Introduction to Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight

Last October 11, 2010 at  New York City should make you aware enough that Windows Phone 7 is the newest Microsoft OS platform for their mobile phones. Now, I assume that you, who are reading this post right now are all developers who will read this post and might be wondering that, “Okay, Microsoft got a new OS for a mobile phone but is it easy to develop an application for that platform without having to learn a lot of new things again?” . Before you dismiss the capabilities and features of this new OS for our smart phones, try reading the rest of this post before you dismiss trying to develop applications for Windows Phone 7.

Windows Phone 7 is totally an enhanced version of the older Windows Mobile platform. Older versions of Windows Mobile platform cannot upgrade from their current OS Windows Mobile 6.5 to Windows Phone 7. Why? Because it’s a whole new platform and new hardware specification.

Now in my series of 7 days for Windows Phone 7, I will share you my experience on developing applications from scratch to how to make our applications marketable and has high quality standards. I hope that at the end of the series, you will find just like I did that Windows Phone 7 is a lot more easier and fun way on coding applications. I myself tried developing in Android platform and I saw the difference between the two SDK’s. Let’s start the series of my Windows Phone 7 in 7 days!

  • Capactive Touch/Input : The phone features four (4) or more contact points and of course supports a horizontal or vertical keyboard just like other smart phones.
  • Sensors : A-GPS is supported. Accelerometer is also supported, now for those of you who don’t know accelerometer, accelerometer is when you are holding your smart phone and you are playing a drive game in your mobile and you would like to drive as if you are driving with your phone then accelerometer is the feature that lets you turn left, turn right, brake using accelerometer. Compass and Light is also supported. Proximity, is already supported on previous Windows Mobile version. Proximity is for an instance, your phone is on your table and is not locked, you would like to save of course your battery without having to click the Lock/Unlock button of the phone. Now with proximity feature, with just you pointing a finger in your mobile your phone could go to sleep and could save more battery life!
  • Camera : Now on my image it says 5 or more mega pixels. Why 5 or more? Because it really depends on your OEM’s on how will they specify your camera mega pixels. The highest mega pixels that I know so far is 8 mega pixels.
  • Memory : As state it’s 256 MB ram or more, same thing depends on your OEM’s. Now for the flash drive specification, it states that 8 GB or more. Most common question you would normally think is “Windows Phone 7 is just starting and now you’re giving us 8GB flash in your new phone? What kind of marketing is that? iPhone is already at 16GB and 32GB why windows phone 7 is just starting at 8 GB?!” . Now my current thought is, Microsoft made clear in most of their interviews and demos that cloud connection will have a vital role and important in Windows Phone 7, and with Cloud Service (Windows Azure) of Microsoft, you are allowed to sync almost anything you need to a server and back to your phone. This means that you will have very little store on device, but you will always be able to acquire your stuff (images, files and more). With this, the only file types that are stored in our actual device are music and videos but with Zune subscription we don’t need to store music too in our SD because we just search it on our Zune application and it automatically plays the song.
  • GPU : The GPU of Windows Phone 7 is DirectX 9 Acceleration but if you are trying to develop applications for Windows Phone 7 you need DirectX 10c.
  • CPU : 1 GHz ARMv7 Cortex/Scorpion or better, still same depends on your OEM’s specification on how they market their phones.
  • Hardware buttons : Back, now this button is just like in your web browser the back arrow button when you are navigating pages or applications it will just return you to your previous application or page. Search, this button instantly puts you on a bing search. Start, this is your home button in your web browser. Volume Up, Down and Camera are just some of the common features in a smart phone.

That’s the hardware specifications for the Windows Phone 7!

Now let’s start with the developer part. What are the requirements for starting developing applications for Windows Phone 7?

(Do you have to pay? NO, all of these tools are for FREE!)

Next, after downloading all of these tools. Let’s go to the framework that is used for Developing Windows Phone 7 applications.

Windows Phone 7 is based on Silverlight 3 but with enhanced features for phone support.

Windows Phone 7 supports XNA Game Studio 4.0 to develop games.

Windows Phone 7 fully supports the release SDK for C#.

Windows Phone 7 also supports VB but with a CTP version, so the panorama and pivot control are not yet included in VB.

Next, what does Windows Phone 7 offer for Business?

(Office is built in application for Windows Phone 7, productivity is what WP7 for!)

Next, what does Windows Phone 7 offer for Consumers?

(XBOX Live is also a built in application for WP7, now we won’t get bored and need to download 3rd party apps!)

Next , what does Windows Phone 7 offer for Developers?

(Existing developers of Silverlight and XNA no longer have to learn a lot from the SDK just to develop applications! They could even easily migrate their existing applications to Windows Phone 7 with just a few lines of edit!)

That’s for the Introduction for Windows Phone 7.

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