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Windows Phone Mango SDK 7.1 Beta 2 Released

Last week saw the release of the second beta Software Development Kit for Windows Phone Mango.  The new beta add a slew of feature changes and updates for developers and Microsoft appears keen to get developers on board as soon as possible.  To do this Microsoft believes the company has become, in their own words, 'transparent, easy to build for, and easy to partner with'.

Microsoft, on the Windows Phone Developer Blog went on to say that the new beta should be seen as a beta quality, in that, there are still features missing which will be included in the final release.  We've added the top feature additions and changes below for your pleasure.

Mango SDK Beta 2 New Features

Multitasking:

  1. Windows Phone Applications can play audio even when the application is no longer in the foreground.
  2. Scheduled Tasks will allow an application to run code in the background even when the application is not running.
  3. Background file transfers will allow applications to queue up multiple HTTP requests.
  4. Scheduled notifications will allow for alarms and notifications to pop up.
  5. Fast Application switching.  This will place closed applications in a dormant state keeping the application in the memory rather than shut down the application.

Sensors:

  1. In addition to the accelerometer, applications can now access the compass and gyroscope sensors, enabling development of apps and games where the physical device itself is a means of user input. There is also now a combined motion API that provides data for attitude (yaw, pitch, and roll), device acceleration, and rotation rate.

Network Information:

  1. Applications will now be able to access information about the network and network interfaces. Developers will be able to determine the mobile operator and network capabilities of a user’s phone, and get and set connection preferences and requirements.

Push Notification:

  1. Changes in the push notification system to improve robustness. Toast notifications can now link to specific places within your application and pass parameters. Tile notifications now support two-sided application and secondary Tiles.

Live Tiles:

  1. Application Tiles pinned to the Start screen will now have two sides and capable of flipping periodically. Applications can have more than one Tile pinned to Start, such as Tiles for different cities in a weather app.

Advertising:

  1. The Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone now allows developers to monetize their apps and games by including ads from Microsoft Advertising. The Advertising SDK is now fully integrated into the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta 2.

WebBrowser Control:

  1. The WebBrowser control now supports Internet Explorer 9 and the benefits of increased performance and HTML5 rendering. Developers will now be able to programmatically access the cookie collection of a WebBrowser control through the WebBrowser extension methods.

Contacts and Calendars:

  1. The Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta 2 now gives developers access to user’s contacts and calendar data. Developers will also be able to differentiate their applications by querying and interacting with the user’s data in ways such as letting the user choose from a list of their contacts and sending them emails, searching for contacts’ birthdays, and others.

Developers Second

Microsoft used the final point in their blog to justify why reviewers got their hands on Mango before developers.  Microsoft said:

In short, it was to allow us to get you Mango today. Bringing a product to market requires a healthy balance between marketing features and empowering the ecosystem. Striking that balance is all about sequence. Microsoft believes in developers like no other company, but not even we want developer tear downs serving as the foundation for how consumers ultimately understand Mango. To get Mango to you today, we had to first set some context so that the market would have a good understanding of the product and not define us only by those features that developers uncovered. Think of it this way: if you could choose which path to go down, would you rather have a tightly selected group of influential people write your first reviews of your amazing app, or leave it to the customers with the fastest fingers?

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