Bringing Light to a Darkened WP7

I came across this blog post just now and feel I should try and address some of the queries raised.

I don’t speak on behalf of MS and as a non-iPhone/Android/WinMo user, I’ll try and keep it fair :D. This isn’t an attack of any form on the author (Alex), but I’d like to bring some balance to the picture.

The summary of the blog post linked to above says that MS is bringing too little, too late. The technology touted when WP7 was first introduced has become standards in the eyes of its main competitors (namely iOS4 and Android 2.2). I’d say that this is fair comment to make and does make sense to a degree. However, I personally believe too much emphasis is placed on the timing aspect – bearing in mind that MS don’t always make an impact straight away, but given investment of resources, they really can knock the competition (eg. Xbox brand).

Beautiful Apps

I don’t see how judgement can be so quickly passed. Considering the fact that the author is comparing prototype hardware to a final build just doesn’t seem like a fair argument. Don’t forget, Windows Phone 7 is not a phone itself – it is an operating system. There are set minimum hardware requirements but at the end of the day, it’s up to the manufacturers to produce the sharp screens and solid design. As a consumer, I’d rather be given the option of choosing a certain type of screen or hardware (no doubt affecting the price), just like Android/WP7 allows you to do. I’d also like to add that ‘beautiful apps’ also comes from developers and designers, not just what the screen can display. (Should add, I do like the quality of the ‘retina display’, but it’s not a deal breaker for me.)

Games

This particular post is interesting. As a developer, I know exactly what I can and can’t develop for WP7. The source the author links to is this as a source of information regarding development. I’m not going to sit here and defend every point raised, because there are some good points. For example, true SQL databases are not available (at the moment) on WP7. Instead, web services should be used and the ‘cloud’ paradigm employed if databases are required. (There is also a Windows Phone 7 Database on CodePlex for those who want to use an Isolated Storage based database). However, many of the points raised are temporary, in that the features are not going to be available at launch. That’s not to say that they won’t be available ever. I think Alex is putting too much emphasis on the points raised in his source. As a developer, I don’t feel I’m being hampered too much. True, there are some app ideas that can’t be implemented with the current version of the SDK – but there are many ideas that can be implemented. Another point that has been failed to mention is that MS already have a huge .NET developer base. There are indie developers programming games for Xbox360. Transferring their skill sets to the phone is trivial and something that should  not be underestimated. Even with the current version of the SDK (which is still in early form), you can see some of the great apps and games people are developing – and those are just the ones that have uploaded videos. The developer tools provided are second to none. I’ve developed for Android, but I wasn’t a fan of the IDE and the lack of decent animation software with a seamless workflow. However, I’m not a native Java coder and new tools may have come out since I last developed for Android. VS2010 + Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone 7 – Simply a joy to work with.

If you’re a developer, feel free to comment on this post about how you feel regarding development for WP7.

Email

I can’t really debate this because, honestly, I haven’t really looked into it or had much experience with iOS4/Android 2.2’s emailing capabilities. What I will add is that there are still quite a few months left before WP7 launch, so there may be more features being hidden for the time being by MS (or maybe not, I don’t know ;))

The Buzz Factor

There’s no denying Apple’s ability to build buzz. They are the epitome of hype-generation and their marketing department should be applauded. There is still some buzz around WP7, but we should remember that hype fades in and out. When new information comes through, interest will peak and slowly die down till the next droplet of information. I feel, at the moment, MS have played their initial card of announcing the phone and showing a few demonstrations. Give it a month or so (or whenever the next demonstration is) and buzz will start to generate again.

In conclusion, WP7 hasn’t even been launched. Prototypes and leaks have been demonstrated and shown, but I don’t think it’s safe to say they are fully representative of what to expect. With all due to respect to Alex, the arguments put forward seem to be based on hearsay, personal exposure to information and generalising theories. I might be wrong, but he’s just as wrong as me :D. We don’t have enough information to really predict the outcome. There are no like for like comparisons possible with WP7, unlike Android 2.2 and iOS4 where both OS’ are available to play with fully. Naturally, as consumers, we’re all in the same boat. We have to wait and see. Simple 🙂

Agree/disagree with what I’ve said? Feel free to comment and explain. I quickly blasted through this post, so if there are any clarifications required, let me know (or, indeed, if you want to correct something I’ve said).

-keyboardP

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4 Responses to Bringing Light to a Darkened WP7

  1. Alex Wilhelm says:

    Hey everyone,

    I appreciate the counter points. I think that the xbox point is valid, but that the product cycle time differences between phones and consoles adds in a new element. A console is in the market for 4-5 years (or so), a phone is hot for 3-9 months at most. With Android, BBerry, and iOS now on yearly schedules, who is on top can change by the week. MSFT will not have much time to make a splash, or be put into the dustbin by consumers who are active purchasers in this area. MSFT will not have a year to push the phones, they will have weeks.

    In regards to games, perhaps I am putting to much emphasis on that source, but its for a slightly different reason than the one that you raise in your comment. Yes, it is not *that* hard to develop for WP7, but that it should be simpler. MSFT should have put up *no* barriers, not just a few. Maybe it’s just my friends, but the devs that I know well are content on Android and iOS, MSFT has to convince them to hop over, so I felt that any problem is a big problem.

    Good post, and thanks for responding.
    A

    • keyboardp says:

      Hi Alex,

      Firstly, thank you for your reply. It’s nice to see people willing to discuss their articles.

      I’d agree with you on the console aspect, but I feel this may not be the case for this generation. In previous years, a 5-year cycle would be the norm for consoles. However, PS2’s are still selling well (source: Sony’s E3 press conference). Add to that, that MS and Sony have invested in new technology for the current consoles (Kinect and Move respectively). I believe that this generation is looking for at a 10-year cycle minimum. Also, with .NET being pushed by MS, I’d be highly surprised if their new console did not allow developers to use the .NET framework.

      Regarding the games, there are very good arguments on both sides. Android goes for free, so that you can deploy of any Android device (whereas you have to go via Marketplace for WP7). Android also allows more access to the phone. The counter-argument to this is that this could easily lead to ‘black-hat’ developers developing malware disguised as a novelty app. On Android, there is no mandatory screening process. Users could easily download a working app which, in the background, is stealing data stored on your phone. I think this post explain it a bit more. However, this is one point that isn’t black or white. It’s really how free should users allowed to be given that other users are involved in their actions? (Although that’s a whole can of worm :D)

      Maybe my experience with Android wasn’t as smooth as it can be because I’m not a Java developer. But I certainly can’t deny the great experience with MS developer tools.

      Thanks again for replying, Alex, it’s much appreciated.

      • Alex Wilhelm says:

        Oh for sure on the black hat point, I really understand that. I suppose the only argument that I have against that is that we have yet to have a serious problem from that cause. With 160k Android phones being turned on daily, it does not look to be a serious concern.

        Keep on bro.

      • keyboardp says:

        We have yet to recognise that we have a serious problem. The best hacker is the one that never gets caught 😉

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