At MIX Microsoft is giving us the scoop on the next version of Windows Phone 7, code named Mango. It really is adding some of the important features that were missing from the current release. Mango is adding support for Silverlight 4, TCP Sockets, XNA integration, and access to the Camera APIs.
Windows Phone 7 is current running Silverlight 3, while Microsoft is already announcing the beta for Silverlight 5. This makes it difficult to move applications between the desktop and the phone. Mango will support Silverlight 4 include implicit Styles, RichTextBox, along with all its added support for TCP Sockets, and XNA integration.
Missing from the current version of Windows Phone 7 is access to the low level TCP socket APIs. While this is not critical for Web integrated applications, it does make it hard to provide real time services such as Skype. Mango will provide full access to these APIs, so expect to see support for real time VoIP and media applications.
Currently, applications on Windows Phone 7 can support either XNA or Silverlight. This means that it is not possible to mix 3D modeling into your Silverlight based application. Mango will provide programmers with access to the XNA APIs from Silverlight allowing applications to support both 2D based controls and 3D based models.
The only way to access the camera in the current version of Windows Phone 7 is to launch the camera application and let the user manually capture an image. This is not useful for capturing QR and Bar Codes, and video capture for Video conferencing. Mango will provide access to the camera APIs allow the application to use the camera as an in application capture device. This will enable the important video conferencing features require by applications such as Skype.
There are many more new features in Windows Phone, but the addition of these features will bring Windows Phone 7 to parity with the capabilities currently available and expected in the current Symbian phones.
This is really good news to application developers.