Tag Archives: Windows Phone 7

Numeric keyboard on Windows Phone 7

15 Nov

Typing on a smartphone can be somewhat of a challenge. Therefore as much help as possible is often preferred. When the user selects a TextBox in a Windows Phone 7 app it will show the normal alphanumeric keyboard by default.

If the user should input a numeric value it would be a help for the user that the numeric keyboard was show as default instead. The trick is to set the InputScope property. Setting InputScope="CurrencyAmount" on a TextBox will force the numeric keyboard to be show.

//xamlgeek

Status on Windows Phone 7

11 Jul

Yesterday I did a post about iPhone and iPad. To sum it up I was not very pleased about iPhone but I can see some quality in iPad. Since I was not very please about the iPhone I decided to write this post about Windows Phone 7 and my thoughts on the Windows Phone platform based on the public Mango beta.

Penetration
Microsoft was late in the game about the next generation smartphones. Some will say they are 2 years late – some will say they are too late get in the game at all. According to Gartner Microsoft will gain about 20 percent market penetration in 2015 (Google 50 percent and Apple 18 percent). The growth in Microsofts market penetration is apparently caused by the coorporation with Nokia. We still haven’t seen any Nokia devices running Windows Phone 7 but rumours say they will send least one on the market before EOY 2011.

Developer experience
There is no doubt that one of the forces of Windows Phone 7 is its developer experience. Developing an app for WP7 is easy. Visual Studio is the primary development tool for lots of developers but more and more developers have taken Expression Blend into their toolbox (this is based on my own experience). Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend 4 is strong tools helping developers to create apps easy and in a known environment.

Hardware
Apple have had great success designing good looking phones and only make their OS run on their own hardware. On the other hand Google have had great success in designing an OS that can run on almost any mobile platform making it the fastest growing OS at the moment. The Windows Phone platform is designed to run on different hardware (with some pretty high minimum hardware requirements). At the moment we have only seen a limited number of devices running Windows Phone 7 but after the coorporation with Nokia we must expect to see a large number of Nokia devices running Windows Phone 7 in the future.

I have had some severe issues with my Windows Phone 7 based hardware (Samsung Omnia 7 and HTC Mozart). I really hope that these issues are unique and will never be witnessed by a “normal” user.

Buttons
One of the major downsides of the Windows Phone platform is the buttons on the phone. The hardware producers are forced to place 3 buttons in front of the phone – a back button, a search button and the Windows button. So the back button and the Windows button makes sence but I really do not see any use of the search button – only that Microsoft wish to force Bing into our lives in a really annoying way. In the beta version of Mango the only purpose of the search button is a shortcut to search Bing. Any actual search functionality on the phone is activated using software buttons.

The real problems begin if you get a phone with touch buttons – you will stroke the buttons all the time interrupting the actual purpose you got on the phone. Microsoft have indicated some improvements in this area but nothing have been published yet. Microsoft, please please remove the search button – I promise to visit bing.com at least once every day if you do.

Performance
The performance on the Windows Phone platform is amazing. It runs really smooth and provide a really good user experience. On the same time the tiles makes the phone come alive and ready to make a distance to other more static platforms.

Marketplace
To publish an app to the marketplace it needs to be approved by Microsoft. Despite a few problems getting apps through the certification process it is in general a smooth process that should be completed in 4-5 days. In the first version of Windows Phone 7 there were some issues searching the marketplace. Often games, apps and music got mixed in the search result. This should be better in the final version of Mango.

Did I forget anything? Let me know at @xamlgeek.

by xamlgeek
@xamlgeek

Apple is in the House

9 Jul

Apple have been innovators on the next generation of smartphones and on the next generation of tablets. To be honest I appriciate the introduction of iPhone – the smartphone market was almost not evolving at the time. As a Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 developer I’m not sure that I understand the fixation Apple have received after introducing iPhone and iPad; the IOS platform is very limited and not very developer-friendly – but damn they (Apple) produce some nice hardware!

For a long time I have been listening more or less passive to the hype about iPhone and iPad. Yesterday I decided that enough is enought! I decided to buy an iPhone and iPad to try them out and see if the fixation is genuie. I bought an iPhone 4 (16GB) and an iPad 2 (64GB); both with a 32MBit data connection from 3 (http://3.dk). The iPad is with a docking station from Apple.

Prior to buying the stuff above I have been using a Samsung Omnia 7 and HTC Mozart (both with Windows Phone 7.1 beta) as my primary phones and an Acer Iconia W500 slate running Windows 7. Becides that I have a Lenovo T410S I use for development. I have been pleased with the Windows Phone platform so far – there are some issues I find critical if Microsoft is going to be able to get a leading position in the smartphone market but it is a really good starting point.

First let me comment on the iPhone. What Apples always have been good at is the wrapping. I received it in a very small box and it looked like a million (Nokia, Samsung and HTC pay attention – you could learn a lot here from Apple!). I put in the micro sim card and turned it on. “Please connect to iTunes”. What? What the fuck! A few years ago I had an iPod – being forced to use iTunes to choose to give it away. In my opinion iTunes is by far the most non-userfriendly music application ever created. With no way around it I choose to install iTunes again. Running through a quick wizard in iTunes to register the iPhone it was ready to use.

