Windows Phone 7 introduces app version issues in Mango update

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
In its first significant update, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform is introducing a new layer of app version complexity for developers and users that offers a glimpse of how both it and Windows 8 will differ from Apple's existing iOS and Mac App Stores.



Windows Phone "Mango" 7.5 introduces new features for Microsoft's smartphone platform, but developers won't be able to simply offer an update to their apps to take advantage what's new in the same model that Apple's iOS app developers have over the past four versions of Apple's mobile OS.



Instead, Microsoft asks developers to distribute two different versions of their apps: the existing 7.0 version for existing phones, and a second 7.5 version for new phones and devices that can install the update once it becomes available through mobile carriers. Developers are encouraged to upload a 7.5 version by the end of October.



"Knowing that on average people update their apps every three to four months," the Windows Phone Developer Blog states, "this October timeframe provides assurance that you that you can submit 7.5 apps today and still have access to your 7.0 app well before the next update is required."



Once a 7.5 version app is published in the App Hub market, developers won't be able to fix bugs or add features to their existing 7.0 version. However, existing phone users also won't be able to run the new 7.5 version, as each major build of Windows Phone is tied to a matching app version. The WP7 market will display a list of app types for the users to select between, and users upgrading to 7.5 Mango will get updates telling them to download the new version of each app as it becomes available.







Under iOS, while Apple encourages developers to quickly support new features in the latest version of iOS soon after it is released, the newest versions of those apps can continue to run on existing phones that haven't yet updated to the latest iOS; iOS developers simply target multiple OS releases when they build their apps, and the resulting package can run, not just on multiple versions of iOS, but also across different devices from the iPhone to the larger screen of the iPad.



Most of Apple's iOS users also update their apps far more often than "every three to four months," thanks to the design of the iOS App Store, which encourages frequent app updates by making the deployment and installation of apps simple for both developers and end users.



Apple's Universal Binaries



Apple has long allowed developers to package together different code types in Universal Binaries, greatly simplifying the distribution of apps and installation issues for users. On Mac OS X, Apple used Universal Binaries to allow developers to deliver both PowerPC and Intel code in the same "app," freeing users from having to sort out which app they'd need to install on the type of hardware they had.



A similarly smooth transition was enabled by Universal Binaries in the move from 32-bit to 64-bit Intel apps. Windows users haven't been so lucky. Taking full advantage of a 64-bit PC requires installing a separate 64-bit edition of Windows and requires the installation of 64-bit apps.



On a Mac, a single hard drive partition can boot a 32-bit system or a 64-bit system, and Universal Binary apps will automatically take advantage of 64-bit features if they exist in hardware. Similarly, a single iOS app can run on iOS 3, iOS 4 or iOS 5, and can also adapt to running on an iPhone or take full advantage of iPad features, if the developer chooses to add an iPad optimized binary to the package.



This design has enabled developers to rapidly distribute apps that "just work" on whatever device they're copied to via the App Store. The basis for iOS and Mac OS X's Universal Binaries stems from a combination of NeXT's platform agnostic design as well as the fat binary technology that Apple devised to allow developers to smoothly migrate from the Macintosh's original 68k processor to PowerPC in the early 90s, affording users a comfortable period of backwards compatibility.



Understand your WP7 device



Microsoft expects users to select the correct app version for their device, noting that the only angle it seeks to improve for developers in the near future is to eventually allow them to keep updating both their 7.0 and 7.5 edition apps in parallel within the WP7 store.



The lack of support for Universal Binaries on WP7 is not surprising, because the desktop version of Windows has also never managed different types of executables for users automatically. Even when Microsoft supported multiple CPU types under Windows NT in the late 90s, users still had to obtain the correct binary type for their hardware.



In many cases, this extra layer of complication and effort prevented developers from making their apps available on different CPU types, with even Microsoft opting not to support alternative Windows NT CPU editions in its own Office or Exchange Server software.



