Rumour of WP7 Launching Late August – Unlikely

Well, Twitter is abuzz with rumours that Windows Phone 7 will be launching as early as the end of August. This rumour seem to have started over at Neowin. It seems that Neowin has been tipped off that MS Australia will be holding a launch event but there has not been an official confirmation.

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Loading a Local HTML File in the WebBrowser Control

There was an interesting post over on the official WP7 Development forums. The nature of it wasn’t necessarily interesting, but it was something that seems quite straightforward on the surface but required a bit more thinking that I had initially thought. You can see the question here, but it was essentially “How do you display a local HTML file in a WebBrowser control“. I’ve never used Silverlight before Windows Phone 7, so the answer may be obvious to some, but I figured I’d write a quick blog post about it anyway for those who don’t know. The easy way to do this is to simply have your entire HTML stored in a string variable and call the WebBrower.NavigateToString() method. This works, but can be quite tedious. Firstly, if your HTML is long, it could quickly become tedious copy and pasting into the VS IDE and making sure that all necessary characters are escaped so that the entire HTML content is one string. Secondly, if you have multiple HTML files, then you’d have to do that for each HTML file.I figured there must be another, probably better, way of doing it.

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Is an Initially Restrictive API really a Bad Idea?

Security is a funny thing. Anything man-made can be man-broken and only naïvety is hard-headed enough to fail in accepting that fact. That’s not an invitation for developers to skip on implementing security as it’s all about increasing barriers for would-be hackers to try and tear down. However, no matter how many layers of security developers implement in their software, the strength and integrity of the security system is only as strong as its weakest link – usually the user. From lack of anti-virus or firewall protection to being victims of social engineering, users are often the cause of their own downfall in regards to security. Now, this post isn’t a lecture on security, but it’s something I think is relevant in light of the Android ‘openness’ available to developers against the more restrictive nature of the Windows Phone 7 platform.

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The First Windows Phone 7 User Group

On Wednesday (28th), I attended the first Windows Phone 7 User Group meeting set up by Matt Lacey and Michelle Flynn of EMC Consulting. It was well organised and a big thank you for the event, drinks and doughnuts!

The event started off with a great introduction to XNA by Rob Fonseca-Ensor, then five demonstrations of upcoming applications (shown below) with an xbox up for grabs. It was really interesting to see the apps people were working on and the positive reactions developers had to the tools they were working with. The calibre of the apps I saw showed that the Marketplace certainly has the potential to harbour many great applications. Finally, Paul Foster from Microsoft gave an informative talk on how the Marketplace will work.

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Windows Phone 7: Don’t Bother with this Disaster. Hmm….

Just to add, I would’ve liked to comment on the actual blog post, but my registration has been pending ‘moderation’ for a while…..

Update(19/07) – If you’re looking for a good laugh, head over to InfoWorld’s article, but if you want reviews by people who have had technical preview versions of the device sent to them, you can see a list of them here. Also, I’m still waiting for my registration to be moderated…..

I’ve read many articles regarding Windows Phone 7, some positive, some negative and some on the fence. Of course, no one knows for sure what the outcome will be, so these articles are welcome and an interesting debate can be brought to the table. This, being a WP7 blog, obviously believes that MS have a real chance with WP7 and are on track to really reinvent themselves in the mobile market. Having said that, I base my judgements of reasoning and facts and am willing to admit that it may not all come up roses. But, like most forecasting, I’m hedging my bets and am developing for the WP7 platform.

When I come across negative articles, even misinformed ones, I just brush them off and move on. But, I happened to catch an article on Infoworld which makes no attempt to hide its bias against MS. The first article (which is also referenced to in the main article) claims that developer’s are ‘tepid’ about the whole beta kit. Their source? A few developers. That’s right, these few developers (one of whom wanted to remain anonymous) has suddenly become the voice of developers worldwide. I obviously missed that meeting. That sets the tone of their articles and journalism style. Now, I’m not naïve to believe I’ll convert the author Galen Gruman to WP7, but there are many readers who come across these articles and take the information on face-value. Just like in my “Bringing Light to a Darkened WP7” article, this post is designed to help bring balance to the picture to show the neutral reader that there two sides to the coin (and not the one side shown in Infoworld’s 2D article).

The title of Galen’s article is “Windows Phone 7: Don’t Bother with this Disaster“. Eye-catching, intriguing and the headline fulfils its job of luring the reader in. Good job. Now lets analyse!

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[WPC] Windows Phone 7 Keynote Speech (No Streaming)

(14/07) Update: The video is available here

(12/07) Confirmed: There will be no live streaming of the WP7 keynote. A video will be available in 24 hours. (Tweet)

However, the beta development tool should keep us occupied until more information from the conference comes through. Check out the Windows Phone Developer Blog for more details about the new kit!

XBLA in the Palm of your Hand…

I think launch day will be quite a telling time from the perspective of  development for Windows Phone 7. Third party game developers rely on using the XNA framework and it will certainly be interesting to see how many published Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) developers port their project to the phone. Pocket-Lint have been told by MS that all Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) games can be ported to WP7 by adding “four lines of code”. With MS currently in talks with all publishers of XBLA games, they are in a great position in terms of number of games available at launch with minimal code changes. Over 300+ XBLA titles could potentially be ported to the phone in time for launch, including Duke Nukem 3D, Sensible World of Soccer, Doom, Golden Axe and Sonic the Hedgehog. Having an existing developer base is an advantage often undermined when people judge the potential success of the platform, and this will be an opportunity for MS to exhibit the power of coding once and deploying on multiple systems. More information will be released over the coming months detailing what specific titles gamers can expect.



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).

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Multitasking, Multitasking, Multitasking…

Update (19/07) – If you follow me on Twitter, you would’ve seen this when it was first posted, but for those coming to this post now, you may be interested in the ‘tombstone’ process. Essentially, this is what happens to your application when the user opens another application.

Well, I’ve seen many comments and repeat comments regarding multitasking on WP7. However, a lot of the responses are ignored so I thought the best thing to do is to write a quick post about multitasking on WP7 (based on information available so far).

Will Windows Phone 7 have multitasking? Yes and No. I hope that’s cleared the matter up :D.

Multitasking will be available for certain built in features, such as listening to music while checking emails. You’ll also be able to control the music via the hard buttons on the phone, for example, without having to go back into the music app. However, third party developers won’t have the same level of capabilities when it comes to multitasking. Their applications can be placed in the background (paused) and then returned to the foreground. Whilst in the background, the applications can’t receive input or process any data (officially – more on this in a bit). So, you can switch between first party applications and a third party (contrary to some people’s belief that you’re stuck in one app at a time), but that doesn’t mean that it’s true multitasking. When a first party application is launched, the third party application is ‘paused’. From this state, the third party application may well be placed in a ‘suspended’ state  if the device requires more resources. In the suspended state, the application may become terminated. Therefore, as a developer, if your program goes into suspended mode, you may want to save settings and other data in case your app is the next to be closed by the OS.

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