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

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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  • 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.
  • by Posting=!Working ( 197779 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @05:05PM (#35203094)

    Multi-tasking is something I use nearly daily, and wouldn't go back to a single task phone.

    Off the top of my head, here's a few things I use multitasking for. This is far from an exhaustive list, just the first bunch of things I could think of.

    Looking for a business on Google maps and checking their website.
    Taking a quick picture while doing anything else.
    Games pause and minimize when I get a phone call, text or have to/want to do anything else.
    Browsing the web or playing a game while waiting for apps to download and install.

  • 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.

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