The lack of an "app package" architecture in Windows also means Microsoft has also never offered the same simple install features Mac users are familiar with, instead choosing to construct a Start Menu of procedurally installed apps that carries forward the Program Manager functionality of Windows 3.0. Windows 8 carries forward the Start Menu, redesigned with streamlined options and a Metro touch-centric look and feel. Apps will still need to be installed and uninstalled, however.



Apple recommends that developers use its simple drag and drop installation where app packages are simply copied to the Applications folder, or the new Mac App Store model where purchased apps are copied automatically and also appear in Mac OS X Lion's new Launch Pad screen, similar to the iOS home page. Similarly, there's no work required to install apps on iOS devices. Users just select the app they want and the App Store makes it available, with no device type or OS version matching required.



Similar app fragmentation for Windows 8



Windows 8 carries forward the existing Windows 7 model of installing desktop apps through an install process involving the Registry, where each app must be paired to the CPU and 32/64-bit architecture of the hardware.



However, its new Metro runtime packages apps that can run on multiple architectures, because like a web page being rendered in a browser, they don't necessarily need to provide CPU native functionality. This will require developers to rebuild their apps from scratch to take advantage of Metro, something even Microsoft is still uncertain about doing for its own Office suite.



Meanwhile, the desktop apps users expect to run on Windows, ranging from Photoshop to Word to iTunes to Firefox, will still need to be delivered in a series of specific executable types, ranging from today's 32 or 64-bit Intel apps to the potential of new ARM desktop apps that only run on tablets or other highly mobile devices.



Because these new ARM apps will only run on Windows 8 hardware that doesn't yet exist on the market, developers will likely take a wait and see approach before doing the work to port their apps, whether as ARM desktop apps or as full Metro-style apps. This will create a catch-22 problem for new buyers of Windows 8 tablets.



Similar wait and see problems existed for WP7 smartphone users and app developers, and the same issue dogged the development of Zune games, which similarly never materialized despite the potential for such a market given Microsoft's Xbox 360 presence and shared XNA development tools.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 100
    xsuxsu Posts: 401member
    Don't see how is this going to sit well with customers. Every time developer releases a new version for the new OS, the older versions can no longer receive updates? Do they intend to deliberately kill off paying customer base?
  • Reply 2 of 100
    How dare DED say anything nice about Apple and bad about Microsoft, how dare he? What does he think this is, an Apple fan site?
  • Reply 3 of 100
    ivladivlad Posts: 740member
    WOW so revolutionary and simple. Microsoft just never learns.
  • Reply 4 of 100
    Is it worth the effort for a (pretty much) dead platform. Apple do lead the way when it comes to smartphone app distribution and os support.
  • Reply 5 of 100
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,571member
    I thought this was Apple Insider, not Microsoft Insider



    The only time AI even gives Microsoft a full-on article is when they are looking to kick dirt in their eyes. Pretty pathetic IMHO. Stick to what you do best, great Apple news.
  • Reply 6 of 100
    Can't folks just update their phones to WP 7.5? Then they would be able to run the newest everything.



    Or do windows phones not work like that?
  • Reply 7 of 100
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    The only time AI even gives Microsoft a full-on article is when they are looking to kick dirt in their eyes. Pretty pathetic IMHO..



    That's partially because Microsoft hasn't given any reason for us not to kick dirt in their eyes. Microsoft so far has let us down in the tablet and phone market. And the desktop market, well, we know how they've acted in the past...
  • Reply 8 of 100
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Atashi View Post


    Can't folks just update their phones to WP 7.5? Then they would be able to run the newest everything.



    Or do windows phones not work like that?



    That is exactly how it works.



    Every Windows Phone 7 released to date can run Mango. And no sane person would want to remain on 7.0 considering how fantastic (you really need to try it!!) 7.5 is. Can't wait to run it head to head with iOS 5.



    This is a non issue from the DED reality distortion field.
  • Reply 9 of 100
    Seriously, can we just keep things to Apple news? I think AI will have fully jumped the shark when I see an article posted with the title...



