Microsoft unveiled a range of new features on Wednesday for its next release of Windows Phone.
Speaking at the MIX11 developers conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft revealed that it’s planning a beta release of a new set of developer tools that will help developers create Windows Phone apps that are even faster, more capable, and better integrated with Windows Phone. The new tools will be available in May for Windows Phone developers. Microsoft also detailed its plans for “Mango”. Microsoft’s next Windows Phone release will include:
- Application multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast application switching
- Deeper phone integration so apps can, for example, take better advantage of the versatility of Live Tiles
- Access to the camera and Motion Sensor library so developers can build apps that incorporate device hardware and build augmented reality experiences
Microsoft’s MIX11 keynote is ongoing but the company plans to unveil Skype, Spotify, Layar, Qantas, Amazon Shopping and Kik Messenger applications.
Microsoft is also planning to include the following developer enhancements for “Mango”:
- Live Agents create superior customer engagement with real-time interactions via Live Tiles, Push Notifications, Deep Linking and Background Agents. Multitasking is also enhanced to allow for fast applications switching, as well as background audio and file transfer.
- Phone integration has been greatly improved for developers wanting to do more with their apps. The Live Tiles functionality has been expanded to give developers more flexibility and engage with their customers better.
- Developers will have access to the Motion Sensor library and the camera, enabling augmented reality experiences. The integration extends deeper into the operating system via sockets and database access now available to apps and games.
Microsoft is also planning to expand on developer opportunities for Windows Phone. The company will expand its Marketplace to 35 countries, up from 16 with the first version of Windows Phone. “We’re doubling the number of countries that support creation and commerce, and we’re creating parity to the countries that only supported creation before and didn’t have the ability to sell their apps,” Brandon Watson said. “From an opportunity standpoint, that’s huge.”