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Windows Phone 7 To Get Multi-Tasking, IE9, Xbox Integration

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the yesterday's-features-coming-tomorrow dept.

Microsoft 266

geek4 writes "Microsoft is planning to introduce multi-tasking and full integration with Internet Explorer 9 in future updates to its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system later this year. IE9 on Windows Phone 7 will use the same core browsing engine as on PCs. Microsoft also talked about the importance of multi-tasking, and claims it can now offer fast task switching without causing serious detriment to the battery life. In particular, Microsoft said, this will improve the experience of using third party applications. In a demo, a Microsoft engineer showed how a music application called 'Slacker' could keep music playing in the background while the user moved between different applications. By holding down the 'back' button, users can also see all their recently accessed applications, allowing them to switch easily between them." Microsoft also demonstrated how they're integrating WP7 with Xbox 360 consoles, showing a video of players using their phones as an auxiliary touchscreen controller to interact with a Kinect game.

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A Little More Information (1, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202596)

Microsoft is planning to introduce multi-tasking and full integration with Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer went on to explain that this would involve installing easily exploited libraries and components of IE9 into WP7 kernel space with full read/write access to all other WP7 kernel modules so it could run faster than competing browsers on the devices. He then bragged that it would be extremely trivial for such a compromised phone to broadcast and infect all XBox 360's within range. Where botnets had once been constrained to the family PC, Ballmer boasted a larger market for penetration and manipulation sitting next to televisions in 50 million homes and nearly everyone's pockets. Ballmer explained that this new strategy was actually a throwback to the days of IE6 and he suspected that this move would make IE9 as pervasive as IE6 once was. Sony and Nintendo were unavailable for comment but it's clear Microsoft has once again won the hearts -- and minds -- of the world's malware authors.

Re:A Little More Information (3, Funny)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202646)

it would be extremely trivial for such a compromised phone to broadcast and infect all XBox 360's within range

A browser exploit can cause a phone to spontaneously sprout limbs, open your 360, connect itself to the JTAG header, and perform the NAND dumping and flashing nonsense currently required to run unsigned code? That's one hell of a phone!

Re:A Little More Information (1, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203532)

it would be extremely trivial for such a compromised phone to broadcast and infect all XBox 360's within range

A browser exploit can cause a phone to spontaneously sprout limbs, open your 360, connect itself to the JTAG header, and perform the NAND dumping and flashing nonsense currently required to run unsigned code? That's one hell of a phone!

Ooh. Nokias are real nasty. You've gotta respect the Japanese. They know the way of the samurai.

Re:A Little More Information (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203182)

God you're so fucking gay. No wonder people here hate you.

How about lately news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202626)

Does not save Nokia....

Xbox? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202670)

Nobody uses Xbox except clueless players in the USA.

Re:Xbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202734)

Once me and my frat bros are done with this kegger, we're totally giving you a swirlie, dweeb. Halo RULES. *BROFIST*

Re:Xbox? (2)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202770)

Halo is no better than the thousands of other Bloody simulators. I'd sooner play fun games like Metroid, Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy, Dance Revolution, and so on.

Re:Xbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202814)

The last 2 Final fantasies were bloody simulators. 13 and 14 both had terrible gameplay involving Sony butchering their fanbase.

Re:Xbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202924)

Square-enix. Not sony.

Facepalm for stupid typos. I had the phrase "sony fanboy" in my mind from reading the GGP.

Multi-tasking (1, Troll)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202676)

The 90s called, asking for its unique selling point back.

Re:Multi-tasking (4, Insightful)

jokermatt999 (1536127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202718)

Come on, be fair. It took Apple waaay longer than that to figure it out.

Re:Multi-tasking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203108)

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Windows_Mobile#Version_history

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/IOS_version_history

I fail to see how it took Apple longer than Microsoft to figure out multi-tasking, since the Windows mobile platform has had no less than 6 additional years of development over iOS (although both still suck).

Re:Multi-tasking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203456)

If you're counting previous versions of Windows Mobile... they could multitask before Apple even put out the iPhone.

So what the hell is your point?

Re:Multi-tasking (1, Informative)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202868)

>>>The [80s] called, asking for its unique selling point back.

Fixed. Preemptive multitasking first came to the home in 1985 (on commodores). The other persons were slow to the table (Win1998 and OS X 2001), and acted like it was an innovation, but of course it wasn't.

As for Microsoft and Internet Explorer, they are trying to repeat the success they had in taking-over the PC, but now on mobile phones. I hope they >> null: (i.e. fail).

Re:Multi-tasking (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203170)

The other persons were slow to the table (Win1998 and OS X 2001),

The date of 1998 for Windows makes no sense. If it's the reference to Win98, then Win95 had the same kind of multitasking 3 years before that - and yes, it was preemptive (though IIRC there were ways to lock up the system if you wanted). If talking about Windows in general, then NT 3.1 had it in 1993.

Re:Multi-tasking (3, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203210)

Preemptive multitasking first came to the home in 1985 (on commodores).

