Thursday, 14 April 2011 14:26

Mango growing in Microsoft's Windows Phone hothouse

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Microsoft's next update to its Windows Phone 7 platform is codenamed 'Mango', where Microsoft presumably hopes that the man, and the woman, will go and get a Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft's MIX event is on in the US, and the Microsoft news is flowing thick and fast.

A Kinect SDK is on the way, Silverlight 5 beta has shone some silvery light on the final 5.0 path, new Windows Phone Developer Tools are coming in May, glimpses of the next Windows Phone 7 OS were shown via 'app concepts' and even Australia's major airline, Qantas, has a new app ready to board Microsoft's platform.

The Qantas app is but a concept, however, and is still yet to truly take flight, but at least the app is on the way and can 'for the first time use location software to provide predicted journey times'.

While few will truly be interested in a Qantas app, what most are waiting for is news of Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 OS update, which is being called Mango.

The update will come pre-loaded on new handsets and will be available for existing devices 'later this year'.

The faithful and faithful-to-be will be pleased to know that, several billion years after the first smartphones were able to multitask (including the ancient, only found as fossils, Windows Mobile 6.Jurassic phones), Mango will be multitasking a go-go, something that will send its owners gaga with happiness over the fact they can, at last, task forth and multiply.

The features to come include 'application multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast application switching', 'deeper phone integration so apps can, for example, take better advantage of the versatility of Live Tiles' and 'access to the camera and Motion Sensor library so developers can build apps that incorporate device hardware and build augmented reality experiences'.

Microsoft has appealed to the Mix'd masses to watch the 'We Love Windows Phone' YouTube video, whereby if 200,000 views are reached, Microsoft will 'air the ad on national television' - presumably US television seeing as the Mix event was held in Las Vegas, NV, USA.

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I just took a look at the 2 minute video, which has techno dance music and a stack of dancing Windows Phone 7 phones showing all manner of apps on screen.

The focus seems mainly on games, although there were glimpses of Facebook, Office Mobile, buying stuff from Amazon, but also lots and lots and lots and lots of games.

If the video does get its 200,000 views, which seems likely (despite only 2500+ views thus far), it'll probably have to craft a shorter 30-sec version, unless it plans to air the longer versions in cinemas before the movie begins.

On the app front, Microsoft says there are now 13,000 apps for Windows Phone 7 and that there were 1.5 million download of the 'original Windows Phone Developer Tools'.

It looks like Microsoft is trying the same trick as always - keep on developing an OS or software until it is finally good enough for mass consumer acceptance, and work with OEM manufacturing partners to make the devices which use Microsoft's software.

So far, so good - Microsoft's OS is definitely different from the usual iClones, and the growing app library is also a good sign, it all just needs to happen faster, although clearly it is all happening as fast as Microsoft can make it happen.

Probably the best news of all for Windows Phone 7 owners is not the news that multitasking is still months away, but instead the news that Angry Birds is much closer.

Yes, Windows Phone 7 will finally feel the anger of the birds and the arrogance of the pigs who are probably annoyed that an egg and bacon sandwich is a day's work for the birds but a lifetime commitment for the pigs.

So, more Windows Phone 7 apps and updates on the way soon, with plenty more Kinect clearly to come!

 

More details on Microsoft's MIX announcements here.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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