Windows Phone 8 Annoucement

What a hell of a week it has been for Microsoft, they went from a sleeping giant to the most exciting company in the industry. They did not get it perfect though and there were some bad bits – a lot of which was due to the lack of details, and in a way rush announcements.

Why did they decide to do a WP8 announcement this week, just giving us a platform update, and a few features, but no tooling or SDK for us to start developing for the new platform, it does not make sense and again they left more questions that needed answering than there were before. When we will find out more? When will there be an SDK? When is the release date?

The Disappointment

Lets start with the disappointing – yet already known fact- that existing devices will not be able to upgrade to WP8.

This SUCKS, but is understandable for the following reasons:

  • WP8 requires UEFI booting which I doubt any existing device would support
  • Even if the above was not true, it would be an incredible struggle to get the OEM’s to rewrite all of their drivers and to publish the update

So yes it sucks, but it is understandable. I hope (wish) MS comes out with something closer to release to make it up to us early adopters – free credit to the market place, or subsidised upgrades.

The WP7.8 update is a bit of a reprieve though, but it will really depend how much is back-ported to it, to decide if it is acceptable.

The Awesome

MS unvield a whole host of new features, and promised that there would be more to come which they are not announcing yet.

Enterprise Features

Microsoft has really put the nail in the lid of RIM’s Coffin here, and will mean MS will lead enterprise adoption of smartphones.


MS has the most complete and broadest implementation of NFC that I have yet to see in any device. In android it seems to be limited to just payments, but MS have embedded it into everything it seems, so you can send and receive many types of data, and it will be a great companion to Windows 8.

I cannot wait to see the innovative ways developers use it.

Native Code

As a developer this feature does not really interest me, but it does mean there will be a much wider selection of games to play, as it will be easier for developers to port across platforms.


It seems MS has finally decided what its development environment is, after years of WPF, Silverlight, and other technologies. Now WP8 apps will be able to be developed in the same way as Windows 8 apps.

New Start Screen

A much needed improvement. Having smaller tiles will be great. I have a number of apps I use daily, but I just don’t need them taking up so much room on the screen.

VoIP Integration

This looks to be the deepest any platform has integrated such a feature, and will hopefully create a new bred of devices and carriers, where all you need is a data plan.


As MS is doing with Windows 8, what they with originally did with WP. They combine the best of both worlds. iOS is boring with its pain icon start screen. Androids start screen is a mess of uncontrolled resource eating widgets. WP gives flexibility, creativity, and a widget like experience, but in a controlled manor to protect resources and usability. And MS does this across the whole OS, and then adds more.

A great solid, set of updates to an already solid platform. I just hope the lack of an upgrade path, does not destroy the ecosystem, but this is make or break time for MS and the platform.

iOS/iPhone took off with its second major iteration.

Android took off with its second major iteration.

WP8 is the second major iteration, will it take off? (I sure hope so, its the best mobile OS out there)

Windows Phone 7– 3 months in

So i have had a Windows Phone 7 device (the HTC HD7) for about 3 months now, which is enough time i believe to give some solid feedback about the device and the operating system.

First of all the hardware. The device is beautiful, it is seriously good, i only have two issues with it. The first is the lack of storage, i am not too worried about it begin removable, but 16GB is small, but i really think in todays environment of having lots of media and the device being perfect for video more storage is required 32gb as a minimum maybe with a 64gb option. The second is to do with the coating on the stand, it is rubbing off and it makes the device look slightly tatty.

Now onto the software. As a whole it is brilliant, the home screen, the pre-installed applications are great. Office is especially good. There are a lot of good quality third party applications as well, especially games.

Twitter for Windows Phone is a brilliant application, BUT it does take too long to load and collect tweets, as well as not using service notifications to get updates. The upcoming update should deal with the speed issues twitter is having, but using background service notifications, is down to twitter, and it really is a must.

Now there are a lot of really good games especially on the Xbox Live side of things – ‘Need For Speed’ is a must to play on the device, and there are lots more out there although some can be a bit on the pricey side.

