Daily Archives: March 17, 2011

Google Extends AdMob Support to Windows Phone 7

Google on Tuesday invited Windows Phone 7 application developers to start using its AdMob advertising platform.

Google released a beta SDK that will let Windows Phone 7 developers integrate AdMob ads into their applications. They’ll be able to control where the ads appear and what kinds of ads are shown. They’ll also be able to include text and banner ads and, when users click on the ads, open a Web page or link to the App Marketplace.

Google said it has customized the ad experience to give it the look and feel of Windows Phone 7.

The addition of support for Windows Phone 7 could entice more developers to build apps for that platform. AdMob already displays ads in apps on iPhones, Android phones and webOS Palm devices. Developers might be encouraged to port their applications to Windows Phone 7 if it’s now easier to use the same ad system across all the platforms.

Some Windows Phone 7 developers, particularly those outside of the U.S., appear to have been eager to use AdMob. One created a way to integrate AdMob ads into applications and shared it with the community.

Microsoft lets developers use ads from its own ad platform but the capability is not yet available in all countries. That’s one reason that developers have started using AdMob, even before Google officially extended support to them.

Another ad platform, from Millennial Media, also recently added support for Windows Phone 7.

Google bought AdMob, one of the largest mobile advertising platforms, last year.


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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Google, SDK, Windows Phone 7 Developer


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MIX’11 Windows Phone 7 Sessions Announced

MIX is a Microsoft’s Developer Conference focusing on web technologies. Last year at MIX, Microsoft showcased Windows Phone 7 Developer tools and conducted many sessions for developers. This year’s MIX will also feature some great Windows Phone 7 sessions whose topics were announced recently. Here is the list of sessions,

1.Windows Phone 7 Boot Camp

In this workshop you’ll see a complete Windows Phone app built from the ground up. We’ll walk from File > New Project all the way through app submission in the marketplace. You’ll learn all the tips and tricks required to make your app feel like a native app, from smooth page transitions to highly performant progress bars. You’ll leave with a fully functional app that you can start customizing with your own data and submit to the marketplace for instant global reach.
2.Flickr API: Tap into Billions of Photos for Windows Phone 7

Do you want your app to integrate with one of the world’s leading photosharing site? The Flickr for Windows Phone 7 app is a full featured mobile application that is pushing the boundaries of UX design and is 100% built on Flickr’s API methods that are available for developers. This talk will introduce the mobile app, highlight some of the complex design decisions, and provide insights into the Flickr API methods. Attendees will learn how to enrich their applications using Flickr’s rich content via the Flickr APIs.
3.XNA Game Studio for Fun, Profit, Danger, Excitement and Windows Phone 7 Games

Ever wonder what it takes to create a top game for Windows Phone 7? Rob will show you how easy it is to get XNA programs running, whether you are a C# and Visual Studio newbie or a grizzled veteran of .NET. You will find out how to use the touch and accelerometer sensors and how to add a smattering of physics to your games. All the demos will be provided with full source so you can take them away and use them to begin creating your own games based on the abilities of this wonderful device. If you want to know how to take game ideas and give them life then this session is for you. And you might be in danger of winning the odd prize. Which should be exciting.
4.All Thumbs: Redesigning an Existing UI to Suit Windows Phone 7

The phone is not a tiny desktop. We thought porting a desktop Silverlight application to WP7 meant selecting a feature subset and reformatting screens to a smaller footprint. That’s doesn’t work. Some of the data are the same; some business operations are the same. But what the user does on a phone is different. Tasks may take seconds; they cannot take minutes or hours. Input must be minimized. We had to re-design to meet realistic phone user goals and behaviors. This session reports our lessons learned and offers guidelines for an effective phone application design.
5.The Tale of Two Apps: Making a Splash in the Windows Phone Marketplace

