MIX 2011 Keynote Day 2

MIX 2011 sessions and keynotes are available for streaming and download on MSDN’s Channel 9.

Microsoft's MIX 2011 conference continued this morning with Joe Belfiore, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone Program Management, introducing Brandon Foy’s fan video for Windows Phone 7 (youtube).


Joe Belfiore surprised Brandon Foy by asking him on stage and then telling him that if his video on YouTube gets 200,000 views then Microsoft will make his video into a Windows Phone 7 television commercial!

Brandon Foy and Joe Belifore on Stage at MIX 2011  

Before getting into Windows Phone futures, Joe then decided to spend sometime discussing updates coming to the existing Windows Phone 7 platform. Cut & Paste, which is provided by the Windows Phone update codename “NODO”, is being delivered to Windows Phone 7 users and while some users have already installed this update others will receive it soon as several mobile operators are still testing the update.

Joe then explained that “mobile operators have a very real and reasonable interest in testing updates and making sure they are going to work well on their phones and on their networks … its standard practice in the industry that phones from all different vendors undergo testing before updates are made available.”

What’s different about Windows Phone 7 however is that the updates are built and deployed by Microsoft to everyone although these updates are issued once the mobile operator completes their testing and approves the update for their phones on their network. It was decided to release updates in this way rather than waiting for all mobile operators to complete their testing such that users can receive updates as quickly as is reasonably possible, of course different mobile operators have different processes in place to review and approve software updates.

“Every developer matters!” and thanks to all of you there are now 12,000 applications and games on the Windows Phone 7 platform with more being submitted to the AppHub and published to the marketplace every day.

12,000+ Windows Phone 7 Applications

35,000 developers are registered for the AppHub and the developer tools have been downloaded more than 1.5 million times!

So what’s next for the Windows Phone platform?

We’re exited to begin talking more about the next significant update that will be available as an update to existing Windows Phone 7 users as well as being available on new phones in the fall. At MIX 2011 we’re discussing the developer focused aspects of Windows Phone codename “Mango” and these broadly fall into three categories:

  • Opportunity
    • Ecosystem
    • Countries
    • Discoverability
  • Capability
    • Browser
    • Phone Integration
    • Multi-tasking
  • Developer Experience
    • Improvements to the Development Tools

IDC and Gartner both recently issued reports indicating that by 2015 the Windows Phone ecosystem will be the second largest smart phone ecosystem in the world. (IDC press release, Gartner press release). We’re obviously very excited by this and the developer community should be also because it means more customer in more places around the world.


Marco Argenti, Head of Developer Experience at Nokia, joined Joe Belfiore on stage and confirmed that “Nokia is really really committed to our partnership with Microsoft” and that “together we can build a fantastic ecosystem, we have the scale today to reach hundreds of millions of customers all over the world, we’re working very very hard to build the first Nokia (Windows Phone) phones, we’re all running really fast!” … “the opportunity is really to bring the creativity of all the developers to customers in over 190 countries, downloading more than 5 million applications per day, upon 112 mobile operators.”

Joe Belfiore then announced some great news around opportunity within the ecosystem:

  • Windows Phone codename “Mango” will support 16 additional languages.
  • Windows Phone codename “Mango” applications will be built in 38 countries compared to 30 countries today.
  • Windows Phone codename “Mango” users within 35 countries will be able to purchase applications from the marketplace, compared to 16 countries today.

Discoverability changes to the core Windows Phone “Mango” operating system was then shown, including the ability to navigate more easily through the entire list of applications installed upon the phone by touching the first letter of the application within an alphabet grid. It will also be possible to begin typing the name of the application, through a search feature, that will then navigate to the application more easily than is possible today.

Discoverability is further improved within Windows Phone codename “Mango”, the marketplace search now presents results within a Pivot control to ensure that you can easily browse applications, music, and podcasts.

