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For developers attending its annual Web designer and developer conference Tuesday, Microsoft demonstrated the first major update pending for its Windows Phone 7 (WP7) mobile operating system, along with new developer tools for it. It also showed off an anxiously-awaited developers kit for building PC applications that use the Kinect wireless sensor technology.
The WP7 update -- codenamed Mango -- is scheduled for release this fall, Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone program management told the audience gathered in Las Vegas for the company's MIX11 conference.
High on the list of new features coming in Mango is the addition of Internet Explorer 9, which Microsoft just released for Windows last month. That part of the message is about compatibility and portability of code.
"The Mango release this fall will have IE9 built in ... and it's the same code base moved over from the PC to Windows Phone," Belfiore said.
Among other features coming in Mango is support for application multitasking for background processing functions, including "audio and file transfer, and fast application switching," according to Microsoft statements.
Microsoft's MIX conferences have become a showcase for Web technologies of interest to developers and designers. For instance, at MIX10 last year, the company released the first platform preview of IE9.
During Monday's MIX11 keynote, Microsoft announced the first developers platform preview if IE10.
Meanwhile, the company also announced it will begin shipping this spring a software developers kit (SDK) for building PC applications that work with Microsoft's Kinect -- going so far as to demo a Kinect-controlled, electrically-powered lounge chair that drove onstage to much mirth from the audience.
In late January, Microsoft claimed to have sold more than eight million Kinects in just 60 days during the holidays -- a new record for sales of consumer electronic devices, the company said.
In February, Microsoft officials said they would release a PC to Kinect SDK this spring.
Also on the developers front, Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET developer program, showed off new tools coming for WP7 development, including announcing the immediate beta test of Microsoft's Silverlight 5 streaming technology. Silverlight 5 will add the ability to use Microsoft's XNA interface for creating 3D visualizations, he said.
Additionally, Guthrie introduced a WP7 device emulator that doesn't require an actual phone, as well as showing off other development capabilities including support for 1,500 applications programming interfaces (API).
"[That includes] the full Silverlight 4 feature set," Guthrie added. The Mango release will also include a SQL database.