    "Apple uses standard Phillips head screws to assemble iPhone 5. Windows Mango devices using obscure, hard to find, non-standard, hard to remove hex screws.



    iFixit and one, leading industry screw analyst are left in shock by Microsoft Mango devices and how to disassemble them...even though doing so will void it's warranty, but disassembling the iPhone, will void it's warranty also..."
  • Reply 10 of 100
    AI = trolls
  • Reply 11 of 100
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    I thought this was Apple Insider, not Microsoft Insider



    The only time AI even gives Microsoft a full-on article is when they are looking to kick dirt in their eyes. Pretty pathetic IMHO. Stick to what you do best, great Apple news.



    They won't listen. This is how they get clicks.



    Google News lists AI articles all the time. If something is obviously biased, AI will get people coming in to argue about the bias, and to them, they think this is good because hell, the complainers view the ads as much as the fans do
  • Reply 12 of 100
    Apple has managed many potentially life-threatening transitions. 68K -> PowerPC. OS 9 -> OS X. PowerPC -> Intel.



    Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.



    Microsoft has catastrophically mismanaged several transitions recently. XP -> Vista. Windows Mobile 6.5 -> Dead End. Dead End -> WP7.



    So why, exactly, does Microsoft seem to always get it wrong? Why can't they transition their own products, their developers' products, and their customers, to new platforms smoothly like Apple? I think it's because they're always *reacting* to Apple. Even now, 20 years after they "won" the battle for the desktop.



    And when you're reacting to another company, you can't plan ahead. You're stuck copying that other company's products, adding little tweaks here and there, pretending to make progress, keeping your engineers occupied with busywork. Until the other company, Apple in this case, does something new for you to copy.



    And if that new thing is the result of steady, invisible progress that you didn't see or didn't react to soon enough, suddenly you're years behind. You need to throw out your old stale work and start from scratch. In a hasty panic reaction to the new status quo. No time for planning ahead, which means the same thing will happen all over again in a few years. Welcome to the new dead end.



    Sound familiar? Does that sound like what Microsoft did to Windows Mobile 6.x after iPhone was released?



    Yup.
  • Reply 13 of 100
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,484member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post


    So why, exactly, does Microsoft seem to always get it wrong? Why can't they transition their own products, their developers' products, and their customers, to new platforms smoothly like Apple?



    Microsoft transitioned quite well though the various stages of DOS and the made a successful leap to Windows where they transitioned smoothly from Windows 3.0 (the first real Windows) to 3.1 to Windows 95 to Windows 98 to Windows XP. In my experience Vista was their first transitional disaster.
  • Reply 14 of 100
    My first smartphone was a Samsung Omnia II.... It had Windows Mobile 6.5 and of course WP7 was announced rather quickly and I was told I couldn't upgrade. Now this was last November, before I bought my kids iPod touches for Xmas.



    I didn't realize how lousy the experience was until I played with iOS 4.... And I just figured phones weren't upgradeable.... Certainly the Verizon sales rep wasn't going to tell me back in 2010.



    There are a lot of folk like me out there..... Still oblivious to how a smartphone should function.... Apple has a lot of potential customers out there...



    Microsoft still shoots itself on the foot at every opportunity.
  • Reply 15 of 100
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post


    They won't listen. This is how they get clicks.



    Google News lists AI articles all the time. If something is obviously biased, AI will get people coming in to argue about the bias, and to them, they think this is good because hell, the complainers view the ads as much as the fans do



    How is this different from Engadget and Gizmodo? Oh wait, they're actually wrong most of the time, and pile on snarky to absurd levels. DED is deadly spot on 95% of the time. What gets complained about as "bias" is almost always just a correct assessment in the face of windbags blowing hype for Microsoft.



    This isn't OSNews or ZDNet writing up insanity biased against Apple, every last bit of which has been wrong. This is actually correct writing. DED has a stellar track record of getting things right.



