Microsoft is betting that Silverlight — a web application framework and rival technology to Adobe’s Flash — can help it woo mobile developers to its upcoming Windows Phone operating system. So far, at least, the strategy appears to be working.
The gang from Redmond used its MIX10 event in Las Vegas this morning to release some free developer tools as well as to demonstrate some of the first third-party applications written for Windows Phone, which seeks to embrace mobile entertainment in ways Windows Mobile simply couldn’t. Corporate VP Joe Belfiore showed off a slick mobile version of the 3D Xbox title The Harvest to demonstrate Silverlight’s capabilities, as well as a news app from AP and a multimedia journal that leverage the technology.
Microsoft also trotted out some impressive third-party partners. Developers who’ve signed on to build atop Windows Phone include EA Mobile, Foursquare, Pandora and Sling Media. Microsoft still faces a challenge in growing that list, though, thanks largely to the fact that Windows Phone will be incompatible with Windows Mobile and won’t debut until late this year. But if the company can continue to secure third-party developers and offer an impressive app catalog as the first devices come to market, Microsoft may find itself back in the game with the Apples and Googles of the smartphone world.
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