Microsoft is expected to launch Windows Phone 7 Series later this year. And when it does, there will be third party applications available from some major players in the mobile space, including Pandora, Fandango, Foursquare, EA Mobile, the Associated Press, Seesmic, Shazam, and Sling.
Of course, all of those companies have apps for other platforms including iPhone and Android, so these apps are hardly going to set Windows Phone 7 Series apart from the crowd. But Microsoft is also starting to talk about the developer program for its next-generation mobile operating system. And that could open the door to some pretty innovative new apps.
First up, you’ll be able to try applications before purchasing them, which is pretty cool. Microsoft is also announcing the free tools that will be available for developers, including Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, XNA Game Studio 4.0, and a Windows Phone 7 Series Emulator for testing applications.
Applications will also be built using Microsoft’s Silverlight technology, to enable “rich internet applications.” Developers will be able to access core functions of Windows Phone 7 Series devices including the accelerometer, hardware video acceleration, multitouch features, access to the camera and microphone, and push notifications even if an app isn’t running.
One of the most exciting apps is the Netflix app for Windows Phone 7 Series. Like the Netflix app for other platforms, it will let you view and organize your Netflix video rental queue. But the cool part is that you’ll actually be able to stream “watch Instantly” titles from the Netflix web site to your phone. That makes sense, since the Netflix streaming feature is built on Silverlight. But it’s still a pleasant surprise.
For more details on the developer platform, you can check out a blog post written by Anand Iyer from the Windows Phone team.
You can also find a video overview of the new Windows Phone Marketplace in-device app store at Engadget.