As with the lead-up to any big software release, there are plenty of rumors about the next version of Windows Phone. Possibly code named Windows Phone Blue, but perhaps otherwise known as Windows Phone 9, the latest mumblings suggest Microsoft may ditch its tile-based interface, which is still referred to as "Metro UI," even though Microsoft replaced that name long ago.
According to industry insider Eldar Murtazin, Microsoft will create an entirely new user interface in Windows Phone 9, possibly leaving behind the live tiles that we all know so well inside of Windows Phone, Windows RT 8.1 Windows 8.1. It's hard to stomach, since they're actually quite useful and is prevalent across all of Microsoft's operating systems. It has its critics, though, so perhaps Microsoft is listening and moving toward something different — though we hope some aspects remain.
Murtazin said we can expect a change in the UI and that the recent rumors aren't "tales," they're truth. The company will also merge Windows RT 8.1, which runs on tablets based off of mobile processors, and Windows Phone. That makes perfect sense, there's no need for that fragmentation, and we already see devices such as the Lumia 2520 and Lumia 1520 that run on the same Snapdragon 800 processor. As we argued in our Lumia 1520 review, there's definitely some extra power under the hood of the 1520 that doesn't seem necessary for the current version of Windows Phone, so we expect something more powerful in the coming months.
Our biggest problem with this rumor, however, is that if Microsoft combines RT and Windows Phone into one operating system for both tablets and smartphones, why would it still be called "Windows Phone 9?" We're not sure, there's definitely more to this story.
Murtazin says the current Windows Phone 9 release date is expected during the second half of 2014, but didn't provide an exact launch date. That's quite a ways out from now, so it's possible Microsoft has a smaller update planned with new notifications and more before then.