Many of the latest rumors about the direction Microsoft is planning to take Windows Phone and Windows RT indicated that the company would eventually merge the two. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t yet commented on the fate of either operating system publicly. Now a new side discussing Universal Store apps has all but confirmed the merging of the two mobile operating systems.
Two slides showcasing Microsoft’s plans for “Universal Store apps” surfaced this morning from the @AngelWZR account on Twitter, a source WinBeta indicates has been accurate in the past. Allegedly, Microsoft is looking to make coding apps for entry in the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store even easier.
Apparently, Microsoft is planning to allow developers using its Visual Studio software to create something called a “Shared Solution.” These Shared Solutions will allow developers to create apps that use the same core code but output two different user interfaces and app packages that developers can submit to the Windows and Windows Phone Store.
A second slide also shows off how common elements like buttons, check boxes, progress bars and slides can be added to the interface of Shared Solutions and work in both Windows Phone 8.1 apps and Windows apps. According to the slide, 80% of that code can be used on either platform without issue.
To be clear, Microsoft hasn’t announced any new information about how developers will create apps on Windows Phone 8.1, the update believed to be heading to Windows Phone users and potential buyers sometime this spring. In fact, Microsoft has yet to formally announce the existence of Windows Phone 8.1 despite having given early versions of the software to developers for testing with their apps.
Rumors swirling lately indicate that Microsoft will merge Windows RT, the operating system that powers traditional Windows tablets and Windows Phone 8.1. That makes sense as both platforms rely on the same processor type and are meant for portable devices. In theory, such a merger could also mean that apps written for Windows Phone could work on Windows.
Unfortunately, we’ll still have to wait a bit for Microsoft to talk officially about any of this. While the company has an event planned at this year’s Mobile World Congress, which begins on February 24th, it isn’t expected to detail all of its future plans to developers until the BUILD 2014 event in April.