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Mobility Digest Review – WP7 Boot Camp

Today I was blessed with Microsoft having a WP7 Developer boot camp here in Grand Rapids, MI.  Today’s turnout was very decent with over 30 attendees.  This series is part of their Firestarter series and more info can be found from this post.  The rest of this post will go over in detail what you will expect if you do attend one of these events in the future.  The schedule for these bootcamps are as follows.

  • Cleveland, OH – September 15
  • St. Louis, MO – September 16
  • Southfield, MI – September 21
  • Austin, TX – September 22
  • Des Moines, IA – September 23
  • Tulsa, OK – September 28
  • Memphis, TN – September 29
  • Houston, TX – September 30
  • Knoxville, TN – September 30
  • To get started all you need to do is visit this site, and download the tools that Microsoft provides for free.  This download is pretty big but gives you everything you need to get started.  To put any apps on the marketplace you must register and pay $99 to sign up.  Microsoft states they are doing this so it will get rid of most of the fluffware that will hit the marketplace.

  • What is really cool for developers is after you pay your $99 fee you can submit any app that you charge for free.  In charging, I mean where the end user has to pay for the app.  You are allowed 5 “free” apps for submission but after 5 you are charged $20 for each app.  Another feature that is allowed to developers is to visit and sign up there.  After you submit 2 apps that you charge for you will get your $99 refunded.  There is also free support and a multitude of other features that will help you get your development skills up and running.  You can also sign up for bizspark at this site and as long as you have a valid website you can get great deals on software and support to help get your apps out in the wild.

    There are 2 flavors of applications that will be available to developers.  Silverlight and xna applications. 

    Silverlight apps will be the following types.

    • Modern XAML/event driven
    • Visually stunning apps
    • Metro Theme apps
    • HTML/JavaScript
    • Over 500,000 developers spanning Windows and Web

    XNA developers can utilize the following

    • High Performance game framework
    • Rapid creation of multi-screen 2D and 3D games
    • Rich content pipeline
    • Mature, robust, widely adopted technology spanning Xbox 360, zune and Windows

    On side note, the presenter did show some stuff that has made me giddy for the future of WP7. 

    Some interesting tidbits about WP7. 

    • There are only 2 instances where the accelometer will not act properly.  When you are in an airplane whenever the pilot does a coordinated turn your body feels 1G and so will the phone so the app will be affected by that.  The other instance is when it is in freefall.  Most of the time though these cases will not be an issue with users.
    • Avatars are going to be much more immersed in the phone ecosystem. 
    • What we have seen so far is the tip of the iceberg for what Avatars will can do. 
    • As far as games go, each developer can also include 20 achievements per vendor.
    • The processor in the Phone is MORE powerful than the processor in the Xbox 360.  However, the GPU is a totally different animal.
    • All WP7 screens are OLEP so if you use black the pixels are off.  Unlike other displays where the screen is always on.  However, white screens will draw on average 33% more power than a typical iPhone screen.  That is why the majority of the Microsoft Hubs are mainly black.

    The launch parties for Windows Phone 7 are the following.  Detroit Oct. 12-13 and Chicago will be Oct. 19-20.  The first day of these launch parties go over all the features and is in essence a boot camp and the 2nd day is all purely hands on madness for people attending these events.

    So far this Boot Camp is definitely not for the beginner.  I am learning this the hard way as I have been kinda lost today but the overall scheme is very user friendly.  There are 5 overall sessions in this boot camp with the first session an overview which I went into detail above.  The next 2 sessions went over Silverlight and the final 2 are over xna.  However, if you have a background in either Silverlight or C# then this class is for you.