    The AI trolls who complain about his stuff immediately change the subject once it becomes obviously he was correct front the start. That's easy to do when you have a site like AI allowing people to use phony names to leave comments. And its why the web is gravitating toward real names in Facebook and Google+ and most reputable sites' comments.



    Too bad AI continues to harbor a gaggle of anonymous trolls posting stupidity that sidetracks all the smart comments.
  • Reply 16 of 100
    I think this may be a new record for factual errors. Each paragraph seems to be based on something that's just wrong. Even the facts about Apple are worryingly wrong, to such an extent that part way through I thought it was meant to be a spoof ded article.



    1. Windows phone developers are just providing a 7.5 update to the app. Yes they release seperate versions for 7 and 7.5 and from October they will be able to update both separately. I don't get why you would want to bundle both versions together. If you have a update to 7.5 why release another 7.0 update that's the same as the last.



    2. Users will not be choosing a version, they will just get the one that matchs there phone.



    3. All IOS apps do not support every version of IOS



    4. OSX apps do not only exist in there app package. They spread out through shared folders just like windows. Unlike windows you don't get uninstallers, you have to manually find the files.
  • Reply 17 of 100
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,571member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corrections View Post


    How is this different from Engadget and Gizmodo? Oh wait, they're actually wrong most of the time, and pile on snarky to absurd levels. DED is deadly spot on 95% of the time. What gets complained about as "bias" is almost always just a correct assessment in the face of windbags blowing hype for Microsoft.



    This isn't OSNews or ZDNet writing up insanity biased against Apple, every last bit of which has been wrong. This is actually correct writing. DED has a stellar track record of getting things right.



    The AI trolls who complain about his stuff immediately change the subject once it becomes obviously he was correct front the start. That's easy to do when you have a site like AI allowing people to use phony names to leave comments. And its why the web is gravitating toward real names in Facebook and Google+ and most reputable sites' comments.



    Too bad AI continues to harbor a gaggle of anonymous trolls posting stupidity that sidetracks all the smart comments.



    The difference is that Apple Insider is an APPLE site. Engadget and Gizmodo cover EVERYTHING. And the only time Microsoft is mentioned on AI is to say something negative.



    I don't see Mac Rumors posting Microsoft articles as click bait, and their traffic/forum numbers eclipse AI from what I can tell.
  • Reply 18 of 100
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corrections View Post


    This is actually correct writing. DED has a stellar track record of getting things right.

    .



    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Your not actually serious are you. When has DED actually been right? Seriously in the last few weeks he's actually written contradicting articles about Microsoft. They can't both be right.



    This articles is basically based on him reading that devs will be able to make updates to 7.0 from October whereas originally once you submitted for 7.5 you wouldn't be able to. In Microsoft comment on this they said apps are typically updated once every 3 months so the gap won't affect many people. Somehow DED has taken this to mean users update the os in 3 months and conducted a whole load of shit about users having to choose what version they want.
  • Reply 19 of 100
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    Microsoft transitioned quite well though the various stages of DOS and the made a successful leap to Windows where they transitioned smoothly from Windows 3.0 (the first real Windows) to 3.1 to Windows 95 to Windows 98 to Windows XP. In my experience Vista was their first transitional disaster.



    You must not have been using PC's very long.



    I remember all of those transitions personally, and they were all pretty bad overall. Also, I don't know where you are getting your info about Vista but it seems wrong to me. I quit using Windows before Vista came out, but from what I heard from others, the transition wasn't actually that bad at all.



    It was just Vista that was bad.
  • Reply 20 of 100
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    Microsoft transitioned quite well though the various stages of DOS and the made a successful leap to Windows where they transitioned smoothly from Windows 3.0 (the first real Windows) to 3.1 to Windows 95 to Windows 98 to Windows XP. In my experience Vista was their first transitional disaster.



    And that one was more related to their new drivers model and lack of (stable) drivers from hardware manufacturers.



    We did run Vista in the office and I used to run it at home after SP1 was released, and had no issues with apps I was using, even little dodgy freewares.
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