone doesn’t stray too far from the current version.

  • sun_dog

    I would be disappointed if Google and Apple weren’t doing the exact same thing, even though they still enjoy large shares of the market. Sitting on your hands and thinking the status quo will be fine in two years is what got Microsoft where it is now, and is causing headaches for Apple now.

  • pranav0091

    UI changes have very little to do with app compatibility. If anything I’d be more inclined to think that that MS will kill RT completely and let WP grow to fill that void. If not, W8 has already shown a lot of promise and with new low voltage chips might just completely take over the RT space. That leaves just two OSes to consider and since the kernel is the same, it doesnt need a major OS redesign that’d break compatibility to implement shared APIs.

    I’d be a lot more optimistic about WP8 and W8 encroaching into RT space than a clear redesign of the OS. As a small wannabe developer, I find it very very odd that UI is being linked with this rumour.

    While the source of the rumor might have had success in the past, I remember him to be not the most accurate of whistleblowers unlike evleaks.

  • VSDev

    You don’t need to change the UI because WP, RT, x86 are all using XAML. The only thing Microsoft needs to do is to find a way to create a unified Profile for Visual Studio to support build-once compile into different platforms just like Xamarin is doing.

  • VSDev

    I think you guys don’t understand. The problem is not in the multi-UI scenario but in the Development Tools side. Currently you have to two copies of very similar set of codes if you want to support both WP and RT/x86 Apps. As a developer this pisses me off knowing that all platforms use XAML for the UI and C#/C++ for the backend which means Microsoft could have just created a Unified Profile to support a Buld-Once, Compile-Cross-Platform similar to what Xamarin does, instead of let me keep two separate sets of very similar code.

    Technically, Windows 8 can actually be used in a Mobile Phone. It just that Microsoft is restricting the developers and OEM’s with Legal Rules (http://vr-zone.com/articles/i-mate-intelegent-is-a-4-7-inch-phone-running-windows-8-costs-750/20047.html)

    So bottom line is once they provide a unified profile for Visual Studio and remove the legal restrictions on OEM’s using Windows 8 on Phones– then developers will start coming in.

  • JKeefer

    My Windows phone I recently got gets the job done – talking, texting and using the web to find local services. I would not mind 1080, but can’t imagine why I would ever need a phone with more resolution than that.

    Since getting my windows phone I spend less time staring at my phone doing useless things, like browsing G+, and more time outside getting exercise and enjoying activities in the real world.

  • Paola

    Although I don’t think so, I wouldn’t get upset because of that. WP8 came out in 2012 and is getting two updates in the forthcoming months. 2012 – 2013 – 2014 – 2015: 4 years of support it’s ok, for me… At least I won’t keep this phone for that long. And the people who would I doubt they care about updates. Probably WP8 devices with 1GB or more, might get it. Who knows!

  • http://www.flavors.me/warmth Daniel @warmth Delgado

    I’m talking about this particularly article, I don’t care about the rest.

  • Arun Lobo

    This particular article is directly based on Eldar Murtazin.
    “Back to the drawing board, according to Mobile-Review’s Eldar Murtazin, who correctly predicted that Microsoft will kill Windows Mobile back in August 2009, long before anyone else.”
    Although the points later in this article are valid, the discussion makes zero sense as it brings something that isn’t happening.

  • http://www.flavors.me/warmth Daniel @warmth Delgado

    And is that a valid argument to vote down my comment? He’s just giving his opinion, a valid one, without talking bad of other platforms. That’s all.

  • esail

    what I want to know is what windows phone 9 will look like, I hope it wont change to much wp8 (love wp8 metro interface).

  • esail

    it must be something big to wait such a long time.

  • James Chang

    Doesn’t matter how much Microsoft polishes a turd… Windows phones won’t ever gain any significant market share.

    Rearranging deck chairs while the ship is sinking is stupid, just like Microsoft’s recent attempt at reorg. Idiots are still employed (e.g. Julie Larson-Green and Kevin Turner) and Ballmer is still there.

    Now Microsoft is dragging Nokia down with it as both companies circle the drain.

  • Android Telegraph

    Well, it’s good to see it has had a positive effect on your life (I’m always urging people to stop playing around with your smartphone and go out and enjoy), but really, even with an Android phone whose flexibility and customization I love, I spend a lot of time in the real world with friends and family. I’m afraid getting the job done isn’t enough for me even then, which is why WP disappoints me to no end (so does iOS). I really hope MS gets around to making it more flexible (not Android flexible, but certainly more than it is today)

  • JKeefer

    I tried to use Android to be more productive, but in my line of work (technology sales) windows is what works and integrates with my MS based office suite best. My life is not measured by the features of my phone OS. Can I call my clients, text my kids and find a sushi restaurant? Done. And frankly some of the ways WP works is way cleaner than android – a lot less clicking around. As soon as i started using it, I was spending less time pulling down notifications, mis-dialing, intending on picking up a phone and instead hanging up, plus the keyboard is much more responsive and the prediction is better. WP is underrated, IMO. I have been using computers since the dawn and I know hype when i see it, and right now Android is hype. Granted Google has done a lot of cool stuff, but I think there may be a swing in MS favor. I gave Google an honest effort but they lost me with too much too fast. Where are the antitrust people? MS is still in court over having a browser shit with their operating system…meanwhile Google has their hand up everyone’s skirt and no one bats an eye.

  • Android Telegraph

    Well, that’s the thing, I do agree with you that Android is now hype (too much of Nokia should go Android, everyone should use Android talk these days), but no, Android still gives me a faster way to do common things (actionable notifications alone are a great feature that have me opening apps less than I would need to before). On the Nexus 4 it’s also quick and stable, but again, I don’t disagree with you that WP is cleaner in a few ways, but it’s just too inflexible and locked down (locked down as in missing features/not giving me the choice, not talking about open/closed source) in my opinion. My life isn’t measured by the features of my OS either, and it’s not stuff like Google Now that makes me prefer Android, it’s the little things like being able to change default apps, my own keyboard, act on notifications right from the status bar, having the option to run apps in the background (I’ve automated tasks to auto turn on data, vibrate mode, etc) that make me prefer Android..

    But yes, I will say this: WP is a nice OS, certainly a great alternative to iOS once it gets the apps, and I’m hoping it can gain some traction, though I also hope more flexible OS like Ubuntu or Sailfish or Tizen are the ones that are big in a few years, not sure I want OS like iOS and WP to be 2 of the 3 options available.

  • JKeefer

    That is a fair assessment.