At MWC 2011, Microsoft just announced a number of improvements for WP7 including the timeline for when its first update will be pushed to devices.

The update with app-loading performance improvements and copy paste support we demoed back at CES finally got a more specific release date - it's slated to launch in early March. A number of other updates are slated for 2011, though Microsoft wouldn't assign a specific date. Those updates include multitasking support for 3rd party applications, better cloud synchronization, more web-services built into hubs, and a completely new web browser.

Microsoft recognizes that the browser is probably the single most important mobile application. It needs to be speedy, needs to be usable, and needs to have full feature parity with desktop browsers. Though the WP7 browser feels very fast translating and zooming around, JavaScript was slow and HTML5 support was nonexistent. It was based on the older Trident engine used in pre-IE9 browsers, and never felt like it really belonged in the Web 2.0 or HTML5 era. Coming in 2011, WP7 will get a major update with an IE9 browser complete with the same level of GPU acceleration and HTML5 compatibility of its desktop brother. WP7's mobile IE9 browser will use the same core rendering engine as IE9's. 

Mobile IE9 includes HTML5 support for the video tag as well. That's the same H.264 support as IE9 has on the desktop.


Next, WP7 will better leverage Microsoft's cloud assets, including SkyDrive support in the office hub. Other hubs are getting updates that include faster cloud sync. One of the major curiosities when WP7 launched was the absence of twitter support. Also part of 2011 will be an update that brings twitter integration in the people hub. 

Probably the most major update, however will be inclusion of 3rd party multitasking support. Fast application re-hydration and a task manager menu are the key changes. The new multitasking interface allows for task switching using the back button. Pressing and holding the back button brings up a ring-switcher interface with screenshots of running applications.

Finally, Microsoft demonstrated an impressive example of cross WP7 and Xbox connectivity with a demo of users controlling the placement of obstacles in Kinect Adventures. Microsoft needs to move quickly to deliver WP7 updates into the hands of existing users to keep the platform competitive as Android and iOS also roll out updates. 

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  • FlvPlayer - Wednesday, March 2, 2011 - link

    Ya, Nokia's new smartphone looks really cool............ i will surely buy it soon!
  • MrEgo - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    DailyTech's report is slightly different in that it says CDMA support is coming in this next update. Is that true? I'm really anxious for this to release on either Sprint or Verizon.
  • Brian Klug - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    That's right, and we also covered it in our update article back at CES. That same update with copy & paste, CDMA2000 support, and some app-launch performance improvements is the one launching in early March.

  • munky - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Oh goodie, WP7 just got another feature Symbian has had for years. Maybe at this rate, by 2012 Nokia will have all the features it originally had only under a UI simple enough for dummies and Apple fans.
  • Penti - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    So when does Silverlight in the browser and full Silverlight 4.0 appear?
  • Brian Klug - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    That's actually a really good question, I'll see if I can follow up with Microsoft today.

  • CSMR - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Here's what was in Windows Mobile in 2007 (much of this in 2000):
    -file system access and USB mass storage
    -VPN support
    -almost full support for Exchange.
    -copy and paste
    -directly installable apps
    -enterprise-standard security features

    WP7 arrives with none of this in 2010. In 2011 we get two features back, C&P and multitasking. So when do we get support for the full range of standard features for businesses and serious users? 2012, 2013, 2014? When will WP7 be ahead of WM6 in these areas, as it should be? After all, enterprise features have moved on since then, with Lync unified communications for example.

    Instead, Microsoft prioritizes giving teenagers the ability to wave their phone in front of their TV set, and letting them addle their brains with tweets.

    This is glacial progress. Don't MS realize they have a war on their hands?
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Given how completely unsuited for general consumer use WM6 was, if it means sacrificing most business support to get wider acceptance in the consumer space they probably made the right choice. When/if the platform gets off life support maybe they can consider adding features for smaller audiences.
  • CSMR - Saturday, February 19, 2011 - link

    Business is not a small audience, and it is not an unimportant audience.

    WM's problem is it stopped receiving investment, for several years very little happened.

    The fact that a system has features doesn't make it bad for consumers. Extra features don't hurt anyone.

    RIM has done well on business features and nothing else. Android has most of the basic features too and is doing best of all.
  • Nataku - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    you have to remember, people now a days are starting to want to use their own phones on corporate environment and if the people don't like the phone, feature rich becomes much less meaningful

    from what i see and read so far, win mo 6.5 only kept loosing ground to the easier to use/fancier version of smart phones

    give MS time, they are pushing updates faster than most other companies right now

    feature rich can't be done in a year you know... at least unless you want half baked ones

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