Impressions of Windows Phone 7

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I attended a hands-on lab session presented by Dave Bost and Bill Steele at Indianapolis Microsoft offices today.  The topic of the day was Windows Phone 7.  I've watched several demos from Mix and TechEd, IndyNDA meetings and IndyTechFest.  I have been more impressed with the idea of Windows Phone 7 than the development environment.  Today I was pushed deeper into the SDKs than I've been before.

I was first frustrated with installation of the bits.  Dave and Bill were using the April Refresh.  I seemed to have something else installed.  The SDK's installer wouldn't let me get very far.  I had to go through several (8) product un-installs.  Then one just wouldn't un-install.  I found that the XNA Cleanup tool did the trick.

On my system things seemed to work better than Bill's.  I think that the resources needed to run both Visual Studio 2010 and the Windows Phone 7 emulator are a bit more than a netbook should run to be productive.  That's not saying it can't run, but the full powered duel core Dell I was running was doing better than the netbook Bill was using.

The Windows Phone 7 is a big shift is security.  A developer can't just post a cab file up on the net and let a user open the link.  With only Silverlight and XNA applications running, all those old apps I love to install on my phone will have to be ported over.

I'm going to try my hand at a few ideas I have for some apps though.  I wouldn't say I was turned on to the environment but I wasn't turned off.  The barrier isn't as high as the iPhone barrier is to me, I don't have to buy a Mac, but it's still a barrier.

What I really want to see is a mobile Internet Explorer and other mobile browsers supporting Silverlight. Then I can give some truly rich user experience to all my users with one build.  I don't think that is going to happen this year, or next.

My three screens and a cloud are more like 6 or 7 screens and 3 or 4 different clouds.  Way too many to be productive and bug free.

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