Windows Phone 8.1 Might Be Getting Ready to Take on TabletsS

We've seen our fair share of Windows Phone leaks, in large part thanks to a random Craigslist phone. But there are some under the hood updates coming to WP8.1, and according to Paul Thurrott, they include 10 inch screens.

WP8 GDR3 (Windows Phone 8 General Distribution Release 3), a still unreleased update, is expected to up the Windows Phone screen ante to support 5 and 6-inch phones (like the Nokia 1520), catapulting the OS into the realm of phone sizes occupied by Android. But according to Thurrott's verified but single source, WP8.1 goes even further, bringing 7- and 10-inch options to the table. That's tablet territory.

It only makes sense for Microsoft to push its mobile operating system to tackle larger form factors like virtually everyone else is doing, but the complicated part is the cannibalization; Microsoft already has a tablet OS, Windows RT. But it's kind of rough. Rough to the extent that third party hardware-makers have completely abandoned it, leaving the Surface RT/Surface 2 as the sole gadgets repping it. And that's a problem when you're working with an app store that leaves a bit to be desired to begin with. Throw 10-inch WP8.1 tablets into the mix and something's gonna have to change.

Of course that's not all that's on the horizon for WP8.1. We've heard rumblings of a long-awaited notification center, and Thurrott's source indicates that hardware back buttons may soon disappear, which raises all kinds of questions about how multitasking will work in WP8.1.

One thing is for sure though, if these leaks are accurate, the world of Microsoft tablets is going to get yet another operating system on top of Windows 8 RT and Windows 8 Pro. Something's gotta give. Or merge. Right? [WinSuperSite via The Verge]