Windows Phone ‘Threshold’ update to join converging Windows 8.1 and Xbox One in 2015

Although Windows Phone 8.1 is not expected until spring 2014, there is already talk about what comes after the next major Windows Phone OS. This morning, Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet has leaked some new information about some updates coming in spring 2015, specifically its codename: Threshold.

The name, originating from the Halo series, refers to a wave of updates for Windows Phone, Windows and the Xbox One OS in 2015 that will work on bringing those platforms closer together. This won’t be the final merging of Windows Phone and RT, which is expected to come at some point, but a wave up updates that will allow those platforms to “share more elements” including "high value activities".

Those activities reportedly include IT management, Bing (decision making/task completion) and something called “expression/documents”, which Foley believes refers to Office and app called ‘Remix’, and sounds similar to Nokia’s StoryTeller. The information, procured from an internal email from Microsoft Executive Vice President Terry Myerson, also mentions some “serious fun” coming with Threshold, though what that exactly means remains a mystery.

Microsoft has not confirmed or denied the Threshold codename, though they are expected to remain quiet on any future OS updates. What should be clear though is the Redmond giant has a roadmap in place that is being executed. The question remains if they can maintain their “shut up and ship” mode to deliver this one OS vision for the company.

Source: All About Microsoft, ZDNet


Reader comments

Windows Phone ‘Threshold’ update to join converging Windows 8.1 and Xbox One in 2015


The merging of WP and RT is taking too long. They really, really need to get their act together and move quicker if they want to stay relevant in tablet market.

My thoughts exactly, merging the RT with WP needs to happen this summer 2014 ! Unified store and universal apps. Some of that additional functionality can come later but both platform are struggling and it would save them.

I don't understand why everyone is so eager for this to happen. I get cross platform app purchases but reducing functionality of RT to that of WP is so stupid. Maybe it is the iPad mentality but I view tablets as computers, but big phones.

I think it is more so upgrading windows phone to be closer to rt instead of the other way around. I am looking forward to integration so I can have web pages that I start reading on my phone show up on my computer to read later, or with a bigger screen. Also, the ability to text from the computer would be nice when I am doing school work, instead of picking up my phone constantly. If I had apps that would integrate across platforms that would be useful as well. Calendar syncs from my phone to my computer, but there are so many other ways in which this could be useful. I don't know what all they are planning, but the unification has great potential and Microsoft is way behind on it currently.

I am with you 100% I think RT is an amazing OS with power that windows phone begs to have.

However, I am not going to assume until Microsoft talks about this Spring update of merging RT and WP 8. We don't really know if it will be RT dumbing down to WP or WP bulking up to RT. Just like you I would much rather have WP gain the power of RT. Im sure Microsoft will talk more about it in Spring 2014 when WP 8.1 gets released.

You're right. You don't need to worry though, because the functionality of WRT won't be reduced in any way. All this "merging" talk is just a dumbed down way of communicating with the masses. Technically, no such thing will happen. This is what MS will do:

  1. With each new version of WP, MS will add more user facing features from WRT to WP.
  2. With each new version of WP, MS will make WP technically ever more similar to WRT (APIs, hardware compatibility, resolution scaling, multithreading model, etc). Ultimately, this effort is about lowering the costs of supporting both platforms simultaneously. MS will lobby more and more developers to release their apps for both platforms as this becomes easier. At some point, most apps will exist for both platforms. I'm not saying that you will be able to purchase an app once and run it on both your phone and your tablet. That may be possible, or it may not be. I'm refering only to the technical aspects, not the sales model.
  3. At some point, a few years from now, what we now refer to as WRT will disapear entirely (a.k.a thrown away), having been entirely replaced by WP, which is why the term "merging" is incorrect... subsumed would probably be more accurate, but if MS would use that word, then everyone will freak out about WRT being a "dead end platform", which wouldn't be correct either. Anyway, at that point we'll no longer talk about WP or WRT apps. We'll just refer to them as modern apps, and they will run on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. They will have most of the features of today's WRT apps, but will run on an OS that evolved from today's WP.


