|Paul Thurott's Weekly Short Takes ... |
Self proclaimed 'Windows Phone enthusist' Paul Thurott takes his "often irreverent look at this week's other news" and this week focuses a bit more than usual on the WinPhone side of Microsoft's world and along the way he takes swipes at both The New York Times and WSJ which he thinks likes "to dump on tech companies not named Apple." He also has several Nokia Lumia references. The most interesting paragraph references an important recent Microsoft WinPhone Developer Blog post that I hadn't seen and I've included the complete text at the conclusion of this post.
>> WinInfo Short Takes, April 6, 2012
April 06, 2012
Supersite for Windows
An often irreverent look at this week's other, curiously mobile-centric news ...
Not News: Microsoft is Paying Developers to Create Windows Phone Apps
In its latest attempt to dump on tech companies not named Apple, The New York Times reports this week that Microsoft is approaching developers about creating apps for its Windows Phone Marketplace and helping spur development with free incentives such as free phones, app store showcase locations, advertising, and, in some cases (i.e., for the biggest, most important tier-one apps of all) even financial backing. It is, in the words of one particularly clueless blogger, "a nice bit of reporting." And it would be, I guess, if it were actually news or supplied any new information. Back in March, Mary Jo Foley wrote a post describing Microsoft's internal plans to "bridge the app gap" using a $10 million campaign that would extend over three years to "ringfence" apps like Pandora that aren't currently available on Windows Phone. It notes that when the tier-one companies won't comply, they'll simply finance competitors. But here's the thing. Helping developers finance apps isn't new, isn't unique to Microsoft, and isn't even bad business. In fact, it just makes sense. Nice bit of reporting, my butt. The New York Times can't write about technology without skewing the story, and this is just one example from today.
Nokia Lumia 900 Debuts to Positive Reviews
I think it's fair to say that the Nokia Lumia 900 is the first Windows Phone that has debuted to almost universally positive reviews, though of course virtually all reviewers point out the same issues—an exaggerated need for apps when in fact there are more than 80,000 Windows Phone apps, and a need for certain apps in particular while ignoring the fact that alternatives exist for almost all of them—but whatever. In the Windows Phone world, this is as close as we're going to come to "good news" this year, so we'll take it. When Apple backers from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal don't dismiss a Windows Phone handset out of hand—and I'd remind you that we're still waiting for the Wall Street Journal "review" of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview that occurred in late February—then something has indeed gone horribly right. Yes, there are questions, and yes there are concerns about the future (such as, "Will current handsets be upgradable to Windows Phone 8?"), but the Lumia 900, right now, is a shining star in what has otherwise been a void of silence. I'm eager to get my own, and no, Microsoft has still not come through with a promised review unit. But it's fine: I know the device is great, the OS is solid, and the platform is superior. And I'll review the Lumia 900 as soon as I can.
Nokia: We're Playing to Win
For all the doom and gloom talk around both Windows Phone and Nokia, generally by people who, frankly, just like Apple and would like to maintain the status quo, thank you very much, Nokia this week said that the war isn't over yet, sorry. "This industry is changing very fast, and Google and Apple would not be mentioned here four years ago," Nokia exec Hans-Peter Brøndmo said at an industry event in San Francisco this week. "We can’t flaunt a half million apps yet, but there is nothing I can’t find on this phone that I don’t need today. We’re playing to win. This a global market and a global stage. We have a good mix of cultural perspectives and an incredible opportunity to come back." Frankly, if anyone can pull this off, it's Nokia. And I'd also point out that there is a sharp difference in clarity, resolve, and strategy between this company and, say, Research In Motion (RIM) or HP. If you want to talk about spiraling the drain in the mobile market, I'd start with those guys.
Microsoft: Windows Phone 7.x Apps Will Run on Windows Phone 8
While Windows Phone fans are still wondering whether their current devices will be upgradeable to the Windows 8-based Windows Phone 8 system that will debut this October, Microsoft publicly answered one related question: Will current Windows Phone 7.x apps—and remember, there are more than 80,000 of them—run on Windows Phone 8? And the answer is yes, unsurprisingly. [see post below] Hinted at in that post to the Windows Phone Developer blog is something I've been waiting to discuss for months, however. And that's this: The Silverlight-based Windows Phone developer environment is going away in Windows Phone 8, and is being replaced by WinRT-based APIs like those in Windows 8. Why? Two reasons. First, Silverlight is dead, cancelled internally by Microsoft. And second, Windows Phone 8 is Windows 8 for all intents and purposes. So, no surprise that developers will need to switch over to the WinRT APIs. But here's the thing: Silverlight rocks, and is super easy and elegant. Will WinRT be as good or, more important, as mature and full-featured? It had better be.
... <skip rest> ###
>> Windows 8 and the Windows Phone SDK, pt. 2
The Windows Phone Developer Blog
April 5, 2012
Last month, I posted to let developers know that we were aware of some of the challenges that were present in running the Windows Phone SDK on the Consumer Preview of Windows 8. In that post I mentioned that we were working on addressing those problems. My colleague Cliff then followed up with the announcement of the release of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 update, which does unblock the use of our SDK on Win 8, (although not officially supported).
Lots of people are digging into the new development platform opportunities provided by Windows 8, and we understand there are a lot of questions about what they may portend for Windows Phone developers. While we aren’t yet ready to talk about our future plans, we do believe there are certain things we can tell you. In fact, we’ve already talked quite a bit about this at the //BUILD conference last September (see our sessions recorded online at wpdev.ms ).
With regard to existing applications: today’s Windows Phone applications and games will run on the next major version of Windows Phone. Driving application compatibility is a function of Microsoft’s commitment to its developers. Regardless of what we release in terms of new developer features and functionality, we have made a large investment in protecting your existing investments. [The bold in this preceding paragraph is Microsoft's not mine]
We’ve also heard some developers express concern about the long term future of Silverlight for Windows Phone. Please don’t panic; XAML and C#/VB.NET development in Windows 8 can be viewed as a direct evolution from today’s Silverlight. All of your managed programming skills are transferrable to building applications for Windows 8, and in many cases, much of your code will be transferrable as well. Note that when targeting a tablet vs. a phone, you do of course, need to design user experiences that are appropriately tailored to each device.
Microsoft is committed to creating an ecosystem that maximizes your investments. This is not an overnight endeavor, but we’re confident you’ll be pleased with where we’re going with the Windows Phone developer platform. As always, please let us know in the comments, or in our forums, if you have questions or concerns; we can’t answer every question just yet, but I hope we’ve dispelled some of your concerns. ###
- Eric -