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A pair of updates in January and February are expected to bring copy/paste and multi-tasking to Windows Phone 7 customers.

Microsoft's overactive CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to be the bearer of both pieces of good news.  (Source: The Guardian UK)

Windows Phone Silverlight (current edition pictured) is also rumored to get an upgrade in February, possibly bringing it closer to being in line with current PC edition, Silverlight 4.  (Source: MSDN Magazine)
Big changes are in store for Microsoft phone OS

Earlier this week Windows Phone 7 developers began to receive an update which enabled copy and paste.  Now, one of the first sites to leak that news, WinRumors, has followed up with a leak of Microsoft's pending release schedule for 2011.

A Tale of Two Updates

According to the report, Microsoft will release the first of two big updates at the January at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  The first update will likely go live after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's opening keynote on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. PST (9:30 p.m. EST).  The update will add copy and paste, and possibly other features.

A second update will air a month later at the 2011 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain.  Mr. Ballmer is set to deliver a keynote at that event as well, taking place Monday, February 14, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. CET (11 a.m. EST, 8 a.m. PST).  That update, according to developer sources, will include APIs to implement third party multi-tasking, in-app downloads and better customization for end users.

Unknown is whether either of the two pending updates will include increased support for maps, tethering, or memory-card hot-swapping.

Windows Phone: Silverlight, Flash, and HTML5

According to recent statements by a Microsoft employee, that second update could contain a refresh to Silverlight as well.  Brian Keller, Microsoft's Senior Technical Evangelist for Visual Studio application lifecycle management, in a Channel 9 interview states, "I think we are saving [Silverlight news], for say another event. If only there was a massive event in Barcelona on mobile phones and or other events in the future."

For those of you who don't know what Silverlight is, it's a rich multimedia medium similar to Adobe's Flash or HTML5+Javascript.  WP7 currently does not support Flash or HTML5, but it does feature a somewhat stripped down version of Silverlight 3, with the keyboard input of the PC swapped out for multi-touch input.

For interested developers, this post in the Microsoft-sponsored MSDN magazine is an excellent introduction to the nuances of Silverlight 3 on Windows Phone 7. 

Microsoft is already preparing to push out Silverlight 5's beta to PC developers.  Thus it would be logical to guess that Microsoft might be preparing a ported version of Silverlight 4 for WP7.  Silverlight 4 introduced a number of upgrades including web cam and microphone support; improved DRM; performance optimizations to make apps "start quicker and run 200% faster than the equivalent Silverlight 3 application"; improved multi-touch; interaction with Microsoft Office; in-app HTML; user folder file-access capabilities; and more.  Obviously, many of these could enable some cool new kinds of apps on WP7.

A Microsoft job posting also reveals that an improved browser with a "major overhaul of standard support and new approaches to make significant advances in performance, power consumption and bandwidth utilization" is in the works.  Does that mean that WP7 will receive HTML5 compatibility?  Let's hope.

Windows Phone 8 Enters "Planning Phase"

Apparently unconcerned about slow initial sales, Microsoft is looking ahead, and has already started work on Windows Phone 8.  Another job posting reveals:

We are just putting the last touches on Office Mobile 2010 on Windows Phone 7 which will be a very competitive device and a breakthrough for Microsoft in the Mobile Market. With Office 15 and Windows Phone 8 planning phase just getting under way, now is also the perfect time to join us and help shape the future of Office Mobile 15 on Windows Phone 8 as we plan to create the next wave of innovation that will lead our product to even greater heights. Very exciting…

WP7 already has a very intuitive and well-built interface, so once Microsoft starts filling in these gaps it could well be in for an Android-esque rise from obscurity to a top market position.



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Well
By inighthawki on 12/10/2010 11:46:51 AM , Rating: 4
At least now the anti-WP7 people can't stop their ranting and raving over two missing features that are being implemented at 100x the speed that Apple did it.




RE: Well
By davepermen on 12/10/2010 11:53:39 AM , Rating: 2
... while being much less important as the os is specifically designed to not need those features in daily usage. (but it's still great to get the features. so far, i haven't needed them on the omnia 7)

(posted it on the wrong thread first, damnit.. *waiting for the obvious "now you needed copypaste didn't you??" joke*)


RE: Well
By bety on 12/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Well
By inighthawki on 12/11/2010 12:09:16 AM , Rating: 4
It's not really fair to try to compare feature ship dates of two products that were started and released years apart from each other. What you CAN compare though is how long it took each one to add each feature since the original release. It would be like saying that despite Apple having a 3 year head start that Microsoft should have been caught up immediately.

