Rumors over the past few months suggest that Microsoft is steadily attempting to unify the interface between Windows Phone and their Windows desktop/tablet operating system. Some have said that to make this happen would require Microsoft to totally revamp everything. But, I don't think that's the case, based on Microsoft's just released Bing app suite for Windows Phone.
When Windows 8 launched it came with a set of Bing app including Finance, News, Weather, Sports, and Maps. I've grown accustomed to using these apps and while not as full-featured as 3rd party apps from the Windows Store, they are adequate and get the job done and Microsoft has been steadily improving them.
To me, unifying the mobile and desktop/tablet operating systems is more about function than look, feel, and codebase. Sure, both Windows Phone and Windows 8 sport a similar tiled interface, but it's really – at least to me – more about the apps and services working the same across different devices. And, if you get to the very core of that, it's truly about the apps.
By releasing the Bing app suite for Windows Phone 8, there are now more pieces in place to ensure the differences between the two platforms are shrinking.
Today, Microsoft is rolling out Bing News, Bing Sports, Bing Weather, and Bing Finance for Windows Phone 8. Here's the applicable links with descriptions:
Bing News for Windows Phone 8 - The beautiful, photo-rich Bing News app makes it easy to stay up to date on the news that matters most to you. Designed for Windows Phone, the News app lets you easily choose your favorite news sources. Swipe through for a quick read of the headlines. Go deep with personalized coverage of the topics you're passionate about. Or, search the day's stories from your choice of trusted sources from around the world.
Bing Sports for Windows Phone 8 - The Bing Sports app makes it easy for you to keep up with all the sports and teams you care about. Designed for Windows Phone, the Sports app puts your favorite teams at your fingertips. Swipe through the app to get an overview of the top headlines, scores, schedules, standings, statistics, and much more across all major sports. Personalize the experience so you can track all the leagues and teams that interest you the most.
Bing Weather for Windows Phone 8 - The Bing Weather app helps you prepare for the latest conditions with hourly, daily, and 10-day forecasts. Designed for Windows Phone, the Weather App features beautiful weather images and maps, easily customized to track conditions for the places you care about. Catch the forecast on your Live Tile, check radar maps, and view historical details so you’re always aware of weather on the way. Note: Some features may not be available in all markets.
Bing Finance for Windows Phone 8 - The Bing Finance app helps you stay on top of fast-changing market conditions so you can make the most informed financial decisions. Designed for Windows Phone, the Finance app puts your portfolio at your fingertips. Swipe through colorful charts for a quick read on the day's events. Personalize your watch list to track your portfolio.
NOTE: As of this writing, the apps have not quite synched with the Windows Phone store yet. If you see a message saying, "This app is no longer published," just wait a bit longer.