The Midweek Download: June 29th Edition–Windows Phone Devs Get a Basket of “Mango” plus Office 365, Nokia, Internet Explorer and Silverlight

This week in the Midweek Download, we’ve got great news for Windows Phone developers, as well as another big story out of Microsoft – Office 365.

Developers get a goody basket full of Mangos. In only a few months, Microsoft has surpassed the more established RIM marketplace in the number of real apps available to customers. Since beginning this journey with the new Windows Phone developer platform, we have aspired to be transparent, easy to build for and easy to partner with. We know that one of the most impactful things we can do for developers is to help them get their hands on the actual product. For Mango, that starts today with an early access program for developers. For more detail, read today’s post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

And in other Windows phone news…As the mobile Web has grown in importance, so too have the challenges facing developers who have to create pages that work across multiple screen sizes. In this Monday post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Joe Marini, principal program manager of Internet Explorer for Windows Phone, outlines some simple tips to follow when creating Web pages that will make the process of optimizing them for different form factors using responsive layout much easier.

Microsoft launches Office 365 globally. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced the availability of Microsoft Office 365, the company’s newest cloud service. Office 365 is now available in 40 markets, and it brings together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service, at a predictable monthly subscription. For all the details on this story, check out this press release. Also, read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center about how small and medium-sized businesses have used Office 365 during the economic recovery. Finally, if you want to hear what others are saying about Office 365, here are several recent news stories from a variety of news publication.

Nokia – devices, design and developers. In this Monday post, Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton muses about his love affair with some of the great Nokia phones of the past several years. As you may have heard, Microsoft and Nokia struck up a partnership in February that has seen Nokia adopt the Windows Phone mobile platform as its primary smartphone strategy. In his post, Clayton points readers to an infographic that illustrates how Nokia’s “operator billing allows subscribers of 113 operators in 37 markets to buy apps and games from developers with very little friction. What’s even more interesting is downloads of paid apps and sales were 4.5x and 6.5x higher than those where credit cards were used….and in markets where operator billing is available, nearly two thirds of the transactions are made in using that payment mechanism.” Why should developers care? You’ll have to read the rest of the Next at Microsoft post to see the infographic (it’s way cool, by the way) and find out!

The performance impact of modernizing Internet Explorer. Browsers need amazing performance to deliver on the promise of HTML5 applications. Modernizing Internet Explorer 9 has changed what’s possible with websites, and dramatically improved the performance of the HTML4 sites consumers use today. To demonstrate the real world performance gains in IE9 at the recent Velocity 2011 conference, we presented our talk on Modernizing Internet Explorer as an interactive HTML4 Web application. For more on this story, read this June 24th post on the IEBlog.

Exploring 3D in Silverlight. In this episode of Silverlight TV, Aaron Oneal, program manager of the Silverlight 3D efforts, discusses the 3D APIs in Silverlight 5 beta. Aaron was instrumental in working on the 3D features and helped to create the 3D Solar Wind and 3D HouseBuilder demos. Aaron reviews the features and explores how they all work by demoing the Solar Wind sample application. Check out the video below:

That’s it for this edition of the Midweek Download! Don’t forget to drop by the Official Microsoft Blog on Friday to indulge yourself in a little Weekend Reading.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog