Ever since Microsoft announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the launch of Windows Phone 7 Series, most people were wondering whether existing applications for Windows Mobile 6.5 will enjoy support in the new OS. Speculations emerged, some suggesting that they might while others saying that there is no chance for that to happen, and now it is all official: no application written for Windows Mobile 6.5 will be compatible with Windows Phone 7 OS.
Charlie Kindel, Microsoft Partner Group Program Manager for the Windows Phone Application Platform & Developer Experience, stated in a recent blog post that existing apps wouldn't run on the new platform. It seems that Microsoft changed the developer experience with the new operating system, and those willing to create applications for the new Windows Phone 7 will have to base them on .NET, Silverlight, XNA platform, Microsoft’s developer tools and Web 2.0 standards.
“Different is often good. Especially when it’s different for good reasons. Windows Phone 7 Series is different because we reset everything we were doing to focus on end user experience. This extends directly to the developer platform. […] To enable the fantastic user experiences you’ve seen in the Windows Phone 7 Series demos so far we’ve had to break from the past. 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,” he says.
As stated above, some of the previous rumors on the matter already suggested that existing applications would not be supported on the upcoming mobile client, and that the OS would bet a lot on Microsoft technologies, including .NET and Silverlight. “If you are a .NET developer today your skills and much of your code will move forward. If you are Silverlight or XNA developer today you’re gonna be really happy,” Kindel notes. He also adds that those developers who are new to the platform will find all the necessary tools available for them, so that they can start building as soon as possible.
All the needed information on what developing applications for Windows Phone 7 OS is all about was said to come at the MIX conference in mid-March. Although Kindel unveiled some details on the matter, he also noted that developers would learn more on this at the event. “At MIX you will find out that it’s never been easier, more fun, or more rewarding to create beautiful & compelling phone experiences. Windows Phone 7 Series is a different kind of phone and the development platform offers a different kind of opportunity,” he concludes.