I have a hunch that by that time, the Windows modern environment will be free, on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. However, anyone that want's to use productivity software on the desktop environment will have to download the windows desktop from the app store... for a price.

Actually, I seriously hope, for your point number 3, that by the time WRT and WP become one and the same, Microsoft has come up with an intelligent name for the platform and the apps so that we are not still using either of the monumentally stupid names "Modern" or "Windows Store" to describe the apps. Breathtakingly stupid.  Galactically stupid.

Yeah, I think those names are rediculously poor too.

However, the point that I was trying to make is that WRT and WP won't ever become one and the same, at least not from a technical point of view. MS will just replicate some of WRT features in WP and then at some point, dump WRT.

Same with reducing the stability of Windows Phone to Windows RT. I prefer my Phone apps; where Mail, Skype, and Internet Explorer do not crash on a daily basis.

These things should have been working on years ago be careful BB can get a life line from Microsoft slow work ethic BB already has more features than any other smartphone give them time to get apps and 1080p windows phone might be back fighting for 3rd and 4th place with BB when we should be putting pressure on second place apple. And wp8.1 is April it should be laughed Jan or Feb MS moving too slow they are gaining but also pushing away some with lack of features

Black berry 1%
Windows Phone 5%
Apple 11%
Android 83%

Windows Phone is 3rd place and second place by next fall!

I agree.  

I think BB has been fatally wounded and will decline further into oblivion.

Know what too another new product OS has hit the market running Sailfish.. honestly it looks good.

Sounds great.  The Xbox division took a positive turn when it opened up and became less transparent with the consumer after the initial Xbox One fallout.  I think the same could benifit the WP division.  While I understand that keeping everything behind closed doors makes sense in most cases (especially in terms of the "higher class" features such as some listed here), it doesn't make much sense to hold back information for the more "needed" and essential elements that we have and are waiting for.  If they have a roadmap, how about giving us one?  The carrot is getting a bit moldy.

I'm wondering if you did not really mean "more transparent" rather than less regarding the Xbox division's response to early Xbox One fallout..   Your overall argument is for more transparent communication with the consumer for issues that concern them.

I hate "shut up and ship". Makes it look like they're not listening and not doing much to develop their products, which isn't really true. But that's the perception.

Yea, I concur that it is not necessarily the best messaging.   The shipping part is necessary but the shut up part is really up for question for multiple reasons, of which some you've covered.

There are going to be GDR's like we've had previously, between WP8.1 and the next major update around spring 2015.

For those of us that pay attention to these rumours and such, this is great news because Microsoft has a plan and it's in progress (albeit maybe not as quickly as I would like). However I'm afraid the pace may be too slow for most consumers. I understand that they're trying to work in a reasonable timeframe and they don't employ wizards, so it will obviously take time to accomplish this vision. But people are used to already having a unified experience (more or less), so waiting until 2015 might be too long. Personally I'm willing to stick it out until then (unless someone else does something that compels me to switch), but I dunno how that'll hold up for other people.

Majority of loyal WP fans will stay on, but that's the problem with Microsoft. They rely on people using WP when they themselves can't decide which direction to go. Either get rid of RT completely, or hurry up and merge WP with RT. It seems Microsoft can't decide what they want to do, there are too many variations. Average consumers are not going to wait until 2015 for Microsoft to figure out the direction they want. WP has been a hot topic in tech news this year, so merging RT and WP next year would allow them to stay in the news. In 2015, nobody will care if something is not done now.

It's ridiculous. WP is supposed to have the whole ecosystem as an advantage for the phone OS. But we're talking about 2015 for hopes of a full complete MS ecosystem?

Microsoft has a full ecosystem now.  We just don't have an integrated ecosystem.  However, nobody does.  Apple has two OS's with little to no integration outside of iTunes.  Google has two OS's ...and currently no desktop OS at all.  So before you bash MS, don't forget about context.  If Microsoft acheives the one OS model by 2015, as of right now, it'll be a first.  (Of course, Apple might jump in there and integrate OSX/iOS/AppleTV first).

