Mobile
Commentary
5/19/2010
06:39 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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Some Apps Won't Make It To Windows Phone 7

Microsoft isn't getting great publicity on Windows Phone 7 right now when it comes to developers jumping on board. No doubt there are hundreds, if not thousands, of developers getting their apps ready for the fall launch, but some key players have announced that initially, they won't be supporting the mobile platform.

Microsoft isn't getting great publicity on Windows Phone 7 right now when it comes to developers jumping on board. No doubt there are hundreds, if not thousands, of developers getting their apps ready for the fall launch, but some key players have announced that initially, they won't be supporting the mobile platform.Windows Phone 7 might as well be called Windows Phone 1. Internally, it is still based on Windows CE, the latest version, but from a developer standpoint, Microsoft changed so much when it switched to XNA, Silverlight and banned native apps that "upgrading" an app to run on 7 may be no easier than starting from scratch.

Last week Skype announced that they wouldn't support Windows Phone 7, at least initially. MobileTechWorld had this quote from Skype VP Dan Neary:

"We try and focus not only where the need is but where the best experience is, and we feel that the best areas for us to develop are on the operating systems that we currently support - iPhone, Symbian, BlackBerry and now Android"

Windows Phone/Mobile is missing from that lineup. Further on in the interview, Neary said that WP7 was on the roadmap but not a priority.

AfterDawn is reporting that FireFox, aka Fennec, won't be made available for WP7 either, and this seems to be exclusively because there is no native code allowed.

Another app that is very popular on the Windows Mobile platform is a Mobile Outlook replacement called PocketInformant. It takes your calendar, tasks and contacts and puts them into a turbo charged interface that gives you an incredible amount of information without being cluttered. I'd argue the success of that little company was based wholly on Windows Mobile's success, though they now make PI for the iPhone and I understand it is doing very well.

Owner, president and founder Alex Kac came out last week and said that WP7 is not on their roadmap.

"At the moment we do not expect to support Windows Phone 7. Its simply missing too much foundational for us. It could be done, but we'd hit a dead end at version 1.00 and it would be slower than people would like due to having to write all the recurrence/calendar code in C# without a good backend to help speed things up (like on BB)."

Another app bites the dust due to no native code support. Alex said the OS itself is fully capable of running their app, they just cannot access what they need to to make it perform properly with the allowed APIs.

I, and many others, think Microsoft needed to do something radical to be competitive with the iPhone. WinMo 6.x was fragmented. There were too many different device configurations and too many screen resolutions for developers to keep up with, not to mention the customizations the device makers slapped on top that just made the problems worse. This is something Android is dealing with right now, though Google has at least recognized it and trying to reign in some of the problems.

WP7 fixes all of that for MS, but I think they went too far with the development requirements and lack of multitasking for third party apps. My gut says that this is just the version 1.0 product. Some of these restrictions will be relaxed for subsequent major releases. If not, the platform may never see some of the apps that its users currently use every day on WinMo 6.x.

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