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Microsoft concedes on blank-screen operations

But only if you've got prior permission

Applications running on Windows Phone 7 won't be halted when the lock screen kicks in, if they've got a note from Microsoft promising they won't drain the battery too much.

We're not talking about multitasking here, just not being interrupted when the screen times out and goes blank. CNet tells us that in an interview at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference the company graciously agreed that if you promise not to drain too much battery, and demonstrate such, then Microsoft will let your application continue running when the screen goes blank.

That's obviously essential for any kind of music player, or even a messaging application, otherwise the user has to tap the screen every now and then just to stop the application from halting. Microsoft's own applications can multitask happily while the screen blanks or the users get on with other things, but until now third-party apps expected to have the plug pulled when the screen timed out.

This isn't a new problem: music players on Windows Mobile, such as the otherwise-excellent LCG Jukebox, would shut down when the screen went dark, and even Samsung's flagship Galaxy S has an irritating habit of shutting down Wi-Fi in the middle of downloading a file if one isn't interactive enough.

But at least Windows Phone 7 applications will have the ability to continue operations when the screen cuts out, without having to ask the user's permission every time. Although given the impossibility of replicating the level of integration Microsoft has provided for Facebook and Zune, it is hard to imagine developers are rushing to create music-playing or social networking applications for the platform. ®

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