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Rumor claims Threshold preview for ARM-Windows Phone devices due in early 2015

A new rumor from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley claims that Microsoft will release a preview version of "Threshold", the next version of Windows, sometime in early 2015 for ARM processors, and it will run on Windows Phone devices along with certain tablets like the Surface 2.

Foley, who based her article from unnamed sources, claims that the ARM version of Threshold will be made available sometime in January or February of 2015, a few months after the first preview build of the x86 version of the OS will reportedly be released by Microsoft. The ARM port will reportedly do away with the desktop UI entirely. The company is rumored to be holding a press event on September 30 to officially reveal the first details of Threshold, which may or may not be labeled as Windows 9 when it get its final release; that is expected to happen sometime in the spring of 2015.

Foley also says that after Threshold is made available this spring, Microsoft plans to update it monthly with new features alongside improvements and bug fixes, rather than wait six months or a year as has been the case with previous versions of Windows. This might mean Microsoft could, in theory, do away with launching a "Windows 10" down the road in favor of just updating Threshold.


Foley's information in the past has been very reliable but, as always, you should take these unconfirmed reports with a degree of skepticism. What do you think of Microsoft possibly doing away with big yearly updates in favor of monthly feature downloads for Windows?

Source: ZDNet


Reader comments

Rumor claims Threshold preview for ARM-Windows Phone devices due in early 2015



Previous previews were rock solid.
I think it is a way for Ms to skip operators' lazyness, son t worry, just apply for previews ;)

Yes, and you will f*ked up when the next time another bitlocker kind of issue bricks your phone. MS has effectively removed the remaining trust and confidence that the fans had regarding the WP beta program. Their lack of interest shown regarding fixing that damn bitlocker type of issue in 1 month time, makes everybody question their seriousness in the WP division (damn, this is even not an issue on my phone, it would successfully apply the cyan if MS approved it for DP phones without bitlocker activated).

+920. No trust lost here. In fact I have bitlocker so I'd rather them take a little longer and get it right. I would, though, like then to at least communicate where it stands.

What a trust in them is rock solid...they are moving really fast with WP development while you're going nuts about a measly cyan update that hasn't made it yet to your phone when you already have the preview...

Speak for yourself because I continue to trust Microsoft.

Can't wait for the DP of Threshold! Bring it on!

Your bad experience is no doubt frustrating but it is far from indicative. I have had the Dev Preview on an HTC8X (x4), Lumia 520(x2), Lumia 920 and now Lumia 930 with ZERO issues. It's a preview program for people who a)know what they're doing and b) know that there is a risk their hardware will be bricked or warranty voided. 

@ricsip, Your not speaking for me either :p. The monthly updates makes sense given they already do that via patch Tuesday. Despite having issues installing cyan and gdr1 on my 920. I'm not crying or whinging about it, because I know debian red is a few months away and then threshold (I have inkling how to fix it, but it is a long winded process as it means reflashing amber and going through the OTA's in the event reflashing black doesn't work again). If MS didn't care, windows phone wouldn't be getting these gdr updates and wouldn't have bought Nokia's d & s division.

To be honest we're pretty spoilt with the dev preview program. Comparing it to the OSX Yosemite beta or the Android L developer preview (of which all my friends have had) and the dev preview has almost no issues in comparison. Yosemite broke my mate's MBP screen, WiFi chip and introduced A LOT of lag (like, swiping between workspaces had a 1 second juddery delay). So we're all pretty lucky here okay

Not much of a unified system when the phone version is months behind. Early 2015....could mean March, April. And then it'll get delayed.

Maybe it's just me, but that the phone and tablets will finally be running the same OS sounds a lot like unification.

The RUMOR specifically claims the PREVIEW to be a Jan -Feb window for ARM devices, a few months after the x86 PREVIEW. That means surface 2 and probably high end WP are eligible.

Say what?! Makes sense to do away with the desktop on ARM though....

And i feel like their slowly adopting the Apple OS update methodology...

No desktop sucks, removing features is almost never a good idea. I love my surface rt, and plugging a tb drive into it, unfolding the keyboard and turning on a bluetooth mouse makes it a laptop. If people don't like the desktop, don't press the goddam desktop button, why do I have to loose it because you don't like it?

Don't know of course but perhaps maintaining it as a part of the OS and UI/UX requires significant effort? Might be cheaper and more efficient for them to just remove it?

That besides the benefit of just providing a more coherent user experience of course. There is, IMHO, no denying that having two environments in one device is a quite disjointed. Given that you can't run full Windows programs on RT, don't see losing desktop a big loss, provided they e.g. integrate most of the Control Panel into the Modern UI Settings.

Windows Phone and "RT" are merging together, with windows phone taking precedence. Since Wp doesn't have a desktop the tablet sku wont either. They will replace the file manager and "computer" with metro versions. Once Gemini (touch version of office) hits, the desktop would be obsolete for 90%+ users.

I disagree. if have a surface rt and the only reason the desktop has any utility is because office is able to run. If there was a good mobile version of office, then the desktop is unnecessary. Otherwise, the file manager is the only real reason to use the desktop, they can improve the metro file manager and keep mouse and keyboard function while removing the desktop and you wouldn't miss It. If you really need the desktop, there is a place for that in the x86 version.

The mouse will still be useful when remoting into a PC. Currently the desktop mode is the only place to map a network drive. The metro version of One Note works only with the cloud. If this is the direction for the metro Office then my RT will become useless at work.

They have a lot of work to do if they want to replace everything Explorer does in the Modern UI. I'm not saying its impossible, but I'm skeptical they can pull it off. I like that my very budget friendly Surface RT has all the settings of a desktop Windows install. I've even run Powershell on it. Sure, I could get a Pro, but that's double the cost and RT is completely capable of all of it. Losing power functionality for aesthetics is dumb IMO. Just hide the desktop by default and let power users turn it on if they want.

That's the exact reason why Microsoft gave Windows multiple product packages (basic, home premium, ultimate, enterprise). Why wouldn't you think that they would want that to spill over into their hardware divisions?

Doesn't have what you need? Pay up.

More for less is the consumer attitude, but far from that of the producing company.

I agree that explorer is going to be a lot of work. Its old and it does a huge amount of tasks.

They are slowly getting there, but there is an insane amount of work to do - i.e migrating all the features from control panel, cmd,. I guess this why windows phone will take precedence when RT and windows phone is merged as that is much easier than porting desktop features to RT. Plus windows phone takes less space and already has most of the features you need on a consumption tablet (other than multiple splits running in the background). If you want RT with desktop features, best grab the 2520 and Surface 2 before they are obsolete, for the average consumer this switch won't really change what they do just how they use office.

You have a choice.

Buy a Surface Pro tablet, or one of the OEMs hybrid devices like for example the ASUS T100, when desktop environment and legacy apps are a must for you.

If you dont need it? Then buy a regular Surface device, or a comparible device from one of Microsoft's OEMs.

The choice is yours!

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

So I should spend double the money for something else, when what I have already is capable of what I need. Removing power functionality purely for aesthetics is just dumb. You could hide it by default, but why take away capabilities.

To you its a laptop. But to designers and engineers.... Its a tablet who's brain is that of a tablet. Why would they waste resources to make you feel like you're using an x86 device? Sure you can add all those HIDs but you're still running on ARM.

Who says you can't plug in a TB drive, keyboard, and mouse without a desktop? On RT, the only reason for the desktop is office, explorer, add in enabled version of IE11, and some advanced settings. Who says you can't have all those things in the metro environment? They need to make sure all those functions are moved over to metro prior remove the desktop or you will have a many pissd off users. They also have to make sure it works well.

I think they should remove it by default. So many people still find the desktop difficult to deal with so by having it switched off and unavailable to users as the base setting they're making life easier and better for most consumers.

However, I think there should be an option to switch it back on for those who want it (though there are already devices running full Windows that are thinner and lighter (and cheaper) than the Surface 2 for those who do want it) or perhaps as an "in-OS purchase".

