Windows Mobile apps won't work on new phones

Developers will use new tools, including Silverlight and XNA, to build apps for Windows Phone 7

While Microsoft still isn't commenting on whether current Windows Mobile phones will be upgradeable to its new Windows Phone 7 software, it has finally officially revealed that existing applications won't work on the new platform.

"To deliver what developers expect in the developer platform we've had to change how phone apps were written. One result of this is previous Windows mobile applications will not run on Windows Phone 7 Series," wrote Charlie Kindel, partner group program manager for the Windows Phone application platform and developer experience at Microsoft, in a blog post late on Thursday.

That's because with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has decided to use Silverlight and XNA as development platforms. Silverlight is Microsoft's multimedia runtime that competes with Adobe's Flash. XNA is the platform for developing games for the Xbox 360.

"If you are a Silverlight or XNA developer today you're gonna be really happy," Kindel wrote.

That appears to be true, judging from comments posted during and after a Twitter question-and-answer with the Windows Phone team at Microsoft about the news.

"Very good news for any #silverlight and #xna developer :)," wrote Pawel Bojkowski, a developer, on Twitter.

Johan van Mierlo, a Microsoft MVP for Windows Mobile Devices, also wrote that he approves of the change. "IMO this is all good!" he wrote on Twitter.

The move to Silverlight shouldn't be a big surprise for most developers. "Microsoft has always said, 'Learn Silverlight, it's an important development environment for the future,'" said Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, in a recent interview.

Plus, Microsoft hasn't really pushed its Windows Mobile 6.5 Marketplace very hard, he noted. That may have given developers a clue that changes were afoot.

Microsoft, however, says it isn't abandoning the Windows Mobile platform just yet. "To be clear, we will continue to work with our partners to deliver new devices based on Windows Mobile 6.5 and will support those products for many years to come, so it's not as though one line ends as soon as the other begins," Kindel wrote.

What is still uncertain is whether any phones currently on the market will be upgradeable to Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has been coy on that matter, presumably because it doesn't want to jeopardize sales of current-generation products between now and when Windows Phone 7 products hit shelves later this year.

During the Twitter question-and-answer on Thursday, the Microsoft employees did not shed any light on the matter. They mostly repeated the official response from the company, which is that it can't confirm if users will be able to upgrade from Windows Mobile 6.5.

They also repeated another vague statement about whether the HTC HD2 will be upgradeable. "Currently we don't have plans to update the HTC HD2 to WP7," the Windows Phone 7 team wrote on Twitter. The HD2, a phone with one of the largest screens of any phone on the market, will run Windows Mobile 6.5 when T-Mobile starts selling it. The operator has said the phone should hit the shelves in the spring, which in the U.S. is the second quarter.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows Mobileupgradesmobile applicationswindows phone 7

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?