Windows Phone 7 Series News Adds To The Mobile Mix

As promised during Mobile World Congress a month ago, today Microsoft made several Windows Phone 7 Series announcements at the MIX Developer Conference in Las Vegas, NV. While conference attendees are primarily software developers, there is news for consumers and developers. Here is a summary of the developer news available from Microsoft’s press release:

– Microsoft is providing free tools to developers to write Windows Phone 7 Series programs. The tools include Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, Expression Blend, XNA Game Studio 4.0, and a Windows Phone 7 Series emulator for application testing. Applications will be developed primarily using Silverlight, for which Expression Blend is a graphic design tool.

– The Marketplace for Windows Phone 7 Series will allow developers to retain 70% of the sale price of an application. It costs $99 per year for a developer to sell their programs in the store, and there is no charge for application submissions.

I was watching the #mix10 Twitter stream during the keynote presentation, and I would say the reaction from developers was very favorable. Free developer tools will encourage just about anyone who is interested in writing a program for Windows Phone 7 to do so. During the keynote several software partners demonstrated their applications. Engadget has many screen shots and video of the application demonstrations from well known names such as Foursquare, The Associated Press, Netflix, and Major League Soccer. See the Engadget article for a full listing of developers who have committed to creating Windows Phone 7 Series programs.

The Major League Soccer demonstration includes news of interest to consumers as it showed how push notifications will work in Windows Phone 7. As you can see in this article from Slashgear, notifications will appear at the top of the screen in a bar. When you tap the notification the associated application will start to show the notification information.

The final piece of information that I think is of importance to users is that you will only be able to install applications on Windows Phone 7 Series phones that are in the Microsoft Marketplace. You will not find a way to directly install Windows Phone 7 applications from web sites or other software stores as you can do with Windows Mobile today. The process as explained today is very similar to Apple’s iTunes App store, though Microsoft promises that the application review and approval process will be transparent, with a group of executives to make decisions on submitted applications that fall in a gray area of their guidelines.