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Report: Windows Phone may supersede Windows RT by 2015

Windows 8

Microsoft will have Windows 8.1 out the door shortly, but what will follow the update? Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet has heard from sources that the Windows team will release a small Spring 2014 update alongside the release of Windows Phone 8.1 "Blue". That pushes back the Windows Phone 8.1 expectations back by a few months, as it was previously hinted to be early 2014 instead of the Spring.

Not only that, but sources suggest we could well be looking at the Windows Phone OS being used for hardware with larger displays, superseding Windows RT. 

Rum:8

The idea is to deliver a "major" release of Windows in the Spring of 2015, forgoing an earlier rumored Fall 2014 update. The source reveals that this release will be a hybrid to further unify the Windows and Windows Phone operating systems. Foley writes:

"Right now, Microsoft has two ARM-based Windows operating systems: The Windows Phone OS and the Windows RT OS. The thinking is these will be one by Spring 2015. Because it tends to be easier to take a "smaller" OS and add to it than to take a larger one and remove features from it, it's likely that the Windows Phone OS is the one on top of which the new operating systems group will build."

Windows Phone Blue

To summarize:

  • Spring 2014 - Windows 8 update (small)
  • Spring 2014 - Windows Phone 8.1 "Blue"
  • Spring 2015 - Windows 8.x update (major); unified Windows RT/Windows Phone core

Of course, it's safe to assume that between those releases we will continue to have smaller, general-distribution releases (GDRs) to patch up and improve things as well. 

Recently, rumours have come to light about the Windows Phone OS being modified to support 7 to 10-inch hardware. This follows talk about Microsoft looking to relax the OEM requirement of the capacitive buttons on hardware running Windows Phone. Both make it plausible that we could well see tablets running Windows Phone in the future instead of Windows RT. 

Remember, folks; this is all rumour. While we strongly urge you (as always) to take this with a grain of salt, Mary Jo Foley is generally spot on when it comes to Microsoft and Windows rumours.

Source: ZDNet

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Reader comments

Report: Windows Phone may supersede Windows RT by 2015

177 Comments

For whomever is interested in an iPad yes. Personally I would not buy even a 7" device unless it runs W8.

Except that the Store apps by that time will run on all platforms.  (Desktop Windows, Tablets, and phones)

But that concept is crap and so is this rumour. So, what are they suggesting in this rumour? That all current Windows RT users later will get to downgrade their tablets to a Phone OS. I call bullshit. Someone has misinterpreted something somewhere along the rumour mill.
 
Hardware is getting more powerful, not slower, so why would you go backwards in 18 months?

I'm with rockartisten, I call it None sense, if anything WinPhoneOS will move closer to RT than the opposite. MaryJo didn't seem to be liked much by Panos Panay at surface/surface pro 2 launch.

Not only did you horribly misinterpret the presentation, but the reason she was mentioned is because she nailed information on the Surface 2.

Windows (Be it Windows, WP, WinRT, or XB1) is highly modular. It is much easier to take the WP core and add modules to it in order to give it winRT functionality than it would be to take winRT and strip it down to use it in a phone device. The idea is not to end a product line, but to unify product lines so that they are easier to support and evolve. There will still be an RT product, with RT functionality, it is merely the behind the scenes stuff in how the OS interacts with hardware which would be based on WP rather than the Windows design.

@daniel meek
How the OS interacts with hardware is already identical between WP8, WRT and W8! WP doesn't have its own way of interacting with hardware, as the driver model is part of what was adapted with the Windows kernel.

What I got out it was that it will be easier to build the phone OS up to be what RT is. Rather than try to remove and reduce RT to work on phone hardware. I would think they could build upon WP OS and have it meet or even exceed what RT can do. Easier than trying to squeeze RT onto phone hardware. Sounds like a good idea to streamline the ecosystem.

It makes no sence, WinRT is a full OS, WP would need a hell of a lot of work to be a viable Tablet OS, its nowhere near that now.
  

