Skype for Windows Phone 7 is still coming soon

You got to love delays. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about them especially when the company decides to stay silent about a product. As you all already know, Skype for Windows Phone was announced back in April of last year and was supposedly set to launch alongside Mango last fall. Nothing happened, Nokia’s then flagship product, the Lumia 800 didn’t even feature a front facing camera so Microsoft may have decided to act as nothing was missing. That’s until this week CES where Skype’s VP of Products Rick Osterloh just let a “coming soon” slip in a interview with….Microsoft. Video after the break:

Continue reading Skype for Windows Phone 7 is still coming soon →

Spotify for Windows Phone 7 coming today

According to the folks who are attending the Mango launch event in today, the long awaited Spotify application for Windows Phone 7 application is ready to hit the marketplace today. They’ve also shot a short hands-on video of it in action:

UPDATE: Spotify is now available here!
Continue reading Spotify for Windows Phone 7 coming today →

Windows Phone 7 Mango Beta SDK announced: Available Now

Along side the Windows Phone 7 Mango comes the launch of the Mango Beta SDK. It’s available now for download and obviously includes most of the features we have heard about during the MIX11 event. Yes, it’s called Windows Phone 7.1.

First the tools. Developers can use this beta release to get ready for the upcoming Windows Phone OS release. The new application platform capabilities coming in Mango deliver the top features you have asked for:

- Background processing

- New profiler and emulator for testing

- Use of Silverlight + XNA together

- Silverlight 4

- IE9 web browser control

- Live Tile enhancements: use of back of tiles and ability to update Live Tiles locally
- Deep linking into apps from notifications and Live Tiles

- Additional sensors; direct camera access, compass & gyro

- Fast application switching

- Networking / sockets for communications

- Local SQL database for structured storage

- Access to calendar and contacts for apps

Continue reading Windows Phone 7 Mango Beta SDK announced: Available Now →

Windows Phone 7 Mango media and speed improvements overview: 32bit color support, better controls

Now that MIX11 is finished I took the time to watch most of the Windows Phone 7 related sessions looking for some interesting info that may have been missed earlier. The first thing to note is that Mango will be a big step forward in terms of developer tools and APIs (thanks to Silverlight 4) and third party applications performance thanks to the new and improved controls. Microsoft has apparently listened to the users and developer complaints and tried its best to fix all the major issue found in the OS’s current release (most of them listed in my Windows Phone 7 review here).

Continue reading Windows Phone 7 Mango media and speed improvements overview: 32bit color support, better controls →

New Beta and Private applications distribution options coming to Windows Phone 7 Mango Marketplace

Microsoft has just announced during the “Making Money with your Application on Windows Phone” MIX11 session (which is currently still underway) that 2 new methods of distributions are going to see the light of the day alongside Mango later this year. As you can see in the slide above developers will be able to submit applications as part of a Beta program (this was announced last year…), privately or publicly which is the only option right now.

Continue reading New Beta and Private applications distribution options coming to Windows Phone 7 Mango Marketplace →

New Windows Phone 7 Chassis unveiled: MSM7X30 and MSM8x55

Last night Microsoft’s Itsvan Cseri unveiled the new Windows Phone 7 chassis that OEM’s can use to build Windows Phone 7 handsets slated to be released in the coming months (I talked about this subject back in February before MWC but things apparently got delayed because of the Nokia partnership). As you can see in the picture above the Qualcomm MSM7X30 and MSM8X55 SoCs are now certified for WP7 (both feature the Adreno 205 GPU). A Gyroscope Sensor is now also optional for OEMs who will have the choice to use the combination of SoC, memory, gyro they want (but the overall device’s specs shouldn’t be lower than what we have with the first generation of WP7 devices). Also note the the HVGA chassis announced last year has been dropped and that WVGA is now the only screen resolution supported by WP7. As expected Qualcomm is still the only certified SoC manufacturer for Windows Phone 7 and this is in my opinion a good thing. I highly recommend you watch the full Windows Phone 7 Architecture Deep Dive session after the break:

Update: Here’s Itsvan comment from the presentation file that you can grab here.

