Windows Phone 8.1

Hey up, long time no blog…

At the Build conference this week we announced what I’ve been working on for the last while: Windows Phone 8.1.  It’s full of cool new stuff, but my contribution was deep in the entrails of the operating system, converging the graphics stack between Phone and desktop Windows and making sure this shared code runs well in limited memory on mobile GPU hardware.  I haven’t been blogging much because, while I found this kind of work to be important and a lot of fun, there just isn’t much that’s interesting to discuss in public along the lines of “yay, one more place where Phone used to differ from Windows is now the same” or “huzzah, one more driver bug fixed!” 🙂

You can pretty much sum up the end result as graphics on Phone 8.1 now being the same as Windows. For instance:

  • Phone now supports D2D
  • Phone now supports DWrite
  • Phone now supports WIC  (Windows Imaging Codec)
  • Phone now includes the HLSL shader compiler
  • Corner cases where Phone D3D did not support all the same features as Windows (for instance not all of the same swapchain options were available) are now much more similar
  • The Visual Studio Graphics Diagnostics feature (aka PIX) now works on Phone
  • You can now have a single Visual Studio project that targets both Windows and Phone

The Phone 8.1 SDK and emulator is available for download, and see Dan’s Build talk for more details and demos.

We also updated DirectXTK to include Phone 8.1 projects, which makes WICTextureLoader and SaveWICTextureToFile available on Phone.

Comments (7)

  1. Dave says:

    Awesome! Time to go try it out

  2. MikeBMcL says:

    Very awesome work. Glad to finally be able to hear about it! 🙂

  3. Daniel Armstrong says:

    Fantastic work, I would love to hear more about the graphics stuff you are doing on the windows 8.1 phone. Are you touching any Xbox One code with these new debugger improvements and graphics pipeline stuff?

  4. Michael Hansen says:

    is there still no support for managed code in games,, sad

    i will come back when there is ,, i meen time i will program the new nokia x ,, there is support for managed games there in java

    shawn nice to see that windows phone 8 is moveing forward..

  5. Xedi says:

    Hi Shawn,

    this feature : "Phone now includes the HLSL shader compiler"

    is it mean phone can compile HLSL shader runtime ?

  6. swollweber says:

    I have an HTC One and can connect to my work's Exchange server via ActiveSync with no problem. Same with a Blackberry Z10.

    All of these devices allow me to setup an Exchange account on the phone seamlessly and easily. I owned an Lumia 925 and, although it was running a Microsoft OS, it could NOT connect to my Enterprise account. Every time I tried, I was given the Error Code 86000C29. If you search the webs, you'll see this is a common problem with Windows Phone 8, that Microsoft created a product that wouldn't even let customers connect to another of its own products if a policy parameter is present ("Require Encryption on Storage Card"), even thought the HTC had NO storage card.

    So, I was excited to give WP another try knowing that 8.1 was going to be released. I figured this issue would be worked out. Purchased a Lumia 1520 (a phone with storage card) on Vodafone, installed 8.1 and setup Gmail,, and, finally, tried to connect to work via ActiveSync. The account was created, the server was found, the syncing process was started…and then failed…with the error code 86000C29. Unbelievable. I can't fathom why Microsoft hasn't fixed this issue after nearly 2 years. All the competition allows employees to quickly & easily setup corporate email. Microsoft's own product does not. And, please, don't tell me to ask my IT department to allow an exception for one device. We are a company of 2000+ people, and they are NOT going to allow an exception to be made.

    So, I'm left with a phone that can't do what the lowliest Android phone can do.

    I find this completely unacceptable and unfathomable. Why wouldn't Microsoft want to give customers the same ease of access to its OWN products that every other mobile platform enjoys? Can someone enlighten me on this? I want to give WP8.1 a fair shake, I love trying new OS's and there's a lot I like about WP. But, if I can't access my corporate account, this phone will be sold. Anyone else having a similar issue? Any workarounds that I can do without getting IT involved?

  7. Ron says:

    I'm going to have to agree with swollweber.  My brother just purchased a Nokia Lumina 1520 after seeing mine and the first thing he tried to do was connect to his works exchange server (2007).  No joy, he's boxing it back up as I write this and sending it back.  One more corporate customer deciding not to buy Windows Phone because of something that should have been corrected years ago.  It's sad when the company that makes both products can't get them to work together.

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