Behind the scenes of Mango: tidbits from Brandon Watson’s Channel9 videos

To coincide with the Mango press event several days ago, Channel9 posted three videos in which Brandon Watson interviewed members of the Windows Phone 7 development team regarding Mango-specific features. Whilst one might usually be skeptical about Microsofties interviewing each other, the videos were surprisingly insightful and full of interesting tidbits.

Here’s a few highlights I noted from the videos:

  • Developers can almost do with live tiles everything Microsoft could do. The exception being some animations that were deemed too battery intensive and are restricted from third party use. (Didn’t state example)
  • Background multitasking was the hardest challenge where the default response from performance team is “no” to anything that might consume more battery.
  • Sweet spot for background idle tasks is 15 seconds (subject to change). Profiled many standard devices, analyzed and optimized free CPU slices by moving around system tasks.
  • Worked with Microsoft Research to optimize generational garbage collection for ARM instruction set. The result of this is that third party applications running on Mango automatically benefit from roughly 20% less memory footprint.
  • Search-above-lock enables users to hold the search button from the lock screen to jump straight into Bing, similar to camera.
  • Local Scout was inspired by “pocket to suggestion in 7 seconds” mantra, get useful activities without any typed input.
  • Developer of Bing Vision required driver and pipeline optimization to ensure high camera frame rate whilst tracking and updating results live.
  • Threading by default will always respond with the same medium the received message was sent from (Facebook, TXT, Messenger).
  • Cut one feature that was determined to be too complex for the power – (vaguely described as) combining many communication concepts into a unified experience, issue being one screen that tried to do everything.

At just under 10 minutes each, I highly recommend these if you have a spare half hour. In no particular order, communications with Ian Todd, search with Jared Brown and application platform with Andrew Clinick.

8 insightful thoughts

  1. “Local Scout was inspired by “pocket to suggestion in 7 seconds” mantra, get useful activities without any typed input.” For Australia, that becomes Pocket–>Suggestion in 7 seconds +3-6 months ;P

  2. It’s a shame that they had to abandon the “unified communication” concept. That’s the future in my opinion, but it’s still too early to fully automate it (drop UI almost entirely – just ‘reply’).

  3. I think that Microsoft should let the third party developers deem what is too battery intensive and have options within their tiles to switch the animation and other fancy stuff on and off at the descretion of the user of the tile.

    1. Definitely not. Most developers won’t see how their own app fits in the grand scheme of things. They won’t be terribly concerned with memory usage, CPU cycles, or its effect on overall battery life. They’ll care first and foremost that their apps work and get downloads.

  4. I truly can tell that the mobile junkies will love this feature. If the talking cat was a trend this seems a more amazing. The avatar showing off the frustration when used rigorously tickles the funny bone and the graphics seem to be alluring. All I can say is great work!

  5. I could see these tiles having the same success as what the tiles for the sidebar in the early Longhorn builds of Windows Vista was supposed to have. There was all sorts of neat little nicities with them tiles. One of my favourites was the multiple desktops feature where you click one of the four little thumbnails within the tile to switch desktops. I wonder if it would be pratical now to write one of these “mango” tiles that offers a multiple desktops feature? If so, that would be AWESOME! 😛

    BTW, whats with the spam all of sudden? :S

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