Microsoft Focuses on Windows Phone, Kinect and Silverlight 5 at MIX11

Microsoft showed off the next version of the Windows Phone 7 operating system, delivered a beta of Silverlight 5 and announced a beta of the upcoming Kinect for Windows SDK.

LAS VEGAS -- During the second day of Microsoft's MIX11 conference here, the software giant demonstrated the next version of its Windows Phone operating system and delivered a beta of the Kinect for Windows software development kit and a Silverlight 5 beta.

Microsoft also announced that with the forthcoming release of Windows Phone, the company will provide developers with more hardware capabilities, better browsing and improved tooling, as well as expanded opportunities and Windows Phone Marketplace options.

Microsoft also announced that developers will soon gain access to updated Windows Phone Developer Tools. These improved tools include a performances profiler and sensor simulation, enabling developers to build more integrated and high-performing apps.

The new Windows Phone application platform enables application multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer and fast application switching. It also provides deeper phone integration so apps can better take advantage of things like Live Tiles. And the platform provides access to the camera and Motion Sensor library so developers can build apps the incorporate device hardware and build augmented reality experiences.

The free Windows Phone Developer Tools for the new Windows Phone OS will be available to developers in May.

Meanwhile, Microsoft said the Kinect for Windows Beta SDK will come out of Microsoft Research and be available in the spring time frame.

And Microsoft's Silverlight 5 provides advances in rich media and application development. New capabilities include Hardware Video Decode for enhanced video quality and performance, and "Trickplay," which provides variable-rate video playback with audio pitch correction. The Silverlight 5 beta also offers a new Microsoft XNA-based interface for delivering 3-D visualizations within applications.