Microsoft touts Windows Phone 7 Series and Silverlight 4

The company showed off tools and demos during a presentation at the Mix10 conference

Microsoft at its Mix10 conference on Monday showed off application capabilities for its Windows Phone 7 Series platform and offered a release candidate for its upcoming Silverlight 4 rich Internet application plug-in technology.

Windows Phone 7 Series leverages Silverlight and the XNA gaming platform for application development. Visual Studio and Microsoft Expression Blend are positioned, respectively, as development and design tools for the phone OS, which features graphical capabilities akin to the Apple iPhone.

[ Earlier today, InfoWorld reported Microsoft's plans to offer analytics support for Silverlight. ]

"I'm pleased to announce that the Windows Phone 7 developer tools are now available for anyone to download on the Web," said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president for the .Net developer platform at Microsoft. Windows Phone 7 Series was unveiled last month.

Available at Microsoft's Windows Phone Web page, tools are being offered as a preview and include Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, Windows 7 Series Add-in for Visual Studio, Windows Phone 7 Series emulator and XNA Game Studio 4.0. Microsoft is making available a community technology preview of Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone at the same Web site. The tool provides a streamlined development workflow for the phone.

The morning presentation at the Las Vegas conference featured demonstrations of a variety of graphical applications for Windows Phone, including push notifications for the phone and an application from Seesmic that unites social networks, such as Facebook, on the phone via plugins.

"What's great for us here is that the code that we use here [on the phone], the majority is the same as for Windows desktop," said Loic Le Muir, Seesmic founder.

Windows Phone can incorporate Web applications and data onto a phone, said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows Phone at Microsoft. He showed applications including a phone-based diary that can include both text and photos on a Windows Phone device.

Also, the phone features squares, or tiles, to customize the phone experience. Tiles can take care of such tasks as listing contacts or messages.

The company Monday also said developers will be able to bring applications and games to market via Windows Phone Marketplace. Among the companies building applications for Windows Phone 7 Series are Associated Price, Citrix Systems, and others.

"The big deal, first of all, is that Microsoft is going to have a competitive platform in mobile," with Windows Phone 7 Series, said analyst Al Hilwa, IDC program director of application development software.

"It was kind of a moribund platform," prior to the new release, he said. With the 7 Series, Microsoft seems to have realized it needs to get into the consumer phone market, Hilwa said.

"They're about three years' late," said Hilwa.

Silverlight 4, which is to be generally available next month, offers capabilities such as microphone and multi-screen support as well as offline digital rights management. Also, a pivot capability, for visualizing large sets of data, will be available as a control for embedding in Silverlight 4 applications. The release candidate is available on the Silverlight Web page.

Multi-screen capabilities make Silverlight 4 "the first and only Web technology that allows you do that," Guthrie said.

"Silverlight delivers the highest-quality video on the Web," Guthrie said.

Mix10 on Tuesday will feature details on the planned Internet Explorer 9 browser, ASP.Net and services-based Web development.

In another development at Mix10 on Monday, Microsoft said the Silverlight Media Framework, which powered the Silverlight video player used at the Olympics, is available as an open source technology. The player offers functionality such as pause, rewind and seek. "All the code required to do that is part of this open source media framework, so now any developer, any business can get access to this project," said Microsoft's Brian Goldfarb, director of developer platform marketing.

A community of contributors can be built around the project, Goldfarb said.

This story, "Microsoft touts Windows Phone 7 Series and Silverlight 4," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in software development at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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