MIX10: Multitask Your Way to Success on Windows Phone 7–Sort Of.

Microsoft gave us a little bit more of how that strategy plays with multitasking on Windows Phone 7 Series in our conversation with company representatives. According to the company, basic apps, such as email and music, can run in the background so you can listen to a song and check your emails at the same time. For other apps–mainly third-party apps–the short answer is that there won’t be multitasking, as we know it currently in Windows Mobile, won’t be there. The long answer is that apps will continue to run in the background and when users return to the Start screen, the event would be paused and the app would save its state. Once a user returns to the app, the state is rehydrated when the app is opened or launched again.

The company was quick to point out that with push notifications, multitasking becomes less important and users would still be notified of important events as they occur. Sound familiar? Well, that was the precise reasoning that Apple gave when the company announced its intentions to bring push notifications to the iPhone without allowing background processes of third-party apps. Similarly, the iPhone does save an app’s state, which will be restored when the app gets re-launched after closing.

Microsoft’s justification is that given the time frame–they were working with a radical redesign of the OS–multitasking did not fit into the timeline. However, that doesn’t mean that the company isn’t considering that feature for future updates or revisions.

Push was primarily chosen as an alternative to multitasking to enhance the user experience–a recurring theme that we’ve been hearing since the announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series at Mobile World Congress. Microsoft believes that push notification will give users longevity in battery life between recharges, will allow the device to better manage memory without app slowdown or lockups, and will give users important updates.

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Chuong Nguyen