Microsoft officials outlined some of the developer-focused features coming with the Windows Phone 'Next' operating system update, known by the codename "Mango," during Day 2 of the Mix '11 conference in Las Vegas.
Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Program Management, emphasized during his remarks that Mango is still on track for delivery to consumers with already shipping Windows Phones and new Windows Phone phones this fall.
Belfiore spent the first several minutes of his Mix '11 keynote apologizing, yet again, for Microsoft's problems in getting the first Windows Phone 7 updates -- both the February and the March "NoDo" cut-and-paste ones -- out to customers. He said manufacturing problems with certain handsets required additional testing, and that Microsoft now has improved the updating process. Nonetheless, the Softies said on April 13 that AT&T is still testing the first two WP7 updates and there was no new update as to when WP7 AT&T users might start getting NoDo.
Back to Mango. Belfiore reiterated that Mango will include application multitasking for background processing and audio (for native apps, as well as HTML5 apps), file transfer and fast-application switching. Mango will include a mobile version of IE 9 that will be based on the same code base as IE9 for Windows PCs, he reconfirmed. And there will be deeper phone integration so developers can take better advantage of the Live Tiles, Metro user-interface controls and custom ringtones, he said. There will be access to a SQL database for the phone, as well, he said.
He also noted that developers will get access to the camera and motion-sensor library on Mango phones, which will allow the creation of apps that take advantage of phone hardware and "build augmented reality experiences." Simultaneous with today's keynote, Microsoft said Skype, Spotify and Layar (an augmented reality app) are all available for WP7., Microsoft officials said. And Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 will (finally) be available on May 25, officials said.
Free Windows Phone Developer Tools for Mango will be coming in May. Mango phones will be available in 17 more countries than the first Windows Phone 7 devices will, Belfiore said.
Mango will deliver performance optimizations in four key areas of interest to app developers: scrolling and input, image decode, garbage collections and memory usage, officials said.