No. Xenix was introduced earlier in the '80s, and MP/M before that, on various (non-Commodore) personal computer architectures.

Re:Multi-tasking (3, Funny)

mazesc (1922428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203106)

Exactly. It's just awful, how slowly things are evolving in these locked down mobile systems.

Re:Multi-tasking (4, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203244)

Multitasking on mobile devices is a different problem than multitasking on desktops. With a desktop, the challenges are primarily allocating memory and CPU. With mobile devices, network and battery are the resources that need to be optimized. So with a desktop app, you can shove it int he background, give it limited cpu cycles and memory without any architectural changes. With mobile devices, it is a lot harder to limit because you don't want the CPU running all the time and even if nothing else is using the network connection, letting some background app use it constantly will result in draining the user's battery and potentially costing them data usage fees.

A good example is push based notifications. If applications ping a server regularly to see if they have updates or if there is a message, that uses a lot more of both resources than if it subscribes to a network service that notifies the device when the same event occurs. The problem is, the former is easier to code and the way developers are used to doing things on desktops where they don't have to worry about battery and data nearly as much.

So when Microsoft says they are adding in support for multitasking, does that mean:

  • They've developed a suite of services, optimized for these resources, that applications can hook into ala the iPhone? This is great for battery life, but limits the functionality of third party apps.
  • They've built OS level controls that limit resource usage by background apps in order to save battery life and built APIs to make sure the apps will still function as the user expects?
  • They are letting apps run willy nilly and use any and all resources and are planning on using their store distribution model to get rid of poorly coded resource hogs?

In short, multitasking for mobile devices is a difficult problem, with different challenges from traditional multitasking on desktops. Google engineers have repeatedly stated that they consider multitasking and battery life problems to be one of their greatest challenges and current failings. Microsoft announcing that they're coming out with something is, then interesting, although it may be a poor clone of one of the other vendors' implementations.

So? (2, Insightful)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202694)

Roles are switched: MS is re-implementing experience that users are already accustomed to on Linux (Android). And expecting 3rd party developers to switch or at least "also support" their platform for 1% of users.

Re:So? (1)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202800)

Not only Android, mind you.

Re:So? (1, Informative)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202900)

As Nokia shifts to support Windows Phone, I think that 1% will start to grow considerably. At the very least, people will accidentally buy Windows Phone as they continue their Nokia stable of phones, which still outsells Android. Add to that their very real customer satisfaction rate (a large percentage [reportedly 90%+ in their marketing material] of a relatively small number), and you have a huge problem for Android.

Not to mention, as Android starts to falter based on its inability to force carriers and manufacturers to upgrade. Why is my friend still using an unrooted Evo running Android 2.2? According to the table on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , less than 1% of Android users are running 2.3 (the version with the fix that stops texts from going to random people...). Over 10% are still running Android 1.5 and 1.6, combined.

My officemate (we're both Java developers) wants an Android, but he refuses to get one for two reasons. First, there are major hardware changes coming in the next month or two, which make it obvious to wait (he may actually get the Bionic). Second, fragmentation means he cannot depend on actually receiving any software support after whatever is initially on the phone. That's pathetic.

That is not a platform that I want to develop for, nor is it one that I want to even use. Google needs to take a serious look at this fragmentation and take care of it, or Windows Phone really will take over its current position. After all, it's not like most Android users have a track record for buying non-free apps that are locking them to the platform.

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202998)

Always, always bet against the Slashbot groupthink. In this case, it's "Nokia is doomed!" That is not the case. Probably a good idea to buy Nokia stock now.

And you are right, the Nokia-MS alliance will eat into Android like crazy. Both platforms will be engaged in a race to the bottom.

Re:So? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203076)

Always, always bet against the Slashbot groupthink.

So... buy Apple?

Lol, got to love people who can't read stats (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203058)

Yes, Nokia sells a LOT of phones. Dirt cheap dumb phones in poor countries. They probably make so much money at it that they aren't at all in trouble. Oh wait they are.

The big money is in the smart phones and there Nokia has lost out.

Same as WM7 has been loosing out. Both have tried competing in this market and Android, iPhone and Rim have left them in the dust.

So now they are going to combine their epic powers of fail for what?

The idea that Android has to look out for Windows Phone is the same idea as MS fanboys had with every previous iteration of MS CE/Mobile and got knows what other names they have used to hide the fact of old vinegar in crappy bags.

Re:Lol, got to love people who can't read stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203466)

Nokia sells a lot smart phones too. More than any manufacturer. More than the 2 largest combined. And Symbian is still out selling Android too (Nokia + NTTDOCOMO).

Re:So? (2)

Reapman (740286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203206)

Whole lotta FUD in there...
"less than 1% of Android users are running 2.3 (the version with the fix that stops texts from going to random people...). Over 10% are still running Android 1.5 and 1.6, combined."