Still, we have to remember that Metro 2.0 should bring a lot more features over from the desktop so it might be that even those of you who use the desktop on it now don't need it this time next year.

Lets see how this all works. My guess is that things like the surface tablets will run an OS similar to what it has now with a desktop. Something like a surface mini though is probably not going to have a desktop is what I am thinking. It depends on what the OEM decides for the device I think. Small tablets don't need the desktop anyway.

Other than Office, what do you run in the classic windowed UI on RT?... You can't download and run x86 programs, so you're mostly getting them from the store - most of which are full screen apps

Explorer, device manager/devices and printers, family safety, control panel, powershell, disk manger/computer management, event viewer/log viewer, performance monitor, advanced task manager. Also IE that will continue playing audio when I switch off IE as my focused application.


Sure, they could replicate all of that in the Modern UI and that would be fine with me. I have my doubts that they will. I will lose capapbility for an aesthetic decision. Just hide it and let me go there if I want to.

You're making it sound more than it is. Here's the short version: explorer, powershell and mmc. Bam.

It's inevitable though.

I agree. WinRT should be 'desktop mode free' and for tablet devices only. At least the core though it will still be all Windows (Universal Apps across Desktop, Tablet and Phone), and not like Apple/Google's 2 OS route

Can you download one app that will work on both ios and mac OS because if ms succeeds then you will be able to download that same app on PC tablet and phone so that's the difference apple does have two OS period and google well there two OS could never be mistaken for one another cuz there like apple and oranges the so different right now if ms can do this successfully they will be the first true unified OS ever to exist but I'm sure google or apple will copy what they do best

I'm talking about a OS that's used by more then a handful of users and UNIX is not new its been around for a long time and never could and never will be as good as windows its like the Atari jaguar and Nintendo 64 Atari claimed that they were the first true 64 bit system but they were using two 32 bit chips that dont make it a true 64 bit system but n64 did use a 64 bit chip so that makes them the only true 64 bit system in that generation so while UNIX might claim to be unified tell me this besides computers running UNIX that you saw I have never seen one how many phone or tablets have you personally seen running UNIX I bet zero I haven't but I guess maybe they got one were you live

So, you missed the sarcasm and my point.

Unix -> Linux -> android.

One OS (kernel), many distributions/uses

Android made UNIX =Linux there bitch it ant the UNIX or Linux part that matters it the android part do you think anyone but the tech savy will know or care if android has a back door man named UNIX Linux no its android so I till the come out with a phone or a table running pure UNIX or pure Linux then you can make a argument but oh I forgot that will never happen cuz there are no pure versions of UNIX or Linux lets play a game Guys name all the different UNIX and Linux OS out there so how could one os with so many variation be a unified OS does ubatun apps run on android without modification or does any app from the many different versions of Linux and UNIX run on all the versions a think not so my point made if windows 9 succeeds it will be the first unified OS period

Okay, you're an idiot. And I gave up trying to read your retort because there's ZERO punctuation. Seemed like you still missed my point with OSX and iOS.

Office for Metro functionality better be up to snuff. Desktop RT Office is already behind full office. I need offline abilities, full macros, printing, etc. Mouse and keyboard better work nicely. Metro IE concerns me also.

wha? i do all of those things on my surface 2, except macros (which i dont really need). my understanding is that thats the only feature that is excluded between office rt and the comparable office 2013.

You do that on Office Desktop version for Surface 2. If they take away desktop that doesn't exist anymore. That would mean the Office Metro touch version coming out will be it for Office. It needs to work at least as well as what we have.

I certainly understand that, but you said office rt for desktop was already behind. That's what I was talking about.

I don't think every tablet will not have a desktop. That's stupid. There will be tablets with arm that have the desktop and ones that don't. From how I've seen it worded other places it "tablets that don't need a desktop" which means tables with a small screen or maybe ones that the OEM thinks is not for desktop use.

