In a move that will no doubt please many early adopters and a host of developers, Microsoft has announced that they will open up Windows Phone 7 a little bit more to developers to allow their applications to run while the screen is turned off. The screen lock currently causes most applications to shut off and then have to reload or resume slowly when you unlock the screen, something that many users, myself included have found to be not only annoying, but also sometimes even time consuming.
Up until this point, apps that wanted to run whilst the screen was locked had to get the users permission to run. While Microsoft applications such as Zune, mail and more could already run whilst the screen was locked, without users telling them to do so.
The new rules require that developers demonstrate that their application will only use a small amount of battery life in the background. In an article on cnet, Microsoft's Charlie Kindel said, "This is an example of us continuing to listen to customers, we think it is a much better experience."
With the launch of Windows Phone 7 just over a week away in America and with devices already released across Europe it is a smart move by Microsoft as disgruntled developers were already showing annoyance at the background tasks that Microsoft applications could run and third-party applications could not. Even allowing some hardware manufacturers to create augmented reality applications that used the camera, something that once again developers are not able to do with current tool kits available from Microsoft.