Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

Summary: Microsoft Research has made available for download a developer preview of its Windows Phone 7 + Cloud Services Software Development Kit (SDK).The new SDK is related to Project Hawaii, a research initiative which I've blogged about before.

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Microsoft Research has made available for download a developer preview of its Windows Phone 7 + Cloud Services Software Development Kit (SDK).

The new SDK is related to Project Hawaii, a mobile research initiative which I've blogged about before. Hawaii is about using the cloud to enhance mobile devices. The "building blocks" for Hawaii applications/services include computation (Windows Azure); storage (Windows Azure); authentication (Windows Live ID); notification; client-back-up; client-code distribution and location (Orion).

The SDK is "for the creation of Windows Phone 7 (WP7) applications that leverage research services not yet available to the general public," according to the download page.

The first two services that are part of the January 25 SDK are Relay and Rendezvous. The Relay Service is designed to enable mobile phones to communicate directly with each other, and to get around the limitation created by mobile service providers who don't provide most mobile phones with consistent public IP addresses. The Rendezvous Service is a mapping service "from well-known human-readable names to endpoints in the Hawaii Relay Service." These names may be used as rendezvous points that can be compiled into applications, according to the Hawaii Research page.

The Hawii team is working on other services which it is planning to release in dev-preview form by the end of February 2011. These include a Speech-to-Text service that will take an English spoken phrase and return it as text, as well as an "OCR in the cloud" service that will allow testers to take a photographic image that contains some text and return the text. "For example, given a JPEG image of a road sign, the service would return the text of the sign as a Unicode string," the researchers explain.

Microsoft officials said earlier this week that the company sold last quarter 2 million Windows Phone 7 operating system licenses to OEMs for them to put on phones and provide to the carriers. (This doesn't mean 2 million Windows Phone 7s have been sold, just to reiterate.) Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 in October in Europe. There are still no Windows Phone 7 phones available from Verizon or Sprint in the U.S. Microsoft and those carriers have said there will be CDMA Windows Phone 7s on those networks some time in 2011.

Topics: Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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22 comments
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  • Hard to get as excited about WP7 with Verizon launching the iphone soon

    I realize most of the world uses GSM and so they released on GSM first - I still think that is a mistake though.<br><br>If you are on CDMA - you have a choice of Android or phones that have an OS that is not going to get any updates and was essentially ignored for a year or two. Most people buy their phone because of what their friends have, not because they research what phones have what features.<br><br>MS only had to fight Android (which is a very good OS) if they had released on Verizon and Sprint first. Verizon will get the iphone before Sprint or Verizon get their first WP7 phone.<br><br>Sprint will probably get a WP7 device first but based on their past choices it will be a thick, clunky brick with a slide out keyboard. That isn't to say no one would buy a phone with a physical keyboard - it is good to have that option but they may not carry a sleek phone and frankly choice is what WP7 is supposed to be about as long as you are on a GSM provider where you can buy any GSM phone. GSM providers here support any phone whereas Sprint has a locked network so you couldn't just buy a CDMA device you like and have Sprint put it on their network. I'm still not sure why the carterfone regulation passed over 30 years ago to prevent you from being forced to buy phones from one provider can't be applied to cell phone providers. <br><br>I actually like WP7 although as usual MS is slow on releases and patches. By the time Verizon has a WP7 phone it won't be that far distant from the iPhone5 release later this year. I don't blame Verizon, the CDMA patch for WP7 isn't any more available than the fix for cut and paste.

    If MS really really wanted to make a fortune, they would have worked with Samsung or HTC to produce a phone very very similar to a BB, but with a touch interface, standard rim scroller (not the ball they break to easily), and a BB type keyboard. There are a lot of clients in different industries I support ready to give up on BB as an OS but don't want to give up on the hardware design as that is what they are used to. BB still don't support multiple exchange accounts well and more and more of my clients with different companies have more than one exchange account these days.
    boed
    • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

      @boed
      You don't have to buy phones for Verizon from Verizon. I don't. I get them off of ebay, from third parties. In fact, I think that Verizon has committed to opening their network:
      http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/27/verizon-wireless-says-bring-your-own-device/

      YMMV of course.

      Hans
      Looks Confused
      • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

        @Looks Confused Right. I thought I said Sprint had a locked network. I heard they even lock their phones so you can transfer them to Verizon.
        boed
      • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

        content removed by author.
        Looks Confused
    • But iPhone has no chance of gaining significant market share

      @boed ... and it doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard.
      HollywoodDog
      • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

        @HollywoodDog I know plenty of business customers who use iphone and EVO. A keyboard isn't necessary but I think a choice would be good, including one in a BB like factor for people who are slow to accept change.
        boed
  • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

    WP7 needs a killer flagship phone. They need to do everything iPhone 6 will do not what iPhone 4 does. They should also fix the app gap by using emulators. What if you could run all the iOS and Android apps on one phone?
    sharkboyjohn
    • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

      @sharkboyjohn I think the Dell WP7 device could have been that phone, especially the 16GB model, but the availability has been a major issue.
      Tiggster
    • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

      @sharkboyjohn
      Samsung focus is my flagship killer phone :)
      It is pretty much like iPhone 4 except that Samsung is lighter, has bigger screen and for my taste it is a nicer screen too.
      What WP7 really needs is a good marketing campaign. People do not know what it is and what it can do and either do not know anything about it, think about it in terms of windows mobile or just have some baseless "epic fail" impression.
      paul2011
      • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

        @pauliusp

        Sitting here looking at my HTC Mozart and the iPhone of my friend. The HTC is lighter, slimmer and feels better in the hand. The iPhone looks clunky and frankly, old.

