Today, in New York City, Andy Lees announced the next major release of Windows Phone, previously codenamed “Mango”, to the world.
We’re excited to release the Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 Beta and would encourage mobile developers to download and experience what is possible with the upcoming Windows Phone OS 7.1 release.
Below are some of the new capabilities we are announcing today:
Communications: Easier to connect and share: The smartphone experience can be complicated by a sea of disconnected apps and accounts as people attempt to keep pace with all the ways they communicate – from calls, texts, email and IM to status updates, Tweets, check-ins, photo posting and tagging. To help people stay on top of that growing complexity, the Windows Phone 7.1 release organizes information around the person or group people want to interact with, not the app they have to use.
- Threads. Switch between text, Facebook chat, and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation.
- Groups. Group contacts into personalized Live Tiles to see the latest status updates right from the start screen and quickly send a text, email or IM to the whole group.
- Deeper social network integration. Twitter and Linked In feeds are now integrated into contact cards, and Windows Phone 7.1 includes built-in Facebook check-ins and new face detection software that makes it easier to quickly tag photos and post to the Web.
- Linked Inbox. See multiple email accounts in one linked inbox. Conversations are organized to make it easy to stay on top of the latest mail.
- Hands-free messaging. Built-in voice-to-text and text-to-voice support enables hands-free texting or chatting.
A smarter approach to Apps Windows Phone will challenge the way people think about apps. Today their usefulness is measured by what can be done within the app, but we see the promise of apps in how they can be integrated directly into the core experiences of the phone. In addition to making it easier to get timely notifications and updates from apps right from the Start Screen, the Windows Phone 7.1 release will also surface apps as part of search results and within Windows Phone Hubs. As a result, a useful app is more likely to be right there when you need it.
- App Connect. By connecting apps to search results and deepening their integration with Windows Phone Hubs, including Music and Video and Pictures, Mango allows apps to be surfaced when and where they make sense.
- Improved Live Tiles. Get real-time information from apps without having to open them. Live Tiles are more dynamic and can hold more information.
- Multitasking. Quickly switch between apps in use and allow apps to run in the background while helping to preserve battery life and performance.
Internet beyond the browser
In addition to including Internet Explorer, the Windows Phone 7.1 release will connect the power of the Web to the unique capabilities of your phone, such as location awareness, camera and access to apps, to present a new way of viewing the Web that is more localized, actionable and relevant.
- Internet Explorer 9. A browser based on the powerful IE9 and including support for HTLM5 and full hardware acceleration.
- Local Scout. Provides hyper-local search results and recommends nearby restaurants, shopping and activities in an easy- to-use guide.
- Bing on Windows Phone. More ways to search the Web, including Bing Vision, Music Search and Voice so it’s easy to discover and decide.
- Quick Cards. When searching for a product, movie, event or place see a quick summary of relevant information, including related apps.
In this release of the Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 Beta, developers will find the following enhancements:
- Profiler – A profiler allows you to identify and resolve performance problems quickly and easily.
- Improved Emulator – The WPDT 7.1 emulator allows you to emulate provide sensor input, including feeding GPS information and accelerometer data.
- Visual Basic – The WPDT 7.1 release provides in-the-box support for Visual Basic. With WPDT 7.1, you can now use Visual Basic to build Silverlight projects, XNA projects, and within both Visual Studio and Expression Blend.
- Multi-targeting – The final release of WPDT 7.1 lets you specify the version of the Windows Phone OS that will run your app. This allows you to continue to develop your apps that target the Windows Phone OS 7.0, or target the new ‘Mango’ release. Because the WPDT provides a multi-targeting capability, the beta installation will replace an existing WPDT 7.0 installation. All of your existing projects and code that target Windows Phone OS 7.0 will remain on your box, and can be continued to be developed using the 7.1 tools. Please note that for this release of WPDT 7.1, these are beta tools. While you are able to develop, test, and submit apps to the Marketplace – these tools have not been completely tested and you may encounter bugs; you should continue to develop and test your Windows Phone OS 7.0 apps using the released WPDT 7.0 tooling.
- Support for Windows Phone OS 7.1 – Build mobile apps that take advances in the upcoming Windows Phone OS, including:
- Additional sensors (camera; compass; gyro)
- Background Agents
- Fast Application Switching
- IE9 Web Browser Control
- Live Agents, making use of live tile and notification enhancements
- Silverlight 4
- Silverlight / XNA Interop
- SQL CE