Well, you had to know it was too good to be true. In recent comments to a Dutch web site of all places, Microsoft tech evangelist Charlie Kindel has revealed some important new information about Windows Phone: It’s not going to be feature complete at launch. (Thanks to WMPowerUser.com for doing the hard work of translating some of this and breaking this news.)
Some of the more interesting new tidbits from this conversation include:
Microsoft appears to understand that the future of computing is both high-mobile and highly connected, a point I’ve been trying to make for a while now. He said the phone was “the new personal computer. Exactly so.
The initial release version of Windows Phone will not be feature complete. Kindle says this was a conscious choice, but I take it to mean that the company knew it had to deliver the software on a very tight schedule, so they’re doing what they can in the time they have. This news, by the way, was previewed for us, in effect, by the silliness around “will-they-or-won’t-they” have multitasking. “Some things are missing at launch but the important thing for us is user experience. Everything must work equally well for the unit to work properly. Then we will look at how we can extend that functionality.”
One of the oft-touted features that will be missing at launch is the ability for developers to extend hubs. “In time you can, but for now we focus on other issues,” said Kindel. Also multitasking: Bundled apps will have it at launch, but not third party apps. They’ll add that over time too.
Regarding software updates, Microsoft will provide them to Windows Phone users over-the-air and, for larger updates, via the Zune PC software.
Kindel also addressed the native code issue that got Mozilla in such a huff. He said that access to native code will be eased over time, with very special cases, like Adobe Flash, coming first.
Windows Phone will utilize the same pop-up software Play widget that is used today on the Zune HD. So when you are playing music and using another application, and tap a volume button, the Play widget will overlay over whatever you’re doing. If you use a Zune HD, you know how nice this thing is. It features Play/Pause, Volume Up/Down, and Next/Previous Track buttons.
This is obviously bad news and I will try to speak with Microsoft on the record about this soon. In fact, I’d like to sit down with Charlie Kindel (who is a great, great guy, by the way) and go over a number of things. I’ll see if I can make that happen.