Today, during its MIX11 keynote, Microsoft is providing the first deep look at the development platform for the next version of Windows Phone - code named Mango - arriving on new and existing handsets later this year. Developers will soon have updated Windows Phone Developer Tools. Improved tools include a performance profiler and sensor simulation, enabling developers to build more integrated and high-performing applications. However, Microsoft also provided an early glimpse of app concepts for the next version of Windows Phone OS with new experiences from Skype, Spotify, Layar, Qantas, Amazon Shopping and Kik Messenger.
Microsoft said it remains on track to start delivering the next version of Windows Phone to new and existing devices by the end of this year. Windows Phone Developer Tools will be available in May, and Microsoft announced that new features will enable the following:
- Live Agents create superior customer engagement with real-time interactions via Live Tiles, Push Notifications, Deep Linking and Background Agents. Multitasking is also enhanced to allow for fast applications switching, as well as background audio and file transfer.
- Phone integration has been greatly improved for developers wanting to do more with their apps. The Live Tiles functionality has been expanded to give developers more flexibility and engage with their customers better.
- Developers will have access to the Motion Sensor library and the camera, enabling augmented reality experiences. The integration extends deeper into the operating system via sockets and database access now available to apps and games.
For the benefit of the end-users, Microsoft confirmed that it will bring the recently launched Internet Explorer 9 to Windows Phones, which will benefit from the devices hardware acceleration. Also confirmed is that Twitter will be the second social media service Microsoft will link into the People Hub. Last but not least, Microsoft plans to improve the SkyDrive integration and user experience.
Providing developers with the tools they need to bring their creativity to life is all well and good. However, Microsoft has also put a considerable amount of thought into creating a path to the marketplace for developers.
Expanded opportunities through Windows Phone Marketplace include:
- More countries - 35 countries with creation and commerce, up from 16 with the first version of Windows Phone
- Expanded reach - dedicated games Marketplace, parental controls and new beta distribution service
- Improved discoverability - exposure through Bing Search "extras", expanded search functionality and new merchandising opportunities
- Additional monetization opportunities - more mobile operator billing, expanded country support for advertising SDK
- Streamlined processes - App Hub application submission, update, management and reporting capabilities
The new application platform enables developers to take advantage of the following:
- 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
- Access to the camera and Motion Sensor library so developers can build apps that incorporate device hardware and build augmented reality experiences
Developers will be able to take advantage of these new capabilities to create even more creative and engaging Windows Phone apps and games.
The free Windows Phone Developer Tools for the new Windows Phone OS will be available to developers in May. With 38,000 registered developers, more than 13,000 available apps and 1.5 million downloads of the original Windows Phone Developer Tools, developers are the foundation of the fast-growing Windows Phone ecosystem.
Cheers ~ Arne