Microsoft has been outlining the future of Windows Phone 7 on day two of MIX. The improved version, codenamed Mango, will ship later in the year but the developer tools will be available next month.
The key new feature is probably improved multitasking including "Live Agents" and the ability to run agents in the background. Faster application switching and background audio and file transfer also feature. Also important are better phone integration, Live Tiles, Extras and push notification. The browser is also being made faster with technology from IE9.
The new Motion sensor library has been designed with the help of Microsoft Research and it incorporates data from the accelerometer and compass. This is supposed to allow developers to create virtual reality apps more easily and make them more sophisticated.
Specific improvements and enhancements to the developer tools include:
- A new profiler and emulator for testing
- Support for Silverlight AND XNA in the same project
- Structured storage that enables access to SQL database
- Access to calendar and contacts through apps
The emulator includes an accelerometer facility. The ability mix Silverlight and XNA is also something that will provide new opportunities for the programmer who can not only master both environments but also see how they fit together. Overall more access has been provided to the raw hardware - camera, gyro, accelerometer...
Microsoft also claims to be expanding the support for Mango to more countries - something that will please developers around the world who have been able to create apps but not add them to the marketplace.
And oh yes - Angry Birds is coming to WP7 on May 25th!
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