My ultimate point, though, was little to do with when each OS got its features but that WP7 DID gets those features in an update not long after release. And considering these two features were about 95% of peoples' complaints about WP7, it should stop some whining.


RE: Well
By bety on 12/11/2010 1:10:11 AM , Rating: 1
First...it is COMPLETELY fair to compare two CURRENTLY competing products....you don't get a pass because you started late!! That's ridiculous!! It's not OK to release tech years behind and justify it by claiming you just started!! You have to be an incredibly MS fanatic to accept that.

As to the "whining"...which is really completely legitimate criticism of a product, lacking in key features which it's competitors have (completely unacceptable if you are hoping to break into a market with strong established players), sure, it will stop complaints about those two missing features. It doesn't make the current criticism any less valid. It was still an embarrassing and completely laughable omission on MS's part. Personally, I was more shocked by the lack of tethering...one of the key reasons I moved to a smart phone. I just can't believe that flaw!


RE: Well
By inighthawki on 12/11/2010 1:57:36 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
...you don't get a pass because you started late!!

Of course you do, how is this not an important factor? Sure it is not going to help MS by releasing a product with an inferior feature set, and if those features are necessary, don't choose the phone! But how can you for a single moment BLAME that lack of features on starting the project YEARS after Apple? It's not like they intentionally gave Apple a head start then failed, they just started development much later, at which point what is really important to compare is not what features exist at any specific time, but what features you need and when other features are coming. and the fact that MS is rolling out updates pretty damn quickly to correct problems from release (months compared to Apple's years) I don;t think we can really blame them for anything.

And take it from someone who really dislikes Apple, but if they released their own version of something like .NET soon, I would certainly not expect it to be on par with Microsoft's .NET platform, and how could it be when MS has been working on it for over ten years now?


RE: Well
By blueboy09 on 12/12/2010 12:14:20 PM , Rating: 2
But I'm wondering if it's too little, too late for Microsoft. Sure their OS is very young my I add, but with Android/iOS on its heels, I dunno if Microsoft has what it takes to be on top. Maybe just maybe the number 2 spot, but I doubt number 1, but I have been proven wrong before, so just have to see what happens. - BLUEBOY


RE: Well
By rudy on 12/13/2010 8:07:06 PM , Rating: 3
I do not think it is too late for anyone. In the current world of computing the major obstacle to market dominance seems to be vertical integration. IE why did Blu rar win over hd dvd? The average consumer knows nothing so they werent makeing technically based decisions. It was the fact that sony had the most vertical integration in the market. They owned a large amount of the movie studios and of course they owned the PS3 they had the device and the content and format locked up. Toshiba never had a chance.

So with mobile computing you have to ask yourself where it sits. M$ does have vertical integration with office and business platforms. They have a chance to bring the interoperability to a new level and that is the key they will need to effectively capitolize on in order to survive. Also M$ has the xbox and xbox live they lack a conflict of interest here as they had between PC and xbox so I think the phones have a good chance of becoming the best portable gaming platform of any phone or non phone competitor. (xbox sucks because they do not want to make it too much like a PC).

Google has a large email user base. And apple of course had the iPod and music dominance which sold all of their devices. Here we do not have a clear winner yet. If I were to guess I am pretty sure it will either be google or M$. The question is just can M$ effectively get services moving to the point where they can start to catch up or will googles more open hardware allow them to take over the lower end markets as M$ did to apple so many years ago.


What?
By N6600 on 12/10/2010 3:16:02 PM , Rating: 1
"Microsoft is looking ahead, and has already started work on Windows Phone 8." Does this mean Windows Phone 7.x, or really a brand new version? Would it be upgradeable, or am I suppose to buy a new mobile phone?

Why, can't Microsoft do first things first, but instead of that he announces WP8? Why? :(((




RE: What?
By VashHT on 12/10/2010 3:40:49 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully WP8 will just be a major upgrade, like iOS3 to iOS4, and won't require totally new hardware. Then again they say they just started planning it so who knows could be 3-4 years before it sees the market at all.


RE: What?
By N6600 on 12/10/2010 7:57:01 PM , Rating: 1
I hope you are right. They scared the $#*! out of me by calling the update WP8 :)


RE: What?
By Smilin on 12/13/2010 2:10:56 PM , Rating: 2
They (microsoft) didn't call it WP8. Can you quote where you saw that? I must be brainfarting.


