More on Updating Apps for Mango

August 30, 2011
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In my previous post, I encouraged users to upgrade their applications to the newest version of the Windows Phone so that users that get Windows Phone 7.5 (or developers who already have it) can benefit from a newer version of your application. While I readily admit, some of that post is pure selfishness as I want apps to be ready for Mango (and on my phone ;) But there are some things to consider.

If you haven’t noticed, the Windows Phone Marketplace now has 30,000 applications. Yeah, 30K. That’s a lot of applications. While some of my favorite apps do update themselves fairly often, many of the 30K applications do not. Why does this matter?

The reality is that today you can now upload applications and update for Windows Phone 7.5. That’s great news. Those of us with applications can prepare our application for the coming phones. Wahoo!  Or not? The problem is that if you choose to update your application for Windows Phone 7.5, you can no longer update your application for Windows Phone 7.

That means that if you release a Mango version of your application, you’re stuck with the Mango version. At some point that will make sense for authors of often updated apps but for now, most of them (I suspect) will keep with their 7.0 versions. If you have applications like mine which don’t get updated much (as they may be simple or topical), then upgrading to Mango may make sense. For example, I upgraded GooNews specially because I was ditching the in-app browser and just opening up IE instead. The reason I did this was that the Mango browser has additional functionality that I didn’t need to build (e.g. Share Link). Since Mango had Fast App Switching, going out to IE and hitting back button to get back to GooNews without any wait made sense for me.

I am not sure I totally condone this approach, but there are some who are using the Environment.OSVersion.Version property to determine if the phone itself is a Mango phone and then using reflection to use mango features. You can see this in practice here:

I’ve heard that applications with this technique *will* pass through certification so it’s safe to use, though I feel a little uneasy at the fragility of it. But until Mango has a solid user-base.