First off, ya, Gingerbread is basically not here. I'll agree on that point. However your touting this sending texts to random people thing as a major issue. I use texting quite a bit on my phone (thanks to a handful of people that I know that use it all the time) and have NEVER had this issue. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but I think your blowing it far FAR out of proportion. I also don't know anyone else with an Android phone that has this issue. I've seen more issues with iPhone's autocorrect when I had an iPhone (or Android's autocorrect, or anyone elses) then Android's "MAJOR" text issue.

Secondly using your own numbers, your telling me that 89% of Android phones are running 2.x? Ya, that's some SERIOUS fragmentation.

"Second, fragmentation means he cannot depend on actually receiving any software support after whatever is initially on the phone. That's pathetic."
WHA?!?! no software support? Where did THAT come from? Ok so PC's have more then 1 OS and more then 1 Hardware type. Are you telling me I cannot depend on getting any software support for my PC?

I develop app's for Android and have had zero issues, the biggest challenge is making sure the graphics are ok on different screen resolutions - any Java programmer that can handle threading is going to have no problem handling different screen resolutions. Hell, it hasn't hurt the PC industry any...

What, did Programmers suddenly become dumb or something? ZOMG, I have to support 800x480 AND 800x400.. ZOMG, only 89% of people use Froyo, I don't know what Operating System version to target!!

Give me a break...

Re:So? (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203222)

Why not compare the 'fragmentation' of android against platforms that actually have some history in the mobile game shall we?
1. Android 2.3 is brand new and I think anyone paying attention to Android will know that it takes at least 6 months before any amount of -normal- people can actually start using them. If Google released 2.3 in 6 months with 50% market update adoption, would that somehow change your perception of the OS? For the 10% on obsolete equipment, its your decision to support them or not into the future. If you don't care about the shrinking 10% of the market, then skip them and support at least 2.0 or 2.2. Frankly, for most non-games or niche phone-features applications, 1.6's API is more than enough. Developing my own applications, I never thought that my applications would ever break on OS upgrades and lo and behold they still work even though they're compiled against API 1.6 on practically any phone/device that android runs on. Native applications don't upgrade as smoothly as that, but thats the trade-off that you accept when you build targeted platforms.
2. Which platforms have a better upgrade cycle?
2a. Windows Mobile -- Did these phones ever get OS upgrades? I doubt that often
2b. Symbian -- Ditto from WP. You pretty much get what you paid for
2c. Apple -- They will release updates in timely basis or they'll just completely drop support for the phone. It seems that 2 years is the effective EOL for OS upgrades.
2d. Windows Phone 7 -- We'll wait and see, but if its anything like their old release cycles, then buyer beware.

I'm in the Nokia/WP7 nay sayers camp on this one. I'm pleasantly optimistic about Blackberry's moves. Their success isn't assured, but at least they seem to be making good moves to move their brand and company forward. For a company I threw in with MS, Palm, & Nokia, I think they have a chance to rebound. Nokia and Microsoft have yet to prove that they are making any kind of compelling solutions. WP7 is alright, but for a closed ecosystem product, it has to out-quack Apple. As for open-ish systems, Android will continue to eat competition in terms of Value and rapid innovation.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203240)

Second, fragmentation means he cannot depend on actually receiving any software support after whatever is initially on the phone. That's pathetic... Google needs to take a serious look at this fragmentation and take care of it, or Windows Phone really will take over its current position.

Microsoft still hasn't demonstrated that they're able to reliably push updates every manufacturer's phone. I know it's easy to get excited by all the shiny bells and whistles at a press conference, but keep your feet on the ground. This was just a release announcement, not an actual release.

And remember, Microsoft has a dismal record with phone upgrades. There's no way to upgrade phone running Windows Mobile 6.0 to 6.5, or upgrade Windows Mobile 6.5 to phone to Windows Phone 7. Any expectation that you'll ever be able to upgrade Windows Phone 7 to any version beyond Windows Phone 7 with IE9 is probably just wishful thinking.

But with that said, the Google software upgrade path has historically been just as dismal as Microsoft's. If Microsoft improves even a little from "dismal" to "miserable", they'll still be better than Google. Of course, no sane person expects them to be as good as Apple, but I think Microsoft gave up on being as good as Apple a long time ago.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203370)

> that 1% will start to grow considerably.

Nokia will not have a WP7 phone out until the end of the year, or possibly next year. Maybe the 1% will grow after that. Or maybe everyone actually wanting WP7 will wait until Nokia has something and the 1% will drop. If that happens the current makers may dump WP7 altogether.

> there are major hardware changes coming

Exactly what WP7 buyers will wait for. Also now that MS have announced XBox and multi-tasking sometime in the future those will be waited for too.

> a huge problem for Android.

Android doesn't have a problem. It is not trying to take over the world. It puts up a product, if you want to buy it then fine, else buy something else. It is only MS mentality that thinks that having 100% market share is the aim.

