8 Things to Expect if WP8 "Apollo" is Windows RT
What if Windows Phone 8 "Apollo" is simply Windows RT for phones. What are some logical things we can expect from Windows RT phones?
1.) Gesture bars will likely replace most hardware buttons and "..." menus. The charms bar will contain search and home instead of a dedicated search & home buttons on the device. They may keep just the home button with the new Windows 8 logo since Windows RT tablets have this hardware button as part of the spec.
Charms buttons replace physical hardware buttons.
2.) Much better landscape support would be a reasonable expectation. Windows RT uses landscape as the default orientation so this would correct one big problem with WP7. Developers would have increased pressure from app store reviewers to treat landscape and portrait orientations with equal care.
3.) Universal search and share from the charms bar. This fixes another problem with WP7 which lacks a device wide search capability found in most other mobile OSes.
4.) Support for multicore SoCs from Qualcomm, TI, and Nvidia. There have been rumors of ARM chips from ST-Ericsson also being supported in Windows Phone 8. NFC chips could also be a requirement for all Windows RT tablets and Windows RT phones enabling tap to share capabilities similar to the HP TouchPad and HP Pre.
5.) Improved multitasking and the ability to close apps & resume apps from start screen. There may or may not be side-by-side multitasking, but you will be able flip back and forth between apps. If we are lucky Nokia's MeeGo-style multitasking will be enabled with a swipe gesture.
Multitasking like that on MeeGo (Nokia N9) could be possible on Windows RT phone with a gesture like a left swipe.
6.) Windows RT apps can run on Windows Phone 8 if enough RAM is present on the phone and the screen resolution is HD. It still remains a mystery to me how Microsoft will indicate in the Windows store if your PC is powerful enough to run a particular app. Windows Phone Tango's app compatibility messages could be a clue as to how the new OS will inform you if your machine is powerful enough. Would RAM be enough to decide whether your GPU is powerful enough to handle high end games? Not sure about the long term viability of this method.
7.) How would Windows Phone 7 apps run on Windows Phone 8 or Windows RT? Emulation? Recompiled by devs for WinRT? Not sure. If there is no more hardware back button on phones then WP8 OS would have to automatically add a gesture-enabled app bar with a back button for WP7 apps similar to Android Honeycomb running old Android apps. Swipe from the bottom or top of a WP7 app and the app bar will provide a back button and items in the "..." menu bar on WP7.
WP7 "..." menus replaced by top/bottom swipe gesture menu.
8.) Dock your phone to access Windows desktop. This could be similar to webtop on Motorola Atrix phones. Desktop-class versions of MS Office & Internet Explorer could be installed on every Windows Phone and Windows RT tablet. On WP8 the desktop app would only be accessible when docked to a lapdock or monitor.