The one of the few core advantages WP has is their ecosystem...MS has Windows (which is installed on a good few millions of PCs) to their advantage to attract a bigger user base with a nice big ecosystem...which would be nice to have had all the OS' on the same page. Its just a shame that they only have this vision for 2015.

Apple already has the integration they need which is iOS > iTunesmusic > iTunes app > iTunes music/video > Game Center > Newsstand > Maps. OSX is ALSO integrated with all of those things. 

Does Xbox gaming have ANY real relationship to Windows Phone? Actually, yes...it makes games harder to publish when they seek achievements and certification. Does Xbox Video have any integration with Windows Phone? It's "coming", but then again, this OS has been on the market for three years now, so that's pathetic. Skype experience has been behind competing platforms. The Windows Phone version of Office is a joke. Xbox Music has gotten WORSE than its predecessor with no signs of imminent improvement. 

It's great that Microsoft wants to swing for the fences here, but they've barely gotten on base with some rather feeble infield hits. 

You are confusing integrating features and integrating OS's.  Apple has a few integrated features but you can't simply install an application from OSX onto an iOS device, for example.

BTW, you called Office integration a "joke".  You must have a different standard for Apple/Google.  I can work on an Office doc on my PC, then log in from Starbucks from my Surface RT and pick up where I left off and edit natively.  I can then view that document from my phone.  I can't do that on Apple or Google platforms.  But to my prior point, that is simply a feature ...not OS integration.

Frankly speaking what Microsoft is doing now. and what it i now, moving forward The Microsoft ecosystem and integration no matter what what device one may be using the experience will be the same along with everything that you do. work or play.

What Microsoft is doing and where it's going, I can honestly say that in the coming 24 months is going to be great using Microsoft products, The only cloud for me is the time lapse simply because Microsoft isn't that swift with updates. Other than Nokia when it came to Microsoft products was the updates ever done swiftly.

I disagree. My cousin and his family are Apple disciples.  They have everything Apple and the ecosystem works pretty seamlessly and shared with little effort on every iDevice they own, especially after they got AppleTV.  Given the price they paid for all of that, it better.....but still.


I agree 2015 is too slow, and when MS says 2015 they mean late 2015 or early 2016. The competition will already be out with thier new offerings.

Still moving too slow, they should be planning this to 2014Q3. Integration between all their platforms is a key point and could be a table turner if well executed. I would expect my phone to seamlessly integrate with my W8 machine by now. And I mean fully integrate, not just skydrive sharing mojo as of now, like controlling any device from anywhere, each acting more as a terminal than as separate devices which hardly communicate among them. Get to work MS! :)

2015 is only about a year away peeps... and it'll go by fast. Before you know it, you'll graduate, get married, have kids, and then grandkids, and then you'll be like "Wow! 'Threshold' is here already?! That was fast!"

Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be released alongside Windows Phone 8.1 in or around Spring of 2014. Threshold is slated for Spring of 2015.

Though I appreciate this all takes time to achieve, I think MS don't do themselves any favours by fielding tv adds pushing the 'same experience across every device' and then letting customers find out such is over a year away once they've spent their money. 'Shut up and ship' would be a good plan if only their ad men would tow the line.

+1 And it doesn't help to have WP8.1 keep slipping either. If they can't execute that on time does anyone really expect MicroSloth to integrate their product line in just over a year? How long have we been hearing this promise? Yet here we are, and they still haven't given us a decent replacement for Zune's functionality.

The Lumia 1520 comes with the Nokia Black and GDR3 updates that give you the ability to close apps and it also comes with a MicroSD card reader, so that checks off two boxes. All that's left to add is the file manager. I think that qualifies as "Completed". 

I can't wait for my Lumia 1020 to get the Nokia Black update, and I hope we don't get screwed and miss out on WP 8.1 since it has a lower-spec processor.

