Windows Phone feature history by SDK version

[This documentation is preliminary and is subject to change.]

July 06, 2012

Applies to: Windows Phone OS 7.1

This topic offers information about the features added in previously released versions of the Windows Phone SDK. For the most recent SDK release notes, and for information about downloading and installing the Windows Phone SDK, see Installing the Windows Phone SDK.

This topic contains the following sections.

  • Features and updates in Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update
  • Features and updates in Windows Phone SDK 7.1
  • Related Topics

Features and updates in Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update

Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update is the most recent version of the Windows Phone SDK. The focus of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update release is to provide tools and documentation to help you develop apps and games for 256-MB devices. New topics were added, and we made feature-specific updates to the documentation. Look for the following icon for issues related to developing for 256-MB devices: [add art file].

Detecting app working set memory

The new device property value ApplicationWorkingSetLimit was added so that you can use the GetValue(String) method to query the memory available for your app to use, and to change the way your app works if it is running on a 256-MB device. For more information, see Developing for 256-MB devices for Windows Phone.

256-MB emulator

Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update adds a new emulator that you can use to determine how your app will perform on a 256-MB device. For more information, see Windows Phone Emulator.

XNA Framework

The XNA Framework, although fully supported, requires additional considerations to run on a 256-MB device. We’ve added a new topic to help you performance-tune your XNA Framework apps that are designed to run on 256-MB devices.

Background agents

Generic background agents are not supported on 256-MB devices. We’ve updated related documentation. For more information, see Background agents for Windows Phone.

Application manifest

With Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update, you can specify a requirement in the application manifest that will prevent your app from being distributed to users with 256-MB devices. For more information, see Application manifest file for Windows Phone.

New languages and countries/regions

This update adds support for additional languages, and offers new countries/regions in which you can publish your app. We’ve updated the documentation in several areas to support these changes. For more information, see Globalization and localization for Windows Phone and Windows Phone Marketplace FAQ.

Features and updates in Windows Phone SDK 7.1

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 opens up new classes of apps you can use when you design your apps and games. This section describes some of the features and improvements that were introduced in Windows Phone SDK 7.1 and the developer documentation.

Multi-targeting and app compatibility

You can use Windows Phone SDK 7.1 to create XNA Framework projects that can target either Windows Phone OS 7.1 or Windows Phone OS 7.0. The UI simply prompts you to choose the Windows Phone version that you are designing your app to run on. You can also upgrade existing Windows Phone OS 7.0 projects to take advantage of new features in Windows Phone OS 7.1. All apps and games you you’ve created to run on Windows Phone OS 7.0 devices work seamlessly on Windows Phone OS 7.1 devices. For more information, see Windows Phone operating system app compatibility.


Using several new features introduced in Windows Phone OS 7.1, your app can perform actions even when it is not the active foreground app. For more information, see Multitasking for Windows Phone.

The execution model and Fast Application Switching

The execution model in Windows Phone OS 7.1 is updated to include a dormant state before tombstoning. When a user returns to a dormant app, the app resumes quickly and without displaying a Resuming message. For more information, see App activation and deactivation for Windows Phone.

Alarms and reminders

You can use Windows Phone SDK 7.1 to create alarms and reminders that display an alert dialog box on the screen or play a sound at a specified time. For more information, see How to create alarms and reminders for Windows Phone.

Background agents

In Windows Phone OS 7.1, you can run code in the background, even when your app is not running in the foreground. This new feature is possible because of the two main types of background tasks, periodic agents, and resource-intensive agents. For more information, see Background agents for Windows Phone.

Background file transfers

Also in Windows Phone OS 7.1, you can initiate file downloads in your app that continue after the user has moved to a different screen. The file download continue to run in the background, even when your app is no longer running in the foreground. For more information, see Background file transfers for Windows Phone.

Background audio

In Windows Phone OS 7.1, your audio apps can run in the background. The user has access to the volume controls on the screen, and music continues to play even when the user launches other apps. For more information, see Background audio overview for Windows Phone.


