WP7: Multitasking, Twitter, Kinect updates coming

Steve Ballmer details first Windows Phone 7 platform update...

Steve Ballmer details first Windows Phone 7 platform update...

Microsoft has previewed some of the updates coming to its Windows Phone 7 (WP7) platform later this year.

Multitasking for third-party apps, Twitter integration in the People hub and a tie-in with the Xbox Kinect gaming peripheral are some of the updates that will be added to WP7 later this year, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who was giving a keynote in Barcelona on Monday.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer details Windows Phone 7 update

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: "The mobile industry is moving from a device battle, to a platform battle"
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft will also be opening up access to its SkyDrive cloud storage and collaboration service to consumers and smaller firms via the platform's Office hub. Support for Internet Explorer 9 is also incoming for WP7 later this year.

"We need to give people the full web, the full internet on their phones - like they've come to expect with the PC," Ballmer told delegates.

Joe Belfiore, corporate VP and director of Windows Phone Program Management, demoed a 'recent apps' feature that will allow users to "easily and quickly" view and switch between apps they have used previously. Belfiore also showed a video of WP7 and Xbox Kinect being used in conjunction to participate in the same game, on a TV and a smartphone.

Ballmer said the first update to WP7 would be coming in "early March" and would be a free update available to all WP7 users. He did not detail exactly which of the features previewed would be in the first update but did say multitasking will arrive in the "near future".

The Microsoft CEO was again joined on the stage by Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, following last week's announcement of a strategic alliance between the pair.

Elop told delegates: "Microsoft and Nokia together represent a natural partnership... We're in a situation where we can create that third ecosystem."

"It's clear the mobile industry is moving from a device battle, to a platform battle," Ballmer added.

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