Print 38 comment(s) - last by PrezWeezy.. on Dec 14 at 7:05 PM

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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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 is COMPLETELY fair to compare two CURRENTLY competing 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 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: 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.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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