Rumour: Windows Phone 8 will not be based on Windows 8 as Nokia wants to sell cheap Windows Phones

That is the claim of MS_Nerd, one of the many perennial Microsoft leakers.  We do not repeat all of his claims, but this particular one makes a lot of sense.

There have long been rumours that Windows Phone 8 will see the unification of Microsoft’s ecosystem, with Microsoft’s laptops, desktops, servers, tablets, games consoles and crucially phones all running on the same NT kernel.

According to MS_Nerd this was suggested at a time, but the ARM chips 3 years ago were just not powerful enough.  Fast-forward into the new decade and this is obviously no longer a problem.

There however remain two reasons why Microsoft will not bring the full Windows 8 to phones.  MS_Nerd notes the experience would suck:

The first is that Microsoft does not want to have phone apps and the phone UX run on slates or TVs unmodified and vice versa. The experience would suck. Instead, it wants the basic design constructs and dev environment to be similar between platforms, while the UX is tailored for each experience. This will ideally make developers happy, as apps will be easier to port due to design and code reuse. Consumers will also be happy, as they find the 3 screens running familiar experiences, that are insanely great on each separate screen.

In fact I do not fully agree with this – having an installed base of phone apps on your tablet provides a convenient boot strap while waiting for developers to upgrade their apps to a tablet UI.

The second reason is more interesting and pretty compelling:

The second is Nokia. The partnership has nearly changed everything again for Windows Phone. Microsoft is now targeting a much wider market and Nokia has unprecedented say in WP’s roadmap. They are pushing hard to make Windows Phone cheaper and more flexible. This is a barrier for entry for the NT kernel, which has already been pushed very hard to run on ARM for Windows 8. CE is already capable of going lower.

This does make a lot of sense, and it has been clear from the handsets Nokia has produced so far that they play much more comfortably in the low end, and would resist having the bill of material increased for Windows Phone.  In fact they may have single-handedly been responsible for reviving the HVGA chassis of Windows Phone 7.75 we expect in Tango 2.

Would our readers have wanted a full desktop OS on their phone, or do they prefer the more nimble but more limited also specialized and tailored operating system we have at the present? Let us know below.

Read MS_Nerd’s full exposition here.

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