Windows Phone 7 Gets Beter Battery Life, Multitasking, IE9, Kinect Support

Posted by at 10:39 am on February 14, 2011

Microsoft at Mobile World Congress announced a trio of major updates that will come to Windows Phone 7. The OS will finally get multitasking and is using a system reminiscent of HP’s webOS cards: jumping out shows all of the running apps as thumbnails of their current state and allows switching with simple flicks.

IE9

WP7 will upgrade from the Internet Explorer 7 engine to the much faster and more accurate Internet Explorer 9 engine. Pages now load more accurately through graphics acceleration and, in some cases, outperform Safari on an iPhone. A demo showed an HTML5 animation playing smoothly on a WP7 device where an iPhone struggled.

More Gaming

Microsoft also upped its gaming presence by previewing the possibility of integrating Windows Phone 7 and Kinect in a game. Users could play one end of a tech demo, Rally Ball, by flicking balls with their finger while a Kinect player used the Xbox motion controller to hit them back. It’s not evident if this will ever reach shipping Kinect games but did work. See the video below for more (Video requires silverlight to view)

Over the next year, the MS will continue to work with third parties on phone innovation and will add new features and apps that customers want and that make using Windows Phone 7 a “delightful experience.” Microsoft also will work to engage more of the nearly 80 percent of worldwide phone users who are not using a smart phone, said JP Wollersheim, a Windows Phone 7 product manager.

Other updates are bringing automatic photo uploads on a wider level, tighter Xbox Live integration, SkyDrive cloud editing in the Office hub, and Twitter reaching the People hub. Battery issues have reportedly been tackled, and third-part apps now have a wide range of privileges that includes background audio, among others. The copy-and-paste text update already promised is due in early March, but the other updates don’t yet have timeframes and many not all come at once.

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