Windows Phone 7 development rumours abound

News about the Windows Phone 7 development platform is leaking out, ahead of its official unveiling at the Mix conference next month. Rumour has it that both Silverlight and the XNA gaming framework will be supported, for creating consumer-focused applications, together with limited access to native APIs subject to Microsoft’s specific approval.

The controversial aspect, if these ideas prove to be accurate, is lack of compatibility with existing applications. It seems possible that C++ applications written for previous versions of Windows Mobile will not run, while those written for the Compact Framework will need porting to the Silverlight UI.

While there is little love for Windows Mobile, it is used for business applications where it integrates well with the rest of Microsoft’s platform. Since Windows Phone 7 seems to target the consumer, Microsoft may argue that this does not matter, since businesses can continue to use Windows Mobile. You would imagine, though, that enthusiasm for continuing with Windows Mobile will be limited given the superior usability of Windows Phone 7. Maybe a professional edition to follow in 2011?

One thing we know for sure is that Adobe Flash is not supported in the first release, though Microsoft says it is not opposed to it appearing on the platform in future. That in itself is interesting, since Adobe is hardly likely or able to rewrite Flash in Silverlight or XNA. Will certain important developers have privileged access to a wider range of native APIs? Despite rumours, there is still plenty to speculate about.

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4 comments to Windows Phone 7 development rumours abound

  • I’m very glad Microsoft bit the bullet and brought Win Mobile in-line with the richer desktop initiatives, just one minor point regarding Adobe not being able to utilise Silverlight or XNA. They already have a Flash to iPhone app converter in Flash CS5 (native APIs are supported, e.g. geo-location) using LLVM, and there have been plenty of videos/announcements regarding Android support recently, it’s not a big stretch to imagine the same being done for Win Phone 7 if the platform becomes popular enough.

  • tim

    Richard

    I am sure Adobe can easily implement Flash for Win Phone 7; my point was about access to native APIs. One rule for Adobe, another for the rest of us?

    Tim

  • I’m sorry I’m not quite following, could you elaborate on the one rule part, what are Adobe doing different to the rest of us? I may be totally misunderstanding the concern here, but if they were to support Win Phone (and there is a long history of WinMo Flash already), I would imagine the important native APIs would be surfaced to developers just as they are on iPhone and presumably Android. Certainly Silverlight is as close to a Flash-twin than anything else in terms of capabilities and development workflow. Still, if you’re after performance or certain low-level APIs you may be better off going native as with the other platforms mentioned, I’m hoping Silverlight is not as low-level as it gets (just like Java being the primary application platform on Android, but native C code can also be executed from it).

  • I think the worry is that you might not have access to go native. It would be a pretty stupid move.

    Windows Phone 7 looks interesting, and as someone who currently uses a Nokia N900 its going to take a lot to move me back to Windows.
    I had been waiting 3 years for Xbox Live on Windows Mobile, for them to only just announce it coming now far far too late. I got fed up dealing with the dreadful UI and performance but if the new UI and performance comes at the cost of breaking compatibility entirely, there is going to be a serious draught of software and a lot of pissed off users.