Mix10For the past 3 days, I’ve been in Las Vegas for the Microsoft Mix10 conference.  So far it has been an incredible experience.  Coming into the conference, everyone knew that they were going to be mentioning Windows Phone 7.  The first keynote ended up focusing almost entirely on it.  The big things from the first  and part of the second day regarding the Windows Phone 7 are:

  • Developing for the Windows Phone 7 is going to be free.  The current development tools are already available here.
  • The Windows Phone 7 will run a subset of Silverlight 3.  Not the new 4.0 release.
  • WP7 will now allow background running apps (similar to iPhone) but will support notifications for other apps to be displayed. 
  • WP7 is ditching ActiveSync in favor of the Zune interface.
  • All apps will have to be distributed via the Windows Phone Marketplace.  They do support a “Try before you Buy” option but there isn’t going to be any capability to distribute apps privately (i.e. if you wanted to distribute them to all the WP7s connected to your work network) in this release.
  • WP7 is capable of watching NetFlix on the go.
  • WP7 will wirelessly sync your data (pictures, contacts, etc) when it is charging and detects your home network.
  • Apps for WP7 will be developed in either Silverlight for WP7 or XNA for WP7.
  • There is no cut and paste (YET!) in WP7.
  • WP7 will launch sometime around Holiday 2010. 

They blatantly stated that the first release (re: Holiday 2010) is focused on the consumer and not business users.  I’m hoping they’ll at least put in the email / exchange calendar syncing they currently have in WinMo 6.5 so that WP7 will at least be usable at a business level but that remains to be seen.  The huge focus seemed to be on streaming media and integration with social networks.  For example, there wasn’t a “Facebook app” per say, but you could go to your photos and see photos your friends had added to Facebook and comment on them.  All of this from INSIDE the WP7 interface.  The phone DOES have some capability to have background running programs but it won’t be available to third party developers for this release.  The example they showed was music.  You could play a song and then leave music and go to a different app and have it continuing to play music.  All that said, development for WP7 seems remarkably easy.  I had the Dev tools installed in the session following the keynote and had a Hello World app running minutes later.  Since there aren’t really any actual phone units available to dev against (the rumor mill was abuzz on Monday saying that they’d be handing out dev units) the dev tools come with a WP7 emulator.  The biggest issue with the emulator is that it doesn’t actually emulate the hardware of the WP7.  This makes sense from a performance during development point of view, however, it means that your app isn’t guaranteed to run the same on the emulator as it is on the WP7.  I’m excited to play around and hope to make some more WP7 apps soon.

In other news, they also announced more formally the release of the Open Data Protocol.  ODP is a standard way of making data available via a “web service interface” so that the data can be filtered and accessed via a url based querying system.  So instead of passing over specific parameters to get whatever specific data you want (and the developer having to code all of those methods) creating an OData service, handles all of that for you.  The example they demonstrated was a Netflix ODATA feed that allowed you to get any sort of data about movies, the actors in them, etc.  They also showed off “codename Dallas” which was a way to publicize and sell your data service.  Lastly, they also announced the IE9 Test Drive.   IE9 still needs some work but it’s hardware acceleration of HTML5 looks pretty impressive. 

One last thing.  I had a chance to talk briefly with Adam Kinney who is a tech evangelist at Microsoft for Expression Studio and Silverlight.  He’s an awfully smart guy with a lot of passion for design.  He pointed me at this Design Toolbox site which tries to make learning about design fun and easy.  I’m looking forward to going through that site a lot once I get back to Michigan and have more time available.


Chris Risner