Windows Phone 8.1 leaks hint at merge with RT

New leaks showing the latest update to Windows Phone suggest Microsoft is closer to merging its mobile OS with Windows RT.

Windows Phone 8.1 leaks hint at merge with RT

Developers have been leaking Windows Phone 8.1 features after being given the software development kit from Microsoft, according to The Verge.

According to one developer, posting on Reddit as “wpthrowaway”, Microsoft has included support for “universal apps” with the latest update. The new feature isn’t quite a full merge with Windows, but allows developers to share more code across apps built for Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store.

The developer has since pulled his leaks after media attention, but originally stated: “Universal apps is a template to build both WinStore and WinPhone apps from the same solution sharing code more easily (HTML/JScript)”. He also posted a screenshot of the preview.

He noted “the whole lifecycle” of app development looked more like Windows RT.

That builds on comments from Microsoft which suggested it would bring its ARM-based system and Windows Phone closer together, plus rumours it would eventually merge the two app stores.

No voice assistant

The leaks showed no sign of Microsoft’s rumoured Siri-like assistant, Cortana.

Cortana would reportedly replace Bing search on Windows Phone devices, and operate much like Google Now or Siri to give users location-based information, such as the weather or upcoming appointments.

However, the developer noted that Bing search wasn’t working in the preview, meaning Microsoft may have blocked access.

There’s no sign of a rumoured notification centre yet either, the developer said.

Other features

Other listed features include integrated VPN support, a “Battery Power Sense” feature to monitor battery life, and the ability to switch from the default SMS messaging app to a third-party app.

Windows Phone 8.1 has also upgraded to Internet Explorer 11, and there’s a new YouTube player that plays videos directly on the web page without the need for a separate app. That follows Microsoft’s extended battle with Google to get a standalone YouTube app onto Windows Phone.

SkyDrive now appears as OneDrive, after Microsoft was forced to rename its storage service, and a new “Storage Sense” feature may allow app installations to SD cards.

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