> take a serious look at this fragmentation

It seems that Nokia will get to bypass the compulsory requirements of WP7 and will be able to innovate, unlike the other WP7 makers. This will fragment WP7 and will piss off the others so they may drop it. Or perhaps they will be allowed to differentiate too causing fragmentation.

Re:So? (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203386)

I don't think anyone in the market for a high end smart phone is going to be unaware what it's running and buy one by accident. More liikely current Nokia owners screwed by this about face and lack of upgrade path are going to look elsewhere next time. I don't think Nokia yet realize the amount of customer loyalty they've just lost. Any Nokia customer who wanted a Linux (Maemo) based phone will now have to switch to Android or even HP (Palm's WebOS).

Fragmentation is certainly an issue for Android, but this is more an issue for app developers who'd like to target a large unified market than it is for users. If you really want Android 2.x (or 3.0) so bad and can't get it on your current phone, are you really likely to switch to Microsoft out of spite, or just go buy yourself what you want (or just do nothing)?

I don't see Microsoft as guaranteeing major updates either.. Will your old MS phone run WP7? Will your WP7 phone run Windows 8 (already in beta, and targetting mobile devices)?

Re:So? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203486)

I think Nokia is running a big risk here.

If their position is so strong (outselling Android), then doing any sort of platform burning is sheer madness. So to make this drastic move in the first place, the supporting fact of 'outsells Android' has to be presumed to be faltering.

If they've decided they *are* losing on platform but have good hardware, then binding themselves *exclusively* to the MS offering seems dubious. They said their number one priority is knocking out Android's share. If they aren't propping up their own platform, they shouldn't put their business on the line for the sake of MS when they can hedge their bets and do both.

Re:So? (1, Insightful)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202990)

Jepp the problem here is that IE9 still is significantly subpar compared to mobile webkit. I am not going to optimize any site for WP7 and its shoddy browser if I can cover around 80% of all other phones without extra effort.
It would be about time for the IE team to get off their collective asses and deliver a competition to webkit and mozilla instead of being 4 years behind constantly.

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203016)

Actually I do have to say, many parts of that comparison except for the "expecting developers to follow for a 1% market share" aren't really that valid. The majority of windows features are generally slightly improved versions of linux's past. UAC = SUDO from 1980, NTFS more or less is ext2 grade of security (loong way to go considering still needs regular defrags etc...), big problem is right now Microsoft has no possible edge to get in, all competitors already have market share, fully developed apps and several years worth of popularity. Microsoft has... most of the features both competitors already have, and integration with a games console? They certainly don't have an ease of use advantage over apple, nor software advantages, they also don't have flexibility and freedom over android. The only possible advantage I could see is they might have an edge in software to synchronize with office/outlook down the road.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203430)

WP7 is so much easier to use than iOS. They do indeed have integration with a game console which no other platform has. Two points on Xbox Live:

1) Do we all remember when Microsoft said they were taking on Sony, not with gimmicks like Nintendo but toe-to-toe. It's taken a few years but now they are at least equal if not in front on Sony.
2) Xbox was never about just a console, it was about building a whole community around games and entertainment. Something Microsoft have surpassed everyone else at.

Microsoft have come from behind before, Sony were more established than Android and iOS are now. Smart phones are not just about the hardware you hold in your hand. It's about what you can do with that hardware. What entertainment and productivity options does it offer? Facebook, Xbox Live and Zune for entertainment. Android has nothing like it. Apples iTunes and Games Center are behind Microsoft here. Never mind that they are integrated into the OS not just after thoughts by way of yet another App.

As for productivity, with their knowledge of Office and server software then they will lead here too. Again iOS and Android have no answer here. Count apps if you like but Blackberry and Palm were much better business machines but do not lead the market.

Re:So? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203468)

NTFS does not need defragging, and for a long time MS did not have any official API to even allow for it. Third-party software hooked into the filesystem drivers and were basically barely-sanctioned hacks. In terms of security, NTFS has supported ACLs (both mandatory and discretionary) from day one. Ext2 has no such support.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203256)

Anyone remember how we laughed when Microsoft said they were going to take on Sony and the all supreme PlayStation. Do we laugh now, no we don't. Go back right to the start and the whole PC operating thing that got them where they are. Microsoft have never been innovators, they take an idea and improve on it. That's what they're doing here. Windows Phone 7 is an extremely user friendly experience that is so simple to use. Although it lacks some features it leads the way in the way it integrates Facebook (not just another app) and Xbox live. Add Zune and you have a OS that leads already. iOS has already peaked in market share. Android is good but which phone do you choose bit its diversity it is also its weakness. Too many phones with too many versions of the OS that have no chance of being upgraded. You never hear from Android supporters about all the Android users who still don't have the features they brag about because they have the wrong handset from the wrong OEM. All Android phones are by no means equal.
I bought my HD7 because of Xbox Live, Zune and Facebook integration. No other OS comes close and Mircosoft are just getting started!!!

Re:So? (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203432)

MS is re-implementing experience that users are already accustomed to

...and pushing it on their greater yet-unaware market share... in other words: business as usual!