Wp8 shipped with the ability to save music, videos and photos to the sd (lumia 820 and ativ s) but you can't save apps to it which is what that article was about.
You commented on the wrong article though.

Expression Web? And why the hell isn't there a wysiwyg web editor part of Office anymore. Geesh! Can we get a FrontPage 2014 or something??

Knowing of the convergence only makes me not want to buy anything. So tired of buying devices that get abandoned with the teased promise of upgradeability.



Everything becomes outdated as technology progresses. Backward compatability can't always be integrated.  Besides, anything you buy today is outdated in 3 months.  So unless you have an MP3 player in your pocket that also plays LPs, it's time to move on.

I have no confidence in Microsoft's ability to integrate their services and OS in any coherent fashion. Windows Phone has been without video for three years and counting, has no first party magazine/book/comic content, and has an "upgraded" Xbox Music client that is far worse than its Zune predecessor. Skype still needs work, and Xbox Gaming certification is an albatross instead of a benefit to entice developers. Office on WP is still quite half-baked too.

If they haven't been able to fix these issues in three years (since Windows Phone 7 launched), why would they magically lick them all in the next 18-24 months?  

You are right to have zero confidence in MSFT. The clowns that designed and implemented the "RT" strategy (both WinRT and WinPRT) are clueless. That API is great for the proverbial "fart and flashlight" apps but crippled for anything substantial - from both a design *and* implementation perspective. The two execs who signed off on RT are gone ... but what about the clowns that designed it, have they been canned too?

The *only* person at MSFT that I have any faith in is Dave Cutler and I don't see him mentioned anywhere other than being involved in architecting the VM system for XBoxOne.

This is entirely too slow. They are already behind other platforms in features and apps. In another year and a half their position will be even worse. Why they work with no sense of urgency when they have such little market share is troubling to me.

Well, just wait until MS unified and delivery its One OS, don't buy anything, because IOS and GREEN DROID OS do have it unified right now for you to use in the mean time.

Oh. How long is the wait for this? 2, 3, or 4 years from now?...
You wonder why your apps not there yet.
As a windows, windows phone user and enthusiastic, I have to start leaving my 920 and go to I 5s or Sammy S4

How about getting app pruchases and game saves universally synced? That shoudl be the #2 thing, with #1 being fixing the Xbox LIVE cetification process so games actually make use of the features it offers.

rummor is that it will support crazy innovative features like a week calendar view and oh, attaching pdfs. truly ground breaking stuff MSFT had to work 3 years to deliver....


and it will probably reboot the platform and apps won't work in old devices and hey let's start over because we can't have wp succeed for a year without sending it crashing to hell.

we should have had 8.1 back in october. we should have had 9.0 in 2014. Let me get this straight: the windows team can ship 8.1 and a major service pack before the windows phone team can ship a silly .1 update? Is windows phone just developed by some guy on the weekend? maybe one of Joe's kids?

Add to that, how do you have a successor when there isn't anything to success over. W8.1 isn't even here yet! And god knows when we'll all get that. Ok release in February, for a spring release, then deal with carriers for an actual summer release. Lol! GDR3 is not even out in full force. I love WP but I do have my gripes. Let the next CEO whip these slow assess into shape.

I don't even care that much for cross platform integration, though it is a great feature for those who wants to keep their digital ecosystems with one company alone.
What I do think Windows Phone really needs right now though is cross app integration, or the improvement over the concept.
Dunno if it's a platform limitation, devs not wanting to spend enough time with it or whatnot, and to be completely honest it was kind of a slow progress on other platforms too, but useability improves a lot by letting apps see each other.
I think Microsoft had this sort of thing in mind from start... as you have configurations straight from the phones to login to all sorts of services (like gmail, facebook, twitter, nokia itself and live) natively, but it's still not working as it should.
And this would be a plus differential point over iOS for instance... Apple's "walled garden" or whatever people wants to call it is more of a policy thing than hardware/software restriction. I don't think they'll change anytime soon. And it's one of the thing I don't particularly like about the platform. You are tied to Safari (again, in cross app related stuff), things works better if you use Mail, and it's been kinda proven that the only way to have a very smooth experience is by using only Apple made apps. Devs shy away because of that.
That is, of course, not considering jailbreak. Reason why I'm still some 2 iOS versions outdated on my iPad 2.

