Worth Reading: Should Windows Phones run Windows 8 apps?

The app problem is continuously rearing its ugly head in as Microsoft attempts a comeback with their two modern mobile and desktop/tablet operating systems. When Windows Phone 8 was first announced, the team behind the rebooted OS promised big things with the shared Windows 8 core but none of the potential has been realized yet. Paul Thurrott also recognized this underutilized potential and has penned an intriguing editorial with one simple request at its heart: make Windows Phone run Windows 8 apps.

Thurrott argues that making that happen should be possible if the Windows NT really is shared between the two OSes. He goes on to say that the reason for Windows Phone’s limited success, especially in light of Windows 8′s launch and mostly positive response, is the fact that the mobile OS is only “sort-of-Windows”. Continuing to stress the issue, he says that the mobile OS would be more compelling if it shared apps with Windows 8:

The company could have—should have—done this for Windows Phone 8. Phone apps could have simply been portrait-oriented Metro apps, and this platform should have supported 1366 x 768, the “standard” Windows 8 resolution. App writers could have created apps that ran on phones, tablets, and PCs, using a single executable (where, when run on Phone, the apps would just run in portrait mode). A Windows Phone handset would just be a really small PC. With a phone app.

I certainly agree with Thurrott that to make developers’ lives simpler, Microsoft should have opted for a 1366×768 resolution for Windows Phone. The only obstacle would have been backwards compatibility with all of the 800×480 apps that already existed for Windows Phone. However, all of the HTC 8X and Samsung ATIV S owners out there are putting up with the ‘black bar’ that frames apps so the issue would have just been a transitional pain at worst.

Ubuntu Mobile can run phone and tablet apps side-by-side

However, his assumption that all portrait-based Windows 8 apps could ‘just run’ in Windows Phone is kind of unrealistic. Obviously we’d love to see that happen, but Microsoft has been pushing Windows 8 as landscape-oriented software so not all apps support the portrait orientation (and if they do, odds are it’s not as good-looking). Then there’s the issue of Windows 8′s gesture-based navigation which raises a few more compatibility issues. (Should apps always have their option bars ‘open’? Or should Windows Phone adopt swipe-based gestures?)

In recent weeks, the discussion around mobile-and-tablet synergy has been an intriguing one. For instance, Ubuntu Mobile recently announced a tablet version of their software which can display phone apps alongside tablet apps, which looks similar to Windows 8′s ‘Snap View’.  With rumors of the Windows Blue updates doing something to bring the two operating systems closer, it appears Microsoft has some idea in mind to tackle the issues that exist today.

Check out Paul Thurrott’s full editorial at Windows IT Pro for more of his thoughts.

Source: Windows IT Pro

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Author Description

Saad Hashmi

Founder of Windows Phone Daily. Currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Information Systems. While procrastinating on that goal I write, play games a little too often, and watch exorbitant amounts of mediocre half-hour comedies because I lack the patience to watch hour-long dramas that are probably better. Follow me on Twitter: @Saad073