We standardized on one display resolution – 800×480 – and we are not changing that in this release which makes application and game development easier. At the same time we allow more flexibility in the configuration of the device by allowing certain sensors to be optional.[he clearly stated that the Gyro will be optional later in the video] We are taking advantage of the latest hardware silicon vendors are producing and we are adding a new Qualcomm SoC, the 7×30 to our supported chipsets [and MSM8X55 as seen in the slide above and stated in the video below]. We have been working with them to reduce the heavy lifting they have to do writing device drivers to take advantage of all the new functionality. We will produce most of the common device driver code for the platform and the hardware vendors only need to write the very silicon specific parts

Continue reading New Windows Phone 7 Chassis unveiled: MSM7X30 and MSM8x55 →

Watch the MIX11 Windows Phone 7 Mango, Silverlight 5 and Kinect SDK keynote

Here’s your chance to watch yesterday’s MIX11 keynote about Mango, Silverlight 5 and the Kinect SDK. I’ve already talked about most of what was announced here (besides the SIMD / NEON stuff that wasn’t part of the keynote). So just grab some drinks and hit the break to watch the 2 hours long event.

Continue reading Watch the MIX11 Windows Phone 7 Mango, Silverlight 5 and Kinect SDK keynote →

All about the new Windows Phone 7 Mango features

Most of the new features which are going to be introduced in the upcoming Windows Phone 7 Mango update have just been demonstrated on stage during the MIX11 keynote. So in case you didn’t check it out here’s a compilation of the most important features that you can expect to see on your Windows Phone 7 device later this year.

First lest start with something that wasn’t talked about during the Keynote: SIMD / ARM NEON support in Mango. As you probably know all Windows Phone 7 devices are powered by an AMRv7 Qualcomm QSD8250 SoC which also features support for NEON instructions. Unfortunately the current version of WP7 doesn’t have support for these SIMD functions but this is going to change in the coming months (only for XNA apps):

ARM processors support SIMD (Single Instructions Multiple Data) instructions through the ARM® NEON™technology that is available on ARMV7 ISA. SIMD allows parallelization/HW-acceleration of some operations and hence performance gains. Since the Windows Phone 7 chassis specification requires ARMV7-A; NEON is available by default on all WP7 devices. However, the CLR on Windows Phone 7 (NETCF) did not utilize this hardware functionality and hence it was not available to the managed application developers. We just announced in MIX11 that in the next version of Windows Phone release the NETCF runtime JIT will utilize SIMD capabilities on the phones.

Continue reading All about the new Windows Phone 7 Mango features →

Skype, Layar, Spotify for Windows Phone 7 announced. New developer tools and Mango features!

Many Windows Phone 7 users should be happy to learn that Microsoft has announced the upcoming availability of Skype, Spotify, Layar (augmented reality app), Quantas for Windows Phone 7. Joe Belfiore is going to demo these apps during his MIX11 keynote in a few minutes so stay tuned for more info. What this essentially means is that third party developers finally have access to the device’s sensors (Compass..), live camera feed and HTTP sockets support. Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 will be available on May 25th.

full press release after the break:

Continue reading Skype, Layar, Spotify for Windows Phone 7 announced. New developer tools and Mango features! →

All Windows Phone 7 MIX11 sessions unveiled

Remember the 11 mystery sessions that pooped up on the MIX11 website agenda last week? Well, here’s what they are all about:

- What’s Coming Next to the Windows Phone Application Platform
- Going Mobile with Your Site on Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Phone 7
- Mini-Session: Get Ready for Fast Application Switching in Windows Phone
- Windows Phone Multitasking
- Multitasking in the Next Version of Windows Phone, Part II: Using Background Agents
- What’s New in the Windows Phone Developer Tools?
- What’s New for Windows Phone Development with the XNA Framework?
- Sensor Access in the Next Version of Windows Phone
- What’s New for Windows Phone Development with Silverlight?
- Enhanced Push Notifications & Live Tiles for Windows Phone
- New Data Access Features Coming to Windows Phone

Continue reading All Windows Phone 7 MIX11 sessions unveiled →

Download Internet Explorer 10 Preview 1 now

This is obviously not really Windows Phone 7 related but I just wanted to point out that Microsoft has just released the first preview build of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows PCs. The company is going to talk more about the new browser during today’s MIX11 opening keynote which you can watch live here (I’m not expecting a whole lot of WP7 talk today unfortunately).