Snapdragon is an ARM processor. ARM licenses their processor design and instruction sets to companies and they can either use their reference design or create their own design. Samsung exynos, Apple's A7, Qualcomm snapdragon, Nvidia Tegra, etc are all ARM processors. The competing platform are X86 proccessors made by Intel and AMD which are faster but have only recently been able to get the power efficiency needed to work on mobile devices.

The question itself is wrong here. It is like You asked
"is a car faster then a porshe?" (not saying that qualcoms' chips are necessarily that fast;) )

ARM is an architecture, Qualcomm is one of manufacturers

It is ike x86 chips commonly used in desktop PCs, where x86 is an architecture, but they are made by intel (who designed the architecture in late 70ties - yes it is that old :] ) and AMD.

I like the desktop too. Unfortunately with all the childish complaining ("it has a desktop but it can't run my 10 year old Visual Basic application!!! I can't comprehend this!!!"), it's hard to blame them for trying to get rid of it. I have never understood why people don't look at RT like they do an iPad, with the added benefit of running Office. But for some reason even the most tech savvy don't seem to be able to make that leap. They just instantly start whining and making completely unfair comparisons.

I don't understand. I thought the desktop had no purpose on RT devices besides that of running office. I have an Atom based Tablet and rarely use Desktop.

Guys, its not for every RT device. From how its been worded by leakers is "tablets that don't need the desktop" aka small tablets mostly. Something like the surface 2, and hopefully a surface 3 soon will still have a desktop when updated.

Pretty sure existing devices won't update to WP9. There is already leaked info about major wp build bump to 8.15.xxxx.xx which I guess would be WP8.x and the Threshold with merged API for ARM would be for new devices in Feb.

Did you just pull that out of your ass? Nothing anywhere has indicated existing devices won't upgrade. Everything has indicated the opposite. In fact, this very rumor shows that they will update. How can you launch a Dev Preview for W9/WP9 if no existing devices can upgrade? What would they do, launch new devices with dev preview installed?
Spread your FUD somewhere else.

Great response. I agree on all of what you said. Additionally, from a PR perspective Windows Phone would be done. Alienating the userbase again would be nothing short of disasterous for MSFT to make a comeback.

Hope you are right but bumping the version from to for GDR seems odd. usually GDR updates are minor bumps. Why would there be major change in GDR when threshold is so near. same thing happened with 7.8 and 8.0. There definitely will be cut-off for some devices maybe x2x series.

As I have said many times before, just because the homo JB told to the public 6-8 months ago, that all 8.0 devices will get 8.1 (send this message to the HTC 8S users, maybe helps to cure their sadness...or not), so far I havent seen the same statement regarding 8.x --> 9.0. Yes I know its too early for that happening as most 620/720/820 country varient ownerr still suck at the 2013 December pre-8.1 stage. But let me predict something: there will be no such brave statement said this time. The WP7.x-->8.0 break was too fresh in everyones mind, that JB and MS had to do such damage control. By the time the 8.x --> 9.0 upgrade is about to come, nobody will remember the 7.x failure anymore. And even IF the JB will tell this, updating of WP phones depend on 3 damn teams. As long as minimum 1 of the 3 is refusing to update, there is NO USE believeing JB. OEMs can and WILL f*k us -owners of a little bit older devices, remember the 1st gen 920/820 by that time will be just a little bit over 2 years, and most people bought it even later. OEMs will ALWAYS find some good excuses to f*k with us, always.Thatswhy I dont understand all those gullible people here, who look like paid advocates and telling why us -who think realistically- are stupid just because we dont blindly believe our current devices will be upgradeable.

I spare some time for MS and Nokia (+other OEMs) to give some good excuse into their mouth:

- less then quad-core cannot run WP9 fast enough
- old Qualcomm SoC cannot run WP9
- <1 Gb RAM is not enough to run WP9
- <8Gb storage is not enough to run WP9 (bye-bye Lumia 530)
- etc. any other made up excuses you can think of

The preview of W9 will, supposedly, be available at end of September; a preview of W9 RT will, again supposedly, available early 2015. WP.... who knows. Personally I guess that actual devices will not be upgradeable to the new WP9; they will receive a new build with many of the features of the new OS but not the full package.
And note that I argued without the need to insult.....

