It looks like Microsoft is taking a step further in order to unify its Windows and Windows Phone platforms, according to a job listing put out by the company. The stage looks all set for Windows 8 apps to run on Windows Phone 8 and vice versa.
The job listing discovered by WMPowerUser.com showed that Microsoft was seeking a Software Development Engineer in Test to help make apps shareable under the Windows umbrella.
“Are you excited about Windows Phone? Are you passionate about delivering the best possible experience to the developer community? Do you wish the code you write for Windows Store apps would just work on the Windows Phone and vice versa? If so, then this is the role for you!” reads the listing. “We are the team leading the charge to bring much of the WinRT API surface and the .NET Windows Store profile to the Phone. We are looking for a highly motivated and technically strong SDET to help our team bring together the Windows Store and Phone development platforms.”
Unified platform coming soon
The ad has since been deleted, as is the norm with most job listing leaks for major mobile companies these days, but the Google Cache of the web page clearly shows that Microsoft is seriously contemplating getting its phone and desktop platforms married soon.
Currently, Windows Phone apps cannot be sold on Windows Store – that contains Metro UI style apps – without adequate modifications. The Windows Phone Store has finally started to pick pace with the number of apps available pegged at a modest 150,000. If there was an Achilles' heel for the Windows Phone 8 platform, the lack of apps would have been it.
Comparatively, Windows 8 Store still has 35,000 apps, according to reports from December, with the total climbing 14,000 apps up within a short one month’s time. Going by the numbers, Microsoft is adding applications to the Windows 8 Store at a rate of 415 apps per day. Having these apps available for all its platforms will only mean a win-win situation for both Microsoft and the developers.
Microsoft officials claim that a considerable amount of code reuse is possible between Windows Phone apps to be moved to Windows 8 or Windows RT and vice versa, although a few developers have contested the claim. They say that a lot more work needs to be put in than expected while making apps shift platforms.
While developers would stand to gain a lot from this flattening down of Windows desktop and mobile platforms, a smooth transition will need to be made since Microsoft has admitted in the past that the developer platforms for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8/Windows RT are “similar” but not the same.
Users too will be happy to see some of their favourite apps from one platform available on the other. Microsoft could even consider making the platforms so uniform that you could buy an app from the Windows Phone 8 Store and make it run on all your Windows 8 devices.
Here’s looking at “true” cross platform compatibility in the near future. Over to you, Microsoft.