By May 24, 2011

Todays WP7 Event: My Thoughts

May-24-about-Windows-Phone-7-Mango

We posted earlier the press release from Microsoft detailing some of the highlights of the Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ update that is due out later this year. I wasn’t able to attend myself so I sent our man Phil along to see what Microsoft have up their sleeves. Phil has recently started developing for WP7 so he seemed the perfect person to attend the event.

Many have said that todays new features should have been included in the OS from day one and I tend to agree with them. However, what’s done is done and we must look to the future.

Below are the key points Phil picked up on and also his own thoughts on today’s ‘Mango’ announcement.

 

 

Key points (from my point of view):

  • 18,000 apps in the Marketplace. Apparently they expect to surpass Blackberry very soon. This figure is "inline with what iOS and Android was".
  • There is support for several cloud services ‘out of the box’ such as Skydrive and Office 365.
  • Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Phone shares the same code base as Internet Explorer 9 for the desktop. They’re trying to make it easier for Designers / Developers.
  • The multitasking has been developed with battery life in mind and emphasis was placed on the fact that this was a big deal and not just a 5 min project as a lot of people might think. It was presented as though they’ve put a lot of thought into this and not just added it on in a hurry.
  • A fuss was made about ‘app handoff’ which is where you can search for something on the web and then the browser seamlessly hands off to an app. Think: search for a local restaurant, then click to be taken to the restaurant’s app to book a table (see the first ‘my thought’ below).
  • One thing I liked was the ability to set up your own group. For some reason, although I don’t think that’s new in tech terms, I thought that was pretty cool. I’m guessing that’s hot on the heels of the ‘Group Messaging’ apps, such as Beluga (that Facebook bought last year), that are appearing in the App stores.
  • Linked inboxes – a great idea (incidentally it’s functionality that’s available through third party apps in Android but not native).
  • Email now includes ‘protected messages’ functionality which restricts things such as being able to forward emails – although I’m not familiar with this tech so know not if it’s an MS specific feature or a more widely used feature.
  • Can share photos to Facebook and face recognition allows you to tag friends in the photo. In the demo it appeared as though Nick Hedderman tagged people from the phone book – but I don’t know if you can tag people from Facebook who don’t exist in your phonebook? I guess this is dependent on your Facebook friends integrating with your phonebook (as Motoblur already does).
  • An Office example was the ability to view and edit Powerpoint presentations on the phone. That was pretty cool – the PPT appeared as it would on a desktop, complete with those awful transition effects you get in Powerpoint 😉 The demo also used a ppt that was stored in the cloud and was touted as ‘if someone was working on this with me then they’d be able to see the updates immediately as it’s stored in the cloud’. (I wasn’t so impressed by this as I use Dropbox across all my devices – PC, phone etc. to store most files).
  • They introduced new manufacturers and quoted Nokia’s sales for 2010: 450m phones of which 100m were smart phones. IMHO Nokia aren’t dead in the water, not by any stretch of the imagination. Nokia got pride of place on the presentation slide – it’s obvious MS are chuffed with the Nokia marriage.

 

My thoughts:

  • It seems that, although MS are touting Internet Explorer as ‘running the same code base as the desktop IE’, the emphasis is definitely on apps as opposed to the mobile web.
  • It seems that’s the way they want to go. Which doesn’t surprise me as it gets developers to commit to the platform thus growing the ecosphere.
  • There was nothing there that really wow’d me as most of the functionality already exists in other OS’. However, that said, now that Windows Phone has been brought up to par with the other OS’ it makes it a VERY attractive phone indeed IMO.
  • I just get this feeling that the phone’s are probably geared towards the business user but including Social functionality so as to appeal to non-business users. Hey, it worked for Blackberry and I think it’ll work for Windows Phone. That could have been down the way today’s presentation was presented though.
  • One other of my concerns, though, is that there is functionality being integrated directly into Windows Phone that I would expect to see in third party apps. eg. Local Scout (isn’t that a Yelp of sorts?). Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn integration (what’s to come in the future)? I can’t help feeling that MS are integrating functionality that is taking away opportunities for (us) developers. However, that said, it does mean that the quality of apps, coming from third party developers, has to be of a good standard in order to compete so it can only be a good thing for the platform as a whole.

Philip Turpin

 

 

Thanks Phil.

 

Posted by: James

Posted in: Editorial

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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