The most interesting parts of Microsoft's Mix conference have come to a close, leaving us with two steaming news lumps: One for Windows Phone 7, and one for Internet Explorer 9. Here's what's in them!
Windows Phone 7
We got our first look at Windows Phone 7 back at MWC in Barcelona, where we saw its Zune-y new interface, and its first hardware. This week, though, was all about software: the nuts and bolts, and rules and exceptions, and the apps.
• Our Windows Phone 7 software guide covers the whole of Microsoft's announcement, from the unveiling of the App Marketplace to the new push notification service to the nitty gritty details of app development.
• Finally, Microsoft announced their Windows Phone 7 dev tools would be free to download, from yesterday. They know they need apps, so they're coddling developers as much as possible. Which is smart!
Then, Microsoft starting planting little seeds of doubt. Some will sprout and some won't, but all are, in fact, seeds:
• The App Marketplace, it turns out, will be the only place you can download Windows Phone 7 apps. That means no sideloading, and more importantly, that Microsoft will have to approve every app you download, Apple-style.
• I tried to wrap my mind around how Microsoft can ever catch up, apps-wise. (Spoiler: It may be impossible)
Internet Explorer 9
Microsoft's perpetually dated browser is still the most popular in the world, so it's big news when they do anything with it. And do something they have! (Or at least, will, sometime late this year/early next year.)
• It'll have HTML5 support. Like, a lot of it. That means h.264 video playback, CSS3 support and SVG graphics. HTML5 is the future of the internet by definition, so this is a Good Thing.
• It's got 2D graphics acceleration, for everything from video playback to text rendering. Translation: Low CPU use while watching HTML5 video, prettier text, and more speed.
• You can download it now, sort of. (It's an early build.)
• It won't run on Windows XP, at all.
All that remains is to irresponsibly pontificate about the future of Microsoft as a company, based on a few moving data points. Commenters: Have at it.