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back to article Inside Windows Phone 7: ghost of Zune

A cinema in Manchester has formed the unlikely venue for a full-day drill-down on developing for Windows Phone 7, sponsored by Microsoft but organised by UK .NET community group DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper (seriously). It proved an insightful day. Insight number one was that only 100 or so developers turned up, to a venue that …

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ever decreasing circles

"Introducing the Manchester event, Andy Wigley, from Microsoft mobile specialists APPA Mundi, explained that Windows Mobile 6.5 remains Microsoft's business smartphone platform. Windows Phone 7 is aimed at consumers"

A platform with a minuscule chunk of the market and they sub-divide it even further?

Sheesh

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FAIL

Sounds like

MS doesn't want any share in mobile market. They need to do something that include the best of both world (of Apple and Google). Allow developers have freedom and introduce some quality control process. This is insane, it is even worse than Apple, and yet they have no God Lord Steve.

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Anonymous Coward

And that nicely illustrates the paradox

D. M wrote: "Allow developers have freedom and introduce some quality control process"

Quality control is a limitation of freedom. Apple could only allow more freedom by scaling back quality control, and conversely Google can only raise the quality of the Android market by exercising more quality control. Trying for both is exactly like trying to have your cake and eat it too.

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Troll

Windows Phone 7 is an abomination of problems

Why aren't the APIs finished?

Why can't 3rd-party apps communicate with the compass or the video camera? Why can't an app see the address book or contacts?

Why does it have browser based on the 2006 era Internet Explorer 7? (with a couple of features backported from IE8). The only platform with no WebKit browser.

It's also the only computer platform on earth that cannot Copy-Paste. So you cannot move text.

You're sucked into Microsoft's walled garden. You've gotta use IE. You've gotta have a Bing Button which can't be changed.

This is the most closed operating system ever devised.

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N2

Furniture delivery...

For a Mr Ballmer?

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Silver badge

I wonder if the 3rd party app restrictions are more deep rooted

Android has a very elegant way of running apps. An app is a bundle of activities that run in a single Dalivk VM instance. The VM launches when the first app activity is invoked and is guaranteed to live as long as an activity is visible or doing something in the background (such as playing music). When the VM is idle, the OS could kill it at any moment but usually stays around to improve relaunch speed if the user chooses to run the app again.

Windows Phone appears to run 3rd party apps over the .NET compact framework CLR. This would be analogous to Dalvik but perhaps it is not as efficient as Dalvik. The way that Windows Phone kills one app instance before launching another suggests the VM is either too bloated to support two running instances, or the OS cannot manage instances properly, or there is some kind of resource / contentiion problem with running multiple VMs.

Regardless of the technical reason, it makes the experience of Windows Phone pretty substandard. I hope it is something Microsoft can resolve because they're going to get killed if they don't fix it. It is pretty inexcusable to see Microsoft repeating some of the same screwups that were leveled at Apple.

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If it didn't hurt Apple, it might not hurt MS.

> Regardless of the technical reason, it makes the experience of Windows Phone pretty substandard. I hope it is something Microsoft can resolve because they're going to get killed if they don't fix it. It is pretty inexcusable to see Microsoft repeating some of the same screwups that were leveled at Apple.

If it didn't hurt Apple, it might not hurt Microsoft. Here I'm talking about commercial success. Geek kudos is something else. Is that what you were referring to? As for "get killed", isn't their mobile platform already in a vegetative state vs market share?

For me, what's interesting about Windows Phone 7 are:

1. It is aimed at consumers.

2. It doesn't look like windows.

3. It looks different. From the demos I have seen, it also looks unfinished (doesn't fit text into tiles or the screen properly sometimes). But that might be fixed by GA time. Or it might be a design decision.

I don't like the way about 15% of the screen is wasted with that stupid arrow at the top right.

I like the way the menus scroll up/ down instead of the iPhone-like sideways scroll.

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Flame

Because it was devised by Business Developers

That is your answer.

While I am no fan of Steve Jobs, credit where credit due - in his world the User Experience comes first while the mandatory cross-sell of other company products comes second. Further to this if a cross-sell may even remotely jeopardise the market competitiveness of the product it is skipped or postponed to a later date.

