Microsoft has just announced details on the tools developers will need to create third-party software for Windows Phone 7, and also gave a list of companies that have already agreed to start work on apps for this new operating system.
This new operating system will not be able to run software written for Windows Mobile 6.5 because it will require apps to be written in Silverlight, which can be thought of as Microsoft's version of Adobe Flash. Games will be developed with XNA Game Studio 4.0, the same tool used to create titles for the Xbox as cross-platform gaming is being encouraged.
For Windows Phone 7 to be a success, Microsoft needs lots of developers to create apps for it. To help bring this about, the company is making the tools needed available for free. This includes Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, XNA Game Studio 4.0, a Windows Phone 7 Series Emulator, and other tools.
All software written for this new platform will be sold thorough a new on-device store. This will allow one-time credit card purchases, mobile operator billing, and advertising-funded applications. The Marketplace will also allow customers to try applications before buying them.
Companies Lining Up
Microsoft also announced the names of the companies who are working on Windows Phone 7 software. Some of the better known names are Citrix Systems, EA Mobile, Fandango, Foursquare, IMDB, Match.com, Microsoft Game Studios, Namco, Pandora, Photobucket, PopCap Games, Shazam, Sling Media (SlngPlayer), SPB Software, The Associated Press, and WeatherBug.
As the release of this new operating system gets closer, its likely that many more names will be added to this list.
More about Windows Phone 7
Despite its name, Microsoft's next smartphone operating system is going to have little in common with its predecessors. It will have a completely different user interface and, as mentioned earlier, won't run applications written for the earlier versions nor will any current models be upgradeable.
Its focus has moved to consumers, and its UI emphasizes social networking, pictures, games, etc. It has also been redesigned to be controlled with a fingertip.
Just about the only significant similarity between old and new is that both include Microsoft Office Mobile and support for synchronizing with Microsoft Exchange.
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