It does make sense, trust me. Windows Phone 8 is already built on the NT kernel that Windows RT also uses. By the time we arrive in 2015, I'm sure Microsoft removed the classic desktop from the tablet version, so the WP OS only needs to be (re)designed for larger screens like tablets. And the fact that Windows RT is a full OS, isn't exaclty a positive thing in some ways. I mean, you don't need RegEdit, Services.msc, group policy etc. on a tablet. So, with redesigning the WP code for it to be Windows RT 2.0, is doesn't take a hell of a lot of work to do that. Just my two cents :)

What makes more sense is adding phone features to Windows RT.  Windows RT is closer to Windows 8 than Windows Phone is.  And if you believe in a unified OS, you have to go with Windows RT over Windows Phone.  They're already making Windows Phone more compatible with Windows RT whereas Windows Phone 8 has 33% API unity with Windows RT and Windows Phone 8.1 having 77% API unity with Windows RT.  That to me indicates that they're trying to convert Windows Phone to RT.  Windows Phone is too different from Windows 8.  If you go with Windows Phone, you are always going to have 2 very distinct operating systems which doesn't fit with Microsoft's unity goal.
And the slow disappearance of the back button lends credence to this theory.  The transitional phase will be software buttons on the touch screen.  Eventually, you go to the Windows 8/RT style of doing things.  It makes more sense as Windows 8/RT are better at multitasking.

I would throw a rage if I ever see the same dull monotonous no background tiles of shit of Windows Phone 8 on a beautiful tablet.

Android and iOS do the same. If something was weird was Microsoft not doing the same from the start ;)

They should have done this from the start. Doesn't make sense to have an OS that can run well on PCs and tablets, have an OS that runs well only on tablets and have an OS for phones. Too much clutter. Plus, RT doesn't really have much of a point to it. I still think Android did it best in this regard...one OS that runs on everything.

Except android has far fewer apps optimized for a tablet os than they would have most people probably believe. The app store for iPad is far superior to the google playstore for android tablets based on what I have seen and heard.

Android sucks as a productivity OS. They're trying to tack on productivity software and features to things like the Samsung Galaxy Note and it comes across badly if you compare that to a Windows machine.

But android can't run apps pinned side by side, and it can't do a number of things windows 8 can do. Windows RT shares a surprising amount of functionality with windows 8, but it was poorly executed and they should have opened the desktop up. Windows phone, android and iOS all have something in common - they have less inbuilt functionality and flexibility than windows RT, simply because RT is very close to full windows 8. Tbh I don't see much point in RT now that Intel has gotten its act together, but I see even less of a point in a future version of WP running on a 8-10" device competing with the behemoth that is x86 windows 8, which will only get cheaper, faster, more efficient and more functional as hardware progresses, which it certainly will have by 2015.

Nobody's body's ready.

Should'nt MS devices then just be called : wp8, wt8 and wpc8?
Wasnt the ability to have a win8 core in wp supposed to "bring" win8 apps on wp8.

If wp8 runs on tablets, all those modern apps coded for ARM will be nothing but waisted time and energy for devs. Same if RT runs on phones instead.

I see a whole wave of people on the horizon about to realise that they were nothing but beta testers, no matter what nokia said when launching the lumia 920 lol.

Probably nothing more from Microsoft.  However, remember we still have the Nokia update that will need to go through the carriers, asssuming you have Lumia.

Am I the only thinks it not a coincidence that its called bittersweet...the last update from Nokia as we know it

Also I think Mary is spot on but I think we will just see a blend of rt and phone as we know it to day you will have arm tablets period arm phones and pro laptops tablets PC etc

GDR3 already came 2 days ago now direct via Microsoft. I update 2 HTC's 8X device and 2 Nokia 920...works like a charm. The void warranty is a scare tactic to make you wait. Haven't you seen enough of carrier delays??? Microsoft has; this is why they went ahead and made the release easy for people to get. My registered for free on the app developer site

Yeah GDR3 with bittersweet shimmer, if you have a Nokia. You can get GDR3 now if you want, but I recommend you wait until the fully tested one comes out later this year.

