updated 09:15 am EST, Fri December 10, 2010
Windows Phone 7 may get 2nd big update at MWC
Microsoft's update to add copy and paste text to Windows Phone 7 may just be a prelude to much larger updates that put it more on par with Apple and Google, tips divulged this morning. The company would catch up in text editing with an update in January that might go live at CES, but an update at the Mobile World Congress show in February would dramatically expand the available support. It would open up programming interfaces for some multitasking, add in-app downloads and allow more user customization, WinRumors was told.
The release is purportedly in limited beta testing, with fragments but not the whole update sent to some outside testers. "Apps in 2011 will certainly become more interesting," a developer with first-hand experience said.
Longer-term updates should also help close some of the remaining gaps for the web browser. A recent job listing has promised a "major overhaul" in mobile Internet Explorer's bandwidth use, power efficiency, speed and standards support. The update likely wouldn't be ready in time for MWC but could be ready in time for WP8. Microsoft's current browser is much more accurate than in Windows Mobile but, being based on Internet Explorer 7, doesn't support HTML5 and isn't as fast as those in Android or iOS.
A more official update should come for for Silverlight, which forms the foundation of the interface and much of the app support in WP7. Visual Studio Senior Technical Evangelist Brian Keller in a recent Channel 9 video dropped strong hints that Microsoft was "saving" WP7 Silverlight updates for MWC, further supporting beliefs that a major update was in store.
The company may need the updates to maintain its viability in the smartphone space. While Windows Phone 7 has been relatively well received on a critical level, it has been criticized by some developers for its limited state and hasn't been given sales numbers so far. Many of those opting for Android or iPhones have cited the lack of copy-and-paste text, multitasking and other important features as impeding the OS even with a unique interface and corporate support.