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April 13, 2011

What’s next for Windows Phone? Just ask Joe

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore (or “JoeB” as he’s better known in the hallways where Windows Phone is made) took the stage in Las Vegas this morning and showed off some popular new apps on the way for the phone. He also previewed some under-the-hood capabilities coming in the next version of Windows Phone that should open the door to all kinds of creative new apps.

The demos took place during Joe’s keynote at MIX 2011, Microsoft’s popular annual conference for web and app developers. The event catered primarily to programmers interested in both the next release of the Windows Phone operating system (codenamed “Mango,” and slated for release later this year) and the new version of our free app-making tools, which arrive next month. 

But there were plenty of tidbits in Joe’s talk of interest even to casual phone owners.

Mango will introduce some awesome new features, including multitasking capability, a hardware-accelerated mobile version of Internet Explorer 9, Twitter in the People hub, better support for Office documents in SkyDrive (Microsoft’s free cloud-based storage service), and much more. On stage, Joe helped paint an even clearer picture of what’s coming in the months ahead. (For a technical wrap up, check out Matt Bencke’s nice post over on the developer blog.)

If you’ve never seen Joe on stage, I highly recommend checking out his keynote firsthand: he’s always fun to watch. (The video replay will be posted here.) Meanwhile, here’s a quick recap of some of the fun things he touched on.

New and next-gen apps

Joe previewed new apps on the way from Skype, Spotify, Layar, and Qantas Airways. He also talked about some of the capabilities app makers can tap in the next version of Windows Phone, which will offer more access to the phone’s camera and built-in sensors like the gyroscope. This should make possible all kinds of creative and cool new “augmented reality” apps.

Joe also noted that May is the month when Xbox’s Must Have Games program for Windows Phone will launch. The program features six hot new titles for the phone, including Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Plants vs. Zombies and more. You’ll find more details here—or check out the trailer below to get a taste.


Hot new games on the way for Windows Phone

The Brandon Foy project

A few months ago, a talented young digital artist named Brandon Foy decided to make a little homemade commercial for his favorite phone. The result—Brandon’s “We Love Windows Phone” video—became a YouTube sensation and quickly caught our eye. Maybe you’ve seen it. If you haven’t yet, you should. Brandon’s little spare-time project puts even some big-budget Super Bowl ads to shame.

As Joe mentions in his keynote, Brandon’s video was so good that we asked him to make another. But this time, there’s a catch: If enough people watch it—200,000 to be exact—Microsoft will have it aired nationwide on TV. Check out Brandon’s original effort below, and then check out what he came up with next—and help get him on TV. (You can see even more Windows Phone videos on our YouTube channel.)

Brandon Foy’s first Windows Phone fan video

Joe on updates

Finally, Joe also spent a few minutes at the very beginning of his keynote addressing progress and questions around our software update process. Specifically, he tried to answer three questions he sees people here and elsewhere asking most often: Why have the updates taken so long to deliver?, Who decides when an update can ship?, and What have we learned? Watch Joe’s keynote to find out how he answers.