I'm looking forward to a Drive+ upgrade that will handle traffic. You know, like Bing nav did on WM6.5 four years ago...

@mrsimmix I don't know why you would need to wait. It is a stable OS with very few bugs (and zero fatal ones) that is going to be officially announced in a week that could take months to get to carriers. But I won't fault anyone if they feel safer waiting anyways :P

This really does beg the question of why did Microsoft ever bother with Windows RT?!
 
Why not just start with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and not even bother with rolling out Windows RT. It seems like an incredibly large amount of wasted time and resources to make an OS that was effectively created for a cheap ARM Surface device and nothing else.
 
I do hope that if RT and Windows Phone are indeed merging that Surface RT and Surface 2 owners are able to upgrade to the new platform once it is released. I'm fine with WinRT but if this merger of OS platforms effectively makes my Surface RT the newest edition of a Windows Phone 7 type strategy that would be very dissapointing. 

In my opinion. They bothered with windows rt to push live tiles into everyone's faces, so by the time they merged people would look at a windows phone/tablet and see a familiar face.

This is the only thing I can think of. It was a hedge. But with x86 crushing ARM in price, performance and battery life, it is clear that RT is no longer needed. Indeed, if I were MS, I'd be working hard to get WP on x86, too.

There shit ain't together. They still do the whole (I) marketing which I don't care if there product is better than AMD. I won't buy there's.

They needed a solid ARM platform without burdening WinPhone OS with trying to support a productivity tablet.
They needed a solid business platform for ARM tablets.
I think they did it right, just haven't had enough apparent success marketing it well.  RT-based tablets are getting Enterprise wins, it jus isn't big news.  RT has hooks and features that ipad and android can't easily match for business.  I hope it works out.

It isn't exactly pretty even. Intel Has better CPU performance and worse GPU performance, so in some sense it is even, but for those who can pay more, Haswell offers equivalent power efficiency with a massive performance increase. With still a while yet before A57 cores, broadwell will possibly make it even worse. That and the next gen atom core are both (I believe) shipping before tegra 5 and snapdragon successor, but I could be wrong.

Maybe "Windows Blue" will be the ARM version, while "Windows 8.x" will be the x86 version? Subsequent major ARM versions can be "Windwos <<colour>>". I agree that merging RT and WP is a good idea, as they're fairly similar and running on very similar hardware. But you can't have an OS called "Phone" without a phone; and "RT" just doesn't mean anything - at least with a colour you can distinguish between one major version and the next.

"Windows Blue" is not a code name for any particular windows revision, it typically simply refers to the 'next' windows revision. Windows Blue has referred to several versions of Windows over the years within MS, but is becoming more popular now as MS is a bit more transparent than they use to be about their dev cycles, and because of the more rapid release nature of these new yearly updates. I am very curious to see if they will continue to use 'Windows Blue' in the future, or if the popularity of the phrase will now force changes to their internal lingo. I suppose we will find out in a few months if a new Windows Blue surfaces. Still, Windows Blue currently (and for the last year) has referred to Windows 8.1 (x86), Windows RT 8.1 (ARM), Windows Phone 8.1 (ARM), and may or may not refer to the "Windows" side of XB1 that will also soon be released (x86). Blue most certainly does not refer to only the x86, or only the ARM version.
RT stands for Run Time, meaning the Windows 8 Run Time which is all that winRT actually runs (which is why RT does not run desktop apps except for things like Office which break those rules and have performance penalties for it). Even merging the APIs which allows WP and winRT to run similar software, is not enough to bridge the gap between the two platforms. These are still very different animals at their core, and supporting 2 separate OSs on the same hardware platform will become problematic. WinRT has not exactly panned out for MS, so they already made the decision to axe it. WP will be getting the bulk of the winRT API set, and then it will be re-shelled to give a tablet interface and features. It may well still be called winRT, and it may still look and feel like winRT, and because of the similar API set it may even run all of the software that runs on winRT... it is just the behind the scenes stuff which will be running on a WP core rather than a windows RT core.

