Microsoft announce Sling, Foursquare & more for Windows 7 Phone series; Silverlight embracing open-source

Microsoft may not be known for their open-source credentials, but at MIX 2010 this morning the company have announced a new push to drive Silverlight adoption.  As well as launching Silverlight 4 RC today, the company have confirmed that the technologies used during the Olympics – that used Silverlight for web-streaming – will be made open-source.  Meanwhile Microsoft have given us a list of launch software partners for Windows Phone 7 series, which includes social networking tools from Foursquare and Seesmic, through entertainment like Pandora, Shazam, EA Mobile and Sling, through to enterprise providers like Citrix.  Microsoft have also confirmed which hardware functionality Windows Phone 7 series developers will be able to access, including multitouch and accelerometer.

The tools the Olympic broadcast technicians used include the Silverlight player, but also the ability to dynamically inject adverts into the stream.  Silverlight 4 RC will now support full-screen HD playback in a multi-monitor setup, something Microsoft say no other streaming video system can do.  There's also integration with Microsoft Expression Blend 4 Beta, which allowed eBay to design their Silverlight auction app, for instance, using Sketchflow.  The final release of Silverlight 4 is expected next month.

As for Windows Phone 7 series, Microsoft have confirmed that developers will be able to use the hardware's accelerator, multitouch display, camera and microphone, as well as using Microsoft's Notification Service and Location Service.  The former will give developers a way to push information to the smartphone, whether or not the related app is actually running, while the latter provides a single point from which to source location information.  Finally there's also Internet Information Services Smooth Streaming for digital delivery of content together with support for DRM.  We're expecting to hear more about these things as MIX 2010 progresses.

Confirmed software partners for Windows Phone 7 series' launch include Associated Press, WeatherBug, Citrix, EA Mobile, Fandango, Foursquare, frog design,, , Microsoft Game Studios, Namco, Pandora, Photobucket, PopCap Games, Seesmic, Shazam, Sling Media, SPB Software and Vertigo Software among others (check out the full list in the press release below).

They're using the new, free tools for Windows Phone 7 series development:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone
  • Windows Phone 7 Series add-in to use with Visual Studio 2010 RC
  • XNA Game Studio 4.0
  • Windows Phone 7 Series Emulator for application testing
  • Expression Blend for Windows Phone Community Technology Preview (which will also be available as a separate download)
  • Apps can be distributed through the Windows Phone Marketplace, with a 70/30 revenue split in the developers' favor.  Microsoft have also scythed away some of the secondary fees previously involved, and students will get more discounts or even free submissions.  The new Marketplace slots into the Marketplace Hub, complete with gaming and carrier-specific offerings.  We'll be bringing you more from MIX 2010 as it develops.

    Press Release:

    Microsoft Outlines New Opportunities at MIX10 for Developers to Create Compelling Experiences

    Unveils end-to-end development platform with free tools for Windows Phone 7 Series and advances with Silverlight that will bring new applications, games and experiences to life.

    LAS VEGAS — March 15, 2010 — Today at MIX10, Microsoft Corp. showcased advancements in its platform technologies that enable the developer and designer community to deliver compelling user experiences across a broad set of devices. Building on the excitement of the recently announced Windows® Phone 7 Series, Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president, .NET Developer Platform, and Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president, Windows Phone Program Management, detailed the opportunity for developers to use proven technologies such as Microsoft Silverlight and the XNA Framework to build new mobile applications and 3-D Games.

    "As the browser, server, Web and devices evolve, a focus on delivering consistently great user experiences has become paramount," Guthrie said. "By extending our familiar platform technologies and tools to phones, Microsoft is delivering the premier application development experience across a variety of devices and form factors."

