Windows Phone Day Finland 26.5.

Alright, finally sat down to write a summary of my experiences with the WP day.

First of all, I have to say I was overwhelmed to see so many Finnish people coming to hear about Windows Phone – I’ve been to several WP/WM happenings in Finland during the years, and usually it has been tens only, but now we got around 600 people (that’s the figure I’ve heard).

Keynote was given by Brandon Watson, senior director for WP, and I must admit that I  admired how he managed to run the show – even when some of the questions and comments he was thrown at were a bit negative, he still kept his cool and handled the situation great (although Mango is the next WP version, and Metro is the design language, and not vice versa..). Marketplace dashboard seemed to have improved a lot, and following your success within there was pretty easy now. App connect is one of the cool innovative features, I like the idea of focusing on the information and wrapping the application functionalities around it and not being so application centric.

Facial recogniziation when uploading pictures to Facebook and ability to tag them was fun small thing they demoed as well, personally I wait mostly for speech-to-text sms and turn by turn navigation (really hope this is not US only)

There wasn’t that many new surprises on the keynote for those who were at Mix11 and have been following the news closely and checked the press conference few days before, but there were some good clarifications about the features and what you can or can’t do.

Jaime Rodriguez then gave a good set of design and Mango info, and introduced many of the new Mango features more in details. The multitasking part was a real eye opener for me at least, I was under the impression you could do a background task that runs all the time, but it turns out you can’t.

Also the behaviour of the background agents, and timings etc were good stuff to hear, and everybody should really take care when using them. I wouldn’t want to try to write something on the disk on those 15 second timeslots every 30 minutes.. Also the agent restrictions, that you are not allowed to use Display UI, XNA, Mic and camera, sensors or audio playing are good to realize (although you can use background audio agent to play audio in the background). But you can still access tiles, toast, location, network,R/W ISO store, sockets and most framework apis, so it shouldn’t be too limiting at all.

Sensor stuff was really something I personally was very excited about – I do love that they have taken away the hard math and given much more accessible API for them. The list when you can use and when you can’t use sensor api was good to know, the lack of compass is a showstopper for using motion api, and some current LG phones are without a compass (and they are so lucratively cheap, around 240 e only).

Push notifications have been ramped up from 15 to 30, and had a lot of smaller changes, like new TDET mechanism for better network compatibility. Background transfer API was quite nice and clear, with about four lines of code you could initiate it.

Met a lot of interesting people there and saw also many old familiar faces there, even those that I would never expect to run into in a Windows Phone conference, which was cool as well!

About Jani Nevalainen

Windows developer who's been working on Microsoft Platforms since 1996. Windows Phone dev MVP 2013, Windows Development Platform MVP 2014. Currently working as Technical Evangelist for Microsoft Finland Developer Experience team.
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