There’s a lot of news about Windows Phone 7 coming out of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where we’re announcing updates to our favourite phone that are coming this year. Here’s a quick look at what was announced and more importantly, what it means for you when you’re writing Windows Phone 7 apps:
|What’s going into Windows Phone||What it means for you, the developer|
First major update! In early March, we’ll push out a free customer update that will include new capabilities like support for copy and paste and faster app startup and performance.
|You can write apps with support for copy and paste, and you can get started immediately! Copy and paste support comes with the Windows Phone Developer Tools January 2011 Update. Get it now!
Having apps start faster is also great – it makes for a much better user experience and will make your apps appear snappier and more polished.
|IE9 for the phone! A natural byproduct of desktop IE and mobile IE sharing a common code base (for the first time ever!), our best browser ever becomes our best phone browser ever. This will come out later this year.||If you developer HTML5 mobile web apps, they’ll work on Windows Phone 7. In fact, they just might work better and faster than on other mobile phones, because just like IE9 for the desktop, IE9 for Windows Phone 7 will take advantage of hardware acceleration. Standards compliance and super-speed, all in the same package!|
|3rd-party multitasking! Windows Phone 7 has been multitasking-ready from the get-go, but it was only available for its own built-in apps. Later this year, an update will add 3rd-party multitasking support: “the ability to switch quickly between applications, run applications in the background (such as listening to music), along with a number of other capabilities.” The details of how this will work will be revealed at the MIX conference in April.||3rd-party multitasking and letting apps run in the background opens up a whole new class of apps that can be run on Windows Phone 7 – apps that perform continual (working at regular intervals) or continuous (working all the time) tasks will now be possible.
Once again, it’ll be explained at the MIX conference.
|Twitter integration in the People hub! The People hub, a “contacts list on steroids” that acts as both directory of people and social networking app currently features Facebook integration – you can see what your Facebook friends are up to with just one swipe. Later this year, the People hub will also show the your contacts’ tweets.||This means a better experience and more convenience for users, which we hope will be yet another reason to get a Windows Phone, which in turn will drive phone sales and by extension, app sales.
As a developer, you might want to rethink writing that Twitter client, or at least find a way to tweak it so that if offers something to users that a plain old Twitter client can’t.
|Document sharing and storage in the cloud via Windows Live SkyDrive will be added to Windows Phone later this year.||Once again, good news for users.
This feature might not affect you directly, but once again, nice features sell phones, and selling phones grows app demand, which in turn is an opportunity for you.
|CDMA! With added support for CDMA networks, Windows Phone will be available to even more customers on mobile operators such as Verizon and Sprint in the first half of 2011.||A bigger Windows Phone market, a bigger pool of potential app customers.|
For more on what’s going on with Windows Phone 7, check out this interview with Microsoft Senior VP Andy Lees, as he talks to Ina Fried about the upcoming goodies: