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Windows Phone 7 To Get Multi-Tasking, IE9, Xbox Integration 266

Posted by Soulskill
from the yesterday's-features-coming-tomorrow dept.
geek4 writes "Microsoft is planning to introduce multi-tasking and full integration with Internet Explorer 9 in future updates to its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system later this year. IE9 on Windows Phone 7 will use the same core browsing engine as on PCs. Microsoft also talked about the importance of multi-tasking, and claims it can now offer fast task switching without causing serious detriment to the battery life. In particular, Microsoft said, this will improve the experience of using third party applications. In a demo, a Microsoft engineer showed how a music application called 'Slacker' could keep music playing in the background while the user moved between different applications. By holding down the 'back' button, users can also see all their recently accessed applications, allowing them to switch easily between them." Microsoft also demonstrated how they're integrating WP7 with Xbox 360 consoles, showing a video of players using their phones as an auxiliary touchscreen controller to interact with a Kinect game.
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Windows Phone 7 To Get Multi-Tasking, IE9, Xbox Integration

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  • The 90s called, asking for its unique selling point back.

    • Re:Multi-tasking (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jokermatt999 (1536127) on Monday February 14, 2011 @04:33PM (#35202718)
      Come on, be fair. It took Apple waaay longer than that to figure it out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mazesc (1922428)
      Exactly. It's just awful, how slowly things are evolving in these locked down mobile systems.
    • Re:Multi-tasking (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday February 14, 2011 @05:20PM (#35203244)

      Multitasking on mobile devices is a different problem than multitasking on desktops. With a desktop, the challenges are primarily allocating memory and CPU. With mobile devices, network and battery are the resources that need to be optimized. So with a desktop app, you can shove it int he background, give it limited cpu cycles and memory without any architectural changes. With mobile devices, it is a lot harder to limit because you don't want the CPU running all the time and even if nothing else is using the network connection, letting some background app use it constantly will result in draining the user's battery and potentially costing them data usage fees.

      A good example is push based notifications. If applications ping a server regularly to see if they have updates or if there is a message, that uses a lot more of both resources than if it subscribes to a network service that notifies the device when the same event occurs. The problem is, the former is easier to code and the way developers are used to doing things on desktops where they don't have to worry about battery and data nearly as much.

      So when Microsoft says they are adding in support for multitasking, does that mean:

      • They've developed a suite of services, optimized for these resources, that applications can hook into ala the iPhone? This is great for battery life, but limits the functionality of third party apps.
      • They've built OS level controls that limit resource usage by background apps in order to save battery life and built APIs to make sure the apps will still function as the user expects?
      • They are letting apps run willy nilly and use any and all resources and are planning on using their store distribution model to get rid of poorly coded resource hogs?

      In short, multitasking for mobile devices is a difficult problem, with different challenges from traditional multitasking on desktops. Google engineers have repeatedly stated that they consider multitasking and battery life problems to be one of their greatest challenges and current failings. Microsoft announcing that they're coming out with something is, then interesting, although it may be a poor clone of one of the other vendors' implementations.

  • So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by should_be_linear (779431) on Monday February 14, 2011 @04:31PM (#35202694)
    Roles are switched: MS is re-implementing experience that users are already accustomed to on Linux (Android). And expecting 3rd party developers to switch or at least "also support" their platform for 1% of users.
    • by ivucica (1001089)
      Not only Android, mind you.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by PickyH3D (680158)

      As Nokia shifts to support Windows Phone, I think that 1% will start to grow considerably. At the very least, people will accidentally buy Windows Phone as they continue their Nokia stable of phones, which still outsells Android. Add to that their very real customer satisfaction rate (a large percentage [reportedly 90%+ in their marketing material] of a relatively small number), and you have a huge problem for Android.

      Not to mention, as Android starts to falter based on its inability to force carriers and m

      • Yes, Nokia sells a LOT of phones. Dirt cheap dumb phones in poor countries. They probably make so much money at it that they aren't at all in trouble. Oh wait they are.

        The big money is in the smart phones and there Nokia has lost out.

        Same as WM7 has been loosing out. Both have tried competing in this market and Android, iPhone and Rim have left them in the dust.

        So now they are going to combine their epic powers of fail for what?

        The idea that Android has to look out for Windows Phone is the same idea as MS f

        • by PickyH3D (680158)

          Your entire post seems to suggest that all Android phones are powerful phones. In reality, they fall along the entire gamut of the market. A smart phone does not necessarily have to cost a lot, nor does it have to be a good phone, and Android definitely covers that ground.

          Palm is even about to cover that ground with their new credit card sized, WebOS 3.0 phone. The fact that Windows Phone 7 already included a smaller screen size in its specs immediately suggests to me that you not only ignored them because

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Same as WM7 has been loosing out.

          Well there is no such thing as WM7...but of course WP7 hasn't been 'losing out', it's only been out for a couple of months.

          The idea that Android has to look out for Windows Phone is the same idea as MS fanboys had with every previous iteration of MS CE/Mobile and got knows what other names they have used to hide the fact of old vinegar in crappy bags.

          Sounds like you haven't even used a WP7 phone.

      • by Reapman (740286)

        Whole lotta FUD in there...
        "less than 1% of Android users are running 2.3 (the version with the fix that stops texts from going to random people...). Over 10% are still running Android 1.5 and 1.6, combined."

        First off, ya, Gingerbread is basically not here. I'll agree on that point. However your touting this sending texts to random people thing as a major issue. I use texting quite a bit on my phone (thanks to a handful of people that I know that use it all the time) and have NEVER had this issue. I'm n

        • by PickyH3D (680158)

          I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but I think your blowing it far FAR out of proportion.

          Intentionally to make the point. Sure, it happens to a very small group, but the odds of it hitting you probably increase with every text that you send on an Android 2.2 device. My point isn't even that it's the end of the world. Rather, my point is that such fundamental issue could be left unfixed on your phone, and that's a huge deal.

          Secondly using your own numbers, your telling me that 89% of Android phones are running

          • by exomondo (1725132)

            And yes, that is serious fragmentation because what I didn't note was that of that 89%, 31.4% are running Android 2.0, or Android 2.1, which came out well over a year ago. A tenth of the platform is using Android 1.5 or 1.6. Roughly a third is using Android 2.0 or 2.1. About half is using Android 2.2. Less than a hundredth is using Android 2.3.

            Oh no, iOS has serious fragmentation too:
            4.2.1: 52.89 %
            4.1: 27.50 %
            3.1.3: 6.43 %
            4.0.2: 3.36 %
            4.0.1: 2.95 %
            4.0: 2.94 %
            3.1.2: 2.52 %
            3.2.2: 0.49 %
            3.0: 0.22 %
            3.1: 0.21 %
            3.0.1: 0.10 %
            3.2: 0.10 %
            3.1.1: 0.10 %
            4.2: 0.09 %
            3.2.1: 0.07 %
            2.2.1: 0.02 %
            2.2: 0.00 %
            From here [macgazette.net]

            Seriously, targeting multiple OS versions and hardware configurations has been normal through the life of the desktop PC, this is not new.

      • by ADRA (37398)

        Why not compare the 'fragmentation' of android against platforms that actually have some history in the mobile game shall we?
        1. Android 2.3 is brand new and I think anyone paying attention to Android will know that it takes at least 6 months before any amount of -normal- people can actually start using them. If Google released 2.3 in 6 months with 50% market update adoption, would that somehow change your perception of the OS? For the 10% on obsolete equipment, its your decision to support them or not into

        • Well, I can say from a support side of things, all those different Droid GUIs makes my life hell. It's not like the iPhone or BlackBerry where the UI is somewhat unified across multiple phones. But the Droid platform sucks for remote support because vendors (and their mothers too) tacks on additional shit. It can become confusing as hell to walk someone over the phone through configuring corporate e-mail.

