Today at Mix 11 Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore started his Wednesday keynote speech by apologizing on Microsoft’s behalf for how slow the February update (pre-update) and the March update (NoDo) were (and are still being) released for Windows Phone 7.
While NoDo was originally scheduled for December 2010, we reported that due to a few issues with carriers and manufacturers few bumps appeared on the road to updating all WP7 smartphones. Reportedly today, the final tests are helping complete compatibility and usability tests imposed by the carriers. Our estimates are that WP7 phones will all be updated sometime before the end of May.
Joe Belfiore has also indicated that the problem with the updates will be resolved and that future updates will not have to go through these issues as they are mostly typical from a new platform. Needless to say Android had more than a few bumps on the update road at the early stage of their OS. Not something that Belfiore mentioned, but I am highlighting for those of you who don’t remember.
Right after that quick introduction and apology, Belfiore changed gears into Mango. As we all know, the next major update for Windows Phone 7 (Mango) will be out by fall to existing users and new phones. Mango will provide the ability to do better multitasking, including background audio while other services are being used or applications are running, better browsing by updating Internet Explorer to Internet Explorer 9, integration of Twitter accounts in a similar way than Facebook is integrated into WP7 today. Additionally, 16 more languages will be supported in the OS so that more countries can be incorporated into the Marketplace both to submit apps and to purchase them.
Even though he kept the details still vague, one nice announcement Belfiore made today was that developers would have more access to phone controls such as sensors, camera, etc. and that such increased control given to developers along with multitasking features would allow applications like Skype or Spotify to be implemented in this platform. Although he did mention that while Spotify is not available in the US right now, he expects it to be available by the time the update is released to users.
On the entertainment side, he made the announcement that Angry Birds for Windows Phone will become available on May 25.
Developers will be able to experience all these features and more on their emulators as early as next month (May) when the new development tools for Windows Phone become available. One nifty feature he demoed was the expansion of the functionality within the live tiles. Something that is currently unique to Windows Phone 7 that will be enhanced and expanded! He mentioned the (new) ability to link from a live tile into a particular section/feature/function within the application it ties into. The great example he demoed was an Amazon app that would link into a barcode scanner function under certain circumstances and the generic main hub under other scenarios.