Will MIX 11 make Windows Phone 7 developers happy?

WMPowerUser.com just posted a transcript of an interview done with Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7 platform at Microsoft. While nothing specific was announced (as expected), Brandon Watson pointed developers to wait for the MIX 11 event to learn about the future direction of all Microsoft’s platforms – including Windows Phone 7’s of course.

During the interview Brandon specifically indicated several "top feature requests" Microsoft have gathered from the developers community and partners, and promised that Microsoft "will aim to make developers happy." Below is an excerpt from the interview where Brandon hinted at some of the future improvements coming to the Windows Phone 7 development platform:

Q: WP7 could use a database like SQLite for apps that require lots of data. Is there a reason Microsoft does not ship one with Windows phone 7?

A: The simple reason is “time.” Building an operating system is never easy. There seems to be a misconception that we simply took 6.5 and slapped a new UI on it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As with any large development project, you have to make trade-offs. There is a SQL database on the phone, and it is used by first party apps. We did not have enough time to build a managed API layer to interface with it. This is one of the top feature requests from developers, and we are aiming to make developers happy.

Q: Some classes of applications are absent due to missing APIs. Could you address these individually?

  1. Alternate PIM applications, as there is no way to access Task & Calendar items of a user.
  2. Compass API – no augmented reality or compass apps
  3. Video API – again no augmented reality or apps to scan barcodes
  4. Sockets – useful for a variety of apps

A: This is a top feature request and we are always working very hard to make our developers happy and successful.

  1. Bluetooth – useful for P2P gaming for example or for peripherals

A: We’ve heard this from some people, but it’s not as major a request as the other 4 you listed.

There’s nothing to announce at this time, but developers will not be disappointed if they are investing in the Windows Phone platform. A great place to learn about the future directions of all of Microsoft’s platforms is the MIX event.

There are certainly quite a few categories of apps that are missing from the WP7 marketplace (GPS apps for example is one of them). Let’s hope Microsoft can bring the Windows Phone developer’s platform up to speed with its competitors real soon – afterall the marketplace is one of the key aspects Microsoft must fight hard to win consumers over.

Stay tuned for MIX 11 news at LiveSide during April 12-14, 2011, with Joe Belfiore to keynote at the event once again!