Microsoft Reveals More Details on Next Major Windows Phone Update

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Even as it is struggling to get the first significant upgrade to its Windows Phone operating system to consumers, Microsoft is already talking about the next one coming down the pike. Set to debut in the fall, this will include greater support for multi-tasking.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave the first details on this new version which is scheduled to be released in the fall — and now VP Joe Belfiore revealed some specifics in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The executive talked about not just new features, but also made promises about some third-party apps that are headed to this platform.

Microsoft Windows PhoneThe highlight of Ballmer’s keynote address at the MWC tradeshow in February was a promise that greater support for multi-tasking is being added to Windows Phone 7. This would allow multiple apps to run simultaneously which has been a highly-requested feature. Belfiore says that this is going to allow apps such as Spotify to play music in the background, something that isn’t possible now with this operating system.  

The Microsoft VP also promised that Twitter is going to be integrated into the platform, in the same way that Facebook already is. Going beyond a stand-alone Twitter app, this will display tweets from friends and co-workers in the user’s address book, just as Facebook posts appear now. This isn’t really news, though, as Gates had already mentioned this back in February.

Belfiore did break new ground when he said that developers will be able to create live tiles to specific parts of their software. So, for example, an eBook application could put one tile on the user’s home screen to read books and a second one for the book store portion of the app.

And finally, Belfiore said that Microsoft is giving programmers greater access to the core of the operating system, including the APIs for the camera and other features. This is what will allow a version of Skype to be introduced when the updated Windows Phone 7 is released.

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