It's not a complete surprise, but it's still a little bit shocking that it's actually happening -- Windows Phone 8 will be borrowing much of its code base, including the kernel, from Windows 8. At the heart of the latest mobile OS from Microsoft is the full-fledged NT kernel. It's not just a kernel though, the so-called "Shared Windows Core" extends to the file system, security infrastructure, etc... The obvious benefit here is to streamline the creation of a coherent ecosystem. Developers will be able to easily create apps and drivers that can jump from the phone, to the tablet and to the desktop. Only having to write a driver once should also simplify the process of building hardware, meaning manufacturers won't have to tailor GPU code to a phone and start again on the desktop. They OSes even share a substantial chunk of browser code, finally bringing Windows Phone up to parity with its desktop IE progenitors. For enterprise users and IT departments, Microsoft has brought over Secure Boot, BitLocker and some serious encryption. We'd say it's about time that Redmond finally brought all its Windows power to the mobile space.
Thanks to the sharing of C and C++ libraries, Direct X components and SQLite support, developers can actually write an app once and move it from one platform to another with only a few code tweaks. In fact, thanks to the Shared Windows Core, pretty much the only major difference for coders is screen resolution and size. Obviously, a 4-inch 720p display isn't the same as a 1080p 10-inch tablet, but the Direct X graphics engine is -- and that, friends, can make all the difference.