Windows Phone To Get Multi-Tasking, IE9
Microsoft plans to introduce multi-tasking and IE9 to Windows Phone in 2011
Microsoft is planning to introduce multi-tasking and full integration with Internet Explorer 9 in future updates to its Windows Phone mobile operating system later this year.
During a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the company planned to make Internet a “first-class citizen” on the phone, bringing together HTML5 support and powerful graphics hardware acceleration, designed to drastically improve user experience.
IE9 on Windows Phone will use the same core browsing engine as on PCs, offering super-fast web surfing and helping to build its strength against other mobile platforms.
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.
“People want a phone that makes information much more accessible,” said Ballmer (above). “The market has been swamped with phones with fairly similar design. Users just see a sea of icons. Our smart design improves user experience.”
Microsoft also showed a host of new applications designed to broaden the platform’s appeal within the enterprise market. These include Office document storage in the cloud and the ability to share and store documents with Windows Live Skydrive. (See the video below for a demo of Office on Windows Phone).
A Microsoft spokesperson told eWEEK Europe that Microsoft was initially focused on attracting consumers to the platform, but that the company is now working to bring more enterprise support. Twitter and Sharepoint will now be integrated into the ‘People’ hub, and LinkedIn and Salesforce will follow soon.
Finally, Ballmer spoke briefly of Microsoft’s recently announced partnership with Nokia. He once again brought Nokia’s chief executive Stephen Elop up on stage, who said that Nokia would “support Windows to build strength versus the other mobile platforms”.
The first Nokia device running Windows Phone is expected later this year.
Update: Microsoft has confirmed that the Windows Phone update will be made available in the first two weeks of March, and will be free for all customers
Below – video from MWC, a demonstration of Office integration in Windows Phone 7,