Isn't the implied answer is that Threshold for ARM is the next version of Windows Phone, wherein Windows Phone has subsumed Windows RT.  So one would think that in the end all Windows Phone 8 devices will end up being upgradable to Threshold for ARM.

After what happened with wp7-7.8, L800 & L900 etc I would not be surprised if NO wp8/8.1 devices are supported. Not too concerned as my 930 is perfect out of the box. Imo

But why would that be the case? WP7 ran on CE while WP8 runs on NT. MS would lose millions of current WP8 users if that were the case. I just can't see what the reason would be.

I have used 720 for a year. And have got good updates like amber,black and cyan and will get debian red afterwards. Love that Microsoft gives us updates unlike scroogle. And will think to buy a new phone on my birthday. Even if update comes or doesn't come. Might buy Xbox one of not a windows phone.

Google updates their devices better than anyone. They are not left behind unless their is a specific hardware issue.

You have never owned a cheap android probably got rich parents or a good job good for you but I promise look online only about 50 percent of android are updated aleast like on wp8 I have a cheap Nokia 630 and had a Nokia Lumia 520 with both I got every version of wp8 to 8.1 update one on cheap androids your lucky to get any and no not everyone can afford a 7 hundred dollar galaxey or want to sign a contract and yyou shouldn't have to with WP you don't get a phone cheap or not and they will all get updated ok 99.9% will still better the the 50% that will be updated on andriod

The only cheap phone Google sells is the GPe Moto G and that gets updates very quickly. Google doesn't make the cheap Android phones or Galaxies you are speaking of. With Android One, those issues will be minimized for cheap Android One branded devices.

I own a 620, and I've received far more updates them I paid for. I'm buying a new Windows phone regardless of whether or not my 620 gets the update. No other platform updates budget phones at the rate Microsoft is doing it with Windows phone.

Doing away with desktop on ARM is all very nice but they better have a good file manager and the touch version of Office ready by then...

Sure, but take away mouse and keyboard and the good old file explorer is a little reminiscent of trying to use Windows Mobile 6.1 with the tiny tip of your fingernail pre-capacitive touch.

And a better replacement for the Control Panel. As it is now, I feel like there are several different locations for settings and configurations whereas the Control Panel has pretty much everything you need in one spot. Obviously, it's just a matter and learning where what is, but it is always good to not have to hunt around for stuff.

Surprisingly there is quite a bit that I go to the control panel for that either isn't available or doesn't work quite right in the settings app. If they can get the settings app, file explorer app, and an Office app that doesn't require 365 then I'm sold on no desktop.

So, removing the desktop will somehow make Windows RT better?

Some of us actually work on Surface 2, love and use desktop every day.

Seeing as Office and file exploring are the only things you can do on the desktop of Windows RT, there's no problem in removing it if proper Metro Office and file managing come.

And before you say anything else, know that I am NOT a defensor of the Metro UI and that I'm eager to get rid of it on normal Windows. But on RT, it makes sense to remove it IF the proper tools to replace its functionality are available.

Pretty sure existing devices won't update to WP9. There is already leaked info about major wp build bump to 8.15.xxxx.xx which I guess would be WP8.x and the Threshold with merged API for ARM would be for new devices in Feb.

If they release a dev preview, then existing devices will upgrade to it - a dev preview that nobody can run isn't worth Microsoft's time.  You'll remember that WP7 devices couldn't update to WP8, correspondingly there was no dev preview of WP8 which contributed to the weak WP8 ecosystem for the first six months or so.

The idea that current WP8 devices would be unable to upgrade to whatever version is coming next would be inconceivable.FIrstly the developer preview would need to run on current hardware, if not what else would it run on? Secondly Microsoft got a thoroughly deserved kicking for leaving WP7 users out in the cold when WP8 was released, to do so again would mean the end of Windows Phone as a platform as no user would want to put themselves in that position a second time. The current trend of reusing existing Android designs for new handsets would suggest that any current and all future phones will be able to use the next update, providing that it is made available.

