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Windows Phone 9 in testing with Nokia, HTC and Qualcomm hardware

In a new job posting and an employee posting, Windows Phone 9 gets name dropped for the first time publicly. The exact relationship between Windows (Phone) Blue and what is being referred to now as Windows Phone 9 is not too clear—for instance is Windows Phone 9 just what people are expecting Blue to be renamed to or is it another milestone OS upgrade?

Regardless, the job posting by Microsoft acknowledges XAP/APPX deployment from the Microsoft Store to “Windows Phone 9” and the employee name drops Nokia, HTC and Qualcomm as testing hardware with the new OS (Samsung is curiously absent).

The information is certainly interesting though perhaps not unexpected. Indeed, the ability to deploy both XAP and APPX files to Windows Phone 9 suggests that the both of Microsoft’s OSs (for mobile and for tablet) are finally becoming more unified, allowing apps to work on both the phone and a Surface tablet (or any Windows 8 hardware). That would mean exploiting Windows Runtime, the cross-platform application architecture that is coming to both Windows 8 and RT devices.

In many ways, that’s the dream shot that many in the tech field have been hoping for ever since “3 screens and the cloud” was name-dropped by Microsoft years ago. It would also benefit developers tremendously as it will greatly increase their exposure and incentive for working on both Windows Phone and Windows desktop.

Question still remain though including if Windows Phone 9 and Windows 9 actually merge (Microsoft seems to be using them interchangeably, though it’s unclear if that is by choice or a typo), how apps will “look” on each platform and how this all relates to Windows (Phone) Blue, if at all.

The good news is we should have more information in the coming months to better understand where Microsoft is going with all of this, but so far, we’re confident it’s in good direction.

Current Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to be fully upgradable to Windows Phone 9.

Source: MSFTKitchen; Thanks to all who tipped us!

