Merging Windows Phone & Windows RT
With reports today discussing the plans for Windows 9 / Threshold / Name TBD, I began to think again of how incredibly difficult the rumored merger of Windows Phone and Windows RT will be.
I know RT has its critics, but as a Surface 2 owner, who has never owned any other Windows-powered computer (former Apple fanboy), I can say with confidence RT is the most powerful mobile OS currently on the market. Right now, I am projecting to a 27" UHD monitor with IE open to write this post, have Xbox Music playing in the background on the S2 screen, and have an advanced financial Excel model running in the background on the desktop. Try that on any other pure tablet on the market. While the app argument is fair, I would argue RT is a beast in its capabilities; settings are robust yet simple for a mobile OS and productivity abilities have blown me away as a college student.
On the flip side, many have criticized WP's lack of "basic" capabilities relative to iOS and Android. As a L920 owner, I can say that while I had certainly been frustrated by certain aspects of the OS, all grievances were corrected with 8.1 (less the dreadful Xbox Music). That being said, one of WP's most praised strengths is its ability to perform well on a range of hardware devices.
Therefore, what concerns me most about this rumored convergence is that ultimately either performance or capability will be compromised when the two OSes merge. I love how much I can do with my Surface, but I just can't imagine a device like a Lumia 520 being able to handle a converged RT/WP.
In addition, there are so many other challenges this team is facing. When you really look at it, there are very few actual similarities between RT and WP... different keyboards, different loading methods, different Start screens, accents, even Live Tiles are not the same - and those are mostly just "cosmetic" differences. How would something like the Charms bar be implemented on a phone? What about robust screen mirroring options? Or app snapping? Those are just a few of hundreds questions I can't get out of my head.
Overall, the team handling Windows 9 "Threshold" has an extremely tough hill to climb. I feel as though this a critical, make it or break it release for Microsoft. Maybe they will release two desktop-less OSes, one that is more powerful and one that is more limited. I'm not sure but I guess we'll find out soon enough.
TL;DR: do you think the rumored WP/RT merger will sacrifice performance or capability?