Windows Phone 7 Means No Fring App Development

Windows Phone 7 may be the sexiest new mobile operating system Microsoft has released since, well, Pocket PC 2000. But while it has a slick new interface, an excellent new browser, and other compelling features, it lacks some of the features Windows Mobile users have grown used to over the past decade. That includes copy and paste support, multitasking, and easily removable storage. Developers are also discovering that the tools Microsoft offers for writing third party apps have some interesting limitations.

For instance, developers cannot write apps that have full access to the camera on Windows Phone 7 handsets. As a result, Fortune reports that the developers of the popular augmented reality app makers Layer will not be building a version for Windows Phone 7. Likewise, Fring, a company that offers voice and video chat for the iPhone, Android, Symbian, and other platforms won’t be able to make a full featured WP7 version.

It’s possible that Microsoft could issue an update eventually that will add support for third party camera apps. After all, the company has already promised that copy and paste support will arrive next year, so clearly someone at Microsoft is working to fill in the blanks. But this seems like a pretty big omission at a time when camera-based apps are big business on other mobile platforms. Right now, third party apps an take photos with the camera… but that’s about all they can do.

On the other hands, most reviews I’ve read of Windows Phone 7 point out that taking pictures on the platform is easier than on pretty much any other type of smartphone. Microsoft requires manufacturers to include a dedicated camera button on their phones, so all you have to do is click the button to open the camera app and click it again to take a picture. It’s just as easy as using any digital camera.

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