Originally supposed to be RT for pure Modern UI apps and a bit of productivity, while 8 handled everything else.
Meanwhile, they caused a clash of interest because 8 is RT, but millions of times more powerful and supports legacy software for about the same price. What they did was shoot themselves in the foot, and sales are reflecting that.
I can see them going with WP because it's already established, it's visually much different (thankfully) from 8, and there's already an installed user base who knows how to use it. It's better in the long run.
 
And i think the reason they went NT Kernel with both Windows Phone 8 and RT is so that reprogramming/repurposing/porting wouldn't take too long, and this seems to be the case.

My fear if they merge right now, specially wp, phones Will not receive this Update merging binaries (too big) and we Will see again another restart on The OS, like on wp7.

I hate to break it to you but the rate at which technology changes means eventually something will not be updateable. You're fine for the immediate future but beyond that you'll buy a new device and be happy to. In fact, if I could, I'd install WP8 on my Surface today. Why not?

With as much whining for GDR this and that as I have heard, burdening Windows Phone OS with all of the needs for RT would have really slowed it down and the complaining would be deafening.  They're not ready to be merged.  Why try to eat the elephant in one bite?

My fear that to meet the architeture languages and share binaries that The current Phone line Will be left like Windows Phone 7. My friends that are devs talked that a big merge like is speculating, mostly of The phones Will be left

Over a year to unify the systems? I thought this was under development for awhile already. As soon as I get optimistic about Microsoft, they remind us how slow they are.

Then there's is Android-fast, which means throw any half-baked crap out there and try to fix it later with fragmented updates. I'll take slow, steady, and deliberate.

8.1 better be a hell of an update. It needs to be if they want people to stick around for that long until they unify things.

Exactly my thought. They said they will reboot WP7 so that everything runs on the same core. 3 years after the reboot they will achieve the merge? Wtf! Is that McDonalds trying to make software now?

So, I imagine surface 2 Tablets will get this update at some point, and become more phone like, software wise. I wonder if we would loose functionality!? Hopefully gain functionality only. I guess it makes sense, but I'm having a knee jerk reaction since these rumors have started to fly

Sigh spring 2015....but I thought blue was supposed to be a major update but the article says that this is a small update coming in spring 2014....if that's true then windows phone first big update won't come until 2015? Nearly 3 years after the introduction of windows phone 8? That seems off to me

Not sure about that. Mary is hard worker and deserves respect for what she does, but she's been on what I would describe as a little bit of a crusade to see WP on larger displays for a long time (literally years). I'd wait and see what materializes. Not that I don't trust her reporting, it's just that she's been so eager to see this happen that I wonder whether she'll jump on any confirmation it could go that direction.

I don't really understand this. Wasn't RT supposed to be the successor to the legacy Windows desktop? Its kind of halfway there now but still needs more work. But they are going back to the drawing board and building it based on phone which is a more simplified OS. Whats going to happen with the existing RT apps?

That's what I wonder too. This doesn't seem to fit with the long term Windows PC course they've embarked on.

No, it was never supposed to "succeed" the desktop, and the "legacy" desktop is never going away.

There is no "back to the drawing board" either. WP9 is going to be able to run apps from RT. If tablets use WP, you still have the same selection of apps as an RT device.

The base framework is laid- the rumor just brings up the possibility of wrapping the same thing with different wrapping paper.

I always had the impression Microsoft want developers to switch to RT. When Visual Studio 2012 Express was first released it was only for Metro apps. It was only after a developer backlash that they released a version for desktop.
 
 

The rt part will stay in windows 8 "intel", i think any merge and changings happen to the rt and wp will be reflected to the metro UI in the windows intel version, so finally will be just two version of windows one for intel and one for ARM whatever the screen size was, in the perfect cases it will be one version for all, even for the legacy desktop... Just hope this will be the case

This has to happen for the eventual ONE Windows strategy with all devices using the same OS with only slight variations based on the device.

