Thoughts on mobile development - Symbian, Blackberry, Android, J2ME and iPhone

Windows Phone 7 looking good. Demo looking better.

By Aaron Davidson, in , posted: 22-Mar-2010 13:13

Technorati Tags: ,,,,

Earlier today I received an email from "Windows Phone News", I assume because years ago we signed up to the Microsoft Developer Program.  It included a link to a Microsoft Demo showcasing the new Windows Phone 7 UI.  To be honest we haven't taken much notice of Windows Mobile over the years.  Mostly because we've been kept busy enough on the other platforms but for sure there was also an element of none of our clients ever asking us to develop for it as well!

So I thought I'd take a look at this demo.  And it actually looks pretty good.  I know most demo's do, so we'll just have to wait until devices are released, but if they're true to the demo then Microsoft may have found a way back into the game after its time in the mobile wilderness.  The touch based UI seem responsive and intuitive and the graphics not completely ugly.

Picture of Windows Phone 7 microsoft-windows-phone-7-series-3

Best thing by far about the demo was the ability to customise the video backgrounds playing behind the phone in the foreground.  Through good luck the first background to play was "Beach", showing a bikini clad nymphets run past and begin frolicking in the water during sunset.  There were 7 other video backgrounds that randomly played as well, so something for everyone I guess including Yoga fans.

After luring me to their web page and tantalising me with nymphets Microsoft had me interested enough to look around a bit.  A shame that the rest of the site was focused on Windows Mobile 6.5.  Even the feature comparison table only compared Windows Mobile 6.0, 6.1 and 6.5.  So aside from the nice demo, I'm none the wiser!

Other related posts:
Don’t ignore regionality when selecting target mobile OS
Nokia Developer Day, Sydney 2 March 2010
Which mobile platforms do developers love?

Comment by Steve Creedy, on 22-Mar-2010 13:36

When looking at any Windows Phone, you have to look under the covers to see what's underneath.

In the case of Windows Phone 7 Series, it's all interface, and not much else. Underneath, you find basic functionality such as Copy&Paste is missing, and Microsoft has admitted it won't be included when the phone is released.

Then there are other issues, such as it being a closed and locked platform. You're not allowed to use memory cards. The only place you're allowed to buy applications is from Microsoft's own app store. Microsoft will decide which apps can be in the store and which can't.

If you like this kind of thing, that's fine. But it has made me decide to buy an Android phone instead.

Comment by thecrane, on 22-Mar-2010 14:17

Erm...I'm pretty sure the demo you linked to is WinMo 6.5, not 7 Series.

Author's note by ald, on 22-Mar-2010 14:56

You could well be right crane!  Certainly would explain why MS had little/no Windows phone 7 content at the site.  Score 1 to MS for not being all that clear on what they're showing.  As mentioned in the post we're no MS mobile experts.  No comments on the selectable nymphet video background though?!

Author's note by ald, on 22-Mar-2010 15:01

Steve, thanks for your contribution.  You may well be right.  The counter would run along the lines that the iPhone's success has demonstrated that eyecandy trumps functionality every time.  If you're correct then it sounds like MS' Windows phone plans dovetail nicely with the lessons learned from the iPhone's success.  Other vendors in the market are taking serious notice of this as well.  At the recent Nokia Developer Day Nokia indicated that the most successful/popular applications sacrificed features for eyecandy.

Comment by kiko, on 22-Mar-2010 15:20

Actually, Steve, you've got the Copy & Paste backwards. On the surface, c&p is missing, but when you look underneath, it's there. It's part of the CE6 Kernel; it just lacks an active command to activate it.

Comment by lotech, on 23-Mar-2010 15:16

The missing features on Windows Phone 7 Series are an interesting issue, while Apple still offers updates for the original iPhone and continue to support it l for a reasonable extent of it's life - Microsoft have offered no such gaurantees with WinMo7. They're sticking to a similar idea of WM6.5 - its up to the hardware makers to offer updates. Unfortunately they only make money on the original sale of a unit - once its sold, any more effort/money spent is money lost on selling more units elsewhere.
So if you think "They'll offer copy & paste soon" you could be sitting on XDA devs forums and hacking an update to get it to work.
Interestingly this version fragmentation is causing issues with Android too.

Theres also a weirdness in the fact its even call Windows Phone 7 Series - the new UI has completely left the abstract of a windowed UI. The new UI, no doubt completely based on the Zune, looks like it wants to be different to every other mobile UI, for the sake of being different - not necessarily for the sake of improved user expereience. The lack of an icon based system is perplexing - peoples brains like quick recognizable images more than long words or lists of words - alot of the menus can't easily be differentiated from normal, um, words. You just can't be sure if you can even be clicked without poking it - and then people will just get annoyed when nothing happens.

Oh and the final question - the only handset makers currently lining up to develop WM7 handsets are B grade manufacturers as it seems HTC & Motorola have gone almost 100% Android - will there ever be enough of a userbase for developers like you to ever see a demand for apps on the platform? I'm thinking WM7 could be the next WebOS....

Comment by kiwipixter, on 23-Mar-2010 21:12

Steve, mobiles are not PCs. C&P is not a big requirement for a consumer device, Apple have proven that. As for openness, thats just geek and ideology talk in the software world because theres no proof to back it up commercially in the mobile space. Even with a closed ecosystem, Apple iPhone and app store is the most successful mobile application platform for users and developers, even Google and others recognised this by having their own app stores. Its closeness doesn't detract developers or innovative apps from being created. Android's openness, well less restrictive to be more precise, is more to do with Google's business model rather its evangelicalism into open source movement for mobile world.
Back to WP7, i think M$ have made the right decision taking a clean slate approach. Windows Mobile has run its course, back in version 5 actually.

Comment by 2cold, on 24-Mar-2010 05:17

Steve is correct, weather or not it's in the kernel, they haven't actually made it accessible, so i think you've got it backwards, it's not there, and if they wanted it available they would of made it accessible.

Nuff Said...

ald's profile

Aaron Davidson
New Zealand

Co-founder and CEO of SimWorks - New Zealands leading developer of mobile applications.

SimWorks Anti-Virus protects over 1.5 million mobile phones around the world everyday.

SimWorks phone backup enables mobile operators to protect their subscribers mobile phone contacts and provide their subscribers with unique and compelling new ARPU boosting services.

If you need a mobile app developed give us a call.

Android logo         Java logo

Symbian logo

Blackberry logo

                 iPhone logo