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Exclusive Windows Phone 7 updates from CES 2011


We’re live in Vegas this week for CES, and today we had a chance to ask some questions to the Windows Phone team. While some content has been touched on before, we were also able to nail down answers for a handful of those ever-lingering questions.

· The first update for Windows Phone is likely not coming in January (as previously thought). Per a WP7 Product Manager, we can look for it in “30-60 days.” Additionally, Microsoft confirmed the fact that the update system will be more ‘service pack’ based (my term) that an iterative system (i.e. 7.0.1, 7.0.2, 7.1, etc)

· Updates to Marketplace search that permit you to only search within apps, music and games will come at the same time as the initial phone update, as well as copy/paste, and CDMA support for the upcoming Sprint and Verizon launch. We’re also in for some unannounced ‘surprises.’

· Look for the HTC Mozart and the Samsung Omnia to be the two launch CDMA devices. It’s unclear as to whether both will be available on Sprint and Verizon, but the devices are confirmed for the respective launches. EDIT: I believe that the rep meant the HTC Trophy, not the Mozart.

· There are no plans to advance SkyDrive. If you want two-way sync, there are no imminent plans for that. Worse, it sounds like the team is still debating what direction things are headed, so don’t expect any updates in the near future. (More on this to follow later this week)

· As eluded to in the keynote, official Amazon and Flickr apps will be available in Q1 2011.

· Microsoft is not expanding Xbox Live achievements outside of premium Xbox developers (so no Indie devs or otherwise).

· Expect around 2 Xbox title releases per week that appear late Tuesday/early Wednesday with announcements being made just prior to availability (to keep the excitement up, balance the portfolio, and avoid last-minute delays).

· The balance of the ‘launch’ titles is almost done and then they’ll move on to other titles.

· Full House Poker is set to launch in early 2011 and allegedly is turn-by-turn based so you can play against other mobile devices. It sounds like this will not extend to 360 consoles, but your credits will be shared between the console and phone.

· Game Room will also come in early 2011, and the first 3 titles will be Asteroids, Centipede, and Shao-Lin Road.

· A significant Bing Maps update is coming but since MS is taking so long to certify software expect iOS and Android to have a better Bing Maps experience for a few months. The update is expected to include an updated client, and hopefully voice navigation. Presently, the Bing team is focusing on updating the mobile client ( to support all mobile platforms.

· API updates (including camera  and compass access and the ability to download game add-ons within a game) will not come until the ‘Mango’ Windows Phone update in the 2nd half of 2011. This is somewhat annoying since this is a Marketplace restriction (they simply won’t approve the apps) and not a restriction of the phone software itself.

David K contributed to this article.