Brain to get Multi-tasking, IE9, Xbox Integration. (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202714)

Fixed that for you.

Re:Brain to get Multi-tasking, IE9, Xbox Integrati (2)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202728)

"The same thing we do every day, Pinky. Try to take over the world."

WP7 - The 'Metoo' Phone OS? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202730)

Sigh,
  I expect Microkia/Noksoft will laud this as some fantastic feat of innovation.

Re:WP7 - The 'Metoo' Phone OS? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203448)

Right, because everyone hasn't been playing MeToo against iOS for the last 4 years.

as a nokian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202738)

i'll just say... WTF? They think multitasking is new and innovative ? Maybe a decade ago .
We are so fucked.

Re:as a nokian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202970)

WP7 sure beats the crap out of the software that Nokia has been offering for the past few years, even without providing third party developer APIs to multitasking.

Re:as a nokian (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203464)

Its not new to WinMo either, its been in every pervious version EXCEPT this one. And is every version of WinCE before the 'split' if you want to call it that. I'd be willing to bet its just been masked from users to copy Apple rather than unavailable.

Everyone is just trying to copy Apple without understanding WHY people by Apple products.

Internet Explorer (0)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202742)

Is amazing how much hardware get cursed with that crap.

Please no, in the name of all webmasters worlwide, no.

Re:Internet Explorer (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202826)

IE9 isn't so ridiculously far behind the other browsers, for this to be funny any more.
If Joe-six-pack must use a browser at all, let it be IE9. (And not IE8)

Re:Internet Explorer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202942)

The problem is people who use IE never update. When IE9 becomes old it will start annoying webmasters just like IE6-8 is doing right now.

Re:Internet Explorer (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203200)

A lot of those users are ones who CAN'T update due to IT policies. Those same IT policies prevent something like Firefox from being default in a corporate environment due to the lack of management with Group Policy.

Re:Internet Explorer (1)

leenks (906881) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203440)

Exactly. I'm a freelance consultant, currently working at a large UK company with a massive international parent. We are forced to use IE7 on our Shitrix thin clients for internet access. There are significant chunks of the web that don't work with IE7, but the IT department don't seem to care - as long as they can lock it down with Windows group policies it is fine with them.

Some days I have to leave the office and use my iPhone to access websites and then email myself files! Sigh!

Re:Internet Explorer (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203342)

It probably will, but there are reasons it won't be quite so bad.
IE9 styles arbitrary HTML elements, and "does" xml.
IE6 - IE8 seem to have been maliciously designed to block all forward compatibility.

I hate IE as much as the next guy. But credit were it's due.

It didn't have this already? (3, Insightful)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202744)

Am I the only one that's really surprised that multitasking wasn't already a feature? I thought it was weird when they announced it for the iPhone 4 like it was some huge breakthrough. Symbian might be a piece of crap as a smartphone OS, but, damn, they've had multitasking for 10 years now. It's not a hardware issue. How did this get ignored for so long in iOS and Windows phone?

Re:It didn't have this already? (3, Insightful)

dunezone (899268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202796)

Pff, the Windows Phone SDK doesn't even give us access to the flash on the camera unless you're an OEM developer.

Re:It didn't have this already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203006)

It does not give proper access to the camera and you complain of the flash.

Re:It didn't have this already? (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202818)

It is sad that none of the other Smartphone OSs seem to multiask as well as WebOS. The card interface is actually very good.
Gee so WP7 will someday be as good as IOS, Android, WebOS, and Symbian. Gee sign me up......
BTW Windows Mobile has had multitasking for a long time as well. Microsoft took it out of WP7 because? Maybe because IOS didn't do it and they wanted to copy IOS?

Re:It didn't have this already? (2)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203114)

Have you checked multitasking apps for Android? They offer cards and even same kind Ui's as what Maemo has on N900.
You have lots of different ways and gestures to give you possibilities to get wanted.

Re:It didn't have this already? (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203308)

Microsoft completely wrote their mobile platform starting from a new WinCE kernel. In their eyes, Windows Mobile is no-more.

Therefore, the APIs could note be written and effectively tested in time to ensure performance and battery life were maintained. This is similar to the fact that when WP7 was announced, iOS (then, iPhone OS 3.0) had not announced multitasking, nor had they announced that the original iPhone (2G) would not be supported at all, and the iPhone 3G would not support multitasking.

As it turns out, the iPhone 3G does not have enough memory to handle multitasking. It's performance is abysmal, at best, with it turned on (on a jailbroken device). So, with that in mind, I would consider the brisk pace that Microsoft has actually developed the entire OS, "soon" (mid-to-late 2011) to be including multitasking, a very good sign. Under two years to have a fully featured mobile OS? That's faster than Google.

My biggest concern with Windows Phone 7 is how long will Microsoft play ball with the carriers before simply bypassing them to send users the updates directly. Users will have waited about two months for the first WP7 update simply because the carriers are dragging their feet and stifling everyone, except themselves. I hope this process woke Microsoft up because users getting screwed by the carriers is going to look bad on Microsoft, as the carriers will not accept any of the blame.

