Microsoft announced a few new and extremely welcome features and API’s for developers to use in their Windows Phone 7 applications that will run on the “Mango” update that should be arriving this Fall. Developers will be able to take advantage of multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast app switching, including background audio playback for HTML5 webpages, which is extremely cool. This will be done using “Background Agents” which can also be designed to recognize when the phone is plugged into a charger and connected to WiFi. That will be extremely advantageous to helping keep the battery life good while allowing developers access to full power high-speed WiFi downloads when the user plugs their phone in at the end of the day.
Developers will also get deeper integration of apps into the OS, allowing programs to leverage Live Tiles, including push notifications via Live Agents running in the background. For example, a flight tracking app could keep track of flight status for you, monitor your current location and warn you that you’re going to need to get on your way to the airport if you want to get to your flight on time. You’ll also be able to have multiple live tiles within 3rd party apps. So you could have a live tile for each flight that you want to monitor. Or you could have a live tile for a specific feature of an app such as the Amazon barcode scanner.
Developers will also have raw access to the camera and sensors (gyro and compass) via the Motion Sensor library, letting apps to control device hardware. This will be useful for augmented reality type apps such as Layar, and of course could be used for 3rd party image scanning apps.
The new developer tools will be available for free next month. What other kinds of apps do you hope to see taking advantage of these new APIs and features?