It should come as no surprise, of course, that Microsoft is already thinking ahead to subsequent Windows Phone versions. Given the rapid pace of smartphone OS development, they basically have no choice. Until now, though, the nature of those future versions remained totally unclear. But now, two new reports give us a better idea of what might be in store from Windows Phone late in 2012.
On Feb. 2, the blog Pocketnow.com offered a rather extensive rundown of Windows Phone 8's features, claiming it obtained them from a Microsoft-produced video meant for Nokia executives (and hosted by Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore). Many of those details were subsequently confirmed by Paul Thurrott, in a posting that same day on his Supersite for Windows.
Pocketnow paraphrased Belfiore as saying that Windows Phone 8 will "use many of the same components of Windows 8" and that areas of heavy overlap include "kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support." For developers, that apparently means the ability to reuse massive chunks of code when "porting an app from desktop to phone."
Thurrott seconded that finding in his own post, writing that Windows Phone 8 "will be based on the Windows 8 kernel and not on Windows CE as are current versions." In other words, apps developed for Windows Phone Mango will apparently continue to play well on the upgraded platform.
Both sources said Windows Phone 8 will include the same 128-bit, full-disk BitLocker encryption that currently runs on Windows. A "Data Smart" feature will give WiFi hotspots priority over using the smartphone's cellular connection, in turn reducing data usage. Thurott noted a Skype app, SkyDrive integration, secure payments via near-field communication (NFC), camera improvements, and Internet Explorer 10 Mobile as other additions.