Hal Berenson, an ex-Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and General Manager, has posted a long and pretty convincing argument explaining why it makes a whole lot of sense to ditch the Windows CE kernel in Windows Phone 7 for the Windows NT kernel in Windows Phone 8.
I wont repeat the whole argument, but there is one line which sums it up pretty well: the closer you get to wanting two things to be almost the same the less the justification for having two different things!
To meet the increasing demands made on modern smartphones means the Windows CE kernel has a lot of growing up to do, growing which the Windows NT kernel has made decades ago, and which it has now already perfected.
This includes features like multi-processor support, encryption, enterprise support, accessories, secure native code and managing resources. The Windows CE kernel is optimised for low resources, something which is in fact becoming detrimental as the size of apps and the RAM it needs increase.
Hal makes a good case for human resources and time being wasted re-implementing features already present in Windows NT in Windows CE, a luxury that Microsoft, who has been cutting personnel, can ill afford.
He also argues that issues related to Windows NT being a â€œheavyâ€ OS have been eliminated, pointing to the extremely responsive Windows 8 ARM tablets which boot even faster than Windows Phones.
Of course he is not arguing that the WP7 UI be replaced with Windows 8 (although he sees a role for dockable phones which then run the full desktop OS), but simply vaulting the whole Windows Phone platform onto NT will open many more doors than it closes.
Read his full argument at hal2020.com.