RE: What?
By peter7921 on 12/10/2010 3:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft isn't stupid. I'm sure they will follow Apples lead and let all existing phone users upgrade to the new version WP.

In fact I bet MS will let people fully upgrade and not leave things out like apple does (like ringtones etc...)

This is no different then IOS3 - IOS4 on Iphones.


RE: What?
By N6600 on 12/10/2010 8:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
That sounds reasonable.

I think this is the only way to attract new customers. And also, it occurs to me, that Microsoft is really listening to its customers and implements things to make users happy.


RE: What?
By PrezWeezy on 12/10/2010 6:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
If it's entering planning stages that means it's more than likely 2 years away. Possibly 1, but I would put my money on 2 years. Are you aware that Windows 8 AND the next version are already being worked on? That's how you keep from being stagnant, a problem which Microsoft has had experience with in the Mobile sector.


RE: What?
By N6600 on 12/10/2010 8:10:07 PM , Rating: 1
You might be right, but IMHO mobile are still not as far as notebooks/computers. So I suppose the need for new OS for computers is bigger than on mobile phones.

The reason why I am so worried is that the statement resembles to Win Vista. It was also replaced in a very short time.

But I do agree with you. I hope MS learned his lesson and won't leave his Mobile sector behind.


RE: What?
By PrezWeezy on 12/14/2010 7:05:15 PM , Rating: 2
Vista wasn't replaced for 2 years, which was the planned life cycle. XP was around for far too long. Before XP, 2000 was two years behind, then NT 4.5 was in 98, NT3.x was in 95, etc. A 2 year cycle is a good time for an OS I think. It keeps it fresh, but since it is supported for 5 years after release it doesn't necessitate upgrading.


RE: What?
By Smilin on 12/13/2010 12:01:18 PM , Rating: 3
First, Microsoft didn't announce WP8 so you can stop asking them why they did. It was a leaked rumor.

Second, they don't need to announce it. The moment WP7 shipped WP8 began planning (likely sooner actually). This is how software is made. Planning on version 2 begins prior to version 1 shipping. In fact any features that can't make the ship cutoff for version 1 either get moved to an update milestone or punted to the next product.

In this partucular case (with phones) it means that version 8 will likely require new hardware. The idea is to avoid fragmenting the product like Android has done. Stuff written for WP7 will run on all WP7 phones but that means the bar never moves. WP8 will have a new bar.


html 5 support
By DanNeely on 12/10/2010 11:35:24 AM , Rating: 2
"A Microsoft job posting also reveals that an improved browser with a "major overhaul of standard support and new approaches to make significant advances in performance, power consumption and bandwidth utilization" is in the works. Does that mean that WP7 will receive HTML5 compatibility? Let's hope."

Probably not if it's going out in the current batch of updates. WP7 currently uses what is effectively IE7.5. Pushing the rest of IE8's capabilities to the mobile version would be a major boost that should be doable in the short term. HTML5 won't be coming until IE9 gets ported, which probably won't happen until the desktop version is out of beta.




RE: html 5 support
By sviola on 12/10/2010 12:12:20 PM , Rating: 2
Well, they may as well be looking forward to updating the WP7 browser to something closer to ie 9.


RE: html 5 support
By Flunk on 12/10/2010 3:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
They would realistically be better off dropping IE entirely and just using Webkit. I know they'll never do it but it would save a lot of development money.


RE: html 5 support
By cditty on 12/11/2010 10:35:20 AM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with you on this one. They could make browser development much easier for themselves. If they are going to embrace standards (which I applaud them for), they should just go ahead and switch to webkit and use those the savings in browser development on OS improvements and advancing cloud services.

I like my Windows Phone alot, but I am still popping my SIM in my Nexus One way more. I think that will change after February.


RE: html 5 support
By ScotterQX6700 on 12/11/2010 3:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
Having (and loving) a Nexus One, I see why you prefer a webkit-based browser to the one in the Windows phones. However, as a developer I totally understand why it is in Microsoft's best interest to spend the money on creating a mobile-version of their desktop web browser. If I were them I would see this as an investment in the future where, optimally for future dev time/$, they would use as many of the same libraries as possible in both browsers.