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Will Catwalk run on WP 9?
  • can L920 upgrade to wiiphone 9?
  • Read the article.
  • Lol
  • Amm excuse me but were do u get windows phone 9 or am i just **fkcen** blind ?? -_-
  • Read the second picture (second blue square in perticular).
  • In the headline.
  • just fkcen blind. :)
    Read the article
  • Will it run Crysis?? ;-)
  • Ha
  • +1000. :P
  • I've been reading some of the articles and sometimes your replies are just plain rude... (agree, people should read the article) however a little bit of tolerance doesn't hurt anyone... 
  • I agree that being a bit nicer couldn't hurt but the guy did take time out of his day to write an article that is littered with highlited Windows Phone 9 text so I can see why he might be a little irked by someone who blatantly didn't read his writing and expects to be handed the information by someone else.
  • You should read it's pretty visible.
    "Current Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to be fully upgradable to Windows Phone 9"
  • i am not sure all wp8 device can upgrade to wp9 because i see in wp7, not all of devices can upgrade. and i worry about my L920.
  • Uh yeah they can, unlike WP7.x-8, it's not a different kernel.
  • first off, NONE of WP7 devices can run WP8 ("not all" implies some can)
    Second, that was because the hardware isnt supported. WP8 uses the NT Kernel, and dual cores, while WP7 devices are single core and built for the Embedded (previously CE) kernel.
    Also, Microsoft never said WP7 handsets could upgrade, but they have with WP8, so that leads me to believe there is little room for worry.
  • "not all" mean, some WP7 device could not upgrade to 7.8. and i wory about that.
  • What is worrying about it going to get you?
  • Worry that my L920 can not upgrade to wp9
  • Did you not read the previous response to you? Or the article? All WP8 will be able to upgrade to WP9. That means you do not have to worry. The difference this time is that Microsoft specifically said that as well. Stop worrying, it won't get you anywhere. 
  • \deleted
  • We will know for sure when they announce. If they don't support wp8 updates, MS's in big trouble as wp9 would be considered a 3rd revision of the OS. I don't think they can afford that as they will potentially lose alot of support. But they've said though that wp8 will be supported up to 3 years I think. Could be wrong.
  • More like 18 months, I think.
  • The actual quote from MS is "a minimum of 18 months".
  • excatly, agreed with you (lubbalots)
    i am big fan of MS OS,
    my 1st phone was O2, then samsung i200, then samusung Focus upgraded to 7.8, and now lumia 822.
    if ms continues with there policy of not upgrading 8 to 9 then next time no one will support MS p[hones
  • Do you guys go on forums without learning to read first?
    There's at least 5 people above these posts that have reiterated that WP8 will be upgradeable to WP9, per Microsoft.
    Additionally, the reason WP7 isn't upgradeable to WP8 (again, as stated by several others already) is because WP7 ran on the old old Windows CE kernel from back in the Windows 3.1 days (yeah, that's right). WP8 runs on the current kernel (NT).
  • Well, actually, Microsoft began the development of the NT Kernel in 1993, and the development of the CE Kernel in 96... So technichally, NT is older than CE. Besides that, both kernels where developed further down the road, so they weren't "less updated than" one another, they were just built to satisfy different needs and targets.
  • This post has been out for awhile. Just now respond. Lolz!
  • Its highly doubtful MS would pull this a 3rd time.
    WinMo to WP7 I had no problem with because WInMo was way old anyway and needed to be scratched.
    WP7to WP8, I was relatively ok with it because I had a Dell VP from day one. so I felt like it was time for new hardware anyway (though I'm sure I would have been more upset had I bought a Nokia 900).
    WP7 to WP7.8... its hard to argue with you there, not having all WP7 at least update to WP7.8 is pretty crappy, but I think there's a unique aspect about WP7 where its kind of like some middle step-child.  We're really at a point now, where as much as we love Windows Phone, there's no defending WP7 or WP7.8... as much as I enjoyed my Dell VP, everyone did get kind of screwed on it.
    I will say, as a long and dedicated WinMo/WinPho user... if it turns out that WP8 doesn't have an upgrade path to WP9, I would be done w/ MS and Windows Phone.  I don't say that with any anger... just saying.  I would walk away with half a shrug.  But, I don't expect that to be the case at all.
  • >"Current Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to be fully upgradable to Windows Phone 9"
    I love this site but, things like this get people really ticked off on this site. If I remember when WP7/7.5 was out, there was rumors saying that all devices could be updated to Windows Phone 8, and when the press statement came out, there was a lot of "pissed off" people.
    Still to this day I think about how upset people where who just got a Lumia 900 then the press statement came out (what ? 2 months later)"No devices could be updated to WP8" and there was a LOT of pissed off people..
    I really hope it's true but,  as I have learned in the past, dont get your hopes up...
  • The past IS the past stop with the old stuff they used to do,(new CEO new structure new way of thinking) and look forward to the future, if my phone isn't upgradeable,I'll wait for my contract to be up and I'll upgrade and done.Guys we have famlies, friends and work to worry about stop worrying about things you can't control,let's grow up a  little and roll with it baby. 
