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Windows Phone 7 to drop multitasking?

updated 05:50 pm EST, Sat February 6, 2010

Windows Phone 7 may be deliberate step backwards

Microsoft may consciously limit Windows Phone 7 in its attempt to compete against Apple, a leak sent out today claims. Echoing some previous reports, a source says WP7 will have a Zune-like interface at many levels but goes on to say this will extend to the underlying framework as well. It would drop multitasking and instead pause apps, using an iPhone-like push notification system to handle new updates.

The revamp would also be less open as a whole than Windows Mobile 6. Hardware makers like HTC would not have the option of modifying the home screen with their own interfaces, such as TouchFLO. Apps would also have to go through a "service based delivery" system such as Windows Marketplace to install, reversing a years-old ability to download apps through the browser or other sources. A broad file system would be dropped in favor of a centralized but simpler storage area.

WP7 would use the Zune HD interface wholesale for media playback but would actually have a significant amount of Xbox Live compatibility. It would not only tap into the social network but would support XNA app programming that would let developers write games using the same code they use for Xbox 360 games, although touch input and resolution would mean having to write different versions. Again, Windows Mobile apps wouldn't be backwards compatible but would have a similar enough code base to port some titles over.

Microsoft's ambitions for the web experience would allegedly be another mixture of steps forward and back. The company is consciously aiming to beat the iPhone 3G in speed and accuracy but isn't yet certain if it would beat the several months old iPhone 3GS. Flash and Silverlight would be limited to the out-of-browser environment even though both should be part of Windows Mobile in the first half of the year.

Hardware would be available in September and should have a fast-track development cycle, according to the source. Since Microsoft would provide the drivers, third parties could not only ship phones faster but would finally have fast, over-the-air updates. Windows Mobile has widely been criticized for a slow update model that requires carriers and hardware makers to approve and implement updates, often leading to updates only arriving several months after Microsoft updated the code.

While much of the information still isn't confirmed, it corroborates previous rumors and hints at an unusual regressive strategy when trying to compete against Android, Apple and other more modern platforms. The design appears targeted at media-heavy phones like some Android devices and the iPhone but would, if true, eliminate some of the key advantages that Microsoft has claimed for Windows Mobile. Android and webOS already have true, simplified multitasking systems and allow users to download apps outside of traditional channels. Apple doesn't yet have such code but is widely expected to show off iPhone OS 4.0 as soon as this spring.

by MacNN Staff



  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If true

    Monkey see, monkey do.. Its so MS. LOL

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    they should just come out and announce

    that it'll pretty much work like the iPhone, except they'll change the graphics and some of the touch controls [like having to double-tap to launch an app] and claim that they designed their interface WAY before they ever saw an iPhone.

  1. joecab

    Joined: Dec 1969


    better hw than iPhone?

    Well I guess technically they could beat Apple on the hardware in the few months between the next iPhone's release but they'd have to be flexible and work fast. And that ain't the Microsoft we've seen.

    The software I have absolutely no faith in at all. Interesting if they do stick to having third parties make the hardware rather than do it themselves like iPhone and the Zune.

  1. chas_m





  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    OMG! I cannot believe WP7 would drop multi-taskin

    Isn't it committing some sort of technical sin if you can't run at least a dozen apps in the background on a... CELLPHONE! 98% of the consumers who use smart phones probably wouldn't even give a damn if their phone devices didn't multi-task.

  1. Tofino

    Joined: Dec 1969



    the only way any of that makes sense is that microsoft feels it's running out of time and is pushing winmo7 out before it's ready.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Redmond photocopier

    Redmond photocopier at it again!

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You can bet...

    ... that now MS has officially dropped multi-tasking from WinMo, SUDDENLY the lack of multi-tasking on a mobile device ... with limited storage, memory and battery capacity ... will suddenly become perfectly acceptable and a legitimate design decision ...

    EXCEPT if Apple does it.

    Multi-tasking on a mobile device is something that tech dorks can use to stroke themselves to sleep, not for 99% of the user base.

  1. ingenious

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is dumb. I'm not a WinMo user, and don't really know how it functions, but multi-tasking and a broadly-accessible file system are my two BIG requests for iPhone OS 4.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Bill

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2010


    SOunds reasonable

    OK, IM down with that. Its all good!


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