    End-to-End Application Development Platform for Windows Phone 7 Series

    During the keynote, Microsoft provided the first deep dive into Windows Phone 7 Series application development. By combining Silverlight features for rich application development and the XNA Framework for games, Windows Phone 7 Series empowers millions of developers and designers to build visually stunning and immersive applications and games — one of the industry's most profitable mobile application categories — while taking advantage of device-specific capabilities. Specifically, developers will be able to take advantage of the following features:

    •Accelerometer, an intuitive control that responds to motion

    •A Microsoft Location Service to provide developers with a single point of reference to acquire location information

    •Microsoft Notification Service for pushing information to the phone, regardless of whether or not an application is running

    •Hardware-accelerated video with digital rights management (DRM)

    •Internet Information Services Smooth Streaming for the industry's highest quality content viewing experience


    •Camera and microphone support

    "Windows Phone 7 Series brings together a rich application environment, powerful hardware, a fresh approach to software and a smart new design," Belfiore said. "It was designed to generate incredible opportunities for developers and designers to quickly and easily deliver compelling applications and games. With the best developer tools, an established ecosystem and marketplace, and a path for developers to use their Silverlight and XNA Framework skill sets, we are delivering an application platform that is simple, powerful and inspiring."

    Free Tools for Windows Phone 7 Series Developers and Designers

    To further support an end-to-end development experience, Microsoft announced the availability of comprehensive tools support for Windows Phone 7 Series. The easy-to-install package includes previews of the following:

    •Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone

    •Windows Phone 7 Series add-in to use with Visual Studio 2010 RC

    •XNA Game Studio 4.0

    •Windows Phone 7 Series Emulator for application testing

    •Expression Blend for Windows Phone Community Technology Preview (available as a separate download)

    A Marketplace for Windows Phone 7 Series Applications

    Microsoft also showed how developers and designers will be able to bring applications and games to market with a new Windows Phone Marketplace. The Marketplace features a panoramic design and active merchandising to increase the discoverability of games and applications, and supports one-time credit card purchases, mobile operator billing and advertising-funded applications. The Marketplace will also enable customers to try applications before buying them and allow developers to cross-promote their applications through deep linking.

    Several leading companies will be creating exciting applications and games for Windows Phone 7 Series. They include The Associated Press, Archetype International Inc., AWS Convergence Technologies – WeatherBug, Citrix Systems Inc., Clarity Consulting Inc., Cypress Consulting, EA Mobile, Fandango Inc., Foursquare Labs Inc., frog design inc., Glu Mobile Inc.,, Hudson Entertainment Inc., IdentityMine Inc., Inc., Larva Labs, LLC, Matchbox Mobile Ltd., Microsoft Game Studios, Namco Networks America Inc., Oberon Media Inc., Pageonce Inc., Pandora Media Inc., Photobucket Inc., PopCap Games Inc., Seesmic, Shazam Entertainment Ltd., Sling Media, SPB Software Inc., stimulant, TeleCommunications Systems Inc., Touchality LLC and Vertigo Software Inc.

    Continued Innovation With Silverlight and Expression Blend

    Microsoft announced a release candidate (RC) for Silverlight 4, available for download today, which builds on the beta version released at the Professional Developers Conference in November 2009. The Silverlight 4 RC provides powerful media and enterprise application and media capabilities, out-of-browser flexibility and world-class tools support via Visual Studio and Expression Blend with Sketchflow to enable robust application development and rich interactive experiences.

    In addition, Microsoft unveiled the Expression Blend 4 Beta, a design and development workflow tool. New features such as Path Layout enable developers and designers to build and animate innovative user interface design via a groundbreaking visual layout mechanism, without the need to write code. Expression Blend 4 Beta also adds support for Silverlight 4, .NET Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010.

    Silverlight Customer Adoption

    Silverlight adoption has continued at a rapid pace with installations approaching 60 percent of all Internet devices worldwide — an increase of nearly 15 percentage points in just four months. Customers such as Major League Soccer, BBC, eBay Inc., Netflix Inc., and CT Corp., a Wolters Kluwer business, demonstrated how they are taking advantage of the power of Silverlight to deliver compelling consumer and enterprise experiences.

    "Microsoft Silverlight technology will be the backbone of the video platform on our newly launched," said Chris Schlosser, director of digital strategy for Major League Soccer. "Our work with Microsoft allows us to launch cutting-edge digital and mobile experiences for our loyal fans. As part of our increased focus on digital media, we view a rich video experience as absolutely critical to accomplishing our goal of 'super serving' MLS supporters."

    All the latest from MIX10 is available at, including downloads of tools for Windows Phone 7 Series, the Silverlight 4 RC and Expression Blend 4 Beta, which will be available today.