Windows Phone 7 Closer To Reality, Includes Flash

Dennis Faas's picture

After multiple delays, the first handsets running the next Windows mobile operating system are said to emerge next month. But they won't be on sale: instead, they'll go to software developers to make it easier for them to produce high-quality apps.

App Developers to get Real Deal

So far developers have had to rely on emulators to try out their new apps for Windows Phone 7. That does the job, but doesn't really recreate how an app looks and feels when it is on a phone in your hand.

It is theoretically possible for developers to run beta editions of Windows Phone 7 on existing handsets through somewhat fuzzy legal methods, but that's largely irrelevant as Microsoft insists current and older phones won't be upgradeable to the new system.

Microsoft says it will start handing out Windows Phone 7 handsets to developers next month. It appears to be thinking carefully about who to select and says it wants to reach a variety of different developers, from companies of different sizes. But that doesn't mean a free-for-all: "We're definitely not going to carpet bomb phones; we want to get maximum leverage for our phone distribution to developers." (Source:

Adobe Flash Gets Thumbs Up

The company has also announced Windows Phone 7 devices will be able to run Adobe Flash. Presumably due to a licensing technicality it won't be on phones when they ship, but will instead be installed in the first major software update, expected early next year. (Source:

It had theoretically been possible that Microsoft would have opted not to have Flash on the new phones: there is an argument that it will be overtaken by HTML 5, which allows newer browsers to run video and multimedia directly without the need for an installable plug-in.

However, from a marketing perspective it makes sense: one of the main criticisms against Apple devices such as the iPad and iPod is that they don't run Flash and thus can't display content from many websites. That's a classic example between taking a purist view; Apple believes websites should avoid outdated and "buggy" tools like Flash, whereas Microsoft clearly believes it's more important to display a wider range of web pages.

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