Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will begin phasing out its Windows Mobile 6.x operating system on July 15, informing developers they can no longer submit new applications or update existing apps from that date forward although consumers may continue downloading and purchasing software from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile storefront. In an email sent to developers, Microsoft states that beginning July 15, programmers will not be able to modify app prices, metadata and related information, although they can remove Windows Marketplace apps by contacting developer support--Microsoft's App Hub will continue to supply sales and download reports, and the company will also continue processing payouts.
With Microsoft scheduled to introduce its Windows Phone 7.5 OS update Tuesday, CEO Steve Ballmer spent Monday stirring up interest in the release (codenamed "Mango"), telling attendees at the Japanese Microsoft Developer Forum 2011 the revamped platform will include "over 500 new features." Ballmer did not divulge any specifics on the new features, but did indicate Microsoft will issue WP7.5 software development tools by the end of this week.
Some details about Windows Phone 7.5 have emerged, however--writing last month on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Windows Phone and Marketplace GM Matt Bencke said that the update will enable programmers to build apps and gaming scenarios incorporating elements like the mobile web, messaging and Augmented Reality. Mango highlights include Live Agents, which enable real-time user interaction 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," Bencke noted. New developer tools are slated include a revamped profiler and emulator for testing, support for Silverlight and XNA within the same project, structured storage enabling access to the SQL database and access to calendar and contacts via apps.
Last week, Microsoft said Windows Phone 7.5 enhancements also will include Productivity features like saving and sharing Office documents via Office 365 and Windows Live SkyDrive, ensuring anytime/anywhere enterprise availability. The update also delivers pinnable email folders for more efficient access to specific messages and projects, email conversation views that consolidate all replies into a single thread, server search to access messages no longer stored on the phone, and Lync Mobile unified communication capabilities like IM and presence. Also new: Complex (alpha-numeric) password support, Information Rights Management support for securing emails and Office documents, and support for access to hidden corporate Wi-Fi networks.
Microsoft states that the number of Windows Phone 7-optimized applications available via the company's Windows Phone Marketplace now tops 16,000. "With new capabilities for developers in Mango (e.g., HTML5 support, Targeted Distribution of apps) we expect an even larger number and wider range of apps for Windows Phone in the future," writes senior director of business experience Paul Bryan on the Windows Phone Blog.
Microsoft vows productivity leap with Windows Phone 7 Mango update
Microsoft touts app multitasking with Windows Phone 7 Mango update
Microsoft delays Windows Phone 7 copy-and-paste update
Microsoft launches Windows Phone Global Publisher Program