Its not just the cores, its the features and UI. Right now there is a huge difference between the UI/Features of Windows RT and Windows Phone.

I can see this working if they make it like Responsive websites. Exact same code base, nearly identical features. Its just the UI that adjusts to the size of the screen.

However, they can't fragment this stuff. All ARM tablets new and old should stay running the same OS by name. If that means removing "phone" from WP, than that's fine.

I think Intel based Windows should be called Windows Pro, and ARM based Windows (including WP) should just be called Windows.

I hope this happens. I also hope that eventually a single device would be capable of switching UIs based on what sized screen is plugged in. For example you come home with your 8" tablet and dock it with your large monitor/keyboard/mouse and it switches to the large screen desktop UI, whilst preserving your content that you were working on.

 

Huh? 7-10 inch for WP OS?
Hmmmm.....Xbox Portable devices as tablets and personal media players running WP 8.1?
We can only hope.  The WP app gap would almost be gone over night.

How would the "RT/Modern UI" part of regular Windows 8 handle this then? It doesn't run on ARM, but is in the UI virtually indistinguishable from RT. Will they just keep aping WP for that part?
I dunno... This seems a little fishy.

Can still have a different UI on the larger devices vs phones with the same OS framework underneath. We'll have to see how they play it out though.

i think they have this the wrong way round, in my view Windows RT is better than WP8, RT has alot more features, plus the tile layout is the correct way round (i.e. matches full Windows 8), where as WP8 dosent.

You r right, I want features in wp that rt already had. File manager and downloading media files right from the rt os is one of the features should b available on wp

Did you read the article? It mentioned that moving WP forward is easier/better than going backwards with RT.

Uhhh... Spring 2014 is early 2014.  In Microsoft terms though, early 2014 is like July, so just wait for further push backs for Phone 8.1 ;)

So, let's get this straight, your 'rumour' is that in a year and a half or more Microsoft will ditch RT and have 10" Windows Phone tablets? Did you hit your head before deciding to write this? We pretty much all know that that's the plan and Microsoft have pretty much said so already. I still think the user experience will be closer to Windows 8 on a tablet device because the extra features are what makes it desirable, but I also see no reason why RT with the code base of WindowsPhone and ditching the desktop for an RT Office Platform can't be a winner.  

Hey, don't you bash the WPCentral editors. They are nice people, and this website rocks.

Did you hit your head before deciding to write this?

It says there:

Remember, folks; this is all rumour. While we strongly urge you (as always) to take this with a grain of salt, Mary Jo Foley is generally spot on when it comes to Microsoft and Windows rumours.

Can't you read? Seriously, these people.

2015? I don't think so... I already have GDR3 Preview version, and it's almost done, so I suppose that it will happen faster than what you say, if it really happens...

Hmm the opposite is better imo- push RT onto phone devices.
I suppose my answer depends on how WP evolves/will be modified for tablet. I just hate to see the desktop mode hacked to run ARM binaries be a thing of the past. While most consumers certainly may want to use the tablet simply as, well, a tablet, the current RT is also very appealing to a different, more tech savvy crowd (can run a healthy selection of desktop programs while being insanely cheap with excellent battery life).

Early 2014 to spring 2014 is a "push back?" To me, early 2014 means January to roughly April. Last time I checked, March and April are considered to be spring months in northern hemisphere.

Imo that doesnt make any sense. Key of MS's strategy is that Tablet PCs should have the same OS as PCs and Laptops, and not the same OS as a phone (like iOS and Android). This allows more productivity for tablets. Windows 8 is designed for landscape mode, and WP is for portrait. So WP would only make sense on portrait 7" tablets, but a Surface with WP is just complete nonsense.

While I agree that is a better strategy right now, I think what MS is doing in the long run is having one OS compiled for ARM or Intel. And that OS's UI changes based on the device. But the overall feature set is the same across all devices. Imagine your phone with what is essentially full Windows.