  • Yes it will be most probably!
  • We'll get Windows Phone 8.8 ;)
  • No, 8.9 ;)
  • No, 8.9872681 is the exact number.......Lol
  • No, 8.89
  • What will they do for Windows 9 to 10? :| They'll run out of fractions! Oh noes!
  • LoL !
    Its confirmed. It Would be 8.420.420  :p
  • Somebody in microsoft already said that current wp8 devices will be upgradable with future OS versions. 
    The problem is the carriers at that point, but almost certain 920 will be on top of the list as getting any upgrades. 
  • Current they are expecting a fully upgrade for all win8 phones. didnt u read article properly
  • Microsoft promises that Windows Phone 9 will have deep Skype integration 
  • You won't have a choice then, your battery life will be halved!
  • Why? My Skype is on all the time, and after a whole day (16 hours) I am still at 55% battery on my Lumia 920.
    (Or you were joking?)
  • That just dont happens with my Lumia 920.
    coz battery drains for sure.
    it doesnt stand for 15 hrs wit moderate use .
    I have tried and using all battery saving options. I dont know how has this miracle happened on ur device
  • I absolutely have terrible battery life when using Skype. I had to uninstall it to save my battery. By 9am I was awell below 50%.
  • Must be something wrong with your phone, I don't have any problems with battery life on my 920 with Skype, FB, Lync, and all of the other apps running (ESPN, CNN, etc.).
  • Wow, my comment you replied to is almost 1 year old! For the record, later updates helped the battery life.
  • They also promised that for 8, and it only has shallow integration at best. At least it can background task Skype now. But there is still no People Hub integration, like they demoed last summer.
  • I see what you did there.
  • Extra extra. WP9 to be released tomorrow. WP8 devices not possible to update to the new software. Nokia shruggs its shoulders and "-no understand"
  • The last line took my heart
    I am so eagerly waiting for the GDR2 (or whatever it is)
  • this sounds good. im excited all these talks of updates and nokia are making my eyes water with joy.
  • Why, when WP8 has such a long way to go?! I'd rather have more resources on fixing and improving the current OS.
    WP9 will come out, half finished like WP8, and the cycle will continue
  • Windows phone 9 is an improvement. Why is it so difficult for people to under stand that wp7-8 required a fundamental change and wp8-9 is the improvements to current software.....
  • I see wp9 as fixes to problems in wp8.
  • I argee with U.
  • I'm excited but impatient. This was pretty much what all the fanfare for WP8 was about for its launch. I expected to have the whole three screen interchangeability/shared by now... So I won't be surprised if the vision doesn't gain any momentum until 9.10 or WP10
  • When u referred to Blue, you made it sound like it was an actual update title. Isn't Blue just a name for a series of updates, over time, leading to an end goal? A project, so to speak? Or am I mistaken. If I'm right, then in theory, couldn't a major OS update be part of Blue?
  • sounds like a logical assumption to me.
  • @Darkgift, I think you're confusing Blue with "Apollo+". It's the latter that is a series of updates (GDR1-3) that make it up. Blue is considered to be one update at this point.
  • so will apollo+ be its own update? or is that considered to be part of the GDR updates? like GDR3?
  • You have to read his post!  He clearly states ""...Apollo+".... is a series of updates (GDR1-3) that make it up".  Blue is assumed to be a separate update after GDR 3.
  • Correct.
    Apollo+ = GDR1, GDR2, GDR3
    Blue = Major update / (Possibly Windows Phone 9)
  • EXACTLY!  Blue is just a kernel revision to NT 6.3 from 6.2 in Windows 8 - a major update.  They probably code named it "Blue" just so non-technical users won't get ants in their pants if they named it WP9.  A lot of ridiculous commotion going on today about "WP8 users not getting WP9 updates"  
  • Ok...i got them backwards. Thanx.
  • Will we get a file manager and perfect Bluetooth share for videos any where in the phone?
  • The future is Nokia and Windows.
    Nokia should be making tablets, laptops, and PC's :)
    Would be good to see Samsung bite the dust - they are a disgrace with their cheap components. 
  • At least those "cheap components" in Samsung phones are well put together so they don't suffer from dust under the screen, unlike the Lumia due to the shoddy way it's produced or the fact that Samsung phones lack the auto-brick function the Lumia has when performing a factory reset.
  • Yeah buddy what I like to here ...back when I was and was so many others in love with playstation the thought of Xbox being a competitor was so silly... Look at Xbox now! I think im gonna stick around !
  • Would be surprised if they label it as WP9. I always saw them running with the 8 branding for a while.
  • This. I can't see them renaming it. That would be nuts. I've mentioned before that I feel like they would go apple's route and do x.1 - x.2, and so on. But WP9 Just for the sake of building numbers would be confusing to consumers.
  • And seems like wp8 was the beta wp9 final version sweet!
  • MS dreams big, always talking about what they'd like in the future, but sure seems over the past 5 years or so, its mostly a pipe dream. Things dont get done, canceled or never live up to what MS publicly claims