My expections for the iPhone was high. With all the hype I almost expected it to be ready to make coffee for me :) I tuned some settings and tried to download a few apps – constantly I was told that I wasn’t able to use the data connection. Laying the blame on the location (Ordrup, Denmark) I accepted this eventhough I had an average speed when using my laptop. As the hours went by and I was getting more and more annoid about the lack of performance of the data connection I recalled the media storm about the antenna problem. Almost for fun I tried to hold the iPhone in the bottom between my fingertips the data connection instantly doubled the performance. WHAT?! Why is such a simple problem not fixed?!

Next step was to get my 3 e-mail accounts up and running: a hosted Exchange account, a Hotmail account and a GMail account. I was fairly simple to add all the accounts. Not sure why but a lot of my contacts from my Exchange account was added 3 or 4 times (this could be something done wrong from my side). Looking at my e-mail accounts from the startscreen I only get notified about new mails; not on which account and I have to got through a few steps to open to correct mailbox. No big issue but in the long run it could be. Finding something in the AppStore is easy! and I can find almost anything I want. However the AppStore is REALLY slow (could be a side effect of the data connection issue mentioned above).

I have used the iPhone as my primary phone for a few days now and I have to switch back my Windows Phone 7. The iPhone is too slow and it is static and borring in its userability. On the upside the hardware looks so much better then any other phone on the market and it is obvious that Apple have learned some lessons during the first 3 versions. However with the developer experience in mind iPhone (4) could never be my primary phone.

With that in mind I turned on the iPad. It looks cool and weights about half of my Acer tablet. After completing the wizard in iTunes I tried to install a few apps. This time I did not experience any problems the data connection and the apps was quickly installed. Tried to introduce Angry Birds to my 2 1/2 years old son with great succes. This was not possible on the Samsung Omnia 7 due to the touch search-button. Anybody with the a Windows Phone 7 and with touch buttons knows about the issue.

I expected to use Windows Live Apps to edit my Office documents. Fast I realised that IOS is just a mobile OS. Dough! Windows Live Apps is not supported in mobile browsers leaving me without any possibility of editing my documents. Dammit! Why haven’t Apple upgraded their OS on iPad to run some more features then the extremly limited version running on iPhone?

Since you’re reading this blogpost you know that I use WordPress as my blogging engine. I found a WordPress app for the iPad enabling me to write posts on the iPad. And it actually works pretty good. There is already lots of iPad specific apps and some of them looks really nice.

So the iPad is good for two things: children (of any age) playing and blogging :) (not fair to say, I know!). I have only been using the iPad for about 5 hours but I must that I see some great potential in the format and Apple’s infrastructure on this platform. I hope to see OSX vNext running on iPad some day. That would really turn this platform into something really great.

Having tried iPhone and iPad I there is not doubt iPhone is not the best smartphone on the market but the iPad got some great potential. Dear iPhone users (and developers), please give Windows Phone 7 a try – you will be REALLY positive surprised!

UPDATE: As a follow up on this post I did a post on the status of Windows Phone 7. You can read it here. One thing that keep amazing me is the hardware that Apple produces – it is in an entire different league then most other hardware manufactores. I have received a few comments about my judgement of the iPhone – I stand by my comments by admit that I had really high expections which might have had influence on my judgement. I will give it another go soon and I all-in-all do believe that it is a good phone.

This post is written on my iPad.

by xamlgeek
@xamlgeek

(anybody want’s to buy an almost new iPhone 4?)

WP7 – fup eller fakta #1

4 Dec

Dette er en post i en serie (http://bit.ly/wp7fupfakta), hvor jeg ser på nogle af de rygter der verserer om Windows Phone 7 og Microsoft har fået lov til at kommentere på rygtet.

Windows Phone 7 rygte #1

Det er kun muligt at aktivere en Windows Phone 7 telefon med et dansk Live Id

For at aktivere en række services på Windows Phone 7 kræver det at du har et Live Id. Alle kan oprette et Live Id gratis på http://signup.live.com. Live Id’et bliver blandt anvendt til at identificere dig og dine køb således at du på et senere tidspunkt kan downloade apps du tidligere har købt. Det er dog ikke nødvendigt for at anvende telefonen at du skal have aktiveret denne med et Live-ID

Live Id’et bliver også anvendt til at hente de kontaktpersoner du har tilknyttet til Live Id’et. Det er muligt at tilknytte mere end ét Live Id til telefonen og dermed også tilknytte kontaktpersoner fra flere forskellige Live Id’s. Som supplement til et Live Id kan Outlook, Facebook, Google Mail m.fl. anvendes til hente kontaktpersoner.

Selvom det er muligt at tilknytte en Facebook konto til telefonen, skal den altid først aktiveres med et Live Id. Om Live Id’et er dansk eller amerikansk er ikke af betydning for at aktivere telefonen – det er muligt at aktivere en Windows Phone 7 telefon med et dansk Live Id.

Det skal dog bemærkes, at den markedsplads som du får til rådighed afgøres ud fra det Live Id som du har aktiveret telefonen med. Adgang til Windows Phone 7’s markedsplads er endnu ikke åbnet i Danmark og har du derfor aktiveret din telefon med et dansk Live Id, har du ikke mulighed for at benytte dig af markedspladsen – endnu. Har du aktiveret telefonen med et amerikansk Live Id vil du få adgang til den internationale markedsplads.

Har du i dag et dansk Live Id og vil du gerne have adgang til den internationale markedsplads, kan du oprette et nyt amerikansk Live Id (http://signup.live.com) og bruge det til at aktivere telefonen. Herefter kan du tilknytte dit danske Live Id og dermed få kontaktpersoner mv. fra dit normale Live Id.

by xamlgeek
@thomasmartinsen