WP7 to Get Basic Features Upgrade

Believe it or not, multitasking (running multiple apps in memory without killing the thread and switching between them) is not supported on the Windows Phone 7 platform. I know right? It’s even worse in real life use. Coming from Android after a year, WP7 really does feel like a huge step back to me. However, Microsoft has big plans they’ve announced at MIX 11 and hopefully they’ll be good enough to change the opinions of people like me. Because I can’t really reword it any better than Engadget has stated, the changes we can expect (eventually) are as follows:

  • Multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast app switching, including background audio playback for HTML5 webpages
  • Deeper integration of apps into the OS, allowing programs to leverage Live Tiles, including push notifications via Live Agents running in the background
  • Raw access to the camera and sensors (gyro and compass) via the Motion Sensor library, letting apps to control device hardware.

That just about sums it. I’m mostly amazed at how apps didn’t have a lot of this stuff before. I would be pretty frustrated as a developer not having device hardware level access like that. However, Microsoft has promised to make good on this update bringing it just that much closer to where Android is at. Yes Android will be celebrating its 3 year anniversary this year, but that makes the speed with which Microsoft catches up all the more crucial. I think they’re doing a great job of getting things up to speed with the competition. 1500+ new API’s should make any developer happy. Keep it up Microsoft!

Press Release after the break.  Continue reading

Internet Explorer 10 Preview: Wait What?

Internet Explorer was already get a little long in the tooth, it’s about time Microsoft rolled out something new and fresh. Bring in IE10!!! Yes, just about 1 month after releasing IE9 to the world, you are now welcome to join in testing the next version of the first thing you should uninstall when getting a Windows computer. Anyone willing to dip their feet in the Microsoft browsing pool can do so here, and rest assured your pool party will be able to include CSS Gradients and CSS3 Flexible Box Layout. How many websites actually use those right now? I’m willing to bet not too many, but Microsoft is at least getting ready before technology passes them by again. Of course, you can check just what those fancy web dev terms mean in action at the Microsoft Test Drive web site.

Almost of more importance to the general computing/tablet world is this tasty little morsel: the demo they ran today? That was on a Tegra 2 ARM processor. Yep, Windows 8 can run on ARM. This is a huge deal as it opens Windows up to all the energy benefits and mobile power packages that are the ARM family. Breaking free from the power hungry Intel chips is a huge deal for Microsoft. I really didn’t think much would come of Microsoft’s tablet OS if the hardware it was forced to run on was Intel based. There’s nothing wrong with Intel, they continue to lead in the power and performance realm, but they’ve really lagged behind any ARM and even the AMD Fusion series in the mobile realm. You can catch the video below and keep rubbing your grubby little paws together, this isn’t going to be available to test to us for a while. However, running a demo on a huge stage like this shows confidence in the platform and it just may be further along than any of us realize.  Till they release more Windows 8 on ARM, enjoy your IE10!

You stay classy, World Wide Web.

Source: Engadget, Microsoft, @NvidiaOptimus (Twitter)

P.S. When you realize what a horrible mistake you’ve made, here’s a little something you might wanna look into.

Random: DIY Microsoft Surface

Pretty much any self respecting geek could think of a multitude of nerdy “uses” for the Microsoft Surface. Multiplayer Pong, Asteroids, and any RTS would be incredibly cool on the display/input/kitchen table, but unfortunately most of us are not listed in “Millionaires Anonymous” (a magazine I made up just for this article”). That’s where Seth Sandler comes in. He’s endeavored to make you a Surface for the low, low price of only $400. That’s just a wee bit more affordable for the every-nerd, and certainly makes me think twice about that new graphics card. Give it a shot yourself after the break and I’ll let you know if I get a chance to do it myself.

You stay classy, World Wide Web.

Source: Engadget, Seth Sandler