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Microsoft sees phones as the future of Windows RT

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  • User profile image
    giovanni

    Full article here: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/20/4751402/microsoft-future-of-windows-rt-phones-terry-Myerson

    I have been wondering about this for some times: with liquid interfaces that are created for touch first and a soon to come unified set of APIs with device tailored experiences (i.e. tweaked gestures and hardware buttons for each screen size), why should I have, and carry with me, a 4.5-5.5 in phone, a 7-9 in tablet and a 11-13 in ultrabook/laptop? Particularly with devices like the Surface that can remove the keyboard and act as pure tablets and with phones with larger and larger screens, is there really a need for form factors squeezed between a large phone and a small ultrabook? I am not saying there is no room for small specialized devices like the Kindle, but is there a large market for them?

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    Bas

    This makes a lot of sense.

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    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    Better late than never...

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    spivonious

    I thought this was going to happen anyway. Windows Phone 8 is already based on the same kernel as Windows 8, so the next logical step is to simply put Windows 8 on a phone.

  • User profile image
    Bas

    I still don't see how you could target either the Xbox, tablets or phone without rewriting huge parts of your UI, but still. 

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    Jim Young

    @Bas: UI != platform API

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    kettch

    @Bas: No, but if you followed good MVC/MVVM/Whatever then all you'd need to do would be swap out the view and plug in code for hardware specific functionality. Portal Class Libraries suddenly can encompass entire projects without changes in code.

  • User profile image
    Bas

    @Jim Young

    Obviously, I'm aware of that. But the article specifically mentions a Windows Phone app running on a Windows 8 tablet, and I'm wondering how you're going to do that without rewriting large parts of your application, even if the API's are the same. Myerson even goes into this in the article: 

    The third belief is that while Microsoft is using a common Live Tiles interface across Windows, Xbox, and Windows Phone, the experience needs to be tailored per device. "We want to facilitate the creation of a common, a familiar experience across all of those devices, but a fundamentally tailored and unique experience for each device," says Myerson.

     

    To me, that still seems like a lot of work. However, it could be worth it, if they enable some sort of scenario where you purchase an app once and can then use it across all three devices.

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    Jim Young

    @Bas: Agreed. I believe this will be most disruptive for the Windows Phone platform, since right now it's set of development APIs are a strange mixture and not hampered by the restrictions of WinRT.

  • User profile image
    Bas

    , kettch wrote

    @Bas: No, but if you followed good MVC/MVVM/Whatever then all you'd need to do would be swap out the view and plug in code for hardware specific functionality. Portal Class Libraries suddenly can encompass entire projects without changes in code.

    You'd also need to heavily modify the viewmodels, though. It just doesn't seem like there's that much of a typical application that you'd be able to reuse.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , Bas wrote

    *snip*

    You'd also need to heavily modify the viewmodels, though. It just doesn't seem like there's that much of a typical application that you'd be able to reuse.

    It'll probably be the same state as Android where you have specialized views for devices difference like resolution, screen density, etc. (i.e. tablet vs phone) I would hope that Microsoft would somehow find a way to support the same baseline controls and have smart ones that adapt based on available real estate like the ribbon.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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    wkempf

    @Bas: Why would you have to heavily modify the ViewModels? I already write apps this way for W8 and WP8 using PCLs. A convergence of UI APIs would just allow me to share even more code across devices. Yes, there's things that will be tailored for the specific device, but that already is a small portion of my code and would be smaller still if WinRT were being used across the devices.

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    kettch

    @wkempf: It just occurred to me that there's already a story for using different XAML based on snapping states. That whole workflow could use some refinement, but using a single XAML file (or a collection of tightly coupled files) across multiple devices is certainly possible.

  • User profile image
    cbae

    , wkempf wrote

    @Bas: Why would you have to heavily modify the ViewModels? I already write apps this way for W8 and WP8 using PCLs. A convergence of UI APIs would just allow me to share even more code across devices. Yes, there's things that will be tailored for the specific device, but that already is a small portion of my code and would be smaller still if WinRT were being used across the devices.

    Yeah, I thought the whole point of MVVM is that you need change only the "V" to support different UIs while being able to keep the "M" and "VM" as-is.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , cbae wrote

    *snip*

    I thought the whole point of MVVM is that you need change only the "V" to support different UIs while being able to keep the "M" and "VM" as-is.

    But if you're MVVM is one of those "special" kinds where devs cram a bunch of stuff in the codebehind of the V then you're screwed. I can hear the excuses already "Well we had to get the product out the door.", "It's easier that way", "How am I supposed to detect user input without using the event handlers?", "How am I supposed to handle tab order in a composite V?" and so on and so on... I strongly disagree with those excuses but they do happen and totally bloat out the V making the beautiful MVVM implementation worthless.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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    bondsbw

    , kettch wrote

    @wkempf: It just occurred to me that there's already a story for using different XAML based on snapping states. That whole workflow could use some refinement, but using a single XAML file (or a collection of tightly coupled files) across multiple devices is certainly possible.

    The phone UI is the Snap View.  That's so crystal clear to me I'm surprised it hasn't been implemented years ago

    This is the first thing I thought of in Build 2011 when the concept of Snap View was mentioned... well, because I was already creating an application at the time that worked almost exactly this way.  My eventual goal was to make two UIs for each major component:  one that snaps to the side, and one for full view.  The one that snaps to the side would be reused/reimplemented for phones.

    Microsoft beat me to the Snap View implementation (I somewhat abandoned it once Microsoft announced the same thing built-in), but they still haven't mentioned this concept of the phone UI being the same as the Snap View UI.

  • User profile image
    bondsbw

    @kettch: And here's another example of how this concept makes sense:

    http://www.ubuntu.com/tablet

    What I'm talking about starts around 5:00, but the whole video is great in my opinion.

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    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , bondsbw wrote

    @kettch: And here's another example of how this concept makes sense:

    http://www.ubuntu.com/tablet

    What I'm talking about starts around 5:00, but the whole video is great in my opinion.

    This.

    What's bothered me about Microsoft's journey from Windows Mobile on the phone side and Windows (PC) is that they never seemed to have this vision. It seems as though as long as the different groups put out products that used the same design language (and some form of tiled based start screen) that was enough for them. IMO WP8 should have been WinRT8 + the phone stuff. Now they'll put their poor phone customers and devs through 3 versions of the phone OS going from Windows Mobile to WP9(?) where finally WinRT and the new Windows Store App APIs will be used.

    Being late to the mobile devices market Microsoft needed to put out a better product than their competition. Instead they put out something that was incomplete and semi-competitive only to throw that out and replace it with the next incomplete iteration of WP. That certainly doesn't build a whole lot of trust in my book. Now all of that mistrust would have been a wash if they'd find a way to market the mess and the next best thing like Apple (and now Samsung) as been so successful at. So again another big fail.

    Don't get me wrong; I don't want Microsoft to fail. It's just frustrating to see them make mistake after mistake after mistake. It will be interesting to see what the world looks like when they finally get WinRT running on everything and have devices that exceed the competition (which also means you don't ship with incomplete, crappy apps like they did with W8)

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