Multitasking on iPhone OS 4.0, How Will Windows Phone 7 Respond?

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With iPhone OS announced with more multi-tasking features, Microsoft still has some time until the Holiday season to make changes, if any, to the Windows Phone 7 OS. Although “multitasking” has been a word that’s been thrown around with Windows Phone 7, it lacks the true, robust ability to open and run multiple third-party background apps that Windows Mobile users have experienced for so long–instead, Microsoft announced that many non-native apps will pause when a user exits and resumes when a user re-opens the app and that background push notification will fill the void. That brought Windows Phone 7 Series down to the level of iPhone OS 3.0, but today, Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 was demonstrated with a more robust multitasking engine–users can call up a task manager bar at the bottom by double tapping the home button.

Where Microsoft does differentiate itself is with a rich, auto-updating UI creating a more rich user experience. Unlike app grids that are implemented with iPhone OS and Android, Microsoft’s hubs create an immersive and engaging home screen experience. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t something for simplicity–Apple’s simple display of icons may be better suited for some users and the company also implemented folders as part of the UI. Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, arranges things in hubs–all your music will go to the music hub and games will appear in the games hub.

Speaking of the games hub, the iPhone OS 4.0 will also support features similar to Xbox Live–like Leaderboard, Achievements, and others–features that Windows Phone 7 was playing off to for ggamers. Windows Phone 7 will be able to tap into the Xbox community and with Silverlight and XNA, we’ll probably start to see powerful, modern games appear for Microsoft’s mobile platform, and the iPhone’s strength is in the sheer volume of inexpensive apps created for Apple’s mobile platform, which has seen comparisons to game giants like Sony and Nintendo.

Microsoft took some big risks with Windows Phone 7 and we’ll have to wait til the first smartphones to run the OS get released to find out if the radical strategy will pay off. For now, all eyes are on multitasking and it’d be interesting to see how Microsoft will respond, either by the time Windows Phone 7 gets released or through a future software update, as multitasking was a key feature that many power users have asked for, both for the iPhone and since Windows Phone 7 was announced.

(photo above of iPhone multitasking courtesy of Engadget)

This article has been amended.

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About The Author
Chuong Nguyen