Warm welcome to the latest addition of the Windows Phone family, WP8!

I guess most of the people have started developing for Windows phone 8 and I got a bit caught up with exploring the new terrains of the same. So this article comes in a bit late. Anyways better late than never 🙂

Here’s a small introduction about WP8 for the benefit for those who are new in this arena.

Windows Phone 8 as everyone knows is supposedly Microsoft’s ninja successor of Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). As a part of unifying the phone, tablet and PC experience into one platform, Microsoft has taken a giant leap of re-engineering its mobile platform so as to share the same NT kernel as its big brother Windows 8. Now what does “shared core” mean to us?

  1. As most of us would unanimously would ask, “Could we use the same code?”.  Yes we can reuse ‘not all’ but ‘most of’ the code that we wrote for Windows 8 app. That’s some relief, but again until we actually delve into the nitty gritty of trying to port Win8 code to WP8, we would never know 🙂 . MSDN has given here detailed notes on how to maximize reuse of code.
  2. We talk different languages, some of us are C++ experts or C# or may be C. The good news is Windows Phone 8 now supports native code. To quote Joe Belfiore “What this means is a game developer who authors an unbelievable, detail-rich, immersive, compelling game experience for the PC has a super-easy port of their native game to the phone,”  And you also can mix C#/XAML with DirectX/C++ or consume native C++ libraries from C# apps. Although there is a small disappoint for the Javascript + HTML guys. Microsoft had allowed Javascript + HTML be to used as UI/coding combination for Windows 8, but it is not available for Windows Phone 8.
  3. In Windows Phone 8, the multitasking capabilities has been improved and expanded to VoIP and background location services.
  4. In-app purchase!! I guess I do not need to explain more.
  5. Other improvements like different screen resolutions, micro SD cards, NFC capabilities, multi-core support and so forth.

The next question that would obviously cross anybody’s mind would be, “What about WindowsPhone 7.5?” Well, the lovely mango remains, but sadly it does not get any update. The major reason being Windows Phone 7.5 had a CE kernel, while WP8 has an NT kernal. WP8 has a higher hardware requirements than that of the older generation windows phones. So I guess it makes sense not upgrading the WP7, even if they had managed, the OS would have crawled in the those devices powered by the lesser specs.

Again now, what it means to developers? What happens to all those apps we made for WP7.5? Is our laborious efforts soaked in sweat and blood getting flushed down the drain? Absolutely not, all apps that run on WP7.5 will run on WP8. You can count on me on that, I tested. 😀 And as expected, it doesn’t work the other way round. The apps which are meant for WP8 would not run on its predecessors.

Few links that can get you started

So thats all for now… Over and out!

Happy coding!! 😀