While Windows Mobile 6.x apps, available in the Windows Mobile Marketplace, aren’t anywhere near as prolific as iPhone apps (by a long shot), there are still unanswered questions about whether or not these apps will work on the new phones. The speculation is that they won’t, although Microsoft up until now hasn’t said either way, with lots of details about Windows Phone 7 Series still to come.
However in an article posted today in Dutch language Tweakers.net, Martin Sonneveld from Microsoft Netherlands seems to indicate that older apps may work with Windows Phone 7 Series, with some modification:
Applications that are created for Windows Mobile 6 may be made compatible with Windows Phone 7 series. However, it is the interface of the new mobile OS apps, which need to be adapted.
"The interface of Windows Phone 7 Series is totally different, which in any case something should happen to the applications before they are suitable for Windows Phone 7 Series," says Martin Sonneveld Microsoft Netherlands against tweakers.NET. It is still unclear how developers can use the interface can translate their applications to the new version of Windows Mobile: Microsoft talks until next month, at its own developers event Mix2010 about how applications can be developed and distributed for the new OS. You can also confirm or Mr Sonneveld, not with older applications running on Windows customizations Phone 7 series.
Note: our resident Dutch translator Sunshine translates that last sentance as:
“Sonneveld also can’t confirm whether or not older applications (with adjustments) will indeed be able to run on Windows Phone 7 Series”
so not exactly a full confirmation, by any means.
Just for reference here’s one example of the Windows Phone 7 Series UI, obviously very different that what we’re seeing now:
Microsoft plans to continue to support Windows Mobile 6.x phones, and to call them “Windows Phone Classic” or “Windows Phone Classic Series”, according to a post from Long Zheng, who is in Barcelona for MWC:
Going forward, Windows Mobile 6.5 (and Windows Mobile 6.5.3) will be rebranded as Windows Phones Classic, and presumably the devices as Windows Phones Classic Series. Although this will not be reflected in retail until the release of WP7S, it does signify that Microsoft is committed to not just sustaining but potentially growing the current platform for some time to come.
To compliment WP7S’ focus on consumers, Windows Phones Classic will shift its focus to emerging markets and enterprise solutions. Notably one of the important reasons for this is to provide legacy support to all the existing investments made by OEMs and third-party developers to this platform.
So it would seem to make sense that there would/will be an upgrade path for older apps, and even possibly a way to develop apps for both Windows Phone Classic and Windows Phone 7 Series, but we’ll probably have to wait until Mix (at least) to find out.