In Microsoft's world however, the mandatory cross-sell comes first even if it is at the expense of the future of the product.

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Gold badge

Just like iOS

"The official line is that third party applications must be built in one of two .NET platforms, Silverlight or XNA"

How dare Microsoft dictate to developers what they program their applications in.

Also, using Microsoft only platforms? that's a way of locking in developers.

It's like iOS all over again, come on Microsoft fan boys, try and explain that with Microsoft it's for a different reason and they aren't like Apple.

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Not really like iOS

Apple doesn't dictate what developers can program their apps in. That was a fairly short-lived commandment that they dropped that a couple of months ago; now you can use whatever you feel like, with the only restriction being that you can't execute downloaded code. So yeah, Microsoft aren't like Apple.

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Cross platform XNA development

Using XNA won't necessarily lock you in to Windows Phone. There are projects that are using XNA with MonoTouch for iPhone, and I've heard mutterings about XNA + Mono on Android too, but I'm not sure where that's at right now.

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the model worked for apple...

maybe they want to be like Apple - iphone seems to have worked for them ok?!

let's try no to knock something before it's even launched though, i guess most of you on here are 'glass half empty' types...

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Bronze badge

ummmm.....

..... because Microsoft AREN'T advertising Mobile 7 as the greatest discovery since the caveman discovered what his right hand could do to himself?

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Alert

You could have summed up in one word

Fail.

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Joke

Windows Mobile 6.5 remains Microsoft's business smartphone platform

Bwahhhaaa Ha Ha

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Viv
Thumb Down

The past cobbled together & regurgitated

It really does sound like a case of bits and peaces of the past cobbled together & regurgitated as some thing new and wonderful.

Can they not write a new unified system from the ground up that would be attractive to developers and users?

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Thumb Up

Re: The past cobbled together & regurgitated

Ah, you have heard of Vista right? Or the not substantially different but must less maligned Visa 1.2 (aka windows 7).

If not, to answer your semi-rhetorical question: No. No they cannot.

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I read this article and cannot...

help but think of the word FLOP. Nothing reached out and said I gotta have one. .Net and Silverlight, YAWN. Touchscreen, YAWN.

Monkey man laughed off the iPhone and then released this? 0% Innovation?

Hey world, give up your current smart phone to get a new MS phone, after all it gives you little to no functionality over your current?

No wonder people (employees) are jumping off the MS ship, it is sinking fast!

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LDS
Silver badge
WTF?

I can't understand

why as long as cpu become more powerful some manager decides to put some middleware between to make your application slower and memory hungry.

Lack of copy&paste? Oh well, they should have thought the iPhone became successful before implementing it, it will be the great new feature of WM 8.

I guess I will keep my Palm Treo Pro for a some time still...

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Iris and native code

Iris is the UI/UX framework. Native code is done in C++/Win32, and uses the Iris framework which gives the MS internal applications their Metro look.

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FAIL

What a big ol' bag a

LETTERS

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But why no multi tasking? (whine whine)

Ooo, how satisfying. Watching microsoft:

1. mandating approval of apps and demanding a fee to be in a developer program

2. Disallowing multitasking for the purposes of performance

3. Mandating particular development tools (or so it seems).

In the mobile device (with "OS") sphere, I still think this is still the best model to ensure compelling user experience, security, and a healthy system with as little fragmentation as possible.

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Silver badge
FAIL

"the illusion of continuous running"

That's going to suck fiercely for GPS and many other apps. Consider:

1. Start GPS app tracking waypoints/ movement.

2. Phone call comes in (or whatever). Start different app.

3. Use new app for 5 minutes.

4. Go back to GPS app. You just jumped 5km (or whatever). No points logged for last 5 minutes.

6. Profit? I think not!

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Dead Vulture

Good point...

If it hadn't been such a good point I probably would have agreed anyway to just throw shite at M$. But that is a very good point & leads to the time involved in network reconnections & then updating the OS. Total fail!

