What would WP8 look like if it replaced it’s WinCE kernel with WinNT ..


This post is just a collection of personal thought’s  that arose after reading HAL’s brilliant post “Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 : Cousins or Siblings”.  It is purely fun guessing on my part..

So if WP8 does replace it’s WinCE kernel with WinNT what might the architecture look like ? Will we lose WP7 Silverlight/XNA and have to live in a WinRT world only?!!


Step 1 : Find out what the WP7 architecture looks like …


Here is WP7’s architecture looked like in 2010 during a Mix delivered session :


This diagram does not do justice to the actual complexity within the Windows Phone OS BUT it will do to support the point I’m trying to achieve with this post..

Here is another WP7 diagram that I found interesting enough to include in this post. I’m not going to try to explain what’s going on here, the following video best explains it, I recommend for you to watch it if you haven’t already (delivered in 2010 mix conference) – [windows phone application platform architecture]



Step 2 : Find out what the Win8 architecture looks like.


I went to build and I can say first hand that even the MS folks are torn with how to draw the overall architecture. All the diagrams I saw we’re to a certain degree correct BUT if I had to choose the best one it is bellow (I’ve added a few of my own changes).



[ref : “Rockford Lhotka on Windows 8, and WinRT ”]


Step 3 : Replace the WinCE kernel with WinNT.


Yes I know that it isn’t as simple as just chopping out one kernel and replacing it with another, for one thing all the drivers (BSP’s would need major rework). BUT for arguments sake let’s just assume it was done and kernel’s were chopped and replaced.

Ignore the intentionally bad MSPaint cut/paste job Smile



Step 4 : Bring across WinRT into Windows Phone world


This is where it get’s interesting, we can either …

1. replace the existing  services layer



2. we can add it side-by-side along with the existing services layer



Step 5 : Bring across the Applications story from Win8 that sit’s on top of WinRT




Technically MS could kill off the existing “Applications” architecture, thereby killing off Silverlight & XNA BUT that would be crazy right?! Think of the 100K + applications by the time Win8 arrives Smile 

Thou the argument for doing just that is the cost of supporting two application platforms.

MS have chopped products taking losses in the hundreds of millions even billions, so I wouldn’t rule out MS doing just that … Who knows …


My hope is that they keep BOTH application platforms (SL/XNA & the new Metro Style Apps) …


Future hopes and dreams…


Consolidate the 2 service stacks into one all encompassing WinRT layer and update the XNA/SL application layer to work with this extended WinRT


Once SL/XNA sit’s on top of WinRT, technically this can make it’s way into Win8 metro world. I would love for this future to play out, but chances are very slim!!

Not to mention Xbox and how it too could benefit from an ecosystem like the above mentioned Smile

Anyway let’s see what happens, rumors are that we may see the decision of WinNT making it’s way into Windows Phone by Mix (March) 2012.

Here’s hoping to hear more information then..

2 responses to “What would WP8 look like if it replaced it’s WinCE kernel with WinNT ..

  1. Pingback: What would WP8 look like if it replaced it’s WinCE kernel with WinNT .. | Silverlight and other cool things …

  2. I think running SL / XNA on WinRT makes more sence than it appears with these diagrams, but these diagrams confuse several things, including languages, runtimes and the UI layer (people want to put it the top). If we create a runtime layered diagram and put the languages inside of where the runtimes belong then the diagram is simplified.

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