By Harry McCracken | Friday, March 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm
Later this month, Microsoft is holding its MIX Web conference in Las Vegas. The big news promises to involve Windows Phone 7 Series, which will be introduced to developers for the first time. It’s an important moment for the all-new mobile OS: One of Microsoft’s biggest challenges will be spurring programmers to write large quantities of appealing apps, thereby getting the company back in the smartphone app race in which the iPhone is out in front, Android is in second place, and everybody else is far, far behind.
Charlie Kindel, one of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 honchos, has a blog post up in which he previews MIX and tries to reassure developers that their existing knowledge will help them build good stuff: Phone 7 may be all new, but programmers will be able to use existing Microsoft technologies such as SilverLight and XNA.
In his post, Kindel mentions a San Francisco event for industry watchers which was held last night. I was there–and got to see a prototype Windows Phone 7 Series handset in person for the first time. But we didn’t get a full walkthrough, and I didn’t get any hands-on time. So my take on the OS remains “Hey, that looks like it’s slick and full of new ideas, and it doesn’t look much of anything like the iPhone” rather than “Hey, that looks terrifically useful and usable.” I look forward to learning (and seeing, and touching) more…