Microsoft Already Making Changes To Windows Phone 7 - InformationWeek

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11/1/2010
12:08 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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Microsoft Already Making Changes To Windows Phone 7

The new mobile platform from Microsoft is just two weeks old in Europe and still has a week to go before launching in the US. Even so, Microsoft is taking feedback from developers and is making changes both to the platform and the Marketplace application store.

The new mobile platform from Microsoft is just two weeks old in Europe and still has a week to go before launching in the US. Even so, Microsoft is taking feedback from developers and is making changes both to the platform and the Marketplace application store.First the change to the platform itself. While the OS itself is fully capable of multitasking, Microsoft chose not to allow third party apps to do so. Part of that reason is with the older Windows Mobile platform, users would load up on applications and the OS wouldn't shut them down until resources got low. By then it was too late and the phone felt sluggish. This problem was exacerbated by a poorly written app that hogged the phone's memory or processor.

In a move many liken to throwing the baby out with the bath water, Microsoft simply doesn't allow any third party to multitask. Once you launch any other app, the current third party app shuts down. Native apps like IE or mail continue to happily run. Microsoft may have gone just a bit overboard by generally requiring a third party app also shut down if the phone shut down the screen due to non-use and the lock screen came on. Apparently an app could request permission from the user to run behind the lock screen, but in my limited experience with the platform, I've yet to see an app ask for such permission.

Engadget is now reporting that apps will no longer have to ask permission or worry about shutting down. If the device locks after the user sets it down, the app will continue to run assuming it meets some battery usage requirements so the user doesn't come back to a dead battery because the app pegged the processor at 100%. No word yet when an update will be pushed down to the platform, or if the change can be implemented without a device update.

If you develop for Windows Mobile 7, you'll want to see the new Marketplace requirements for getting your app published. In addition to the requirements that allow apps to run behind a locked screen, there are probably a dozen or so other changes listed you'll want to check out and see if your app is impacted.

It is good to see Microsoft treating this platform as a living breathing platform rather than a static release that will get an update with the next major release. When companies like Palm, Apple and Google are constantly updating their platforms, Microsoft has to just to be seen as not sitting still.

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