        That last century feel is accentuated once you turn the iPhone on and are faced with the old crowded desktop UI.

        The WP7 UI is sophisticated, elegant and in my opinion the phones are just more responsive than iPhones.

        These are not toys or fashion accesories, they are tools. If you want a toy, Android and Apple are happy to sell you one.
        tonymcs@...
  • I love my WP7 Samsung Focus

    I don't see what all the hub-bub is about...
    It's EXTREMELY simple to use
    It does what I need it to do

    No it's not a vanity device (iPhone) or a GeekToy (Android) but it is a UI so perfectly designed everyone I have shown it to picks it up and just "gets it."
    jessiethe3rd
  • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

    Azure is still prohibitively expensive for the small application developer like myself. Even with Extra Small instances, you're still looking at $45 a month to run a SINGLE application with a database.

    There needs to be a pricing option for actual CPU usage, not deployed instance time, before most of us small application developers will consider using Azure.
    garethiw
    • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

      @garethiw $45/mo really isn't that bad if you can successfully monetize your application. I wouldn't be surprised though if MS ends up offering some kind of discounted Azure hosting for WP7 developers.
      Tiggster
      • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

        @Tiggster I guess I'll find out soon, about to release my first game which uses Azure for an online scoreboard. I have opted to host the small WCF service elsewhere for now, and I'm just using Azure to host the database.
        garethiw
      • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

        @Tiggster
        For one success there has to be a lot of failures and if you are selling 99 cent apps failure that costs $45/mo is not cheap.
        paul2011
  • Deliver January, Retract In February

    I love the smell of Windows 7 Phone fail in the morning.
    Ron Burgundy
    • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

      @Ron Burgundy
      Cool! Look, dude is smoking the phone.
      paul2011
    • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

      @Ron Burgundy Hey Ron, I believe reading my post below about WP7 application emulation would be very educational for you. Your post above demonstrates your need for it. :-)
      Tiggster
  • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

    @sharkboyjohn Regarding the emulator issue, I actually think that would be detrimental to the maturation process of the WP7 marketplace. The marketplace is growing more rapidly than any thus far so soon after its introduction with 6,977 apps as of today.<br><br>There's also several other issues that would prevent this from being a viable option. <br><br>#1. The metro UI isn't just something intended to be implemented within the standard WP7 interface, but is also used for third party applications as well. Running applications from other platforms in a virtual environment would take away from the consistent user experience MS hoped to bring to WP7 users. <br><br>#2. Emulation by its very nature inevitably results in decreased performance due to the additional layer of abstraction necessary to execute non-native code. This would also deteriorate the end user experience on the platform.<br><br>#3. Other mobile platforms, particularly Android, allows developers to tap into APIs that, when not used with great discretion, will reduce performance on the entire platform and drain battery life to an unacceptable level. You ever notice the performance some people see on their Droids? This isn't usually the result of Android platform inefficiencies, but rather from applications loaded onto the device that continue running and sucking resources even when they should be totally idle. This is something the WP7 engineering team is determined to avoid.<br><br>I admit that providing an emulated environment for Android and iOS applications to run on WP7 devices would be a short term fix for application voids that have yet to be filled by offerings in the WP7 marketplace, but such an approach would be detrimental to the long term objectives for the platform. The marketplace is growing so rapidly now, and with over 20,000 developers now registered for the WP7 marketplace, it is a reasonable assumption to expect the total number of applications to increase significantly over the next six months.<br><br>This isn't a sprint, its a marathon. People continue to harp on the fact that MS hasn't released sales numbers for WP7 as of yet. What they fail to realize is, overall sales numbers at this point in the game are far less important than the building of the WP7 platform infrastructure itself. This includes populating the marketplace with everything users expect to see, getting major developers on board to bring their flagship offerings to the platform, adding additional features that fill gaps such as copy/paste, tethering, mobile hotspot, etc. The WP7 distribution numbers now are sufficient to facilitate this type of platform maturation, and by this time next year the platform will be in a position to take on Android and iOS head on and really make a three way race out of the smartphone market.<br><br>So if you are focusing on what exactly the "2 million shipped to carriers" means, you're missing the point entirely.
    Tiggster
    • RE: Microsoft Research delivers cloud development kit for Windows Phone 7

      @Tiggster

      I think you forgot:

      "Fart apps? We don't need no stinking fart apps!"
      tonymcs@...