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look at youtube

I suggest that some people just check youtube for some videos about Windows phone 7 and their applications. They haven't even seen one working how do they know? This is a good OS, also check how easy it is to develop apps. Android suffers from the old windows mobile problems, fragmented, cannibalised by the vendors and not standard. Yes it goes more like Iphone, walled garden etc but if it works better for the consumer then why not? XBox and Office are unique selling points. Be open minded and buy the best. I am waiting to see one in flesh before I update my 3 year old mobile, it's out this month, so waiting before I decide on price and features.

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Anonymous Coward

Typical

So you think it is a good OS but you haven't seen it or played with it? Are you an MS marketing droid or just a standard shill? Maybe a poor troll.

And it is funny that Google are soooo fragmented when all their apps seem to come from one repository yet work fine on my Android phone!

Let's see: you praise MS with no foundation yet you slam their competition. Yep, definitely shrilling or trolling.

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Flame

Say what?

Any argument that tries to score a well reasoned point, and uses a mainstay as "check out YouTube for.." is doomed to failure. Youtube vids are like advertising; they can state anything, or show anything. This is a teaser, not a hard fact to be used in a debate.

All the platforms are easy to develop for, for people used to developing for them, so that's a moot point.

Fragmented? Perhaps, but there's a standard core. If you've studied heterogenous systems, you'll find that overall the core is more resilient and evolves at a greater rate due to the ease with which superior modifications are brought into the core.

XBox and PC? Useful to a small fraction of the market; this is simply an interesting frippery, rather than a core selling point for a phone.

By all means, go for a superior product; I just don't think MS have nailed that 'superior product' point. Still, that aside, whatever floats your boat.. If you just want it, then I'm certianly not going to gainsay that choice..

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Five words:

Screw this for a joke.

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Pint

Interesting

Perhaps MS are finally getting a bite of the reality pie, that this time others beat them to the post and this time they cannot simply flood the market and take over. The world is changing, MS need to dump Barmy Ballmer and get someone in charge with the nous to give MS a kick up the wotnot and start coming up with some new sane strategies.

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FAIL

integration integration integration.

this is where apple wins out.

your apple server talks to

your apple tv, which syncs to

your apple iTunes, which feeds

your ipod/phone.

then there is

your imac, which talks to

your apple server, and can sync email/calender/contacts with

your iphone.

a mate of mine has kitted out his dental practice entirely with mac hardware, as he can be at a conference in europe, update his contact list and meeting planner, and it updates back in the office straight away, plus sends the meeting amendments to his PA's iphone too.

everything syncronised, no-one out of the loop.

microsoft.

microsoft exchange, windows server, windows homeserver, xbox360, windows7 desktops, windows mobile7 phone.

same level of integration? my hairy chuddies. they have all the main device points covered, but some butchered convoluted way of talking to each other. if at all. kind of a metaphor for the company really.

really thinking of falling to the mac side. only games stopping me. and no, peggle extreme doesn't count.

fail icon, as it probably will.

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Anonymous Coward

Integration, not lock in

We've all seen how much good the Windows desktop monopoly did to the IT industry, and now we've got people advocating moving over to an Apple i* monopoly? Will people never learn?

Integration - GOOD

Single vendor lock-in - BAD

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Unhappy

Still nobody makes a do-it-all phone

Why can't someone invent a phone you're not tied down to a proprietary set of 'apps', uses a standard USB connector to charge, I want a phone that plays music like an iphone, sync with work contacts and email like WM because they don't have apple or android support, I want tomtom satnav because I can poke about without looking.

The major players are all so close, yet they all have their flaws, the phone market has been frustratingly close for years now but nobody seems to have cracked it.

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Bronze badge

No phone will ever "do-it-all" for everyone

HarryTheSnotGobbler asked why there's no phone that does everything he wants. No doubt for the same reason there's no phone that perfectly satisfies my requirements: because manufacturers try to create phones that will sell, and customers have different opinions.

I, for example, loathe touchscreens - and in a few years, I may have trouble finding a phone that will do everything I want, or even a decent subset, with a damned touchscreen. (I'll get a touchscreen phone as soon as I have my transparent fingers installed.)

