updated 01:40 pm EDT, Wed April 13, 2011
Windows Phone 7 gets Skype and Spotify
Microsoft during its MIX11 event caught up in app development in significant fashion with a handful of major Windows Phone 7 apps that will take advantage of its fall 2011 update, Mango. Skype was unveiled first and will take advantage of Mango's deeper access to hardware like the microphone. The app on demo didn't make any mention of video chat, though Mango so far doesn't have front camera support.
Skype is due in the fall, once Mango is available, Microsoft said.
Spotify would also be coming and would catch up to the Android and iPhone versions. It will have the usual streaming features, but the new background task support will let it both play music in the background and use WP7's stock audio controls to pause or skip tracks. The app like Skype will have to wait for Mango.
Kik Messenger, well known for having been exiled from the BlackBerry for competing with BlackBerry Messenger, will also be onboard in the "coming weeks." The app won't need Mango and will initially have chat notifications and other features while it's open, with background updating coming later.
Layar will reach WP7 with direct access to the camera for its augmented reality app. Augmented apps already existed, such as LG's own tools.
Finally, Rovio's Angry Birds was at last confirmed to be reaching WP7. The app won't need any Mango features but will support multitasking when it arrives. It should reach the Windows Phone Marketplace on May 25.
Microsoft has had a tumultuous history with the artillery game and drew scorn from Rovio after it created an icon for Angry Birds in a mockup despite the developer having never committed to porting the game over. WP7 will be one of the later major phone platforms to get the title after the iPhone, webOS, and Android.
Windows Phone 7 has been growing relatively quickly among mobile app stores and has about 15,000 apps, or more than BlackBerry App World and HP's webOS App Catalog. The platform's low phone sales and relative novelty have nontheless kept it back where Android Market has roughly 120,000 or more and iOS has over 350,000.