Several sites are reporting that Intel has posted a job opening on LinkedIn for Windows Phone engineers at their Bellevue site right by Microsoft’s headquarters. There is much speculation about what this means for Windows Phone, and the possibility of seeing Intel-based Windows Phones.
While it is certainly a good thing (for Windows Phone) to expand to more chipsets in order to cover a wider range of devices, and given that Windows Phone 8 has Windows 8 kernel underneath, there is absolutely no surprise that there may be a project on-going to actually make Windows Phone devices based on the x86 architecture.
In fact, as some have pointed out on Twitter, the Windows Phone 8 emulator may actually be the Windows Phone OS running on x86 already. Hence, the linking of this job opening to the possibility of an x86 Windows Phone is not that exciting. However, I was thinking about that weird gap between a Windows Phone device at about 4.5 to 4.8 inches, and Windows 8/Windows RT which starts at 10 inches. As the iPad mini and Android tablets including Kindle Fire have shown, the market does like tablets at the 7-8 inches screen size. Windows does not have a device at this size, neither with Windows Phone OS nor with its big brother(s) Windows 8 and Windows RT.
What if the project is actually to make Windows Phone run on x86 and besides phone, actually make a decent “Windows” tablet at 7 or 8 inches? Microsoft representatives have said in the past that 8 inches does not make too much sense for Windows 8 because snap mode may not work too well. Although snap mode can be disabled on devices, wouldn’t it be better to see the Windows Phone OS scale up to a larger screen? I certainly would be interested. In fact, there are many who believe that Microsoft should have gone ahead with Windows Phone as the OS for their tablet devices, and left Windows 8 for “PC” form factor.
This project at Intel (and I am sure many similar projects around the Microsoft partner ecosystem) may be more than just an x86 phone. Windows Phone phablet may actually happen with an x86 chipset
What’s your take?