There’s more fun coming to Windows Phone, with an update of the official Facebook app due in the
Windows Phone Marketplace next week and an Xbox companion app coming in November with the
autumn Xbox dashboard update, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore revealed at Nokia World this week.
The Facebook app will let you pin secondary tiles for Facebook message and your Facebook newsfeed onto the Windows Phone Start screen.
The Xbox companion app lets you control Xbox directly from your phone, searching for content like films and TV shows using Bing on the phone, choosinga video to watch from a range of content services like Zune Marketplace and having that play on the Xbox – with the phone acting as a wireless controller. While the video is playing you can use the phone as normal, or you use it to explore related information like a cast list for the show you’re
watching, with links to other shows the actors have appeared in.
Some Xbox titles let you transfer information from Windows Phone to Xbox using Kinect; the new
Kinectimals game for Windows Phone has an option to move your Kinectimal character onto Xbox by
showing a QR code on the phone screen that you hold up to the Kinect sensor, and you can carry on
playing the same character on the Xbox game, controlling it with Kinect.
Belfiore is in charge of the Windows Phone experience at Microsoft (he decides what it does and
what it looks like) and while Microsoft still isn’t giving any Windows Phone sales figures, he talked
about how whimsical elements in the Mango user interface like the dancing Xbox avatars appeal to a
new type of phone user. “We’re seeing our audience skew a little bit more towards women than our
competitors, and towards first time smartphone buyers,” he said. “These elements of whimsy and
emotional connection are a big part of why people like Windows Phone.”