At MIX11, Microsoft today announced the official release of the Silverlight 5 Beta and discussed the next version of Windows Phone and Windows Phone Developer Tools. Microsoft also announced a few details about the upcoming Kinect for Windows Beta SDK.
Microsoft is highlighting a significant update for developers of the Windows Phone platform. The next version of the Windows Phone Developer Tools will include performance profiling and sensor simulation providing more flexibility in testing and development. It will also allow developers to take advantage of:
- Application multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast application switching
- Deeper phone integration so apps can, for example, take better advantage of the versatility of Live Tiles
- Access to the camera and Motion Sensor library so developers can build apps that incorporate device hardware and build augmented reality experiences
The updated developer tools will be available for free in May. Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president, Windows Phone Program Management, went on to emphasize the importance of providing high quality tools for developers: “The next release of Windows Phone represents the evolution of our strategy for ensuring that developers are at the forefront of ‘what’s next’ by investing in even richer customer experiences, a powerful application platform and a thriving ecosystem. We will soon deliver a new set of Windows Phone Developer Tools that will enable developers to create a new generation of apps that are even faster, more capable and better integrated with Windows Phone.” Further details about the developer tools are available here.
Channel 9 has provided a video of some of the Windows Phone 7 demonstrations and announcements at MIX11:
Microsoft also released the first beta of Silverlight 5. Silverlight 5 includes new capabilities such as Hardware Video Decode which delivers enhanced video quality and performance, and “Trickplay,” which provides variable-rate video playback with audio pitch correction. Silverlight 5 also provides an XNA-based interface that can deliver 3-D visualizations within apps. For interested users, the beta is available at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight
Microsoft is also highlighting the Kinect for Windows Beta SDK. The beta will be available in the spring and includes the following features:
- Robust Skeletal Tracking for high-performance capabilities that track the skeleton image of one or two persons moving within the Kinect field of view
- Advanced Audio Capabilities, including four-element microphone array with sophisticated acoustic noise and echo cancellation for great audio; beam formation to identify the current sound source and integration with the Windows speech recognition API also included
- XYZ depth camera for standard color camera stream access and depth data that indicates the distance of the object from the Kinect camera
Users interested in the beta can sign up at http://research.microsoft.com/kinectsdk