  • Amen.
    I'm with you. Not going to hold my breath based on news like this. As far as mobile devices go, Microsoft historically is a very disappointing machine. I'll believe in changes when I see them.
  • Lol, what a load of rubbish.
    Windows Phone 8 is already an excellent OS.  Unless I am dreaming they already released that <whistle>
  • I'm not buying it -- he very well may have been targeted for 9 -- to be released Fall 2014 one year after Blue (8.5). They used to do two concurrent teams - the WIn 8 teams would be working on the GDR stuff and rolling over to Win 9. The Mango Team would be rolling over to 8.5 (Blue) after 7.8 and would then release 8.9 in January 2015  before rolling over to 9.5.
  • I need viber come plz sooner than soon
  • Isn't it to early for wp9?
  • "Current Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to be fully upgradable to Windows Phone 9." Yeah, just like you were sure WP9 would not come anytime soon. At this time all I'm expecting the the announcement "WP8 phones will not be upgradable to WP9 but will get a defective upgrade named 8.9". I'll be happy if that doesn't happen, but given Microsoft's track records, I have no faith.
    And if they do what I expect them to do, then I'll be sad to leave Nokia but my next phone will be an iPhone. I was (and still am) pissed at what they did with WP7. I got myself a WP8 and gave them a last chance. They do it again and WP can go f themselves 'cause I'm out.
  • Why would you expect all the features in 8.5 (Blue) to be available for Winodws 8.0? If the full HD hardware rumors are correct its most likely a "all the features that the hardware will support upgrade" come January 2014.. Nov 2014 will see 9.0 and an 8.9 release with some limited features based on hardware restrictions come late January 2015. That's pretty good support compared to  others 
  • That's WP7.8 all over again. And I don't think that's good support at all. Actually the entire 7.8 was a stain in Microsoft's Windows Phone history. Repeating it again would only show amazing disrespect towards their consumers. They said that the hardware of current flagship WP8 (and I'm thinking Lumia920 here) would be enough for quite a few years. A WP8.9 because WP9 can't be put in WP8 devices because of hardware, completely contradicts that statement. And makes this 7.8 all over again. And I won't admit Microsoft to treat me that way again. They repeat the 7.8 (which I STILL HAVEN'T received in my L800 by the way) scheme and I'm dropping WP for good. I adopted it because of Nokia. They do this again and Nokia doesn't have an alternative OS (Android or whatever) and I'm going Android or Apple (and I hate Apple).
  • Whyw would they do that anyways? Windows Phone 8 had a different kernel than Windows phone 7.x and it would be very difficult to rewrite drivers and everything for 7.8, especially since 7.8 can't utilise most of Windows Phone 8's software and hardware features at all. Windows Phone 9 is expected to continue to use the NT core, not Windows CE (which is ancient by now), and make Windows Phone 8 devices completely compatible with WP9.
  • Why is there still this confusion about this?  Moving from WP7 to WP8 was a platform change that needed to made!  Moving from WP8 to WP9 will not be the same thing.  I would expect most, if not all, WP8 phones to be upgradeable to WP9.  I didn't own a WP7 device, so I didn’t have to deal with the upgrade issue.  I have a Lumia 822 now.  I moved over from iOS (iPhone 4) and I am very happy with my new phone.  What Apple does is tell everyone that they are getting an update to the new version of iOS; however, you didn’t always get all the new features of the new iOS version.  Some of that was because of the hardware needed, but mostly because they just want you to buy a new phone.  They still call version the same incremental version number as the newer phone.  Microsoft could have done that with WP7 users, but they would have been lying to you, just like Apple does, but they didn’t.
  • Re-read what I wrote. I am fully aware of the Kernel change. However, nothing prevents MS to repeat the "joke", this time using something else in the hardware as an excuse to not upgrade old phones. That's the prospect that will p*ss me off if it happens. 
  • MS kept the market in dark for a long time if WP7.5 devices wud be upgradable to WP8 or not, kernel upgrade etc etc is all understandable but tell this to someone who bought the device contract free n within a month his phone is called a legacy device.
    After anouncing WP8 it was said WP7.5 n WP were in works parallely n MS knew all along that WP7.5 would not be upgradable, so they cheated their users in a way.
    And as far as WP9 is concerned, it is mentioned that Wp8 is expected to be upgradable but is there an official statement about it?
  • If they do it again, then Windows Phone is a dead platform.  Windows Phone 7 had hardware incompatibilities that prevented it (the security chip), and it is somewhat reasonable that they did not realize that restriction was coming two years earlier, but even that acceptance is taken with a bit of annoyance.
    People should reasonably expect certain hardware-specific features to be missing from future releases. For example, if they were to make a phone without a camera, then I would expect it to not work with camera features.  Similarly, any feature that requires a gyroscope will either lose accuracy, or simply not work when no gyroscope is present. This idea should continue with any new hardware.
