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:

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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!
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Windows Phone 7 Mango applications performance tweaks detailed

Two of Microsoft’s Mango most anticipated features are undoubtedly the new smooth scrolling ListBox control and off-thread decoding of images that will finally allow third party applications to be a lot more polished in terms of UX and performances. Microsoft’s Jeff Willcox has posted to must-read blog posts detailing both new implementations which are already available to developers in the Windows Phone 7.1 Mango Beta SDK.

In the case of the new ListBox control no code changes have to been implemented for it to take effect in Mango as long as a regular ListBox/ScrollViewer was used in the application and enabling background decoding of image requires less than one line of code ( CreateOptions=”BackgroundCreation”).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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