Microsoft unveiled its plans for the next major update to Windows Phone 7 as the MIX11 developer conference. The so-called Mango update will be available this fall, and it will add support for multitasking and running apps in the background. But before that, Microsoft will issue new tools which will let developers write apps that have tighter access to core operating system functions.

For example, there will be support for apps with phone integration, and developers will be able to use the Motion Sensor library and camera in their apps.

The new tools will also provide expanded support for Live Tiles and Extras. Calendar and contact data will also be available for third party apps.

On a geekier level, the new developer tools will allow Silverlight and XNA to be used in the same project, and there’s a new profiler and emulator for testing.

The developer tools will be available in May.

In case you’re wondering what this means in terms of real-world applications, developers that have stayed away from Windows Phone 7 because of the platform’s restrictions on developer tools are now committing to building WP7 apps. One of the first will be Skype.

Almost a year ago, Skype announced it wouldn’t be developing a Windows Phone 7 app since Microsoft’s development platform wouldn’t allow the company to build a strong product. Now it looks like that’s about to change.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...