RE: html 5 support
By teohhanhui on 12/12/2010 11:57:18 AM , Rating: 2
Are you really fine with a WebKit-only web? Competition is an important factor in moving browsers forward.


RE: html 5 support
By djdjohnson on 12/12/2010 8:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's interesting that the public has the common misconception that Webkit is the only way to go for a browser engine. The truth is that Microsoft is doing a much better job about implementing the features that are going to be made available with HTML5.

One of the aspects of my job is to research future technologies and make decisions about what technologies we are going to use to implement our products. I recently completed my assessment of HTML5 and the conclusion was that it isn't feasible to use it yet because of the spotty (at best) implementation of the protocol in "modern" browsers.

I used the latest betas of all of the major browsers (to see where things were headed), and it turned out that the Webkit based browsers (Safari and Chrome) are absolutely the worst when it comes to implementing the promised features of HTML5. In order of most complete to least complete they were: Opera 10/11, IE9, Firefox 4, Chrome 8, and lastly Safari 5. The gaps between each of the first four weren't huge (though the gap between Opera and Chrome was pretty significant), but Safari was the worst by quite a wide margin, even compared to Chrome. It seems Apple isn't really that intent on adopting HTML5 standards, with Safari leaving out major HTML5 capabilities. In my own opinion, if one is banking on compatibility with HTML5 in the future, Webkit would be the last engine I would choose in creating a browser right now. Either they're hiding something up their sleeves for a future release, or they've rested on their laurels too long, because as of right now Webkit just isn't ready for the future.


Cant compare
By B3an on 12/10/2010 12:52:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
For those of you who don't know what Silverlight is, it's a rich multimedia medium similar to Adobe's Flash or HTML5


Silverlight and Flash are nothing like HTML5. It's embarassing that someone who works for a tech news site, a site which is something on the web, dont even know about the web and technologies behind it.
Both Silverlight and Flash are modern application platforms, that use modern and powerful coding languages that are way more capable than HTML5. They also use plugins of course, and developing in them is nothing like HTML5 development.
HTML and HTML5 is a very simple page markup language, thats really not changed much in 3 decades.
Many people, who dont even know what HTML5 actually is, like to call HTML5 the future, but the language it's based on was already dated in the 1990's.

"HTML5" is usually marketing talk to sum up HTML5 along with CSS3, Javascript, PHP, and many other languages, rather than the actual HTML5 coding language itself.
Most "HTML5" demo's/sites/games are not HTML5 at all, maybe they use it for basic page layout, but they will use something like Javascript to do things like animations, interactions, and CSS3 for more advanced page customisations and so on, as HTML5 can do nothing more than simple things like place objects on a page, change text and background colour, and now place video and audio on a page with the <video> and <audio> tags for example. Most HTML5 pages actually use JavaScript to do most if not all of the more advanced things like interactions and animations (coincidentally JavaScript is very similar to ActionScript 3.0 what Flash uses).




RE: Cant compare
By foolsgambit11 on 12/10/2010 5:48:12 PM , Rating: 3
Technically, you are right, but generally speaking, when people refer to HTML5, they are also including support for client-side scripting, server-side scripting, and CSS, which are technically not part of the HTML5 spec, but have been commonly included in browsers (and server setups) for some time. People also generally include support for SVG as a feature of HTML5, even though it technically isn't part of the specification, either, since all the major browsers are including support for it in roughly the same timeframe as HTML5. In this sense, 'HTML5' is shorthand for the current generation of web programming techniques. I understand your argument that a tech site should be accurate and precise in their usage of tech terminology, but I think we all understood the meaning the author intended.

HTML5 (in the general, non-technical, shorthand sense) is able to replicate much of the functionality of plugins like Silverlight and Flash, albeit not always at the same level of performance. Fundamentally, this means that the browser alone can do what used to require a browser+plugin. In that sense, HTML5 is exactly like Flash and Silverlight. However, since each browser may implement these specifications differently, and may perform better or worse given the same code, there are practical considerations the programmer must take into account that make this method different from the plugin methodology. So in that sense, you are right that they are different. But I wouldn't say they are 'nothing alike'.

I hope that soon we will see a programming environment available that will integrate all the 'HTML5' tools into an easy to use system, which will then output code with optimized code paths for each browsers' implementations of the relevant web standards. Adobe already has a Flash to HTML5 conversion tool, and there are 3rd party options that do the same thing, but I'd like to see a truly independent (and free) IDE.