The only mobile OS development that has been faster might be WebOS, which took a nosedive following HP's purchase of Palm.

Re:It didn't have this already? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203384)

BTW Windows Mobile has had multitasking for a long time as well. Microsoft took it out of WP7 because? Maybe because IOS didn't do it and they wanted to copy IOS?

Or maybe they were trying to address certain stability and battery life issues with WinMo.

Re:It didn't have this already? (2)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202834)

Mainly because the times when I actually need to use two programs at the same time on my iPhone are vanishingly small. It already did some multitasking (ie, listening to music while web surfing. In fact, the main complaint was that people wanted to be able to stream Pandora while doing other things. When it comes down to it, you're looking at a screen smaller than a deck of cards. Multi-tasking on that is pretty much useless.

Re:It didn't have this already? (1, Interesting)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203094)

Multi-tasking is something I use nearly daily, and wouldn't go back to a single task phone.

Off the top of my head, here's a few things I use multitasking for. This is far from an exhaustive list, just the first bunch of things I could think of.

Looking for a business on Google maps and checking their website.
Taking a quick picture while doing anything else.
Games pause and minimize when I get a phone call, text or have to/want to do anything else.
Browsing the web or playing a game while waiting for apps to download and install.

Re:It didn't have this already? (2)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203326)

Not sure it you are meaning to be ironic or not, but doesn't a non-multitasking iphone do all that anyway?

Re:It didn't have this already? (4, Insightful)

WARM3CH (662028) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203494)

WP7 and old iPhone did supported all of the scenarios you presented. The point is in none of your examples 2 programs need to run at the same time. The suspend/resume model used in WP7 and old iPhone is/was sufficient for all those cases. What is new is the possibility to bug the CPU in two user programs at the same time (both OS can/could run multiple system tasks at the same time). It is sometimes needed but circumstances are much more limited than initially appears.

Re:It didn't have this already? (1)

Kizeh (71312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203534)

In my case, run a turn-by-turn GPS navigation program (Ovi Maps) while streaming music / podcasts to my car stereo, and have the phone check email and facebook for updates so that when I stop they're fresh and up to date. Run a GPS sports tracking thingy (like Sports Tracker) while playing music when mountain biking and allow me to check maps, web, email, whatever while waiting for slower people to catch up.

Re:It didn't have this already? (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203520)

When it comes down to it, you're looking at a screen smaller than a deck of cards. Multi-tasking on that is pretty much useless.

I commonly run Glympse [glympse.com] while listening to Pandora [pandora.com] on my way home, so my wife knows when to expect me. I also sometime run Trapster [trapster.com] to check for speed traps. None of those apps give a shit about the screen most of the time. That then allows me to run one of many apps that show traffic information on the screen. Running 4 apps at the same time might slow my charge rate to a crawl, but it is extremely useful.

At the same time, the lack of that ability is keeping me from moving from iPhone to WM7. However, this fall I'm sure I'll try one out.

Re:It didn't have this already? (1)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202866)

I have multitasking on my jailbroken iOS 3.1.3. Let me tell you, that device has barely enough memory to run one app. Most work just fine, but Twitter for iPhone is a major resource hog, and trying to multitask it with, let's say, Opera and Stanza? No-no.

It's easy to go "why the hell is that an innovation", especially considering Windows Mobile had it 10 years ago. On the other hand, it really wasn't working out well on WM, and on iOS, it would've made the experience horrible.

In retrospect, I'm happy with how the situation was handled with iOS, but maybe, just maybe, Microsoft should have not repeated the same mistakes and put them into spotlight once Apple has resolved their issues.

Re:It didn't have this already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203380)

Windows Mobile had multitasking, but the window/task manager was horrible to use and it was easy to get stuck with a bunch of windows you didn't want. The card model (first used by webOS, now copied by the Blackberry Playbook and Windows Phone 7) makes it much more manageable.

It's true that the iPhone and iPad 1 have limited RAM (256MB). However, most newer smartphones have 512MB and even up to 1GB. It's possible to run a decent number of apps at the same time even on 256MB, if the apps aren't complete memory hogs.

Re:It didn't have this already? (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202946)

I dont want samekind multitasking as Symbian use (the same from desktop/server OS's). I want to use what Android, iOS and WP7 has currently. A "Smart multitasking". Meaning that I as a user, dont need to think what is running in background, will apps eat my battery, did I close the heavy game or anything else.
And still with "smart multitasking" I can enjoy fully things like background rsync backup to my home computer while I browse web or I watch youtube.
Buffering a streamed movie from my home computer when I am typing SMS and so on.

With smart multitasking, the background jobs are not left out behind to allow them to do what ever they want like on Symbian.
The laugh is with Symbian that user really need to take care about multitasking. While "smart multitasking" allows user just to forget and actually just use the damn phone as it would be a simple device what people just carry with them to be possible contact people.