It could very well swing in the opposite direction even though they clearly expressed an aversion to paring down the os to accommodate the phones...why all the RT hate though, I mean who cares already? Its here, its weird...get over it. =/

Hey, don't you bash the WPCentral editors. They are nice people, and this website rocks.

Did you hit your head before deciding to write this?

It says there:

Remember, folks; this is all rumour. While we strongly urge you (as always) to take this with a grain of salt, Mary Jo Foley is generally spot on when it comes to Microsoft and Windows rumours.

Can't you read? Seriously, these people.

But, Windows 8 is also using WinRT APIs for metro UI. What will happen to it? This leak looks like to be confusing. Or maybe Microsoft has confused ??

They probablyu should of thought about this years ago, tablets would run a version of the windows phone OS instead of a butchered windows 8 clone resulting in confusion. 
So if true, essentially they just wasted a year with RT to only have it roll into a wp8 OS then another year to get the store rolling. 
Seems like a one step forward two steps back situation

I trust Microsoft that our 920's (and any other current high end hardware) will get this merging update, if not I will go crazy after what happened with wp7...

As long as they allow me to upgrade my Surface RT to this new ARM OS then I'm happy. But if they screw me again like with Windows Phone 7 then I'm out. WP7 I could understand since it was a generation jump but any Windows RT device out there right now has the specs to run a mobile OS. So no excuses Microsoft!
 
I do hope this successor to WP and RT will not lose functionalities that exist in RT. RT basically is fully Windows, it might not run legacy applications but it does come with a lot of support for drivers and connects to lots of hardware. Not to mention it has decades of development under the hood leading to tons of features tucked away somewhere in the desktop environment. It's just cool to have so many tools in a mobile device.

Seeing how much more powerful RT is I'm quite puzzled why they would go with WP? Don't get me wrong, I love WP but I do appriciate the possibilities Windows RT brings, lets see how it pans out if it happens.

I think MJF has it backwards, RT is going to dump desktop sometime next year since its only there to support Office, Modern Office will be ready next year as well. Windows Phone will be running quad cores soon so the power will be there, just too many hints come up that support RT on phones. Also, MJF hates RT so not surprising she wants its death.

Yeah, she hates RT. That's why she uses a Surface RT.
It's astonishing how people like you make up complete nonsense to support your weak hypotheses. There's a reason why you're just a commenter while she's a professional journalist.

Guys guys... Merging means taking stuff from both sides not just ditching either WP or RT...
I think they will, as they said during wp8 launch, change some of the core features (because its "flexible" remember)

So you are looking at a more complete device for both..
RT gains some of wp8 features
WP gains some of RT

They are not stupid enough to ditch either..

I just hope they take the RT UI (with portrait and landscape though) over the current WP

I think its time to rename Windows Phone to Windows Mobile again if their going to use it for tablets. The Windows Phone name would annoy me if I had a tablet.

So, when the systems are merged what will the operating system be called?

Windows Phone + Windows RT = Windows Mobile

Everything old could be new again. Maybe update ActiveSync to keep everything unified...

The real issue here is not whether they will merge RT/WP8, it's when the APIs will become compatible across platforms.  If developers can target all METRO environments with simple config changes this is a huge win for consumers.
The ultimate end game, however, appears to be completely unifying RT/WP8 so that there is only one mobile/tablet OS period.  This is also good, but not really as important IMHO as the getting the APIs compatible with one another.

"That pushes back the Windows Phone 8.1 expectations back by a few months, as it was previously hinted to be early 2014"

LOL Honestly Rich, I think you're the only one who believed that. The moment they said WP8.1 was pushed to 2014 I think everyone knew that would mean March/April and never before that.

Anyway...Mary Jo was wrong about the release of 8.1 before, so...

Merging WP and WRT...not surprised. Microsoft should have put WP on tablets from day 1. Though Windows RT have features I would like to see on a smartphone (and I wouldn't have bought an RT Surface if it didn't have full Office and Desktop), Microsoft is the only one who did this. Both Apple and Google have iOS and Android on phones and tablets.