“Cocktail Flow” and “SurfCube 3D Browser” – two of the top applications in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. Both have received feedback like “my favorite part of this app is showing it to all my buddies who have iPhones, Android phones, or Palm phones.” This talk is a unique opportunity to hear the real story of these apps, how they made it to the top of the charts and what happened since their launch. Cocktail Flow is arguably one of the most beautiful apps out there, with elegant, colorful graphics that is still faithful to the phone’s Metro design. Bálint Orosz, the designer of Cocktail Flow explains his thought process when designing the app and the lessons learned during development. SurfCube managed to reinvent mobile web browsing, and has found the balance between eye-candy and usability. András Velvárt shares the secret of how the buzz around SurfCube was created, and shows the effect of being featured in Engadget and other online publications. Hear how bugs and listening to user feedback influenced the sales and the roadmap of SurfCube!
6.Who Would Pay For That Feature? Adding Analytics to Your Windows Phone 7 Applications

We all want to make piles of money with the next great phone app. In order to have that great app, you need to be prepared to continuously refine features and improve your users’ experience. Knowing which features are really being used, how often, and in what combinations are what will unlock the door to true user-centered design and development; the break-out WP7 developer will be the one who most efficiently navigates through shifting market dynamics and deployment gotcha’s inherent in any emerging platform to focus on the features and form-factors that most appeal to their users. Thanks to an agreement between Microsoft and PreEmptive Solutions, Windows Phone 7 developers have free access to a mobile analytics service that monitors and measures application adoption, feature usage, user behaviors, and even exception reporting for both Silverlight and XNA applications. At the end of this session, attendees will know how to instrument their application and track those features most important to their success including how to configure offline-caching, automate opt-in logic, and exception reporting. With effective mobile analytics, there’s simply no excuse for not knowing exactly what your users care most about.
7.Analyzing and Improving Windows Phone Application Performance

Been wondering how to tweak that extra bit of performance out of your WP7 app? Come learn how to analyze the performance of your Windows Phone application and make it faster using top techniques and the new profiling tools.
8.Application Design for Windows Phone

In the past year, we’ve worked with hundreds of developers and designers interpreting the “Metro” design system for their own purposes. We’ve seen great interpretations, and others that aren’t so great. In this session, we’ll share with you the foundations of great Metro application design for Windows Phone, and how to use them to build outstanding applications that will stand out and get noticed… for good reasons.
9. Creating Windows Phone Applications Using Expression Blend

If you want to create applications for Windows Phone that stand out from the rest, you should be using Expression Blend. Come to this session to learn how to take full advantage of the rich platform features, efficient workflow and tools to showcase your unique design skills.
10.Expert Lessons: Top Tips to Building a Successful Windows Phone Application

This session will share the lessons learned working with the first one hundred Windows Phone premier applications. This includes common challenges and difficulties experienced. We’ll deliver detail on what we learned.
11.Making Money with your Application on Windows Phone

There’s tremendous excitement and enthusiasm around mobile application development, and with good reason; recent studies show that > 35% of cell phone users in the US use mobile apps daily. The opportunities are enormous, but how do you stand out amongst all the competition? Windows Phone provides several distinctive characteristics (like our trial API) that developers can leverage in order to build applications that stand out and provide unique and compelling experiences.

Nothing terribly exciting, but I am sure we find out a lot from hints Microsoft drops between the lines, and of course the major announcements will be in the keynotes.



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Why I’m Close To Giving Up On Windows Phone 7, As A User And A Developer

This is a pretty long post, but it’s the only way to get across why I’m suddenly so disappointed in Windows Phone 7 – a platform I’ve been so excited about for so long. I really hope someone on the WP7 team takes the time to read it to the end. I’m probably not unique in having these feelings.

It’s a harsh title, so first, a little background…

I’ve been waiting for Windows Phone 7 for around 10 years. Really! See what I did there? 🙂

In 2001 I finished my A-Levels and got a job as a web programmer. I lived with my parents and had plenty of cash to wastespend. One of the first gadgets I bought was a Compaq iPaq. I convinced myself that it was really useful, and that it saved me lots of time, but in reality, it was horrid. The Windows operating system was slow and sluggish and the usability was pretty awful. I had to buy a sleeve that made the device twice as thick and a huge WiFi card just to allow it to connect to anything. It was crap, but I loved it anyway.

