The above is from a Windows Phone 7 series newsletter. “Wow. You’re amazing.” is a pretty nice sentence to open an email with. Why can’t more of you people that email me be like that :) Anyhow…
Microsoft put up an interesting hands-on demo on Channel 9, showing off some of the new Windows Phone 7 goodness. I really like the attention to detail that Microsoft is demonstrating with Windows Phone 7 Series. It has always been the hallmark of Apple to really put great thought into the tiniest detail of the product (cf. Inside Steve’s Brain by Leander Kahney), but as I said before, Microsoft is really showing Apple with this one.
A lot of that design stuff was shown off at MIX10, Microsoft’s conference for designers and web developers. For anyone who couldn’t be there in person (like myself), the videos of the sessions are available online at http://live.visitmix.com/videos. Among the things announced at MIX was the availability of an SDK and other tools for developers wishing to write software for Windows Phones. A version of Visual Studio and XNA is available for download from http://developer.windowsphone.com/. It comes complete with an emulator to test run your Windows Phone 7 applications.
I downloaded and installed the bits the other day and was kind of hoping one could get a sneak peek at the new OS or some of the bundled applications using the emulator. Unfortunately, the only thing that is on the emulator image is Internet Explorer and of course one’s own applications. These turn out to be pretty easy to develop, actually. Silverlight has developed into quite a nice development platform over the past few years and Microsoft has a long history of providing excellent developer tools. Anyone remember Steve Ballmer’s “Developers, Developers, Developers…” act? He was not kidding about the company’s commitment to developers. Anyway, I don’t have a lot of experience with Visual Studio, C# or .NET per se, but still I was able to put together a little app, compile, deploy to the emulator and live debug it there within no time.
I’ve always said that one of the advantages of Windows Mobile over a closed environment like say the iPhone is that I as a developer get to write and use my own software on my device without having to ask anybody for permission. I haven’t used this opportunity with my current Windows Mobile device, but with Windows Phone 7, I actually might. However, Microsoft has announced that their Windows Marketplace for Mobile will be the only way to get apps for a Windows Phone. Paul Thurrott discusses why this is the right decision, along with some good points regarding copy&paste and multitasking. I just hope that Microsoft allows developers to put their apps on their own devices; that is without any registration or the 99 $/year fees that Apple charges iPhone developers who want to do that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Microsoft will be more reasonable than that and not forget that third-party developers are the lifeblood of their platforms.