It seems like a simple enough question – will apps like Pandora be permitted to run in the background. Let’s ask two MS employees and get two different answers.

Engadget has a clip from Todd Brix and he says “there are a number of experiences that do run in the background. That WP7 is based on a multitasking operating system. We have chosen to only enable a certain number of applications to run in the background…” He’s then asked about multitasking “music, third party music services” and responds “no, Zune music service” and confirms it’s first party (meaning MS) only.  He is later asked specifically about Pandora and affirms that it will not run in the background. Engadget states “just know that you’re not going to be running Pandora in the background while you do other tasks on a 7 Series device — it is a question we have specifically asked, and the answer, unfortunately, is no.”

But I know that I heard the exact opposite. I recall that some third party apps were going to get the same treatment as MS apps (with the ability to run in the background) and I recall it specifically including Pandora so I Binged it. And that led me to Charlie Kindle who gave an interview at Mix10 to PCMag.  And they report “Like the iPhone, Windows Phone 7 won’t support third-party apps being able to run in the background. But third parties will get access to a wider range of services than are available on the iPhone. For instance, Pandora could stream in the background using a special background-music service, Kindel said. But VoIP apps will be limited; there won’t be a service to allow third-party apps to access telephony in the background.”

Ok so I’m glad we know for sure that we don’t know a lot for sure. Based on other interviews and the concept of ‘smart multitasking’ (which is described as apps running in the background when you’d expect them to), I think apps like Pandora will be running in the background but I wasn’t appointed as the tiebreaking vote:)

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