When Microsoft released the .NET Compact Framework, I was so excited. I could now write my own applications to run on this device that would fit in my pocket. Awesome! Except, it wasn’t. The device was still a pain in the ass to use and the performance still sucked. The ideas were great. The execution was terrible.

It wasn’t long before I picked up an XDA, so I no longer had to carry both a mobile phone and a PDA. Good times! Or not. The mobile version of Windows was still pretty bad.

Over the coming years, I bought practically every Windows mobile device I could afford. I lived in hope that this new device would be nice and snappy, and Microsoft will have improved the OS and added functionality. It never happened, but it didn’t stop me throwing money at them each time, in hope.

Fast forward a few more years, and I’d been playing with Managed DirectX. The idea of programming games in C# was pretty exciting. Ultimately this became XNA, and the Zune wasn’t far behind. I really wanted a Zune, but the UK launch was delayed and delayed, and ultimately never happened.

When Apple released the iPhone, I started to wonder if the reason we hadn’t seen a Zune in the UK was that Microsoft were holding back to release a ZunePhone. Despite waiting and waiting, this didn’t happen.

During this time (since 2001), my career was built on building web applications in Microsoft technologies. My life is well and truly in the Microsoft camp. I love .NET, I love C# and I love Visual Studio. It made me die a little inside every time I had to do some work in PHP or fire up Eclipse…

However… In 2008, I ditched my Windows-based XDA and bought an iPhone. Sorry Microsoft, I’d been waiting for 7 years, and you still hadn’t delivered.

I loved my iPhone. It made me sad that there was no competition from Microsoft. I even started working on iPhone apps. I really hate Mac OSX, Objective-C, and XCode. But I had to go with the market.

Imagine how excited I was when Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7! I can ditch this Apple nonsense and develop applications in C#, Visual Studio, XNA, Silverlight! Finally, Microsoft are putting their weight into a promising mobile platform. Despite previous failures, this time, I have hope that they can really do it.

Through my company, I was able to get access to a developer WP7 device from Microsoft. The hardware was a little shoddy, but the OS was very promising. Everything was looking good!

I’d convinced my company we should be working on a Windows Phone 7 version of our iPhone apps, and I resisted picking up an iPhone4 because Windows Phone 7 was the way forward. I kept my eyes open for a UK launch date in the hope it wouldn’t overlap with my holiday in Orlando, so I could get one right away. As luck would have it, the launch was announced as a few weeks before my holiday!

This is where it started to go wrong…

As we got closer to launch, I noticed there seemed to be a huge lack of advertising. I started to doubt whether the launch would be met at all. I started calling around local stores, and nobody knew anything about the launch. WTF? How can they not know about Microsoft’s competitor to the iPhone?! I popped into a Carphone Warehouse over the road from the office where I work on launch day. The staff knew nothing about WP7. I called all the local Orange stores, hoping for a HTC Mozart. Nobody knew when, or if, they would be getting any Windows Phone 7 devices. Wow.

I wasn’t giving up that easily, so I spent the next few weeks (getting close to my Orlando holiday) trying to track down a device. Eventually, I found that a local O2 store had HTC HD7s in stock. I rushed down there, and managed to convince them to sell me one as Pay-As-You-Go (since I’m on, and very happy with, giffgaff). I was made up! Windows Phone 7 was awesome. Just being able to pin a tile for my wife and see calendar appointments on the homescreen was enough for me to purchase it over an iPhone!

Then I went on holiday to Orlando. I took loads of geo-tagged pics, and was genuinely really impressed with the phone. Congratulations Microsoft. You’ve finally done it. But still, where is all the fanfare? You need to show people how awesome this phone is – then you’ll sell bucket-loads!