The calendar application sucks, it really does suck and Microsoft must do something to fix this as soon as possible!! I have multiple calendars, but you cannot select them, or unselect them. The Facebook integration is really good, but i would really like it to support Facebook direct messaging with getting notifications when i get new messages, or replies to my statuses.

So overall i give it 7/10 its really good, but they have a number of key things that they need to do within the next year to catch-up and be on a level heading with Apple. But before i go over them, i would just like to say that they have already surpassed android, maybe not on a feature basis, but definitely on a quality and UI basis. Many of the features they need to implement to catch up with Apple, will also help them against Android.


Copy and Paste – its not a feature i have ever really used or needed to use, even when i was on Android, but its something that’s needed. This will be in the first update so it can be as good as crossed off.

Conversation View – In outlook emails need to be displayed in conversation view.

A better Calendar Application – Support for more calendar protocols especially CalDav, with support for multiple calendars within one provider.

Multitasking – Now every other major platform has it developers wont be going out of their way to use a notification service, Microsoft need to find an efficient way of putting multitasking into the application model like Apple have.


Facetime Competitor and Front Facing cameras as compulsory – Apple have it, there really is no reason why Microsoft cannot, they have the Windows Live network there already to support it, I suspect and i have seen a number of blog posts recently that suggest that Microsoft are planning it for Windows Phone 8, when that comes.

Minor Updates

Internet Explorer – The current browser does a good job, but is seriously lacking compared to the browsers on Android and iPhone. It is rumoured that in the Autumn IE9 will be coming in a update. I hope Microsoft do that, and it would be a welcome update.

Video Support 720p HD – It has been brought to my attention that it cannot play 720p video without first begin converted. Now i think this is ludicrous, the graphics hardware is obviously powerful enough to handle it, so i think this must be down to a software limitation. Again this might be fixed in the Autumn update which is classed as a Media Update, and might change the software version to 7.5 so should be fairly major.

If Microsoft can do all of the above then in the next 12months they will have kicked Android into the dust, and be lining up to take on Apple.

But i do not expect Microsoft to take #1 as top Smartphone operating system. I expect  in two or 3 years time the market share to be Android with the lions share and have most of the market. I think this because there are lots of cheap, and i mean cheap, which even though they are poor quality, most people don’t care, and wont notice. I then expect Apple and Microsoft to be fighting it out for second place, i think they will both have roughly the same market share. I think RIM and Nokia (Symbian) will come in 4th and 5th with Palm trailing. So 40% of the market for android, about 20% each for Apple and Microsoft, and the rest split up between the smaller players.

Windows Phone 7 Game

So i am still making slow progress on my game, but in terms of functionality its almost finished. Here is an updated shot of the game.


As you can see it it now fits the screen properly, on the last blog post i had forgotten to set the full screen property in the Game initialisation code. The quality of the graphics is still really lacking, but that will be solved soon.

Windows Phone 7 Gaming – Part 3

So i have gone out and brought a new laptop (MacBook Pro 13.3 2.4 etc.) so i can now develop applications in the emulator.

The emulator is still buggy, if i rotate the emulator i just get a garbled screen rather than what i want in the correct orientation (happens with the start screen on the emulator, and IE). Also the game doesnt seem to be taking up the whole screen, which im not sure if thats a emulator bug or a problem with my code.

Anyway i have spent the last hour or so making some modifications and improvements, and here are the latest screenshots it think it looks quite good in the WP7 Emulator. Next major job is the graphics, then everything should start to fall into place. I have the map now automatically generating, and movement around the map working. I have also renamed it, and i think i have one i like now.


Windows Phone 7 Gaming – Part 2

This is part two in my progress report on the game I’m writing for Windows Phone 7. This week i have made a lot of background changes. I have now added Buttons, Taps (from touch panels on Windows Phone 7, and Clicks on Windows). I have added a Load Game screen. You can now also traverse all of the menus.

Next week i intend to work on the graphics (because it is very ugly at the moment) and the code which draws the landscape to make it efficient as possible. I also have some plans to add support for none rectangular buttons.

Anyway these are the screenshots so far…