Microsoft could release the developer preview of Windows Phone 9, the next iteration to its mobile platform in January 2015, Nokia Power User reports. Furthermore, the report claims that all the existing Windows Phone 8.x devices — including the super cheap Lumia 520 — will be eligible to receive the update but they might not get all the new features.
The new update could also blur the line between Windows Phone and Windows RT. Microsoft is also rumored to be dropping the Windows Phone branding altogether and could simply call it Windows. We are not entirely sure if the next mobile operating system will support all the existing handsets running on Windows Phone 8.x.
However, Microsoft could release a lite version of Windows Phone 9 for existing smartphones just like it did when it introduced Windows 8. Lumia smartphones running on Windows Phone 7.5 got a cosmetic update to Windows Phone 7.8.
Among some of the features that we have heard, Windows Phone 9, or the mobile SKU of Windows Threshold will come with split-screen multi-tasking, and actionable notifications. Split-screen multi-tasking will allow users to run several apps at the same time, placed adjacent to each other on the screen. This feature will however only work on handsets with 4.9-inch or larger displays. The actionable notification will supposedly allow users to interact and respond to notifications without having to open the app. It’s worth pointing out that a similar feature is being added to iOS devices with iOS 8, which is arriving to the public tomorrow.
Microsoft is holding an event on September 30 where it will tease Windows 9, and hopefully also release a “Technical Preview” of that operating system. At the event, Microsoft’s operating system chief Terry Myerson, and Windows Phone chief Joe Belfiore will talk about the future of Windows.