    That's called gracefully degrading. iOS has done it for years, and Android has the capability to do it with the way that they number their API versions (akin to the NT kernel's numbering being used by certain drivers), although most non-Android fanboys recognize that this is more theory than practice given their upgrade lifespans.  People cannot reasonably expect features to work that require non-existent hardware, but I fully expect my Lumia 920 to be upgraded to Windows Phone 9. If not, then I will absolutely be shopping for a different phone brand.
  • The keyword in the MS statement is expected, far from a sure thing.  As each day goes by WP becomes more and more irrelevant in customers minds.  To Blackberry's credit they knew they wouldn't have a lot of native apps and gave customers a way to run Android apps.  MS is putting as much effort at pushing WP as they did with Zune and Kin IMO.
  • First off, lets not all get up in arms over job postings. I highly doubt WP9 is going to be Blue this next year. Otherwise, I mostly agree with your anger over 7.8. I'm not so much mad about 1st gen WP7 getting screwed. Its the Mango hardware that confounds me. Why they heck would they bump the CPU from 1GH to 1.5 if they weren't future proofing it for WP8? Why the heck would they release a hyped flagship Lumia 900 only 2 months before announcing it wouldn't get WP8? And finally, why the heck can't they support MOST of the WP8 related upgrades/features on WP7? Anyone who throws the "new hardware" bullshit excuse doesn't understand hardware/software development. 1GH core CPU can easily power lockscreen integration, Family Rooms, IE10, and 95% of the other upgrades to WP8. But with that said, we all know the real answer to my rhetorical questions. WP7->WP8 is a kernel change and MS simply made a calculated decision to not spend resources on developing and supporting all the new features onto both kernels. So like you, I can forgive them and move on this time. But if they do the same with with WP9 then I may loose what faith I have left in MS. Not saying I'll switch to iPhone or anything. But I probably would give up being a fanboy and evangelizing for the platform.
  • I agree with you DJCBS.......
  • Windows phone 9 is an improvement to windows phone 8. Why is it so difficult for people to under stand that wp7-8 required a fundamental change to the kernel (CE to NT) and wp8-9 is the improvements to current software that does not require I REPEAT DOES NOT REQUIRE A KERNEL CHANGE!!.....  
  • RE-READ what I wrote. What will p*ss me off is IF MS uses some other hardware excuse to not upgrade WP8 phones to WP9.
  • What is it with u stressing abt kernel change. MS can say we r not changing kernel but WP is for quad core devices, WP9 cant run on dual core phones so dual core phones will get wp8.8
  • Because its already been stated that wp8 will get wp9 what's more that wp8 devices will be supported for 18 months 1 and a half years so why stress no wp9. I'd say the worst probably will be that it it doesn't get hardware aspects which is usually the case.
  • Will wp9 run android apps?
  • Want to flame... but... must... resist.
    *phew. Deep breath.
  • Whoa. 5 months later? I was only kidding.
  • haha, sorry my bad! I didn't realize it was sarcastic. 
    And yes... 2 months later agian. I'm bad at this stuff :)
  • I am loving windows phone 8 to be honest. Sure it doesn't have everything but its 95% if everything I need, and I get to he different while using it. Hopefully future updates will fix any outstanding problems with WP8.
  • That's 3 typos. It Can't be a typo.
  • The architecture was different and never did MS say WP8 would be available for wp7 devices. MS did state that WP8 would be upgradeable and phones would receive updates for 18 months
  • WIndows Phone 7s were upgradable... To Windows Phone 7.8! It's a gross assumption to jump from the conclusion that upgradable means upgradable to a certain OS and not just Windows Phone 8.9.
  • Windows Phone 9 + XAP/APPX Deployment = Half Life 3 confirmed. 
  • Dream on....Not sure what I want more.... WP9 or Half Life 3.....wait, yea, Half Life 3....a bigger rumor than WP9 is...
  • why are we giving so much importance to what an employee mentioned in his profile? They can write anything - WP9 or WP Blue, nothing stops them from doing so.
  • Wp8 will be upgraded to wp9 but not at the same time.. Its a cycle that we already know
  • All the more reason to hope for a surface phone. One that is sold unlocked and without carrier influence
  • Developer reference unit would be great. Like Nexus units from Google.
  • Stop the presses Microsoft is developing a new version of it's mobile OS ;)
  • If there does have WP9 on the plan of MS.  I'm very certain the flagship Windows Phone deviecs such as Lumia920 and HTC 8X would definitly upgrade but what about the devices with 512MB or even lower RAM? 
  • Lol wp 8 need to be updated, not wp9
  • ...?
    WP9 is update to WP8. This is not a kernel change. 
  • I see WP9 as being a further refinement of WP8, with new features and capabilities. Now that the fundamental OS architecture has changed to the NT kernel, you won't see changes that negate the hardware, as was the case with 7.5. Only subsequent updates that require more processing power, or heavier GPU capabilities, will cause you to have to purchase new updated hardware. So, we should all be good for the next couple of years with our current phones I will bet. Microsoft has no intention of standing still. I think they have learned their lesson on that score.
  • </