Welcome to the Platform Preview

The Platform Preview is an early look at the Internet Explorer platform so some features are incomplete, some may change, and some may be added. To learn more about this preview of the Web Platform, please see the Internet Explorer 10 Developer Guide. These release notes list new features available in the latest Platform Preview and known issues with those features. To report issues, and provide feedback please click on Report Issue and click Send Feedback.

What’s New in Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 1

Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 1 is the first public preview of the IE10 web platform. In this release, we are showcasing support for CSS3 Flexbox, CSS3 Grid Alignment, CSS3 Multi-column, CSS3 Gradients on background-images and ECMAScript5 Strict Mode.

Download link after the break.
Continue reading Download Internet Explorer 10 Preview 1 now →

11 More Windows Phone 7 sessions added MIX11. But they are still a mystery

As Mary Jo just pointed out Microsoft has just added 11 new Windows Phone related sessions to the MIX11 calendar. The sessions’ topics probably won’t be unveiled before the conference’s opening keynote where Joe Belfiore is excepted to discuss Windows Phone 7′s future road map and Mango. Most of the new sessions seem to be about Silverlight (and one about XNA) so it’s safe to assume that something like SL5 for Windows Phone or a new version SL for WP7 is going to be unveiled. I just recently posted a short editorial about what to expect in 2012 so check it out and post your thoughts.

Continue reading 11 More Windows Phone 7 sessions added MIX11. But they are still a mystery →

Windows Phone 7 in 2012: What should we expect?

We all know by now that Mango is most probably going to be the only major Windows Phone 7 update coming out this year (and that’s if it isn’t delayed until early 2012) and the changes it brings have for the most part already been announced. But there are still a few surprises that Microsoft hasn’t talked about yet that should be unveiled in a week during the MIX11 opening Keynote. It’s highly probable that there’s going to some talk about the upcoming NFC support and also new APIs for developers but I’m personally not expecting anything major in terms of new features.

February 2012 will mark the second anniversary of Windows Phone 7 ‘s unveiling and if assume that we know most of the features that will come with Mango it is safe to say that Microsoft didn’t really impress anybody since the operating systems official launch in October 2010. Sure, Multi-Tasking and an HTML5 compliant browser are great additions but they are also just helping the platform to play catch-up with the competition that already supports these features. What Microsoft needs to do is to introduce things that are new and not seen anywhere else. One can argue that the Metro UI is already a big differentiator but that’s already something of the past. The UI/UX wow factor is now gone. Microsoft has also yet to fix many of the shortcomings of the current implementation of its services in the platform shipping today.  I’ve already discussed most of them in my Windows Phone 7 review but it should be noted again and again that Bing Maps is light years behind Google Maps and Google Navigation and that even Bing Search on WP7 is way behind its iPhone version in terms of features. The quick integration of Nokia’s Ovi Maps into Bing Maps is going to be one of the most important tasks that Microsoft will have to accomplish if it hopes to compete with Android. Redmond has no time to waste in this department especially when you consider the fact that WP7 users outside of the US have an even worst mapping and search experience.

Continue reading Windows Phone 7 in 2012: What should we expect? →

MIX11 Windows Phone 7 Sessions announced

Some of the MIX11 Windows Phone 7 sessions have just been announced a few minutes ago. Keep in mind that this isn’t the full list yet and more are going to be announced shortly. Most of them are going to be about building good performant applications for the platform which is something that every developer should keep in mind. Performance is probably what lacks in most of the apps currently available and only a handful managed to overcome this issue so far. Hit the break to check out the current WP7 sessions description and don’t forget to check my 50+ must Windows Phone 7 application list here:

Continue reading MIX11 Windows Phone 7 Sessions announced →

Next generation Windows Phone and Zune devices to be discussed at MIX11 ?

Here’s something that totally missed a couple of days ago (thanks to Twitter); the MIX 11 website describes Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore as being “responsible for the design and software product definition of forthcoming generations of Windows phones and Zune devices“. Zune devices ? So Microsoft is still working on a new Zune HD2  device or another form of Zune device that isn’t a Windows Phone (which is a Zune device)…like tablet/slate, Zune Pad ? Anyway, only time will tell but it can also possibly be mistake or poorly worded description (the post has a Zune tag associated to it so it definitely looks like “Zune Devices” was meant to be in there..).

Continue reading Next generation Windows Phone and Zune devices to be discussed at MIX11 ? →