The MIX 2010 conference is off to a nice start and Microsoft are showcasing for the first time how apps work under Windows Phone 7. From multi-tasking through push notifications to gaming - it's all here.
The MIX10 is a three-day conference for Web developers and designers and they've all gathered to see where Windows Phone 7 is going with application development.
Back at the MWC 2010 Microsoft spoke little about the OS internals, how multitasking works, how applications (even games) and the Application Marketplace look and feel.
Today Microsoft is ready to show that plus much more. The developers' tools are now available online as we speak - it's a free download. "Free" means every aspiring developer will have access to those and can have a go at building an app for the new platform.
As we've known for some time now developers will be able to choose between Silverlight (MS web apps framework) and XNA (MS game development toolkit) to build their apps for the Windows Phone 7.
The new platform capabilities are quite promising - enticing graphics with hardware acceleration and a high level of user interaction just call for some impressive apps.
Developers will be able to tap into the new Microsoft Location Service (a single point of reference for getting location information for apps).
The new Microsoft Notification Service will work just like Apple's background notification service for "pushing" updates to apps even when those are not working. Unfortunately, there will be no real multi-tasking on the Windows Phone 7 devices (save perhaps for the music player).
Microsoft used a sports app to demo the Notification service - the MLS (Major League Soccer). It allows you to set up automatic pushing of scores you're interested in. Notifications show up as a bar across the top of the screen. Tapping it opens the app itself and shows more info.
Applications will also make use of the accelerometer sensor, multi-touch input and camera and microphone input.
Microsoft also showed their new Marketplace for the first time. The Marketplace is a unified application store for their new platform. It’s got the same design cues, interaction level and feel of the rest of the UI. After you're done reading this, you can check a video demo of the Marketplace that we've just published in our blog.
Developers will be allowed to make trial versions of their apps. There will be support for operator billing and one-time credit card purchases.
Unfortunately, it’s official – the Marketplace will be the ONLY source for applications for the future Windows Phone 7 devices. All apps would have to go through an approval process but Microsoft promise to make that process more predictable and transparent than Apple's.
And as a final comment on the issue - corporate customers will be allowed to install their own apps. Details on that will be released in the future.
We mentioned that the software development tools are free but developers will still have to pay 99 US dollars annual subscription for the Marketplace.
The first application for the Windows Phone 7 platform that was showcased at the MIX10 was the Associated Press news reader. We guess it's self-explanatory, but that this really does impresses with eye candy.
The application is built using Silverlight – the Microsoft’s application framework used for creating interactive web applications much like Flash. The impressive thing here is that the AP news reader is still technically a native application. As Microsoft sees it, Silverlight will play a huge role in the Windows Phone 7 app developing.
The Multimedia diary is another demonstration of the OS capabilities - and it's again built on Silverlight. Combining content created with the phone into a graphically impressive UI definitely proves a point here.
Allegedly, the app was really simple and quick to build from scratch with the help of a few animation libraries downloaded off the Internet. Using common, well-established software frameworks for building apps for the new Windows Phone has definitely been to the advantage of the developer in this case.
Games on the WinPho 7 also have the potential of becoming a smash hit especially given the impressive minimum specs that the first devices will have. The Xbox integration allows for sharing scores and unlocking achievements in a single game across several platforms - your desktop PC, the Xbox 360 and your phone.
Here's a quick video demo of a 3D game Joe Belfiore did before the press at the event.
So that's about the software side of the MIX10 announcement. Microsoft also detailed the minimum specs for the upcoming WinPho7 devices, but we'll post those into a separate article.
i currently have the htc 7 trophy it does have hd vid nd 5 mgp camera (the hd has 8 mgp camera) this fone is aweso0me... the only down side is trhe lack of apps atm.. but thats being sorted :-)
Windows phone 7 still lacks multitasking, copy and paste.
With such a large capacitive touchscreen, Windows 7 devices would be awesome.. But I would NEVER go for an OS that doesn't support multitasking.