      • I don't think anyone in the market for a high end smart phone is going to be unaware what it's running and buy one by accident. More liikely current Nokia owners screwed by this about face and lack of upgrade path are going to look elsewhere next time. I don't think Nokia yet realize the amount of customer loyalty they've just lost. Any Nokia customer who wanted a Linux (Maemo) based phone will now have to switch to Android or even HP (Palm's WebOS).

        Fragmentation is certainly an issue for Android, but this

      • by Junta (36770)

        I think Nokia is running a big risk here.

        If their position is so strong (outselling Android), then doing any sort of platform burning is sheer madness. So to make this drastic move in the first place, the supporting fact of 'outsells Android' has to be presumed to be faltering.

        If they've decided they *are* losing on platform but have good hardware, then binding themselves *exclusively* to the MS offering seems dubious. They said their number one priority is knocking out Android's share. If they aren't pr

    • MS is re-implementing experience that users are already accustomed to

      ...and pushing it on their greater yet-unaware market share... in other words: business as usual!

    • I'm sure original Windows Mobile users were accustomed to multitasking too. I'm not really sure why Microsoft opted not to support multitasking initially on WP7 but it's not like this was their first jump into mobile operating systems and they are just learning this now.

  • by Posting=!Working (197779) on Monday February 14, 2011 @04:35PM (#35202744)

    Am I the only one that's really surprised that multitasking wasn't already a feature? I thought it was weird when they announced it for the iPhone 4 like it was some huge breakthrough. Symbian might be a piece of crap as a smartphone OS, but, damn, they've had multitasking for 10 years now. It's not a hardware issue. How did this get ignored for so long in iOS and Windows phone?

    • by dunezone (899268) on Monday February 14, 2011 @04:41PM (#35202796) Journal
      Pff, the Windows Phone SDK doesn't even give us access to the flash on the camera unless you're an OEM developer.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday February 14, 2011 @04:42PM (#35202818) Homepage Journal

      It is sad that none of the other Smartphone OSs seem to multiask as well as WebOS. The card interface is actually very good.
      Gee so WP7 will someday be as good as IOS, Android, WebOS, and Symbian. Gee sign me up......
      BTW Windows Mobile has had multitasking for a long time as well. Microsoft took it out of WP7 because? Maybe because IOS didn't do it and they wanted to copy IOS?

      • by Fri13 (963421)

        Have you checked multitasking apps for Android? They offer cards and even same kind Ui's as what Maemo has on N900.
        You have lots of different ways and gestures to give you possibilities to get wanted.

      • by PickyH3D (680158)

        Microsoft completely wrote their mobile platform starting from a new WinCE kernel. In their eyes, Windows Mobile is no-more.

        Therefore, the APIs could note be written and effectively tested in time to ensure performance and battery life were maintained. This is similar to the fact that when WP7 was announced, iOS (then, iPhone OS 3.0) had not announced multitasking, nor had they announced that the original iPhone (2G) would not be supported at all, and the iPhone 3G would not support multitasking.

        As it turns

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          "This is similar to the fact that when WP7 was announced, iOS (then, iPhone OS 3.0) had not announced multitasking, nor had they announced that the original iPhone (2G) would not be supported at all, and the iPhone 3G would not support multitasking."
          But Android and WebOS did have multitasking.
          I just can not bring my self to praise Microsoft for copying IOS quickly. They had been in the Mobile space for years so there is no excuse for playing catch up. The fact that IOS came out and ate their lunch is reason

      • BTW Windows Mobile has had multitasking for a long time as well. Microsoft took it out of WP7 because? Maybe because IOS didn't do it and they wanted to copy IOS?

        Or maybe they were trying to address certain stability and battery life issues with WinMo.

    • Mainly because the times when I actually need to use two programs at the same time on my iPhone are vanishingly small. It already did some multitasking (ie, listening to music while web surfing. In fact, the main complaint was that people wanted to be able to stream Pandora while doing other things. When it comes down to it, you're looking at a screen smaller than a deck of cards. Multi-tasking on that is pretty much useless.
      • When it comes down to it, you're looking at a screen smaller than a deck of cards. Multi-tasking on that is pretty much useless.

