Windows Mobile 6.5 – What’s in for developers?

Hello, this is Jorge again ready to share new information about what I’ve been doing since we shipped 6.1 and the sliding panel home screen update.


Lots have been said already about the end user features of Windows Mobile 6.5 like My Phone, The new look, the enhanced touch support, etc. but now it is getting time to start talking about what is new for developers as well.


For the first time since windows mobile 6 shipped we are expanding our development story to make easier and more accessible writing applications that not only look great but also consume cloud services to bring a portable chunk of the web to our mobile devices.


Up until today developers have basically two options to create applications for Windows Phones:

a) Native Code (primarily in C/C++)

b) Managed code (using the .net compact framework)

And even though there have been lots of improvements on our tools and libraries, writing great looking mobile apps is still hard to do. Starting on 6.5 though we are adding a new option for developers out there… “Windows Mobile Widgets”.


A good way to think of a Windows Mobile Widget is as a “Portable chunk of the web” or just basically a rich internet application. Widgets are written using all the web technologies we know and love (HTML, CSS, AJAX, JavaScript) and, since they are powered under the covers by our new internet browser, they have full access to flash and other ActiveX controls available on the device (Like MediaPlayer).


The interesting thing about our Widget Platform is that it allows them to look and feel, to the end user, as a normal standalone application does; they have their own start menu icon, they show up as an individual apps in task manager and, most importantly, they have full control of the SK menu bar as any other application would (just easier J).


Sounds good so far? Well there is more, For this new platform we are implementing the latest draft of the emerging W3C standard for mobile widget applications ( as well as ensuring that basic things like native support for transparent PNGs as well as support for the Window.XMLHttpRequest object work as expected.


Expect to hear a lot more information about our Widget platform on the following months; specifically we will have sessions on TechDays in April and TechEd 2009. But for now here are some screenshots of the MSN widgets created by the Windows Live team as a showcase for our new platform.