And I don't even want all that much. On my current phone, I write a text message once in a while (for which I want a full keyboard with tactile feedback, so actual buttons). I use the notes app to write memos and lists for myself (so keyboard again). I sync the calendar and contacts with Outlook. Once in a while I use the GPS nav app; it's important that it reads directions aloud, so I don't have to look at it while driving. Sometimes I take a photo, but I could lose that and not miss it. Occasionally I make a phone call. And it has to fit in my pants pocket.

I don't need music, web browsing, games, etc. I certainly don't need to be able to buy new apps - I've yet to see any that look vaguely interesting.

Yet it was still damned hard to find a decent phone to my taste that was subsidized by my carrier (because I certainly don't want to pay a lot for a device that mostly serves to annoy me).

I don't blame the manufacturers. I know my preferences don't track those of most of the market. If you can't find a phone you're thrilled with, maybe yours don't either. That's the price of an unpopular opinion.

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Boffin

Actually...

Microsoft don't mandate development tools, languages or anything like that for development. They have 2 frameworks available on the device. Get code to work on those frameworks, and you're away.

The Flash iPhone compiler converted flash into iPhone framework code, but Apple (originally) didn't like the idea of people using non-Apple tools. So they introduced the restrictions.

MS on the other hand, don't care what language, compiler etc you use. People have brought out a range of other languages for WP7 development, whilst C# was, until recently, the only 'official' MS language (it was the only one supported by their tools). They've now released a beta of VB for WP7 dev.

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Silver badge

Developing in VB?

I can hardly contain my enthusiasm.

What next? 6502 Assembler?

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Silver badge

6502 vs VB

I'd rather program 6502 Assembler than VB. (And I'd rather program 6809 assembler, than either.)

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Anonymous Coward

Abort / Retry / Fail - in Finnish

Surely the fact that the MS Drones could not be arsed to turn up to the event says everything we need to know right now, maybe they got lost in the mail ?

My money is on Nokia announcing a range of MSM7 mobile devices in the very near future.

( And can we have a Monkey icon please )

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Did you mean "Superset"?

I find it unlikely that every part of silverlight 3 would be available on a phone, there's some low level networking stuff in there for example. However they might have managed to get all and a bit more in. If so, what's the other bit of the superset?

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FAIL

Multi-what?

What's that? No multitasking? Not even /pretend/ multitasking, like the SatanPhone uses? No copy-and-paste? Locked-in development tools and browser? Restricted deployment options?

The Anti-Apple-tards have gone strangely quiet.

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Silver badge

Microsoft & Multitasking

Yeah, but MS has form on this; it took them till Windows 95 to get preemptive multitasking. So don't fret, they'll have it sorted before they release WinMo/Windows Phone 95.

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Dead Vulture

Poor Stevie "I'm going to f**king kill Google" Ballmer...

Reminds me of "Poor Judd is Dead", a song from Oklahoma about a guy who should go & hang himself. It's a truly funny little number that suits Monkey Boy. We've got a huge presentation going for Microsux & most of the seats are empty. Why is that?

I think the obvious answer is "They have to pay to upload software", foolish Microsux;

But there's also, "The phone makers have to buy Microsux's software", silly Microsux;

There's also, "Not fully tested software", mistrusted, unreliable & dumb Microsux;

Not to mention, "No guarantees", untrusted Microsux;

Add to that, "Years of monopolistic behaviour", tut, tut Microsux;

And don't forget, "Backdoor access", socially irresponsible Microsux;

And finally the killer punch, "2 operating systems running UNIX-like OSes that are much better", sucked in Microsux

Go hang yourself somewhere Stevie cause no-one cares...

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Let's give Microsoft a little bit of credit

They've not done what pretty much every other phone manufacturer has done and simply copied the iPhone interface with its layout of icons and favourite applications.

As for mandating things - yes it can be restrictive, but look at the current mishmash of interfaces on S60, Windows Mobile and worst of all - Android. Get a new phone and you wonder where everything has gone.

I don't know why, but I really can't wait to play with the Metro interface - it looks - fun. If you've ever played with a Zune - guess I'm talking to myself here - the interface is fabulous - much, much better than that on the iPod.

There's a chance Microsoft have actually cracked it this time.

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Ebooks?

"hubs - People, Pictures, Games, Music and Video, Marketplace and Office"

What about ebooks?

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