        I commonly run Glympse [glympse.com] while listening to Pandora [pandora.com] on my way home, so my wife knows when to expect me. I also sometime run Trapster [trapster.com] to check for speed traps. None of those apps give a shit about the screen most of the time. That then allows me to run one of many apps that show traffic information on the screen. Running 4 apps at the same time might slow my charge rate to a crawl, but it is extremely useful.

        At the same time, the lack of that ability is keeping me from moving from iPhone to WM7. However, t

      • Are we sure that not doing multi-tasking is at the requests of the Cell Carriers? I seem to remember that each tower can only handle X amount of connections at any given time. By having a multi-tasking OS, that could potentially leave cell phones latched onto the network (data side) 24/7. Eventually, rolling drop offs will occur in densely populated cities. I'm not sure if this applies to both GSM and CDMA or just one of them.
         

    • by ivucica (1001089)
      I have multitasking on my jailbroken iOS 3.1.3. Let me tell you, that device has barely enough memory to run one app. Most work just fine, but Twitter for iPhone is a major resource hog, and trying to multitask it with, let's say, Opera and Stanza? No-no.

      It's easy to go "why the hell is that an innovation", especially considering Windows Mobile had it 10 years ago. On the other hand, it really wasn't working out well on WM, and on iOS, it would've made the experience horrible.

      In retrospect, I'm happy wi
    • by ItsLenny (1132387)
      IOS STILL doesn't have actual multi-tasking... it just allows certain threads to continue running in the background.. but the app itself is suspended it's basically just fast app switching +
    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday February 14, 2011 @05:15PM (#35203196) Journal

      It's not at all a technical issue. Both iOS and WP7 can handle multitasking just fine on OS level, and you can see that in action if you use the stock apps (e.g. media player, which plays in background). It's strictly a limitation on third-party software, deliberately enforced.

  • by harl (84412) on Monday February 14, 2011 @04:48PM (#35202878)

    Am I reading this right? Windows phones will now be able to do things android and iphones have been doing for years?

    • by Haedrian (1676506) on Monday February 14, 2011 @04:53PM (#35202944)

      ... iphones have been doing for years?

      Tehehe

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        iOS has been able to multitask since before it was called iOS. It just wasn't available to third party apps until the phone's hardware caught up (it's just no good on a 3G, which is why you can't officially have 3rd party mutitasking on that model).

    • by Shados (741919)

      I remember when my Palm got that feature, in 1999 or around there (I forget the exact year).

      Now that was awesome!

      • by harl (84412)

        Yeah and Unix had it in the 70s. What's your point?

    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday February 14, 2011 @04:56PM (#35202986) Homepage Journal

      If Microsoft released a 3D modeling tool, would it be called Scatchup?

    • by grimJester (890090) on Monday February 14, 2011 @05:03PM (#35203060)
      Windows Phone 7 was lacking a lot of functionality the earlier Windows Mobile had. It's just a new not-yet-complete OS.

      This makes me wonder if they're using a more agile-style approach and releasing what functionality they have completely tested instead of releasing the complete functionality regardless of what they've had time to test? It does make sense in a phone OS.
      • I don't want agile development anywhere, but last of all in my phone or car.

        In a phone, primarily I want a phone, with good 4+ days battery life, my N 3100 does that,
        fits in my car and mutes the entertainment system when using your phone so hands free
        is reasonably safe.

        I need to re-boot, ie power off, my N95 once a week because Symbian goes dollaly.

        Whe Bosch, who make the BMW and Mercedes engine/gearbox controllers, they started
        the same crap, UNTIL Bosch reverted. I do not need a car that gets BSOD.

        A NewZee
      • Windows Phone 7 was lacking a lot of functionality the earlier Windows Mobile had. It's just a new not-yet-complete OS.

        Hey! I thought it was supposed to be hot enough to set your rig on fire!

    • Am I reading this right? Windows phones will now be able to do things android and iphones have been doing for years?