Significant media improvements are implemented in Windows Phone OS 7.1. These include 32-bit color support, support for extensionless media URIs, and support for H.264 in Windows Phone Emulator. In addition, the MediaElement class uses hardware rendering to improve video quality even while it uses less battery power. Users also can save a ringtone from your app to their Windows Phone.


In addition to the accelerometer, in Windows Phone OS 7.1, your apps can access compass and gyroscope sensors. This means that you can develop apps and games in which the device itself is a means of user input. Also available to you to use is a combined motion API that provides data for attitude (yaw, pitch, and roll), device acceleration, and rotation rate. Windows Phone Emulator is enhanced to simulate sensor data, and you can test apps that use sensor data directly in the emulator. For more information, see Sensors for Windows Phone.

Sockets support

In Windows Phone OS 7.1, your apps can communicate over sockets using the TCP and UDP protocols. With sockets, you have two-way communication with cloud services. This means that you can implement features such as instant messaging and multi-player gaming in your apps and games. For more information, see Sockets for Windows Phone.

Network information

In Windows Phone OS 7.1, your apps can access information about networks and network interfaces. You can determine the mobile operator and network capabilities of a user’s phone, and you can get and set connection preferences and requirements for your apps and games. For more information, see How to get network information for Windows Phone.

Push notifications

Microsoft Push Notification Service is now more robust. Toast notifications link to specific places within your app, and can pass parameters. Beginning with Windows Phone OS 7.1, Tile notifications support two-sided app and secondary Tiles. For more information, see Push notifications for Windows Phone.

Live Tiles

In Windows Phone OS 7.1, app Tiles that are pinned to the Start screen have two sides, and they periodically flip. This makes your Tiles more engaging and informative. Your apps can have more than one Tile pinned to Start, for example, with Tiles for different cities in a weather app. For more information, see Tiles for Windows Phone.

XAML and XNA integration

Instead of choosing between XAML and the XNA Framework, in Windows Phone OS 7.1 you can use both in a single app or game. You can combine the page navigation model of a XAML app with the rich graphics power of an XNA Framework app. For more information, see Silverlight and XNA Framework for Windows Phone.

App performance analysis

In Windows Phone OS 7.1, you can profile your apps and games. You can measure the use of system resources, such as CPU and memory over time, and go directly from performance results to your code. For more information, see Windows Phone Application Analysis.

Visual Basic support

Visual Basic is available for both XAML and XNA Framework apps in Windows Phone OS 7.1. Visual Basic is fully integrated into Windows Phone SDK 7.1 and does not need a separate installation. All downloadable code samples are in C# and Visual Basic. For code samples, see Visual Basic Code Samples.


Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone is fully integrated into Windows Phone SDK 7.1. You can use the SDK to monetize your apps and games by including ads from Microsoft Advertising. The Microsoft Advertising SDK is fully integrated into Windows Phone SDK 7.1, and does not need a separate installation. For more information, see Advertising in apps for Windows Phone.

WebBrowser control

With Windows Phone OS 7.1, the WebBrowser control supports Internet Explorer 9, and offers increased performance and HTML5 rendering. You can also programmatically access the cookie collection of a WebBrowser control by using WebBrowser control extension methods.

Device status

In Windows Phone SDK 7.1, you have expanded programmatic access to a user’s Windows Phone device by using the DeviceStatus class. You can detect whether the device is using the battery or external power, whether a keyboard is available or deployed, the name of the device manufacturer, and more. For more information, see Device status for Windows Phone.

Local database

In Windows Phone SDK 7.1, you can store relational data in a local database that resides in your app’s isolated storage container. You can use LINQ to SQL to perform database operations in your app. New APIs in Windows Phone SDK 7.1 support programmatic database upgrade scenarios. For more information, see Local database for Windows Phone.

Isolated Storage Explorer

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 includes a command-line tool you can use to list, copy, and replace files and directories in isolated storage. For more information, see Isolated storage APIs for Windows Phone.

Launchers and choosers

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 introduces several new launchers and choosers. From within your apps, users can choose an address, invite players to a game session, or save a ringtone. They can also show a location on a map at a preset zoom level, or show directions between two points on a Bing map. For more information, see Launchers and choosers for Windows Phone.

