Microsoft today announced hundreds of new features that will be integrated into the code-named "Mango" update coming to the Windows Phone 7 platform this fall, including many of potential use to game developers.
The update - which will be available for free on existing phones and built in to new phones later this year - will include support for new APIs giving app and game developers direct access to sensors including the camera, compass and gyroscope, and stored information including contacts and calendars.
Mango-powered phones will include full support for interactive HTML5 web sites and games through an integrated version of Internet Explorer 9, as well as support for apps written for Microsoft's Silverlight 4 plugin, in conjunction with the XNA development environment.
Microsoft is also adding support for multitasking and background processing with the update, as well as a notification service for background apps to gain a user's attention. Behind the scenes, Mango will update the system's networking/socket layers and add support for local data storage in SQL databases.
Microsoft is using Mango's rollout to introduce the Windows Phone Marketplace in 18 new countries, including Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Japan and Korea. Apps from the Marketplace will now appear in a special tab in Bing search results on WP7 phones, and will also be accessible through a new web-based store, which will allow apps and games downloaded to a PC to be sideloaded to phones.
A beta version of the Mango development tools will be available today on Microsoft's App Hub developer portal