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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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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).


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