Let us see if Microsoft will pick up pace or not.
I'm not sure I'll be around WP in 2015 (actually, if Nokia goes, I know I won't be) but I surely will wait to see what becomes of my Surface RT's software (and I mean Surface RT 3 not the current one) and how will that play out with Windows (which in 2015 I'm almost sure will be Windows 9)

They should change the name to WinOS. Then they can separate all of this metro UI or modern UI shit from the desktop and bring back a real windows experience. The main reason I'm hesitating to get Win8 is because of the watered down desktop version we have now. Windows 7 is perfect and 8 should have just been a solid update rather than a complete shift. MS seems to try and be different from others only realizing that being different can be a matter of looks but dont be different while sacrificing functionality.

The desktop in windows 8 isnt watered down. The start menu has changed, that is all. And you'll need to set your default apps to the desktop ones rather than the metro ones, which is a little annoying but nothing more. I suggest trying windows 8.1, where you can set the start screen to automatically default to a full app list, which isnt entirely different from the old start menu. Honestly, its a minor thing and you get used to it. I have found it to be worth it just for the speed increases - my desktop with SSD boots in around 4 seconds, it was 10-15 on windows 7 with the same hardware and software installed.
 
And if you really miss the start menu you can get it back. There are several 3rd party tools that install a classic looking or slightly modified start menu, and there is also a registry hack that will replace the entire explorer/start UI with windows 7's.
 
 
There are a lot of advantages with windows 8, though mainly for tablets. Look at the dell venue pro 11 for instance - it can be a tablet, laptop of desktop PC with various docks, and it can only do all that because of windows 8.

This is BS. It would be a mistake to replace a superior OS with absolutely basic OS. RT is million times better than WP. Both will merge. Meaning the best from WP will be added to RT.

By the time this actually happens winphone will have matured significantly, and you'll be able to do with it anything you can now do with RT.

I think it would be better if they put a phone stack in Windows RT and remove functionality so that it works on smaller devices. Such as remove the desktop from devices under 8 inches and remove the multi-app snap for devices under 6" (and on low res screens)
At the same time they'd need to update WinRT it so that it runs all current Windows Phone 7 & 8 apps just like iPad will run all iPhone apps.
Only problem with this method is due to WP8 having decent impact at the budget price point, clearly they want to disrupt the market from this point and try to work their way up. Having a bigger OS would not be so easy to do on entry level hardware.

Hopefully, this is the first hint that WinRT and Metro will be deprecated in Windows9. Stupid WinRT apps can run in a window on the Desktop. Now, if they'd add a quality scalable UI to Win32 (like WPF but for all languages) and backport it to Win7 we'd really be in business.

This plan makes little to no sense. They already have what is essentially windows 8 on ARM and they want to replace it with something far less capable: no multi-app snapping, no full version of office, limited resolution support that seemingly requires a year for support to come for each new screen resolution, lack of USB support and lack of the associated library of drivers, UI that is becoming dated and way inferior multitasking.
 
What's more full windows 8 tablets can now reach the 7"+ space while maintaining good battery life and enough power to run most users' desktop apps. By 2015, intel will have another 2-3 iterations of atom including 1 or 2 jumps in process (14nm next year, smaller to follow in 2015-16) which ARM cannot maintain pace with. Atom will have superior performance and probably superior battery life, while being able to run all legacy desktop apps, power external displays, USB accessories, etc. Windows 8 will be the ultimate all in one device that can dock to become a desktop PC or laptop, and can also be used as a tablet. It would seem logical to try and bring windows 8 down to the phone rather than trying to improve WP8 to the point where it can compete with full blown 8-10" windows 8 tablets in the sub-$300 range.
 
