Windows 7 Mobile: New Features, Major Cuts
In what would be a major change of policy, Microsoft is rumored to be removing multitasking capabilities in the next edition of Windows Mobile. That means that it likely won't be possible, for example, to write an email while checking a webpage.
It's expected the system will be demonstrated next week at the Mobile World Congress industry event, though it's likely to be a glimpse rather than a detailed presentation. The PPCGeeks site reports that multitasking won't be available, though it will be possible to put one application on pause while running another. (Source: ppcgeeks.com)
Change Follows Apple Attacks
If true, the timing of the decision is certainly ironic.
One of the main criticisms of the recently unveiled Apple iPad is that, as with the iPhone, there's no multitasking option. It could certainly be argued that multitasking is less important with a phone than a tablet-style computer, but plenty of Windows supporters have been stressing the importance of multitasking on portable devices.
The big benefit of not having multitasking is that it puts much less strain on the hardware. This can mean an extended battery life, lower memory requirements, or even a slimmer handset.
Compatibility Split With Previous Editions
It's also reported the system will not offer backwards compatibility, meaning applications designed for Windows Mobile 7 won't work on Windows Mobile 6.5 handsets.
An incompatibility such as this is likely to upset owners and irritate developers who'll have a smaller audience. There is a sound marketing reason though: Microsoft is expected to continue supporting and promoting 6.5 after 7's release, lowering the price so that the two systems target both the budget and high-end markets. This means anything which distinguishes the systems and makes 7 more appealing to those with money to spend will help Microsoft's tactics.
New Features for Windows Mobile
There are also some additions to the system. It will now make much greater use of Zune, Microsoft's portable media system (along the lines of how iTunes is at the heart of portable Apple devices). It will also reportedly add social networking features, the ability to try applications from the Windows Marketplace before paying for them, and the ability to sync some details with an Xbox account. (Source: osnews.com)