They also got a deserved kicking for leaving WM6.x users out in the cold.  Didn't stop them from doing it again to the WP7 users, and probably wouldn't stop them from doing it to WP8 users if they thought they needed to.  That said, I suspect the most that will happen is the low memory devices might not get the upgrade, or only get a gimped version (the way iOS does it).


That's pretty much what happened with WP8.1 and Cyan already. Some WP8.1 features like miracast are only available on newer devices with the supported hardware. Same with Cyan.

Missing the odd feature isn't really the same as missing an entire operating system. Not all phones will support all features and that is a good thing in modern operating systems. Take the Lumia 930 as an example, it doesn't support the Glance feature because of the way the screen filter works, that doesn't stop it from using all of the other features available in WP8.1. Making the OS more modular will extend support for a greater range of hardware, some will have more features than others but at least it's not stopping the show entirely. WP7 couldn't adapt like that and it died as a result.

I currently own a surface rt and much of my time on it has been working in desktop, if they remove it I'll sell it or give it away. This is typical Microsoft they always go one step forward and two steps back. I was even thinking of getting the surface 2 model but no way I'm buying that now :(

Yes, if they remove the desktop, I would have to replace my Surface 2 with the Surface Pro and I don't want to do that since Windows RT is perfect for me.


why?  If they give you Office in the modern interface, what would be the driving factor to get rid of it?  Im not saying you are right or wrong, just curious as to what would make you move to another device.

file manager, all the setting options coming with it, control panel and many, many other things...

The possibility to use a mouse+keyboard makes it awesome to have the desktop UI

What I am most interested in is "Windows 9" could be the last major update. Monthly improvements is what I have thought for some time is the way to go, especially in the enterprise environments.

If I remember correctly MS was talking about doing Windows 8 the same way, that there would be no Windows 9 only updates to Windows 8.   Then the bungled launch of Windows 8 happened...     No doubt that why we still have questions as to whether or not the next release of Windows will be Windows 9 or not.

Personally I think MS has a huge dilemma on their hands.   I think the live tile/Metro/Modern UI interface has become the brand face of Windows 8 and if "Windows 9" utilizes the same full screen live tile setup then it will drag along the misperceptions and bad press that Windows 8 got.

Please keep in mind that I use Windows 8 and am simply discussing a fairly common perception.

It all going to a subscription service...this is the first step... Few free months of updates, then you get to pay monthly after that for new features.

Yep, exactly what I read into this situation. They tested the waters with office, now they'll be doing it with all their services. Especially being cloud first. This sucks.

No it doesn't, they are not doing same with Office either, you are using Office on the basis of subscription, means you have to pay for product services and not for bug fixes and stability improvements.

Likewise they will charge for major feature improvements not for bug fixes. If they will give it all for free, how are they going to make money?

One the one hand I love the idea of monthy updates. On the other hand I'd kind of miss doing a fresh install of the latest Windows version. I love it when MS puts out the next version of Windows and I get to set it up and look at all the new stuff. It was fun to me. :-/

Plus, the total wipe and fresh install cleaned out all the cruft. It was like getting a brand new PC/laptop for $100.

How about a current "RT" version becomes the Windows Phone.. :) man I've always wanted the Modern UI in the phone.. It looks much better.. Check out a Windows screenshot on your screen, you'll see..

Or connect to a computer from your phone using either Remote Desktop or Teamviewer to get a feel for how W8/RT will look on a phone screen.

My bet is that all devices down to the 520 will get Threshold support. Why is that? Simply because given Microsoft's struggling market share they can't allow to disappoint a large fraction of their customer base. Technically I don't see a reason why that would not work.

People said the same things about WP8.  Though it does seem probable that most WP8.x devices will get this update,  I base that more on the lack of breaking changes at the kernel/device driver level.  I would say the low-memory devices are distinctly iffy however  - their relative lack of future-proofing needed to hit their price points is likely to be an issue sooner rather than later.


