A related tactic is Microsoft's heavy promotion of Windows Phone 7 as a mobile gaming platform: there will be scores of games, ranging from the simplistic to the mesmerizing. The phone's Games Hub is tied tightly with Microsoft's popular online Xbox Live social network. Enterprise users may not be a key gaming audience but the ability of the phones to run complex, graphics-rich applications well is a powerful demonstration of the platform's capabilities.
Developers embracing Windows Phone 7
Second, after months of patient work, Microsoft seems to be winning a growing number of Windows developers to the radically redesigned touch OS. Even more importantly, their enthusiasm seems to be growing. These developers can use the same Microsoft tools they're familiar with, all with add-ons to support Windows Phone 7: Silverlight, XNA Studio for games, Visual Basic, the .Net framework and the Expression Blend visual design tool.
Some number of Windows Mobile developers and independent software vendors (ISV) are disappointed or angry that they won't be able to simply run or easily port programs that are mainly written in C/C++. That's mainly because Windows Phone 7 apps are not native applications: they run on virtual machines provided by either the Silverlight or XNA Studio runtimes.
Westtek, which has C++ PDF and print applications for Windows Mobile, won't be supporting the new platform, at least for now, for example. Nor will DataViz, which specializes in supporting Microsoft Office documents on several smartphone operating systems.
Another sore point for some developers is the current lack of multi-tasking support, a feature not enabled in the initial release of Windows Phone 7.
But other Windows Mobile vendors are embracing the new OS. Pageonce, which offers personal finance apps for a range of mobile platforms, will have its Windows Phone 7 app ready for Nov. 8. Panoramic software, which offers a diverse set of mobile games, utilities and tools, will have at least four apps ready for the new phones.
And more Windows Mobile ISVs will be climbing on board in the future. Shape Services is bringing its IM+ application, an all-in-one instant messaging client, to Windows Phone 7 by the end of 2010. VidaOne, which offers mobile fitness and health apps, will add support at some point in the coming months, but currently is focused on meeting surging demand on iOS and Android handsets, says CEO Jean Gareau.