Unified Windows Store Coming Spring 2014

Sources have reportedly confirmed that Microsoft plans to release a unified Windows Store in the Spring 2014 update. Terry Myserson, head of Microsoft's Operating Systems division, supposedly confirmed the move on Friday during an internal company meeting attended by thousands of Microsoft workers. This is likely the same meeting that revealed Halo 4 streaming on a Windows Phone and Windows PC.

As previously reported, Microsoft will release Windows Phone 8.1 in Spring 2014 although the company may drop the numbering, similar to how the company dropped the "RT" from Surface. There's also talk that Windows 8.1 will receive an update during that same springtime window (GDR1), and that Microsoft will launch the Windows RT-based Surface Mini or Surface Xbox tablet.

A unified storefront for Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone would certainly provide a more unified experience across form factors and architectures. This updated Windows Store would presumably act just like the Google Play app on Android: show only compatible apps for that specific device. Moreover, tablet apps of the same architecture may not work on phone form factors, but phone apps would be scaled up for tablets.

The unified storefront is just a small step in Myserson's plan. Earlier this week he revealed that the team is shooting for one silicon interface, one set of APIs, one core cloud service, and a tailored experience for each form factor. He also hinted that Windows RT and Windows Phone may eventually become one operating system, focusing on ARM-based hardware while Windows 8 Pro caters to the x86-based crowd.

"We have two very important chipset families in everything we're doing in all of our devices, and that's x86 and ARM," answered Microsoft's new head of the operating systems division, Terry Myerson. "The ARM devices in particular in phones have incredible share given their battery life and the connectivity options available with the system-on-a-chip ecosystem. Windows RT was our first ARM tablet. And as phones extend into tablets, expect us to see many more ARM tablets, Windows ARM tablets in the future."

Windows 8.1 is slated for an October 18 release, followed by the new Surface tablets on October 22, and the Xbox One on November 22. The Surface 2 with 4G LTE support isn't scheduled to arrive until the spring, the same timeframe as the "Blue" release of Windows Phone 8.1 (GDR3), the Modern UI "Gemeni" apps for Office 2013, and the supposed Surface Mini tablet. As previously stated, something big seems to be brewing for next spring, including a unified Windows Store.

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  • Good move on MS's part. They still need to start stimulating developers to port popular apps to WP, given that the scarcity of professional apps for this platform is what's keeping me (and presumably others) from giving WP a serious chance.
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  • Hmmm I must be getting confused I thought Windows 8.1 was Windows "blue". Can someone tell me what will be new in Windows "blue"?
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  • Windows Blue is a code name for a project for continuous Windows development. Windows 8.1 is the first release from this project.
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