Thoughts on the Future of Windows Phone: Ecosystem, UI, and Wooing the Mobile Developer
What a week it has been if you follow MSFT Technology stack! First, the innovation we saw in the MSFT Surface. Today, it was the turn for Windows Phone Summit to lay down the what MSFT had in works for the future of the Windows Phone ecosystem.
Love it or hate it – you cannot deny, as a technologists, that relentless innovation from competing companies is what pushes our tech industry forward. Here are my 2 little cents on the Windows Phone announcements:
[Recently at a conference, I learnt from Jay Harris that "Bullets Kill People" . Bullets are meant for guns & not presentations/blog posts. Sorry Jay, it was just quick this one time .. hoping you don't see this! Moving forward, I promise ...]
- The One Ecosystem – First, in my opinion, Windows Phone 8 looks very very good; it delivers on everything we were expecting as enthusiasts. Most importantly, it draws from the power of Windows .. the NT Core stack for networking, file system, security & overall stability/performance. This was expected; but not a trivial ask ripping out the core underlying the 2 year old Windows Phone OS. This has positive implications written all over it .. the combo of Windows 8 & Windows Phone 8 sharing guts is going to make for brilliant opportunities. Just better together!
- First Loves – Here are things I absolutely loved about the direction in Windows Phone 8 platform, as a consumer: Sharper high-res screens, Wallet, NFC, Expandable storage, Nokia maps & IE 10 rendering engine. Oh, and OTA is for the win!
- Developer, Developer, Developer – Every tech giant knows who their best friends are; so no wonder developers need to be wooed. Here’s what I will be looking forward to in the next Windows Phone SDK: Native code support (Not smart enough to do myself yet; but this will be huge), In-App purchases (Thank You!), VoIP and Wallet API integrations. How do we make Digital coupons or use NFC APIs? Let’s hope the SDK lands soon .. can we have a BUILD please? Now, the real interesting thing would be the SDK. Would I be able to target both 7.5 & 8 from VS 2012 templates? What percent of us WPDevs would start jumping on the WP8 bandwagon, given most user base is on present generation & might not switch until their next phone? Let’s hope the transition would be smooth for devs ..
- Buyer’s Remorse – Now, the bittersweet. Would you agree that in today’s age, we live with constant buyer’s remorse, specially with gadgets? So, Windows Phone 8 OS would NOT run on present hardware devices. Somewhat awkward, but really not much way around. Shooting from the hip here, but given generation shift in technology between Windows CE Kernel & NT Core, I would imagine it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to flash smartphone ROMs that close to metal. So, there. Now, all three of Apple, MSFT & Google are refreshing their mobile OS big time every year. So, in practicality, we are being enticed to buy new hardware every year! Unfortunate, yes .. but let’s set aside budget, shall we? As Rob Gibbens mentioned, would you want to pay a little more upfront for a phone, given a 1 year contract? Thankfully, there would be Windows Phone 7.8 that would be pushed out to present phones, to bring you the advancements of the new Start Screen experience.
- Start – So, there is a somewhat new Windows Phone Start screen experience. See the wonderful video HERE. Live Tiles & pinnable content is one of the most loved Windows Phone features among users; so, nice to see this being pushed forward further. Live Tiles would come in 3 customizable sizes & various colors – so your phone is distinctly you! Personally, I somehow liked the little right arrow & the breathing space to the right in present generation Windows Phones – I think it’s aesthetic; most think it is wastage of valuable screen real estate. Guess I’m alone & we shall see how the new Start experience feels in hand. Clutter is uncalled for .. so may be we can be sparing in placement of the customized smallest Tiles.
- Enterprise Features – Encryption, Security, Remote Wipe & Company Hubs – Love it!
Overall, I am pretty excited about the announcements at Windows Phone Summit. The future of Windows Phone ecosystem is in good hands and Windows 8 will only help propel adoption. In fact, starting this Fall, between the Phone, the PC & the XBox – the MSFT ecosystem is pretty darn difficult to not get excited for. And we are just getting started .. let’s see all that is in store for developers! We win as one
(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)