As time went on, cracks started to show. There were bugs. Many bugs. At one point, the SMS message store for my wife got corrupt, which meant I couldn’t send, or read, text messages to/from her. I got in touch with the UK WP7 developer advocate that had sorted out the developer phone for my company, and explained the issue. After many emails going back and forth I was told that there may be logs on my phone that would help Microsoft track down this issue but security procedures do not allow them to share a tool to get the logs off my device. I was instead, told to try a factory reset. This fixed the issue, but Microsoft were no closer to finding/fixing the bug.

Another pretty annoying bug was that the bluetooth randomly disconnects from my car. Frequently. About every 2-3 minutes. If I’m on a call when this happens, the call stays open, but just normally via the handset in my pocket. As you can imagine – I can’t hear the person at the other end, and they can’t hear me. 10-20 seconds later, it reconnects, and the call continues.

Because I preferred coding in VS/C# so much, I started work on a Windows Phone 7 game in my spare time. I even got a few colleagues to join in by creating their own games, as part of an XNA coding competition. Most of these guys had never even coded C#, never mind written a game!

My game is called Badger Quest, and currently has a few playable levels. There are no videos online yet, but you can see how it looks from the background on the Twitter page. It’ll be pretty similar to Mario, though played by tapping buttons on the screen to use your abilities (jump, turn, throw, slash, etc.) which are limited in number.

As time went by, I started to have doubts. WP7 handsets weren’t selling very well. The marketplace was buggy (eg. returns to the “Xbox LIVE” filter when you press “Back” from looking at an “indie” game). I started to wonder how seriously Microsoft were taking their platform. The OS was great, but how they responded to initial feedback and bug reports (and how quickly) would ultimately decide the fate of the platform.

With a huge outcry over the lack of Copy & Paste, Microsoft announced there would be an update in January that would add this. Excellent – if we don’t get the bugfixes before then, they’ll be in that update. All will be good.

Sadly, it wasn’t good. The update was delayed. And delayed. There was zero transparency from Microsoft. Despite the rest of the company making huge strides in this area over the previous few years, Windows Phone 7 is a quiet, closed box. Nobody knew what was happening with the update, and more importantly, the bug fixes.

Eventually, an update started to roll out. Yay! Only, we quite quickly discovered it wasn’t NoDo. It was a pre-update update. An update that updates the update system. Why couldn’t this just be bundled with NoDo?! More annoying was that Microsoft didn’t announce this update until after they started pushing it. They told us nothing about what it did.

Then it got worse. One of my colleagues was prompted to install his update. He connected his phone as described, and the update started. Then it failed. It gave an error saying his phone was not updated, and could not be rolled back. He tried all sorts of resets, with no luck. His phone was bricked. As I’d been one of the people that had suggested he get a WP7, I felt pretty bad. He spent the next day being bounced between Microsoft, Virgin and Samsung, trying to get his phone working. During this time, he could not use his phone in any way. The staff at Virgin and Samsung knew very little about WP7 and more specifically, this update. Eventually, Virgin agreed to send him a new handset.

Fast forward a few more days, and we’re all still waiting for NoDo, and our bugfixes. It’s been over four months and we’ve still had zero bugfixes. Rumours start spreading across the web that NoDo has been delayed. Again, it takes a week before Microsoft finally come out and tell us what’s going on.

Hopefully if you’ve read this far, you now know why I’m starting to have serious doubts about Windows Phone 7. If Microsoft can’t turn around bugfixes in a timely fashion, what’s going to happen when people start finding exploits (and they will find exploits)?

Of course, if I’m not confident in the platform as a user, I can’t be as a developer. I’ve put my Windows Phone 7 development on hold. I can’t commit to spending more time on a platform that Microsoft seems to be sending the way of previous versions. I still believe the OS is excellent, but sadly, that’s only half the battle.

I’m not giving up, just yet. I truly believe Windows Phone 7 can be something brilliant, but there are definitely issues that need addressing. To show how seriously I believe Microsoft could make this work, I’ve applied to go and work for the Windows Phone team via the Microsoft Careers website. If Microsoft want to make Windows Phone 7 better, here’s an offer for another set of hands to test the platform. I’m serious – I’d relocate from the UK to the US to help work on making Windows Phone 7 better, because I think it could have a strong future.