Windows Phone codename “Mango” also adds significant capabilities such as the Internet Explorer 9 Web browser bringing HTML5 to Windows Phone. Joe stated that “the core Web browsing engine on the phone that does HTML rendering and JavaScript is the same code base moved over from the PC!”

Within Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone, the address bar has been moved to the bottom of the screen and the operating system has been updated to support background audio within the browser as well as for native applications. With background audio you’ll be able to continue listening to music played from an HTML5 <audio/> tag while performing other tasks on the phone such as checking email.

Joe Belfiore demonstrated the amazing performance of HTML5 within Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone compared to the Apple iPhone 4 and an Android based Nexus S. Windows Phone codename “Mango” completed the HTML5 based speed reading demo first, even after the Apple iPhone 4 was given a slight head start. Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone achieved a frame rate of 23 frames per second, the Android based Nexus S achieved 11 frames per second, while the poor Apple iPhone 4 achieved a mere 2 frames per second!

Silverlight based controls, used by the majority of Windows Phone applications, have also been the focus of some performance improvements, and you’ll see some great performance improvements to the Panorama and Pivot controls.

Windows Phone codename “Mango” will also provide many other cool features, exposed to developers within almost 1500 new API’s, such as:

  • Improved Live Tiles
    • Multiple Live Tiles per application.
    • Live Tile animations.
    • Updates to Live Tiles without using Push Notifications.
  • Sockets
  • SQL Database
    • Save and Query data within applications.

    • LINQ

  • Additional Launchers & Choosers
  • Access to Contacts & Calendar
  • Sensors
    • Direct Camera Access
    • Compass
    • Gyro

Joe Belfiore announced several major applications that are coming to Windows Phone codename “Mango” and a few that are coming before “Mango”.

  • Skype (Fall 2011)
  • Spotify (Fall 2011)
  • Angry Birds (May 25th 2011)

Joe Belfiore also announced an interesting new abstraction of the compass and the gyro called Motion Sensor, developed with Microsoft Research, which will allow developers to write applications that use the compass and gyro without needing to have a doctorial degree in mathematics.

I have heard from several developers since we began talking about Windows Phone 7 that they wanted to have direct access to the camera to enable augmented reality capabilities and we’re excited to announce this is coming in Windows Phone codename “Mango”. Joe Belfiore showed the Layar application overlaying images over the MIX 2011 attendees at the keynote showing the location of tweets.

Joe Belfiore then switched gears to talk about multi-tasking within Windows Phone codename “Mango” where developers will have access to fast app switching along with the ability to run common tasks in the background such as audio, downloads, and alarms. With fast app switching applications are suspended when a user navigates away and then instantly resumed when the user elects to return to them. Applications will remain suspended as long as there is sufficient memory to maintain them in the suspended state.

Live Agents = Live Tiles + Background Agents

Obviously the ability to run tasks in the background is something that developers have enjoyed doing on the PC for years although on the phone there the battery is a very critical resource that needs to be respected. Live Agents therefore balance the requirement of running code in the background while also using the battery very effectively. Joe Belfiore demonstrated a really cool Quantas airlines application that used Live Agents to advise Joe that he is booked on a Quantas flight departing at 10:50am, the Live Tile is animated to flip and also advise that flight QF3112 will depart from terminal 1-D. really should be heading to the airport for his flight, a little later it advised him. Within the Quantas application the user has the ability to pin additional Live Tiles representing individual flights such as QF3112 from Las Vegas to Melbourne. Another Live Tile for the flight returning to the United States can then be added to inform Joe of when check in for the flight is available and the status of that flight. With location awareness the Quantas application can then alert Joe that he should leave MIX 2011 if he is planning on making his flight, the application initiates a background alarm reminding him that he should be on his way to the airport and the Live Tile turns red indicating he is at risk of not making the flight to Melbourne. Seriously cool stuff!

Joe Belfiore announced that the Windows Phone codename “Mango” development tools will be available next month!


Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President .NET Developer Platform, then came on stage to give us an early look at the Windows Phone codename “Mango” developer tools that will be available in May 2011.