The multitasking what desktop/server computers (and Symbian) use would be needed on smartphones if they would allow running two tasks same time at the screen. That the user would actually have a need for two separate window at sametime.

There are different demands for multitasking. Smartphones does not have none of them.

WIMP design (Window, Icons, Menus and Pointing Devices) does not work on smartphones or tablets. The IMP design is the fundamental function that we actually forget the window options and we just manage tasks, not windows. The task management must be moved to be made by the device itself as smart way.

On desktop/server computers the same smart multitasking would be a pain in a ass, but it is true savior on smartphones and tablets.

Re:It didn't have this already? (2)

ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202972)

IOS STILL doesn't have actual multi-tasking... it just allows certain threads to continue running in the background.. but the app itself is suspended it's basically just fast app switching +

Re:It didn't have this already? (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203078)

IOS STILL doesn't have actual multi-tasking... it just allows certain threads to continue running in the background.. but the app itself is suspended it's basically just fast app switching +

And and iPhone users are very thankful for the battery life that saves.

Re:It didn't have this already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203056)

Same thing with copy-paste, BTW. Copy-pasting has worked on Symbian for ten years, and multitasking for about twenty. What exciting new features!

Re:It didn't have this already? (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203196)

It's not at all a technical issue. Both iOS and WP7 can handle multitasking just fine on OS level, and you can see that in action if you use the stock apps (e.g. media player, which plays in background). It's strictly a limitation on third-party software, deliberately enforced.

Re:It didn't have this already? (1)

bdh (96224) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203230)

How did this get ignored for so long in iOS and Windows phone?

Because other than in a bullet chart, multitasking doesn't show up in marketing.

I have a Nokia 5800. I have several friends with iPhones (3 and 4), and they're constantly trying to prove that the iPhone is "better". Sure, Symbian multitasks like no one's business, but the iPhone has more apps and a better UI. So iPhone grabbed something like 70% of the Japanese smartphone market in 3 years, while Nokia has had to partner with Microsoft just for survival.

Another example was OS/2. OS/2 had pre-emptive multitasking years before the Windows operating system(s) it was competing against, but it looked like crap, and users stayed away in droves. The same was true comparing Windows 95 to MacOS prior 1995; it wasn't until Apple went to a Unix based system in 1997-ish (my memory's fuzzy about the dates) that the Mac got features like pre-emptive multitasking and proper dynamic memory allocation.

Tech features may sell to slashdotters, but most of the population cares a lot more about the UI than what's under the hood.

Like most of my geek buddies, on Friday, I looked at Nokia's partnership with MS as one of the longer suicide notes in history. On Saturday, I was out with friends who aren't all techs, and I was surprised that many of them considered it a good thing, and were interested to see what a NokiaSoft phone would look like.

Re:It didn't have this already? (1)

EXrider (756168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203286)

Of course it's good, anything that's competition to keep the developers of iOS and Android on their toes is good. Hopefully HP can step up to the plate with Palm now as well.

Holy crap! (0)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202764)

This "multi-tasking" thing (did I say that right?) sounds freaking amazing!

I can't beleive they've also got a web browser running on a phone (on a PHONE!!!!). I almost crapped my pants!!!

God bless the USA!

Sweetness (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202778)

I'm totally pumped for these new additions. It's true, they've been playing catch-up with WP7, but it's an incredible platform and the velocity of feature additions is quite impressive. I've developed for all three major platforms and I have to say, Silverlight with c# is a pretty amazing developer story. The UI is arguably the most attractive and innovative, the XBox and Office integration is unparalleled and the hardware holds its own. I sure would love to see some 4G support, though.

Astroturfing 101 (1, Insightful)

Flipao (903929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202884)

Don't make it sound like a press release, it's cringe inducing.

Unparallelled XBox integration? (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202996)

The most absurd part is that the stuff he's excited about makes no sense. Did he use a Dilbert press release generator?

Re:Sweetness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203162)

Hi Ballmer,

How's it going?

Nokia demands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202852)

I hope Nokia is in position to demand at least some necessary functionality from their new OS..

Wow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202858)

Then both people using it will really be impressed.

Microsoft plays catchup? (2)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202878)

Am I reading this right? Windows phones will now be able to do things android and iphones have been doing for years?

Re:Microsoft plays catchup? (3, Informative)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202944)

... iphones have been doing for years?

Tehehe

Re:Microsoft plays catchup? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202960)

I remember when my Palm got that feature, in 1999 or around there (I forget the exact year).

Now that was awesome!

Re:Microsoft re-inventing ketchup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202968)

Am I reading this right? Windows phones will now be able to do things android and iphones have been doing for years?

Oh no, it gets quite better than that... They're re-implementing features that their previous mobile OS - Windows Mobile - had before Android or iOS even existed.

Re:Microsoft plays catchup? (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35202986)

If Microsoft released a 3D modeling tool, would it be called Scatchup?

