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Windows Phone Mango, Kinect Beta SDK for Windows and Silverlight 5 announced

04.13.2011
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Today, during the second day at MIX11, several important announcements were made in addition to what was said yesterday. First and foremost, the upcoming new version of the Windows Phone OS was showcased. The focus is on the updated version of Internet Explorer - version 9 that will replace the 7.5, the main feature being support for HTML5 that was not available in the initial release. Updates to the hardware and software platform will "enable developers to create new generation of apps that are even faster, more capable and better integrated with Windows Phone", according to Joe Belfiore - corporate VP for Windows Phone.

New Windows Phone capabilities include:

  • Multitasking (e.g. for background file transfer)
  • Better app integration with the system shell
  • Access to the camera and Motion Sensor library (for augmented reality apps)

Today we were able to take a sneak peek at apps that are already taking advantage of these capabilities (in conceptual stage):

  • Skype
  • Spotify
  • Layar
  • Qantas
  • Amazon Shopping
  • Kik Messenger 

The updated version of the Windows Phone 7 SDK will be available later in May.

The Kinect SDK that was announced a while ago is now available in its beta stage. It allows developers to take advantage of Robust Skeletal Tracking for high-performance capabilities that track the skeletonimage, advanced audio capabilities to use the four microphone array and a XYZ depth camera.

Developers can sign up for updates at http://research.microsoft.com/kinectsdk.

Some great demos were showcased on stage, including its integration with Worldwide Telescope and some community projects.

Silverlight 5 was also a big part of today's keynote. Although in its Beta stage, it includes new capabilities such as Hardware Video Decode for enchanced video quality and performance, and "Trickplay" that provides variable-rate video playback with audio and pitch correction. It offers a new integration layer with XNA to take advantage of 3D capabilities.