Tech Industry

Report: HTML5, Silverlight headed to WP7 browser

A software update for Windows Phone 7 may possibly bring two very big behind-the-scenes features to the phone's Web browser next year.

The Internet Explorer browser that's built into Windows Phone 7 devices could be getting two very important additions next year: support for HTML5 and Microsoft's Silverlight runtime.

A ZDNet report this morning says the extra functionality may come in the form of a major update codenamed "Mango" that is set for release in August or September. That's well after a rumored January or February release of a phone update that would bring long-awaited copy and paste functionality.

While the two extra Web features may not seem like game-changers, they move Microsoft's mobile browser into a more competitive spot among its peers, including efforts from Apple, Google, and Opera. They would also let browser users venture to more Web destinations and use more tools without running into compatibility pitfalls.

As far as the two technologies go, Silverlight is used as part of a number of media delivery platforms, as well as rich media applications. And despite being a very important part of Windows Phone 7 application development, Silverlight cannot currently be found in the mobile version of IE that ships in WP7 devices.

HTML5, by contrast, is one of the items that did not make it onto the platform from the get-go, despite being a major feature of Microsoft's latest desktop browser. In recent months Microsoft has been touting HTML5 heavily, and recent rumors have pointed to it playing an important role as part of a Microsoft-incubated Web apps marketplace.