Re:Microsoft plays catchup? (3, Funny)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203478)

Almost! I think it would be called 'ScatUp'. As soon as I find a link to confirm this, I'll squirt it to you.

Windows phones did that in the past (3, Interesting)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203060)

Windows Phone 7 was lacking a lot of functionality the earlier Windows Mobile had. It's just a new not-yet-complete OS.

This makes me wonder if they're using a more agile-style approach and releasing what functionality they have completely tested instead of releasing the complete functionality regardless of what they've had time to test? It does make sense in a phone OS.

Re:Microsoft plays catchup? (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203406)

Am I reading this right? Windows phones will now be able to do things android and iphones have been doing for years?

No. Windows phones will now be able to do something that Windows phones were able to do in 2002, 5 years before the iPhone was invented, 8 years before the iPhone got it, and 6 years before the Android was released.
I never understood the huge step back they took, other than Microsoft Marketing told them to ship before it was ready, a familiar story.

Re:Microsoft plays catchup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203470)

Am I reading this right? Windows phones will now be able to do things android and iphones have been doing for years?

Yep! It will have caught up, from the time it was announced, to one year after it was released, to features that everyone seems to have forgotten that Apple just released mid-2010, and Google in early 2010. Wow, they're so far behind!!!

They should have just skipped testing anything and released a bunch of do-nothing APIs as placeholders. That would have brought the early adopters.

Maybe then they could have some wonderful texting features, like sending texts to people in your contact list that you've never texted before, even though you didn't send them the text. Or maybe focusing on never getting their users the updates. Another stunning Android feature.

Re:Microsoft plays catchup? (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203484)

Yea, except, Windows Mobile had multitasking before Android or iOS were even a wet spot in someones underwear. They just made it unavailable in WinMo7 so they could copy Apple, without actually understanding WHY Apple didn't support it.

Re:Microsoft plays catchup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203554)

To be fair, the old Windows Mobile could do it long before anything else. In the PDA world, Pocket PCs got multitasking long before Palm. Windowns Phone 7, Windows Mobile and Pocket PC are all in fact Windows CE which has full support for threading and multi-tasking. WP7 happens to limit it currently for the user's programs but system programs can already multitask.

This is good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35202974)

This is good.

Before you reach out for the pitchforks and torches, let me finish the sentence: this is good for competition. Now that Nokia will ship WP7, Apple and Google will find themselves with a worthy competitor in the smartphone market. At least when it comes to user experience.

english course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203036)

really i love Microsoft.
english courses [notcourses.com]

The UI Sells It (5, Insightful)

g00head (1433713) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203132)

I'm a WP7 user, and very happy with my decision. I've used iOS, WM6, and Android - hated iOS and it's page after page of little icons, hated WM6 until HTC Sense (would have stayed with that on my HD2 if apps were coming out), and loved Android (HD2 and a Desire) except it began to feel like iOS+.

Metro is such a clean, fast interface, lets me see just what I want to see exactly when I want to see it. There's very little hunting/searching for something, as if I use it more than once per day I just pin it to the front page. It just fits extremely well how I want to use a phone.

Although I do have to say, if I couldn't have test-driven it on an HD2 I probably wouldn't have taken the leap to full fledged WP7 hardware. Kudos to MS for not legalbomb XDA from orbit when DFT released the ROM into the wild. If they continue to be smart, they'll let the mod community flourish they way they did with WM6 - that's the only thing that made the platform stay as relevant as it did, for as long as it did.

Re:The UI Sells It (1)

kirkb (158552) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203352)

WP7 has a great solution for avoiding "page after page of little icons": a piss-poor selection of apps to download ;)

Seriously though, iOS could use some shell improvements to help deal with having hundred(s) of apps. I recently condensed 11 pages of "little icons" down to 3 pages of folders. It's an improvement, but I think apple should start looking at new shell paradigms (no, not Metro!)

Re:The UI Sells It (1)

g00head (1433713) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203402)

And I agree with you, WP7 desperately needs to enlarge its App library - MS should probably seriously reconsider the $100 dev fee (or so I've heard). They need Joe Blow to be designing apps on their spare time a la Android Market, else WP7's App selection will look a lot like WM6's...

Re:The UI Sells It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203452)

I agree on with UI comment. I held off until mid January. I always said If they'd make a Zune with a phone interface I try it. It took all of 2 minutes of using it to be completly comfortable with it. Even my wife, who hates smart phones, loves this phone cause it's easy to use UI. It's just not confusing or hard to find what you want.

If you haven't used WP7... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35203190)

You should give it a try.
It's much nicer than you would imagine.

I don't have one.. but I've played with a friend of mines.. and I would have no problem switching over to WP7 from my android or certainly my blackberry.

upgrade to the palm pre?!? (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 3 years ago | (#35203562)

"By holding down the 'back' button, " The pre can navigate through as well as close apps via gestures, its really quite smooth(for most of you that have not used a pre). Jason
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