RE: Cant compare
By Souka on 12/10/2010 6:23:26 PM , Rating: 2
MS-Basic is the future... nuff said


RE: Cant compare
By jvillaro on 12/12/2010 1:57:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yeap, sure they are almost the same... I'd like to see somebody try to make business RIA apps with HTML as easy and fast as you can in Silverlight


RE: Cant compare
By B3an on 12/13/2010 3:08:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but generally speaking, when people refer to HTML5, they are also including support for client-side scripting, server-side scripting, and CSS, which are technically not part of the HTML5 spec

Thats basically what i've already said. The problem is many people have absolutely no clue what HTML5 actually is and it's capabilities, even on sites like this. Amazingly this even includes some web designers i know.

quote:
I hope that soon we will see a programming environment available that will integrate all the 'HTML5' tools into an easy to use system, which will then output code with optimized code paths for each browsers' implementations of the relevant web standards. Adobe already has a Flash to HTML5 conversion tool, and there are 3rd party options that do the same thing, but I'd like to see a truly independent (and free) IDE.

I cant see this happening, certainly not with free software. It's too complex to make something like this, even the most advanced web design software like Adobe Dreamweaver which can be used for almost any web based coding language does not do this. Theres far too many variables, too many browser issues, and browsers with they way they render pages and handle code can change with each browser version. Many of these languages and new technologies also wont be finalised until 2012 or later.
Adobe's Flash to HTML5 conversion tool is also very limited. Theres about a million things you cant do with "HTML5" that you can in Flash, so it only really works for the most basic of things like converting a simple Flash animation to code. I work with all this stuff daily though, and Flash and Silverlight compared to HTML5 really are nothing alike. They can do some of the same things, but in every other area they are vastly different (plus a LOT more pleasant to work with).


RE: Cant compare
By Murst on 12/11/2010 5:01:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Silverlight and Flash are nothing like HTML5.

I think most people associate Flash and Silverlight with web video (I do realize that Flash and Silverlight can do a lot more). In that sense, HTML5 will be a substitute for Flash and Silverlight. You can even see that right now with the iPhone and iPad. So, in a way, if something is a substitute for something else, then it probably means it at least has some similarities. :)


from who?
By superPC on 12/10/2010 11:36:28 AM , Rating: 2
timing update to coincide with a major event? looks like MS is taking a play out of apple playbook. well it got apple the attention it wants so hopefuly it work as well for MS. as long as MS keep listening to their costumer and keep a frequent and steady stream of update than things will come around for them.

and remember people: to each his own. be glad with your platform of choice and don't force other to see your wisdom.




RE: from who?
By davepermen on 12/10/2010 11:51:18 AM , Rating: 2
... while being much less important as the os is specifically designed to not need those features in daily usage. (but it's still great to get the features. so far, i haven't needed them on the omnia 7)


RE: from who?
By davepermen on 12/10/2010 11:55:34 AM , Rating: 2
replied to the wrong post :(


RE: from who?
By Gyres01 on 12/14/2010 4:28:32 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmmm the fact they I can play my Xbox Live arcade games is really tempting...I might have to seriously check one of the phones out when my contract is up in March......


By atlmann10 on 12/11/2010 1:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
In general Microsoft focuses on a bigger picture. Have you seen there cloud commercials, have you noticed they have a smart phone platform now, have you noticed that both there Win7, Server, mobile, and office as well as access platforms are morphing to full mobility or cloud based platforms? Also for however you want to view it they say Windows 8 will be totally cloud based for everything. What is unseen now is there complete future model. I know i can definitely see an outline of it from these things we do know.




By Smilin on 12/13/2010 12:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
Ray Ozzies "Three screens" strategy at work.

Someday you'll get your stuff on one of three screens: Large dedicated one likely in your living room that is great for entertainment and data consumption. A portable one that is suited to data consumption. A dedicated high power device that is suited to data creation as well as consumption. Your "stuff" should be seamlessly accessible regardless of which screen you are currently on.

MS is working towards all the goo in the back that will push data to these three screens. Xbox+wp7+GFWL is one example. Zune is another (it's already on 3 screens). On the business side the "large screen" becomes less important. Office 365 + wp7 + Office 2010 are an example there.


New Hardware?
By Gungel on 12/10/2010 11:26:21 AM , Rating: 2
I hope that with this latest update we'll also see some new hardware and support for Verizon LTE and Sprint 4G.




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