For now, Microsoft seems to be kind on the same road, which I hope they won't follow.
IE works fine, but if I can't have Chrome on WP (sorry guys, I know lots of you hate it), I can't completely integrate my PC experience with my smartphone, and functionality goes WAY down - it's a matter of using it for work or not. And then, as I'm using a password manager that still doesn't have a WP app (Dashlane) which would also rely heavily on cross app integration, everytime I have to login into some service or whatever, even when it uses Facebook and other social medias to login, due to cross app communication not working correctly (you have to make a Facebook login every time instead of just giving permission), it becomes impossible or close to that.
I never used Android, but it seems to be the most advanced in those terms. Not shure about that though.

All in all, it is a hard thing to achieve and sort of utopia envisioned by all mobile OSs. It depends on devs both from the platform and the apps. And it's something all OSs are trying to achieve in some way, having a very hard time with it. I've been hearing promises for quite a while... Apple saying how seamless iOS and OS/X will be someday, Google trying to improve integration with desktop apps and Google+. So it's good to hear Microsoft is working on that part too, because they need to.

The thing about Microsoft is that they're too damn slow! It comes up with brilliant solutions to problems, new technology etc etc and then they showcase it to the audience via a CGI or a vision. That's where they go wrong. This gives the competition ideas and time to catch up. 

Best strategy for MSFT is to work on these project for however long required and not say a word about it and then show us the vision and launch it the next day(not literally). This is the strategy for most companies. MSFT promises loads but doesn't deliver to their best, instead they give us what is ready and plan on making it better in the next 2-6 years. It wouldn't be annoying if MSFT was a fast paced company like Nokia who work their ass off. 

I wish Microsoft listened to all the feedback everytime they release a vision to the audience. Because most of it is really beneficial. Also, they need to think about places other than the US, the company is one of the richest in the world, with crap tons of employees and enough brains to sort all these things out. But, I fail to comprehend why they ignore the rest of the world. Get your stores everywhere, atleast 1 in every developed country, features on bing that are locked to the US also need to be open to the rest of the world. Then there's the offers, which I'm personally not too bothered about but still, it is very important to involve all of their customers. This would be solved by having a Microsoft stores wherever possible. I know MSFT has got more important things to concentrate on but most of the work isn't changing much, especially for people outside of US. It's frustrating that things like the Original Surface (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxk_WywMTzc) and Zune HD didn't get much traction. 

Wishing All the best for the future of Microsoft,

Microsoft Fanboy 

Soooooo.... Basically I'm safe to try out some other platforms for a year or two, and by the time I've got another upgrade I can return to windows phone when it sounds like it will finally be a matured, unified OS with features to brag about. Win/win!

Maybe the fun part means they will finally get their act together w.r.t non-console gaming. Properly challenging Steam on the PC, streaming and more on the phone.

all i need is my phone/tablet/desktop to have all apps synchronized, if i watch a video on my surface, the phone and desktop should know it and let me continue wherever i want, and if there is music playing throught my desktop, i should be able to control it from my phone or tablet or if i come home listening something and i lock my phone and log in to my desktop it should continue playing the exact same song there

thats how this "converging" pile of OS should work

This is really great news for those of us that are patient. I've been seeing more WP8 devices out in the wild by average folks of all ages and when I ask why not droid/iphone they all say the same thing. "I dont know. I just really like it." These are the folks helping the market share increase and these are the users that will dictate how fast or slow MS implements change. They're not hung up over getting GDR3 10 minutes after it's available (or 8.1 for that matter). I, like many of you, want MS to hurry up already but too much change too soon will confuse and annoy someone like my mom or my girlfriend (who both hate their iPhones after iOS 7).