      No. Windows phones will now be able to do something that Windows phones were able to do in 2002, 5 years before the iPhone was invented, 8 years before the iPhone got it, and 6 years before the Android was released.
      I never understood the huge step back they took, other than Microsoft Marketing told them to ship before it was ready, a familiar story.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Yea, except, Windows Mobile had multitasking before Android or iOS were even a wet spot in someones underwear. They just made it unavailable in WinMo7 so they could copy Apple, without actually understanding WHY Apple didn't support it.

  • This is good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is good.

    Before you reach out for the pitchforks and torches, let me finish the sentence: this is good for competition. Now that Nokia will ship WP7, Apple and Google will find themselves with a worthy competitor in the smartphone market. At least when it comes to user experience.

  • The UI Sells It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g00head (1433713) on Monday February 14, 2011 @05:09PM (#35203132)
    I'm a WP7 user, and very happy with my decision. I've used iOS, WM6, and Android - hated iOS and it's page after page of little icons, hated WM6 until HTC Sense (would have stayed with that on my HD2 if apps were coming out), and loved Android (HD2 and a Desire) except it began to feel like iOS+.

    Metro is such a clean, fast interface, lets me see just what I want to see exactly when I want to see it. There's very little hunting/searching for something, as if I use it more than once per day I just pin it to the front page. It just fits extremely well how I want to use a phone.

    Although I do have to say, if I couldn't have test-driven it on an HD2 I probably wouldn't have taken the leap to full fledged WP7 hardware. Kudos to MS for not legalbomb XDA from orbit when DFT released the ROM into the wild. If they continue to be smart, they'll let the mod community flourish they way they did with WM6 - that's the only thing that made the platform stay as relevant as it did, for as long as it did.

    • by kirkb (158552)

      WP7 has a great solution for avoiding "page after page of little icons": a piss-poor selection of apps to download ;)

      Seriously though, iOS could use some shell improvements to help deal with having hundred(s) of apps. I recently condensed 11 pages of "little icons" down to 3 pages of folders. It's an improvement, but I think apple should start looking at new shell paradigms (no, not Metro!)

      • I recently condensed 11 pages of "little icons" down to 3 pages of folders. It's an improvement

        It would help if large folders didn't take 2-3 seconds to open on iPhone, unless you reboot the phone every few days (oh, the irony of doing that to an Apple product!).

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        WP7 has a great solution for avoiding "page after page of little icons": a piss-poor selection of apps to download ;)

        Lucky i've got a whole page of iFart clones on my iphone.

    • by iserlohn (49556)

      Metro is a UI ripped out from a graphics design mag like "Wallpaper*", "GD USA" or "Print". It's basically something you would find on a MP3 player or game UI. Looks nice, but usability suffers when your interface starts to get busy.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      So you didn't like iOS and Android because you installed too many apps and needed a bunch of pages to access them all?

      Tell me, how did WP7 work around this? Haven't found any apps worth downloading yet?

      I have 6 pages of apps on my iPhone, and I take it off the first page once in ... well I don't know how long its been because ... just like you ... all my important apps are on the first page where I put them so I'd have quick access to them. The rest of it is stuff like TomTom, ssh client, rdp client, all

      • by Altus (1034)

        I access games a lot on my Iphone and I dont keep them on the first page because I dont need access to those right this second, I cant take a moment or 2 to find them.

        The problem is, now my phone is on page 3 or 4. I would really like it if, whenever you woke up your phone, it snapped back to page 1 and your most important applications. It would at least make a nice setting. That way I would always know how to quickly get to my mail or my camera without having to use up one of the 4 bottom most spots.

    • by tooyoung (853621)

      I'm a WP7 user, and very happy with my decision. I've used iOS, WM6, and Android - hated iOS and it's page after page of little icons, hated WM6 until HTC Sense (would have stayed with that on my HD2 if apps were coming out), and loved Android (HD2 and a Desire) except it began to feel like iOS+.

      May I ask, why have you owned so many phones? Not trolling at all, really just curious. I've seen many similar posts on other stories and it always blows my mind that people seem to have owned like 5 different p

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