Just like wp8 windows 9 will be memory efficient unlike android that cant run good on anything less the. A gig I think threshold will be fine and run on all existing hardware given that the OEMs support said devise ms can't be blamed for OEMs laziness in updating the firmware out of ms control

I'm fine with getting rid of desktop, but there needs to be floating file explorer h windows that you can select, drag, and drop files. They need quadrant snap on devices >6" and side by side snap an devices

WZOR Twitter about Win9:

  • Metro UI won’t be enabled by default in Enterprise and Server versions.
  • Special build of Windows 9 Enterprise Technical Preview is compiled already, OEM test builds of Windows 9 Pro won’t be available for public.
  • Test build of Windows 9 RT for ARM processors is compiled too, but it can be tested only on Surface 3.
  • Microsoft is planning to attract more users to Windows 9 by offering great deals for Windows 7 users.
  • Those who bought Windows 8 Retail versions or bought a machine with it, will receive special offer, worth about 20$.
  • Windows 9 will support 3D on UHD TV.
  • New feature: backup and restore system image from cloud.
  • Microsoft is developing ability to virtualize backups of physical systems in the cloud.
  • “Cloud hypervisor” – it’s a reality.

I thought Microsoft was supposed to be doing away with big updates for Windows 8. I'm guessing due to the negativity Windows 8 has received (Personally I have no problems with any aspect of the OS), they are starting fresh with Windows 9 and proceeding with their original plan?

I expect this to be similar to how Microsoft moved from Vista to 7. Sure there some changes to the OS, but really 7's biggest feature was a new name and everyone loved it, mostly because it "wasn't" Vista.

Bingo, but I'm far from sure it will work.   I said in a earlier comment that the Live Tile/Metro/Modern UI aspect of the OS has no doubt become the brand face of Microsoft and Windows 8 at this time and I expect that it has been tainted in the minds of quite a few people.   How then does MS retain the Modern Store and with luck live tiles without bringing along that bad reputation.

Please, before someone tells me how great Windows 8 is and how it never needs to change, I run Windows 8.  I am talking about a common perception...

I am pretty sure they will optimize new versions of WP, if it's not well optimized for low end devices, then testing waters is a goal of Dev preview. At this point Microsoft can't afford to lose low end hardware becuase that's where the whole strength of WP lies in the current market share situation. So considering new generation like 630, 530 got 512 MB of RAM, I presume that with WP 9 520, 620, 720 will be just fine.

( Needless to say, I am assuming here, I might be proved wrong later.)

So in relation to Windows Phone, how is this Threshold preview supposed to be implemented? Will the Windows OS and WP OS become similar in function and UI experience?

I'm assuming that Threshold represents Windows 9 for x86 and Windows Phone 9 (with a subsumed Win RT) for ARM.  Mostly it will include under the hood improvements to tie the Stores together as well as an attempt to unify the UI experience as much as possible as you suggest.

As for you question, No, Windows and WP will not become similar in functions and UI. The main goal of the "Threshold" is to deploy a single core across every screen size. What does mean that, every OS under MS's umbrella will share a single unified core, hence they are tossing the term One Core across. As far as what  I have read and from my understanding this will do following things

1) Every version of OS will share one kernel. (One Core)

2) Will merged APIs for development for all 4 platforms (including Xbox One)

3) Will merge store across the platforms.

4) Thus developers can code once and deploy for every platform. (X86, ARM and Xbox One)

5) Hence we can see MOOOOOAAARRRRR UNIVERSAL APPS (yes please), may be buy once and use on everyscreen scenario.

6) Will scale UI for every form factor( Aspect ratios and Resolution). Eg. As article says no desktop for Touch oriented devices and option of desktop for keyboard-mouse users.

7) Since Core and APIs are unified, it will allow to deploy updates faster for each platforms.

Plus there will be new feature like Notification Center for Desktop users, Metro Apps in Desktop environment, interactive tiles etc.

All being said, these are all cool ideas, but execution is the most important. Fingers crossed.