Rather than competing with themselves (windows 8 vs WP in the 8-10" category), they should focus on one product in this segment (windows 8) to make the best possible user experience. All effort should be directed into making the transition between tablet (metro) mode and desktop mode as seamless as possible to support these new all in one tablets. That means allowing developers to package 2 UIs with their apps so that when run in tablet mode they have a touch UI, then when that tablet is docked to become a desktop/laptop, those apps automatically transfer over to windowed mode on the desktop with small changes in the UI to make them mouse friendly, all while keeping the content the user had open across the 2 UIs.
 
I do agree that apps need to be cross compatible on WP and W8, but that should not mean that microsoft needs to have multiple competing products in the same segment. The whole pointof windows 8 was that we now have tablets with the power and flexibility of a laptop or desktop. Why would anyone choose a massive WP over that as their tablet. That is moving away from the windows 8 paradigm of having one device that can do everything, and it is a bad move.

BS...I like RT and actually see it being merged with WP and them calling it something new but it will be RT beneath the skin...

So did I just buy a surface RT for no reason? I just bought it last Monday... Did I just waste my money? I have no idea whats going on now.

You did not waste your money. I have a Surface Pro and a 920. I think WinRT is far superior to WP8 for a tablet.

Yeah, you wasted your money.  You can get a tablet running full Windows 8.1 for the same or less money now or in the very near future (next month).  There is no reason to accept the severe limitations of Windows RT.

So glad to hear that this is a possibility.  Windows phone OS is far superior to RT and much more suitable for tablets in my opinion.  I would've been very disappointed if it went the other way.
And what's even better is that this will significantly increase the exposure of this operating system prompting more developers to build apps for it and more people to be willing to buy the phones.

It would be cheaper to develop for two OS instead of three. It only makes since to unify them. They should unify windows with windows phone after that.

They're likely to unify, but I think whatever results might well be more of a meeting in the middle between the two systems.

The reason why it is taking so long is that we need developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers ( l just made that up. No one in their right mind would say that so many times.)

Sort of. WP8 makes use of only a subset of WinRT's APIs, so apps aren't fully compatible out of the box. My guess is they will be adding more RT APIs to WinPRT and porting over the various apps they developed for RT that don't have WP8 equivalents.

They'll also likely make visual changes to bring it more in line with the Windows flavor of Metro (charms on larger screens, more app tile colors, reworked settings interface, etc.)

This makes sense. The desktop in RT really only exists to get to the un-optimized Office applications, so when those are metro-ized, RT as we know it will be largely unnecessary.

Spring 2014 is a long way off.
 
I've only had my WP for 10 days and already pleased, having installed GDR3 preview.
 
There's plenty of time for lots of rumours to trickle out in the coming nnn months before WP8.1 is released. Patience is a virtue. When it replies no doubt when WP8.1 arrives many here will be hankering impatiently for its replacement whatever, and whenever, that might be.

With that being, im skipping all WINDOWSPHONE till 2015? For what I do ryt now, my 7.8 do the job I have all the apps that I need,maybe in the future I will eventually upgrade but for now the only upgrade that is worth it is WINDOWS8

So does that mean im gonna wait until 2015 for my first MS tablet? Doesn't make sense to buy a surface 2 now unless I plan to upgrade after 1.5 years only. Or they're releasing this in 2015 because of surface 2.

So, if windows phone and RT merged, would RT lose flash or windows phone gain flash?   I know people say all the time flash must go, but until then, i find that flash improves RT and the lack there of would really suck.  For the most part RT gives me a desktop experience, i never intended to run hardcore programs on our surface, so right now i'm ok with it as is.

AAAAAAND this doesn't bode well, the Windows future is more uncertain than even before. Spring 2014 ? Good job, that pushes customers intentions of buying their phone further into 2014. It's Apple's road of small steps in all it's glory. Without those basic 'Blue' improvements (e.g. VPN) and apps their smartphones simply aren't worth the money, they've really wasted 2013.
While I don't believe that the unifying of RT & WP platforms would have the same consequences as last year's Windows 8 update we probably won't know that until the end of 2014 (Microsoft would not survive yet again abandoning their previous devices like they did with 7.8). Let's hope that users won't suffer because of that and a phone purchased next month will be supported in 2015.