Contacts and Calendar

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 gives you read-only access to your user’s contacts and calendar data. You can differentiate your apps by querying and interacting with the user’s data in more sophisticated ways, such as letting the user choose from a list of contacts and then send an email, or search for contact birthdays. For more information, see Contacts and Calendar for Windows Phone.

Encrypted credential store

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 gives you access to a set of cryptography APIs. For apps that require logon credentials, these APIs give you the ability to store the credentials in an encrypted way. Now your users do not have to log on each time they use your app. For more information, see How to encrypt data in a Windows Phone app.

User experience design guidelines

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 offers a new guide to help you follow best practices for Windows Phone user experience design. The guidelines include advice that was collected from the experts who created Windows Phone, and from people who designed many of its first apps. The guidelines offer more than 40 new topics to help you design your apps to please your users. For more information, see Designing apps for Windows Phone.

Certification requirements

With Windows Phone SDK 7.1, you can find app certification requirements online in the MSDN library. The documentation details test steps for most requirements. This means that you can test your app against the requirements before you submit the app to App Hub for certification. Windows Phone OS 7.0 and Windows Phone OS 7.1 requirements have been updated in Windows Phone SDK 7.1. For more information, see App certification requirements for Windows Phone.

Windows Phone Marketplace Test Kit

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 includes a Windows Phone Marketplace Test Kit. Using the Marketplace Test Kit, you can test your app against certification requirements from within Visual Studio. You can also take screen shots of your app by using the new built-in emulator screen-shot tool, and then submit the screen shot using the Marketplace Test Kit. For more information, see Windows Phone Marketplace Test Kit.


Windows Phone SDK 7.1 gives you programmatic access to the camera on Windows Phone devices, including real-time access to raw frames. You can use this access to create scanning and augmented reality apps. You can also access the flash and adjust the focus in your apps. For more information, see Camera and photos for Windows Phone.

Pictures extensibility

Windows Phone OS 7.1 gives you App Connect, with which you can launch your Windows Phone app from the Pictures Hub, picture viewer, and share picker. For more information, see Camera and Photos extensibility for Windows Phone.

Search extensibility

App Connect also is a new way to seamlessly extend the search experience on Windows Phone to your apps. With App Connect, users who search the web by using the Search button can launch your app directly from Bing search results. For more information, see Search extensibility for Windows Phone.

App bar

The Windows Phone OS 7.1 app bar now has two sizes: default and minimized. The new minimized app bar is optimized to use on panorama pages, on which space is at a premium. For more information, see App bar for Windows Phone.

On-screen keyboards

Windows Phone OS 7.1 has new on-screen keyboards, including number-only and formula-optimized keyboards, which you can leverage in your apps. For more information, see On-screen keyboard input scope index for Windows Phone.

System tray and progress indicator

The system tray in Windows Phone OS 7.1 supports opacity and colors. It also includes a progress indicator that you can use to indicate progress in your apps. For more information, see Frame, page, and navigation enhancements for Windows Phone.

OData client

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 introduces the Add Service Reference dialog box, which you can use to generate a client proxy class. You can also use LINQ queries to access OData resources, and perform client authentication to secure OData services using a logon ID and password. Windows Phone SDK 7.1 also offers improved performance when saving client state. For more information, see OData client for Windows Phone.

Globalization and localization

Windows Phone OS 7.1 adds support for 16 additional cultures, including reading and user interface fonts for East Asian languages. For more information, see Globalization and localization for Windows Phone.

Creating trial apps

You can design and implement a trial mode in your app so your users can try your app before buying it. Windows Phone OS 7.1 offers new topics and samples to help you implement trial mode in your apps. For more information, see Creating trial apps for Windows Phone.

Windows Phone Marketplace

The Windows Phone Marketplace FAQ is available online in the MSDN library. For more information, see Windows Phone Marketplace FAQ.

See Also

Other Resources

Windows Phone Development

Getting started with developing for Windows Phone