Windows Phone 7 Trivia

OK – so yesterday I had a bit of a rant. Today I figure I’ll make up for it by sharing a few quick pieces of Windows Phone 7 trivia that I’ve learned over the last couple of days.

Limited number of developer apps deployed to a device

As a developer you can only have up to 10 of your own apps (deployed via Visual Studio) on your device. Of course you can uninstall some to make room to install others – but no more than 10 at a time. Probably not an issue for most people but a little quirky nonetheless.[I haven’t been able to confirm this myself].

No video out capabilities

The OS comes with a pretty neat version of PowerPoint. It lets you playback your PowerPoint slide deck and whilst you can’t create decks from scratch there is limited edit capability for last minute changes. So how cool is this – you sync your slide deck with your phone (say via SkyDrive) walk into your next meeting. Rather than having to lug a laptop around with you its simply a matter of taking out your phone and plugging it into the projector. Or at least it would be… if any of the hardware devices supported video out in this fashion. This really makes me wonder how useful having PowerPoint on the phone is without this feature? [Sure there is PowerPoint streaming etc. but what’s wrong with just plugging the phone into a projector/TV – e.g. via mini HDMI].

Buying a phone

Telstra HTC MozartOf all the retail package/plans I’ve seen to this point Australia’s Telstra seems to have the sweetest deal. They are doing the HTC Mozart for $0 up front on a $49 per month plan that includes generous call/sms caps plus 500Mb of data. So all up that’s AU$1176 for two years of Windows Phone goodness. (The Aussie dollar is currently a fraction under the US dollar). Telstra have plenty of flaws (there billing website is the worst of any I’ve had to use) but there network is 4G in all major Australian cities and is by far the best network in that country.×200

There is currently no official word on US pricing other than both AT&T and T-Mobile want to slug you $199 up front. Given the current US phone plan prices and the ridiculous cost of the iPhone I don’t expect to be getting anywhere near such a good deal as with Telstra.

Charles Petzold at the NYC .NET Developers Group

Tonight I went along to the New York City .NET User Group to watch Charles Petzold presenting on Windows Phone 7. It was fun to see Petzold in person and though its obvious he’s more an author than a public speaker he still did a great job. He was very well prepared for the talk and did his best to accommodate the somewhat rowdy crowd. The talk was an introduction to the Windows Phone 7 development experience with a focus on the application lifecycle – specifically tombstoning. This seemed to be at the right level for the crowed as far as I could tell – it seemed the majority of people there knew very little about the new platform.

I’d never been to a NYC .NET Developers Group meeting before. There was a pretty good turnout, well over a hundred people. For me though the event was certainly tarnished by the general lack of organization and some inane questions/observations from the audience.

Firstly the pizzas. Charles did a very polished job of starting his talk with a reflection on how mobile devices have become ubiquitous. He then manoeuvred this into an introduction of Windows Phone 7. He had his talk prepared on a set of notes which he would keep glancing at, but I began not to notice that as I was drawn into the talk. At about 10 minutes in just as he has found his stride and captured the audience the pizzas arrived. Some people didn’t even wait for Charles to stop speaking, they just got up and went to the back of the room to help themselves. Eventually one of the organizers walked up the front and cut Charles off mid-sentence – suggesting now would be a good time for a break. I think his response was something like “ah… err… yeah ok”.

Then there were the questions from the audience. A few people asked questions during the talk. In my mind it wasn’t really appropriate given the size of the audience and the style of presentation – more of a keynote. However, Charles hadn’t asked people to leave questions to the end and I understand that people are probably used to asking questions during a user group presentation. What was really annoying though were some of the questions themselves. Interrupting someone to ask them whether xyz is supported when it should have been clear he was just about to get to that. At the end of the session one guy from the audience went on a completely misinformed rave about the price of phones (including the prices in Pakistan!) , another was asking what video formats were supported, etc. These questions couldn’t be answered by Charles and the organizers (or Microsoft) hadn’t thought to have someone up front with him to answer them. Charles managed to stay very well composed throughout.

One more amusing crowd moment was during the impromptu pizza break. Charles was patiently waiting for us all so a few attendees quite understandably took the opportunity to get a book signed, introduce themselves or ask some questions about the phone or his upcoming book. Charles was actually using his Windows Phone 7 device to run the PowerPoint presentation for his talk. He had the device setup at the front on a stand with a video camera so it could be projected onto the screens. So he’s standing there talking to a few people with the phone next to him on the stand at the current PowerPoint slide. One guy walks up and asks if he can play with the phone. “What now? Err.. . no.”. I’m sure the guy was just eager to get his hands on a real device but imagine someone asking you if they can play with your laptop half way through giving a well scripted talk/demo to a packed room of people? Seriously? Oh well… I got a chuckle out of it.