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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Windows 7 Phone, WP7


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Nearly 1 Million Windows Phone 7 Devices Sold in February

In the short month of February, analysts estimate that nearly 1 million devices were sold running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform, which will soon be implemented by Nokia, the world’s largest phone-maker by volume.

The Next Web is saying that 877,000 Windows Phone 7 devices were sold in February. The site has been accurate in reporting, prior to Microsoft’s announcement, that Windows Phone 7 achieved a milestone of 2 million handsets sold through January.

To date, since the platform’s debut late last year, there are approximately 3.38 million Windows Phone 7 handsets sold when February’s estimates are accounted for.


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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Microsoft, Nokia, Windows Phone


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Windows Phone 7 Buries Microsoft Zune: RIP & Condolences

It is looking like out with the old and in with the new especially when you think about Windows Phone 7 buries Microsoft Zune, is this where we say RIP and send in your condolences.

Apple has always dominated the market when it comes to iPods etc but to see and end of an era such as the Microsoft Zune will be upsetting to many current customers, 9to5Mac reports via Bloomberg that Microsoft is pulling the plug on any new versions of the Zune music player.

Any existing Microsoft Zune’s on the market will still stay on sale, you cannot say that Microsoft has not tried with the music player because they introduced the new Zune HD but this never went that great, so welcome to the new kid on the block called Windows Phone 7.

It is WP7 that is burying the Zune if we were to hazard a guess, if you are a Zune owner please let us know what your thoughts are in the commenting area provided below. Microsoft Zune RIP and Condolences to Zune lovers.


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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Microsoft, Windows Phone 7


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Smartphone Security: Blackberry Vs Windows Phone 7

1. RIM vs Microsoft: Old Guard vs New Blood

Last month, we compared the security pros and cons of Apple’s iOS to the Android platform from Google. Ultimately we decided that iOS offers better security overall and also has a leg-up when it comes to data backups. Now we’ll analyze and compare the security features of RIM’s veteran BlackBerry OS (BB OS) and Microsoft’s platform, Windows Phone 7 (WP7).,Y-B-285059-13.jpg

Like the iOS/Android article, we’re going to talk about what measures you can take to secure your phone within the devices’ operating system, including steps like pass-codes, passwords, VPN access, data encryption, and data backup. We will also look at some third-party applications that offer both these same layers of security (data backup, encryption) as well as additional security (anti-virus).,Y-2-285050-13.jpg

Remember, the compact size of mobile phones and devices makes them easy to steal or lose. The more you do on your mobile device, typically the more you should be concerned about its security. If you haven’t already, read through the first few pages of last month’s article for a general overview of mobile security concerns and solutions.


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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Blackberry, Smartphone


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Android apps quickly approaching iOS numbers, while Windows Phone 7 hits 10k

One particularly knobbly stick Apple uses to beat Android with is app count. The argument goes that in this app-driven market the one with the most apps (that’s Apple) is king. It appears Apple won’t be able to make such boasts for long, though.

According to a report issued by Business Insider, while Apple remains in front with 350,000 apps available on its App Store, Google has closed the gap significantly with 250,000.

Yes, 100,000 apps still sounds like quite a gap, but when you consider the relative growth from June 2009 – when Apple had 50,000 and Google had just 5,000 – you’ll realise that the Android Market is growing at a far greater rate than the App Store.

Plotted out as a graph, it shows that Android app growth is rapidly accelerating while iPhone app growth continues to increase at a steady rate. Projecting a little further down the line, it seems the two great app store rivals will be equal within a few months.

According to the report, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 would appear to be eating the leaders’ dust with around 20,000 and 9,000 apps respectively, although in the latter’s case that’s not bad going.

In fact, it’s been reported elsewhere that Windows Marketplace has just passed the 10,000 apps mark. This landmark has been achieved in less time than it took both iOS and Android.


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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Android, App, Apple, Windows Phone 7


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