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Microsoft unveils tools for next-gen Windows phone OS, 'Mango'

Matt Hamblen, Computerworld | April 13, 2011
Microsoft on Wednesday announced 1,500 new developer tools coming in May for the next version of the Windows Phone operating system, code-named Mango, that's due in the fall.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced 1,500 new developer tools coming in May for the next version of the Windows Phone operating system, code-named Mango, that's due in the fall.

Company officials highlighted a long list of enhancements expected in Mango, including upgraded support for multitasking, a 25% improvement in memory efficiency and an installed database.

Mango will also support the full desktop version of Internet Explorer 9, including HTML 5 functions, thanks to new hardware acceleration capabilities, they said.

Mango will feature applications from the Australian airline Qantas and voice-over-IP service Skype. The popular game Angry Birds will be available in Microsoft Marketplace starting May 25, and it should work better with Mango, thanks to the forthcoming operating system's upgraded support for multitasking.

Mango will also allow real-time interactions for users via a new technology called Live Agents that allows an application developer's code to run in the background for better battery efficiency.

In one demonstration of Live Agents that was webcast from Microsoft's MIX conference in Las Vegas, Joe Belfiore, the head of Windows Phone program management, showed how a Qantas airline reservation could be moved by a user from a Qantas application inside the phone to a live tile on the home screen.

As time ran out before the flight departed, the color of the tile changed from green to red. Using the phone's geolocation capabilities and its clock, the front page Windows Phone tile automatically could detect if the user was too far from the airport to make his flight. With a click on the tile, the user could jump to the full application to find a later flight.

In another demonstration, a Mango-enabled Windows Phone was used to show off a check-imaging and wireless deposit application from financial services company USAA. Using the phone's camera, the check image was recorded and sent wirelessly to be deposited in the user's account.

Mango developers will have better data access than before, Belfiore said, with a built-in SQL database in the phone that can be used to query data within applications. That database will help support augmented reality development, along with developer access to the phone's motion sensor and camera.

In other demonstrations, Microsoft's Scott Guthrie, vice president of the .Net developer program, showed how Microsoft has improved the emulator tool used to build Windows Phone applications. In the new tool, developers will be able to see simulations in three dimensions to judge how the phone's accelerometer affects games that involve complex tilting gestures.

 

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