Within the new emulator there is new support for simulating the accelerometer as is shown below from Scott Guthrie’s demo during his keynote presentation. Using the mouse to move the virtual device in three dimensions sends the appropriate data to your application as though it were running upon a real device experiencing the same movement in three dimensional space.

Additional Tools Additional Tools 2

Windows Phone “Mango” developer tool screen captures from Scott Guthrie’s demo at the MIX 2011 keynote

Within the accelerometer simulator you can also play back pre-recorded gestures such as the Shake gesture and debug how an application would respond to those gestures.

When debugging applications within the “Mango” emulator you also now have the ability to use location awareness and let the application believe that the emulated device is located anywhere in the world as shown below.

Additional Tools 3

Windows Phone “Mango” developer tool screen captures from Scott Guthrie’s demo at the MIX 2011 keynote

When debugging applications within the “Mango” emulator you also now have the ability to use location awareness and let the application believe that the emulated device is located anywhere in the world as shown below.

While there have been numerous performance improvements to the core operating system within Windows Phone codename “Mango” and the associated SDK and developer tools there are sometimes occasions when you need to determine why an application isn’t performing quite as well as you’d expect. Scott Guthrie also demonstrated the new profiler tools that will be coming in the “Mango” development tools next month. Using the profiler you can debug either execution, visual and function call counts, or memory, managed object allocations and texture usage.


Ben Riga, Senior Technical Evangelist, joined Scott Guthrie on stage to demonstrate the USAA banking application, used by U.S. military personnel and their families around the world, that uses the direct camera access within Windows Phone codename “Mango”.  With direct camera access checks can easily be deposited into a service members account simply by taking a picture of the check. With the U.S. military being more mobile than the average American this will be a very welcome capability for USAA customers later this fall.


Windows Phone “Mango” direct camera access screen capture from Ben Riga’s USAA demo at the MIX 2011 keynote

Scott Guthrie then switched gears to talk about Silverlight 5 and announced that the Silverlight 5 beta is available now! (download)

Silverlight 5 provides the following new capabilities across hundreds of new API’s.

  • Media
    • Hardware-Based Video Decode
      • Enables 1080P HD video playback on netbooks!
      • Integrates with IE9 graphics extensibility to providing hardware accelerated graphics experiences.
      • Delivers smoother rendering for Web content containing both HTML5 and Silverlight.
    • TrickPlay
      • Enables variable speed playback of media content.
    • Remote Control
      • Enables the 9 foot living room experience.

Scott Guthrie then introduced U.S. Navy Lt.  of the Blue Angels display team who, along with Microsoft evangelist Mike Downey, introduced MIX 2011 attendees to the new official U.S. Navy Blue Angels website. Using both Silverlight and HTML5 the new website will provide an amazing experience for the public and undoubtedly spark and interest in Naval Aviation in the hearts and minds of many young men and women. You can experience the new site soon!


Jeff Sandquist then came on stage to talk about Kinect and as he said, “Kinect is exciting and it is the fastest selling electronics device ever … with over 10 million devices sold”.

Kinect for Windows SDK will be available later this spring (learn more) and will enable developers to target Kinect using C#, VB, and C++; giving access to the full microphone array and will also provide skeletal tracking.

While the initial release will be for non-commercial use only, there will be a commercial license available at a later date.


Jeff Sandquist was then joined by Dan Fernandez on stage to talk about how you can program Kinect on the PC using the Kinect RGB camera with depth information, of course in a simple Hello World scenario.


So forget painting by numbers, this is painting Kinect style!


What would happen though if you had some more time (and likely some more money) to spend on a Kinect SDK demo, here comes Clint Rutkas riding on his Kinect controlled lounge chair!

I seriously want one of these!!!!!

The great news is that we’ll be making the source code, parts list, and where to buy the parts available on the Channel 9 Coding for Fun site once the Kinect SDK is available.