Microsoft officials unveiled plans to deliver IE9 Mobile as part of the first "significant" operating system update to Windows Phone 7 in calendar 2011.
Translation: Microsoft will be providing to its partners the "Mango" update (Windows Phone OS 7.X) with an IE 9-based browser this summer, so they can get it to users by fall/holiday 2011.
What does it mean, exactly, that Microsoft will have IE9 on a smartphone? Is this just a slightly updated version of the IE Mobile version that is part of the current generation of Windows Phone 7s (which is actually IE 7 with a few IE 8 features added)?
Microsoft execs say it's a lot more significant than that. Like the desktop IE9, the IE Mobile 9 version will support HTML5. It also will include a number of other pieces of the IE9 desktop browser.
In a February 14 blog post, IE Corporate Vice President Dean Hachomovitch explained that the IE team has been working with the Windows Phone team "over the last few months" to deliver the "same IE9 browsing engine -- the same code, the same standards support, the same hardware acceleration, the same security and privacy protections -- on both platforms.
That means, Hachamovitch said, that the official W3C standards-test results should be "very similar" for IE9 on the phone and IE9 on the Windows desktop. Hachamovitch also said to "expect similar results comparing the security and privacy protections" provided on the phone and the desktop, and pointed to the newly added "DoNotTrack" feature as one example that would be common across the platforms. Hachmovitch cited SmartScreen spam-filtering services as another example of a feature that will be supported in both IE Mobile 9 and IE9.
In addition to promising IE Mobile 9 will be part of Mango, Microsoft execs also said to expect that "major" release to include Twitter integration in the People Hub; support for multitasking of third-party applications; and support for Skydrive documents. The "NoDo" update for the phones, coming in early March, will add CDMA support; cut-and-paste; and various performance enhancements.
One last note: Microsoft execs are expected to share more details about the WP7 platform/futures at the Mix'11 conference in mid-April. The word is Mix might be where we hear about alleged hardware-requirement changes (of interest to OEMs and developers), as well as about developer tool advances for WP7, as this tweet from .Net Platform Corporate VP Scott Guthrie hints: