Tag Archive | "Windows Phone"

There’s an app for that…

One thing that has been the biggest Achilles heel of Windows Phone has been the lack of major brand apps. Well, it used to be anyhow.

The lack of apps has (I suspect) also been the reason  Microsoft haven’t done any marketing towards app usage and availability.  Nokia however has now finally understood that when someone is standing in a shop to buy a new smart phone not only look at how cool of fancy it is, but also the ability the potential user will have to interact with their friends through it, to play multiplayer games, chat and so on. Here’s Nokia’s answer, and I hope this kind of ads will be the next wave of Windows Phone related marketing because with the up coming Windows Phone update 8.1 coming this year  Android and iPhones will really have to start worry about “what was that coming from behind…”

How many fart and flashlight apps do you need?

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ProjectLog for Windows Phone

trackerI’ve just released a new app in the Windows Phone store. (Download here)

The app is a re-creation of the old ProjectLog app I created for iPhones back in 2012. Since then the iOS version has been discontinued because I find it annoyingly boring to work with IOS.  A few days ago the first version of ProjectLog was approved and published in the Windows Phone Store after a short test period.

The app costs about $0,99 but can be used in Trial mode as long as you like, as long as you don’t have more than two projects and 2 different tasks.

Feature-wise the app is quite simple. You have Projects and you have different tasks. You start the app and choose the project you are working on. Select the task you are doing and hit the green start button. The timer is now running. You can close the app or shut down your phone – the timer will continue until you press the big red stop button. When you have confirmed that you are don you can save this activity session together with a comment that describes the activity you were working on.

If you tap on a project in the project list you get the project details page.  If you have registered any session you’ll get a page for each activity, and a page that summarize your project. To do something more meaningful with this information you should export the project data through an email account.  Add your email address to the settings screen and each time you choose to export to email you’ll receive a summary in you inbox. The email also contain a .CSV   (Comma Separated Values) file with all the sessions for this project. This file can be opened in Excel or any other spread sheet application.

I’m still working on tweaks and new features so if you have any good ideas for new features or improvements please let me know through the feedback form here.

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Thoughts around the rumors about running android apps on Windows

android_windows1I’ve seen an increase of articles that comment the rumors going around that Microsoft is planning (or researching) the possibility to let native Android apps run “natively” on Windows (and Windows Phone) The first article I read was from in The Verge called “Strange bedfellows: Microsoft could bring Android apps to Windows” and now last from Mary Jo Foley, a well-known Microsoft insider commenting (and musing around) the article in “Would (and should) Microsoft enable Android apps on Windows“.

As a .NET developer since the (not so) good old days of .NET 1.0 in 2001 I have just one word for what I feel about native support for Android applications on  Windows tablets and phones:

CATASTROPHIC

In my opinion, enabling native Android apps to run on tablet and phones would be to shoot yourself in the foot. It will be the death and end of the .NET platform!  It’s nothing like allowing Java applications to run in a Java VM on your laptop because, for the time being, Java is actually the most commonly used programming language (in the world) on tablets and phones.

Why on earth would I bother to write anything in .NET for the Windows platform family when I could do it in Java and have native support for both Android and Windows?

As Mary Jo Foley already mention, you can run Android apps on Windows through several emulators but that is something very “few” actually does. If you remove that…..

Microsoft does believe that the future is touch, and the future of computing is through tablets and hybrid pc’s. If they just let Java overrun it all they are more than I can imagine.

Personally, when looking at features, power and possibilities between Java and .NET C#, I’ll choose C# any day; so I hope this just phase out as just another tempest in a teapot.

Just my 2¢

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Windows Phone 8 Resource kit

Finding specific information about Windows Phone 7 and 8, or useful development tools can be a tedious task sometimes. Luckily Mark Chamberlain that works at Microsoft has put together a PDF document that has a lot of links to both Microsoft and Non-Microsoft  learning, samples and tools sites.

Download it at https://skydrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=2A4264AF2A3E511!503&app=WordPdf&wdo=2&authkey=!AHXYGDMBTo7VYOQ

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Nokia Beamer – Really cool feature for you Windows Phone

A few days ago I installed the Lumia Black update for my Nokia 1020 Windows Phone.

The Glance feature updates are great and I am sure that everyone that doesn’t have the 1020 will appreciate the Pro camera app. The feature I liked the most was the new Nokia Beamer feature. Beamer lets you share your phone screen across the internet or with any connected TV/PC.

Let’s say you want to present or show something from your phone to someone, it could be an office document, slide show or an app, just start the Nokia Beamer app and choose to share remotely through email, SMS or social media (let your Facebook wall see your phone screen?? :) ) or choose to share nearby.
If  you choose share nearby direct a browser on the screen you want to present on to http://beamer.nokia.com and scan the QR code with your phone. Your screen and all you do on it is now displayed inside the web browser :)

Not very much new in this release but it is nice to see that new features are released. Next update for Windows Phone will probably be after the //BUILD// conference in the beginning of April 2014 where Windows Phone 8.1 is rumored to be announced.

Watch the walk-through of the Black features in this YouTube video from Nokia. The demo of Beamer starts two minutes out in the video.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzxSo-pI-YE']

 

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Motorola Moto X and the smarphone hardware race

The consumer device that is supposed to “save” Motorola after being acquired  by Google has been unveiled.  Overall the phone has received good reviews it seems. The Verge has a good article about that can be found here.

The Moto X places itself as a midrange phone based on the hardware specs but lets face it, hardware specs are more or less something that “just a few” tech-heads care about. If your phone for instance has NFC or not isn’t something most people care about at all, they don’t care if the phone  has a two or four core CPU, its chipset is also totally unimportant. It becomes important if you have special needs – like you use the phone to play heavy 3D games, then you’d want more power. In most cases what you want is a phone with large battery capacity and easily in a no-nonsense way let’s you update Facebook, listen to music and watch TV/movies through streaming services, share a photo of your latest meal, check your email, send SMS messages and make an occasional call.

What I find interesting about Motorola and the Moto X is that they are taking the personalize your phone concept that Microsoft and Nokia has used a step further, and even incorporated personalized messages engraved on the backside of the phone. You can also configure some aspects of the phone operating system.  The “MotoMaker” gives you 504 possible designs for the outer casing of your phone.

Check out this demo of the MotoMaker site here. It reminds me a bit about how I purchased my first iPod Nano, only with a lot more choices  to choose from.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnTvmB44Cec']

What I want to see more of in the future is focus on battery life and power saving. We don’t need more power consuming CPU’s or battery draining technology embedded in the phone. Less of that and batteries that lasts more than half a day I say.

If this was running Windows Phone I’d buy one direct.

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The Surface

I’ve owned a Microsoft Surface RT tablet now for about 3 months and while enjoying it for the first 3-4 weeks it’s now more or less gathering dust. Why is that?

I am a Microsoft technology fanboy, have always been, and have worked with Microsoft technologies professionally since ’94 so everything should be right and ready for me to just love this thing. It kind of is, but then again it’s not..

So, what’s wrong?

surfaceFor me I think it is that all in all I just don’t feel that Windows 8 is a tablet OS. The home screen is, but that’s about it for what’s touch friendly, but even on the home screen there’s small things. Take for instance the sign out/lock feature – you click on your account picture and a pop-up menu with text links “change account password”, “lock”, “sign out” or change account (with profile image). On the SurfaceRT using my finger my first thought when i plan to press the sign out link is “must not hit the lock link” because then I’ll have to log back in to sign out.

I think that Microsoft has done an ok job on a touch friendly UI in the people hub app Messages app, but the email app again is an interface mess. The people hub gives you a good overview of events even tho it’s a bit short on features like being able to sort the content of your Facebook wall after anything else than “Most recent”, having to pull up the app bar to refresh the feed instead of just using what has become the de-facto standard for this, drag-hold-release to refresh.  Something that also is a bit annoying is that if i wanted to post a video, photo or anything else  I’ll have to go to the photos app and share from there.

Another thing I’d wish for is that Internet Explorer should have “registered” as a tablet and give me the tablet optimized versions of webpages. This isn’t really Microsofts fault, but I wish that things would just work….  With the lack of any good Facebook and LinkedIn apps on Windows 8, try navigating facebook.com with Internet Explorer on your Surface RT…. fnrghhhh…..

Things just feel so un-finished.

And did I forgot to ask, does the world need yet another type of charger plug?? What’s wrong with complying to the mini USB standard? Thank you Microsoft. Now I’ll have to bring yet another battery charger in my bag :/

As for Windows 8 – I think it’s a great PC/Laptop OS. I’ve got a Dell XPS 12″ with touch screen and I absolutely love it! But it’s a laptop with a touch screen, not trying to be a tablet, even tho you can flip the screen. Good for reading, but I have never thought of it as a tablet. I also got a stationary PC without touch screen, but with a 27″ monitor. Love it there too.

I hope Microsoft gets it right at some point with the Surface. I like the design of it. I think it got potential but I also think that we will need both a “Blue”, “Yellow” and “Red” update, preferably not with a year between each.

Another thing i think would be smart for Microsoft (and this goes for Windows Phone too) is to listen to your users. Don’t sit on your “high” horse and tell me (us) what I (we) want. We know what we want.  This is quite easily done. You have already “started” doing it with the feature suggestions for Windows Phone, but use it more actively. Extend it! Market that users actually can have a saying in features and functions.

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Windows Phone and Instagram

instance

Instance

One of the most missed features on Windows Phone, at least in my opinion is the lack of support for Instagram, the worlds most popular photo sharing service.

There’s quite a few viewer apps. Apps that let you view the photo stream, like photos and comment on them, but posting photos to Instagram has been missing. A couple of weeks ago there was reports that those apps that had found a way around this experienced that photos uploaded through them was being deleted by Instagram but it seems like this has been fixed now so for those who use Windows Phone and want to be able to post to Instagram, here’s two options for you.

Instance comes as both a free ad-based version and a paid app ($1,49) and let’s you register account, upload photos, comment, like, follow and find your Facebook friends. a full featured Instagram client. You can download the paid version here, and the free version here.

Metrogram

Metrogram

Another app (combination) that I am using is Metrogram and Instagraph.  Metrogram is free (download) but it’s just a “viewer” – you cannot upload directly with Metrogram but that’s where Instagraph comes in. When you press the “post” button in Metrogram it launches Instagraph.

Instagraph (download) is a paid app ($1,99) but a trial version is available with a limit of 30 days and 1 upload per day.  It let’s you apply filters and upload Instagram photos. Instagraph does not use the Instagram API and it looks like the photos are uploaded to an Instagraph server and queued for publishing to Instagram. How it’s technically done I’m not sure but the photos are published to Instagram :)  Instagraph can also be used as a full featured but I’ve found that Metrogram has a better UI for viewing than Instagraph.

And now I am off to give Instance a try :)

Instagraph

Instagraph

Since these apps are all unofficial there’s never any guarantee that they always will work since it looks like Instagram doesn’t like Windows (Phone) at all – I’ve even heard a rumor that the founder of Instagram as some grudge against Microsoft, but that’s just an unconfirmed rumor… Maybe and hopefully It’ll change now that Facebook owns Instagram. I can only hope.

If you got tips for other Instagram apps that lets you upload photos pleas let me know in the comments. It would be great to have a list of app alternatives available.

And if you need someone to follow you’ll find me as “alexanderviken” :)

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No apps for Windows Phone? It’s an app’tunity not a drawback ;)

That “app’tunity” is for developers and ISV’s

A while back I both stated that I’ve “lost faith” and also that I couldn’t recommend my customers to develop their apps for the Windows Phone platform. I’ve got a few remarks on those posts from a few technology people so I’ thought it was time to write a follow-up post on the matter.

It’s true, I did loose “faith”  The reason was more or less because I felt that while we as developers was encouraged to develop software Microsoft left it to us, the developers to get consumes to use their platform. We should create apps and get Microsoft their users. Didn’t feel right then, still doesn’t feel right and I still think Microsoft should put a bit more effort into getting people to convert to Windows Phone. If they’re giving it all they got then it’s time to change PR company and strategy (IMHO).

The other part (that one I got a lot of fuzz about) was that I couldn’t recommend Windows Phone to customers – well – that is still somewhat true. I cannot recommend Windows Phone fully if you’re creating an app and rely on viral marketing based on user sharing…. There still isn’t enough users for something like that possible, hopefully It’ll change. What I can do is recommend Windows Phone if you want to position yourself inside a mobile eco-system. With fewer apps to compete with,  the bigger the chance that your possible users will find you. This is also the reason I find it fun to work with Windows Phone,. I can actually create a fart app because there’s not too many of them in the Windows Phone Marketplace :)

windows_phone_opt

The Windows Phone developer community itself is growing rapidly as well. Developer registrations are up by over 40,000 in the first 90 days since the launch of Windows Phone 8, and we’ve already seen 15,000 new apps that specifically leverage the new platform functionality Windows Phone 8 provides.  All told, you’ve created a catalog of more than 130,000 apps and games – designed specifically for a differentiated Windows Phone UI and ecosystem. And we expect this growth to continue as the number of Windows Phone 8 SDK downloads just passed 500,000 in less than 4 months from its release on October 30, 2012.  from  Windows Phone Developer Blog

I believe that for small ISV’s (Independent Software Vendors) Windows Phone could be a goldmine ,assuming that in the end Microsoft Marketing gets it right and the platform grows and become the third big mobile OS. I believe they will make it. Mostly because they are Microsoft, secondly because they have to. Smart phone and tablets are vital to the future of Microsoft.

What sparked this post was an update from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by Windows Phone Developer Blog.

I am developing for Windows Phone and I enjoy it.

 

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Evolution of the Windows Phone

A day later, after Microsoft introduced the Windows Surface tablet in Hollywood they invited to another event in San Francisco to talk about the next version of Windows Phone. You can watch the Windows Phone Summit presentation at Channel9.

There’s a ton of new features coming for Windows Phone 8 and one of the more visual changes will be the new and enhanced start screen. Live tiles can now be resized to fit your needs!

Seeing the video, and reading the list of features put into the Windows Phone 8 on both hardware and for developers, not to mention the reach out for businesses and professional users I truly believe that 2013 can become the year Microsoft reinvented themselves as the innovators of user-friendly technology!

Check out this promo video for the new live tile features you can expect to find in Windows Phone 8.

Here is some info from Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) and the official Windows Phone blog:

With Windows Phone 8, the similarity (with Windows 8 – ed. note) is more than skin deep. We’ve based the next release of Windows Phone on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8. It means Windows Phone and its bigger sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system. That translates into better performance, more features, and new opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster.

This new shared core—along with all the extra work they have done on top of it—opens up a new world of capabilities, which you don’t have to be a techie to appreciate. Here’s a taste:

  • Multi-core processor support: As reviewers have noted, Windows Phone runs buttery smooth on phones with a single processor. But piggybacking on the Windows core provides support for multiple cores—so we’re ready for whatever hardware makers dream up.
  • Bigger, sharper screens: Windows Phone 8 supports two new screen resolutions—1280×768 and 1280×720, opening the door to amazing new handsets with high-definition 720p displays.
  • More flexible storage: Windows Phone 8 supports removable MicroSD cards, so you can stuff your phone with extra photos, music, and whatever else is important to you, and then easily move it all onto your PC.
  • NFC wireless sharing: If you haven’t heard the term “NFC” yet, I’m betting you soon will. This emerging wireless technology lets phones share things over short distances. In Windows Phone 8, it helps make sharing photos, Office docs, and contact info easier—just tap your phone another NFC-equipped device. How cool is that?
  • Internet Explorer 10: The next version of Windows Phone comes with the same web browsing engine that’s headed for Window 8 PCs and tablets. IE10 is faster and more secure, with advanced anti-phishing features like SmartScreen Filter to block dangerous websites and malware.
  • Wallet: Windows Phone 8’s new digital Wallet feature does two great things. It can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes, and other important info right at your fingertips. And when paired with a secure SIM from your carrier, you can also pay for things with a tap of your phone at compatible checkout counters.
  • Better maps and directions: Windows Phone 8 builds in Nokia mapping as part of the platform. Our partnership will provide more detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions in many countries, plus the ability to store maps offline on your phone so you can work with maps without a data connection.
  • Cooler apps and games: Basing Windows Phone 8 on the Windows core will unleash a new wave of amazing apps and especially games, for reasons I’ll touch on in a moment.

Talking about apps..  Developers can expect some exciting changes that include:

  • Native code support: Windows Phone 8 has full C and C++ support, making it easier to write apps for multiple platforms more quickly. It also means Windows Phone 8 supports popular gaming middleware such as Havok Vision Engine, Autodesk Scaleform, Audiokinetic Wwise, and Firelight FMOD, as well as native DirectX-based game development.
  • In-app payments: In Windows Phone 8 we make it possible for app makers to sell virtual and digital goods within their apps.
  • Integrated Internet calling: In Windows Phone 8, developers can create VoIP apps that plug into our existing calling feature so Internet calls can be answered like traditional phone calls, using the same calling interface.
  • Multitasking enhancements. Windows Phone 8 now allows location-based apps like exercise trackers or navigation aids to run in the background, so they keep working even when you’re doing other things on your phone.

As Windows is at the core of many businesses Windows Phone 8 will also  get capabilities to suit businesses and the professional user.

More from Joe Belfiore:

In Windows Phone 8, we’re also moving into the workplace in a big way, introducing a number of features and capabilities that companies and their IT departments demand. This is just one more benefit of sharing a common core with Windows 8. Some of the new business-friendly features include:

  • Device encryption: To help keep everything from documents to passwords safe, Windows Phone 8 includes built-in technology to encrypt the entire device, including the operating system and data files.
  • Better security: Windows Phone 8 supports the United Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) secure boot protocol and features improved app “sandboxing,” so the phone is better protected from malware with multiple layers of security.
  • Remote management: With Windows Phone 8, IT departments can manage apps and phones remotely, with tools similar to ones they now employ for Windows PCs.
  • Company Hub and apps: Companies can create their own Windows Phone 8 Hub for custom employee apps and other critical business info.
One “sad” announcement was that Windows Phone 8 will not become available to existing Windows Phone 7.5 handsets. The Windows Phone 7.5 handsets will get an update that gives them the new live tile start screen in an update that will be called Windows Phone 7.8.
Belfiore explains why:

The new Start screen is so useful and emblematic of what Windows Phone is about that we want everybody to enjoy it. So we’ll be delivering it to existing phones as a software update sometime after Window Phone 8 is released. Let me repeat: If you currently own a Windows Phone 7.5 handset, Microsoft is planning to release an update with the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen. We’re calling it “Windows Phone 7.8.”

Some of you have wondered, “Will we also get Windows Phone 8 as an update?” The answer, unfortunately, is no.

Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware. BUT we care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones fresh, so we’re providing the new Start screen in this new update.

 

Read the complete blog post at the Windows Phone blog.

 

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Am I loosing faith?

Ever since I was invited by Microsoft (Norway) to Las Vegas and the unveiling of Windows Phone 7 at Mix in 2010 I’ve been super stoked about the new MS mobile os. It was new, it was (is) fun to use, and it has a great potential. Once a decent phone was available in Norway i jumped on a HTC Titan phone and I’ve almost never looked back to my iPhone days…

but… now, over two years later whats happening?

At Mix in Las Vegas 2010

Nothing is happening!

We are waiting for Windows 8! and we are waiting for Nokia (or any other vendor) to start manufacturing more phone models. For two years Microsoft has worked on convincing their huge mass of developers to “convert” or extend  to app development for Windows Phone 7. For what? to publish apps to a smart phone os with 2.2% global market share?

Some numbers; Windows Phone have had a drop from 2.6% in 1Q2011  to 2.2% in 1Q2012 according to IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, 24. may, 2012. In the same timeframe Android went from 36.1% in 2011 to 59%. Apple and iOS from 18,3% in 2011 to 23 in 2012. This is global market share numbers. The Windows Phone numbers also include any Windows Mobile devices still being sold. I am not sure if these numbers also include all the industrial type rugged devices that (still) run Windows Mobile and/or Windows CE/Embedded. For Microsoft i hope not. In Norway the numbers are a bit different. Android is the biggest platform with about 50% of the market, iOS has between 40% – 45% and Windows Phone has reached about 5%.

With these numbers in mind, and as a technology advisor; What is my motivation to try to get clients and customers to pay Windows Phone app development? I have no idea! More and more lately I have advised customers to just wait with the Windows Phone app because there’s no real ecosystem for it. At least not in Norway yet. I still wonder when we’ll be able to use all the cool features they show off in the “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaign.

I have “defended” the Windows Phone market share earlier (and not long ago) because I believe that a drop in market share partially can be explained by lack of a variety of device models and that people who used to have Windows Mobile devices aren’t ready to “upgrade” to Windows Phone yet, They want to try something else first.

If it’s Windows 8 we’re waiting for that’s ok with me, but I am a bit puzzled that for the last two years the ONLY (almost) group Microsoft has promoted WP to is their developers. No campaigns (in Norway) aimed at the consumers that the developers needs as motivation for developing.  Me, I’m not worried, Android and iOS apps are easy to sell, they have the user mass. We can wait until sometime around spring 2013  or longer when people start adapting the Windows Phone 8 (if they do) we  already develop all our software with C#, MonoTouch and MonoDroid from Xamarin anyway so we’re ready for whenever Microsoft can provide some motivation for me to recommend my customers to invest time and money into Windows Phone.

On a personal note I can say that I really like Windows Phone no matter their early technological flaws. I believe that the world needs 3 major (equal) mobile platforms and I hope Microsoft succeed, but It’s not right for me to suggest or “sell” the idea to clients that they should invest in this early. There just isn’t a commercial market there yet.

 

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Top ten list, smartphone sales in Norway April 2012

Finally, the sales figures for smartphones from Netcom is here and the iPhone has reclaimed the throne.

Here’s the top ten most sold smartphones through NetCom for April 2012

Phone Apr 12 Mar 12 Feb 12 Platform
Apple iPhone 4s 1 2 1 iOS
Samsung Galaxy S II 2 1 2 Android
Apple iPhone 4 3 3 3 iOS
HTC One X 4 - - Android
Nokia Lumia 800 5 4 4 WP7
Sony Xperia S 6 - - Android
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 7 6 8 Android
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 8 - Android
Huawei Honor 9 - - Android
Sony Ericsson Xperia Active 10 - 10 Android
Samsung Galaxy 5 - 5 6 Android
Sony Ericsson ARC S - 7 5 Android
Samsung Galaxy Y - 9 - Android
HTC Sensation - 10 -  Android
SE Experia Mini Pro - - 7  Android
ZTE Blade - - 9  Android

New phones on the list this month is HTC One X, The Sony Xperia S, new brand for me is Huawei Honor and the Xperia Active is back in 10th. Nokia and the Lumia 800 still “defends” a top 5 going from 4 to 5.

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Top ten list, smartphone sales in Norway March 2012

Here’s the top ten most sold smartphones through NetCom for March 2012

Phone Mar 12 Feb 12 Jan 11 Platform
Samsung Galaxy S II 1 2 2 Android
Apple iPhone 4s 2 1 1 iOS
Apple iPhone 4 3 3 3 iOS
Nokia Lumia 800 4 4 - WP7
Samsung Galaxy 5 5 6 9 Android
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 6 8 8 Android
Sony Ericsson ARC S 7 5 - Android
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 - - Android
Samsung Galaxy Y 9 - - Android
HTC Sensation 10 - 4 Android
-
SE X10 Mini Pro - - 5 Android
Sony Ericsson Ray - - 10 Android
ZTE Blade - 9 6  Android
SE Experia Mini Pro - 7 -  Android
Sony Ericsson Active - 10 7  Android

 

We have a new winner! Samsung Galaxy S II and Android OS is now (through NetCom) the king of phones in Norway :) It is also interesting to see that the Galaxy Note is ranked at number 8. It is also cool to see that Nokia Lumia 800 and Windows Phone keeps its place as the fourth most sold phone in Norway. It is also clear that there is only three mobile device OS flavors!

 

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Finally some decent accessories for Windows Phone!

The accessories eco-system for iOS devices is huge.  That is one of the few things i miss about not having an iPhone. Need to play music somewhere, someone always has a dock to connect your phone. With Android and Windows Phone there is no accessories specifically targeted the device/OS – At best you get a mini-jack plug you can use on a portable speaker. I envy iOS device owners a bit there.

But not any more :)

The ultimate accessory for Windows Phone is finally here! Project Detroit

The Project Detroit

Remote controlling cars has been around for a while but never this stylish before!

Ford Mustang West Coast Custom(ized)

Some features:

  • Windows Phone Integration: Although the Mustang’s design makes the car easy to spot, you can keep tabs on the car’s location even when it is out of sight. Locate, unlock, and start the car all from the Viper SmartStart app for Windows Phone.
  • Built-in WIFI: To help ensure the Mustang is always online and connected to the cloud, the vehicle has a built-in 4G wireless network that supports multiple devices.
  • Digital Instrument Cluster: Swipe the touch-screen instrument cluster and toggle between different dashboard skins including a 1967 Mustang, a 2012 Mustang and a Windows 8 Metro design style version.
  • Customizable Rear Windshield: While driving, the rear windshield can serve as a customizable display system that can play video, show images and display custom messages, like “Stop tailgating me please” or something more, umm, colorful.
  • Kinect Integration: Front and rear Kinect cameras provide a live video feed of surrounding pedestrians and objects. You can even watch and listen to the live audio and video stream from the Kinects remotely using a Windows Phone and send a message (see below) to the external audio system like “Hey skateboarders: stay away from my car.”
  • Heads Up Display: Similar to what’s found in fighter jets, the windshield contains a driver side and passenger side heads-up display (HUD) highlighting telemetry and Bing Maps information directly on the windshield. View nearby restaurants, shopping centers and gas stations all without taking an eye off the road.  A passenger can play Xbox on his/her side of the windshield without distracting the driver.

These are just some of the specs, but it is a whole lot of awesomeness!  Check out the rest over at Channel 9.

Me? I’m starting a savings account for this car!

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Want to write articles for the Agile Mobility blog?

As a test to see if I can fill this site with even more content about what is happening around mobile technology I invite everyone that has anything to say, to submit their own articles.

If you’ve tested some software for Android, Windows Phone or IOS you’d like to recommend and/tell the world about, development how-tos or just comments on what is happening in the mobile industry.

You can write your article here.

You won’t be doing this for the fortune, more for the fame :)

By submitting your article you agree that you give Agile Mobility a non-exclusive right to publish your article on http://agilemobility.net and/or as part of smarphone and/or tablet apps that AgileMobility publishes or is published through a partner.

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Top ten list, smartphone sales in Norway February 2012

A press release from norwegian carrier Netcom shows an interesting new “twist”.  The fourth most sold smartphone in Norway, based on sales volume is the Nokia Lumia 800 running Windows Phone.

Phone Feb 12 Jan 12 Dec 11 Platform
Apple iPhone 4s 1 1 1 iOS
Samsung Galaxy II 2 2 2 Android
Apple iPhone 4 3 3 3 iOS
Nokia Lumia 800 4 - - WP7
Sony Ericsson ARC S 5 9 9 Android
Samsung Galaxy 5 6 8 4 Android
SE Experia Mini Pro 7 - - Android
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 8 Android
ZTE Blade 9 6 5 Android
Sony Ericsson Active 10 7 8 Android
HTC Sensation - 4 6 Android
SE X10 Mini Pro - 5 10 Android
Sony Ericsson Ray - 10 7 Android

It is also interesting to notice how long ZTE Blade has stayed in the top ten list. I think it was introduced about a year ago, and peaked on the list as the second most sold smartphone in Norway through Netcom in April 2011. The HTC Sensation that left the top ten list in january has also been a stayer from its introduction in July 2011.

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A bright new future

This fall and winter is truly filled with joy for me! I’ve quit my job at Creuna as Chief Consultant Mobility tostart up my own company.

I’ve partnered up with a friend of mine that  did the same in his job, as CEO of Bonnier Media in Norway. Together we’ve started  Appaloosa AS. His expertise is his background in magazine publishing as journalist, editor and business development.

I have for a long time felt that It’s about time to do something on “my own”. That is what I am most comfortable with and enjoy most. I am not saying that working for others has been bad because it hasn’t. I’ve learned a lot and met a lot of people that has become friends, partners and customers, but still, it’s the “be your own boss, do your own thing” I’ve been missing,  and the fact that all I really have done, is trying to make money for some faceless share holders and board also played a role.

So, what will we do? Firstly with our deep “roots” in the publishing business we’ll take our knowledge of content, magazine publishing and technology and offer solutions for digital magazine publishing that doesn’t have a starting cost of $500k. There’s a framework for that, and you most probably have the design skills to do it your self. We’ll teach you about the framework and how to use it, tell you what our experience has thought us about design and layout of tablet content, and then if you need it create some custom code should you want or require it.

The second thing we will be doing is to develop applications for mobile devices, smart phones and tablets based on Android, iOS and Windows.  Android and iOS devices has more or less shared the smart phone and tablet market among themselves so any product provider and/or service provider needs to at least target those two platforms. Traditionally in most app development companies that means a development cost calculation that more or less looks like this “((hours for dev on first platform cost) x 2) – 10% = A lot of money and duplicate application code. If you later  find out that the new Windows Phone devices has taken a third of the market, you need to add the another 90%. In Appaloosa we have decided that it is the features of an application and its ecosystem requirements that decides what development environment to use, but we will as far as possible advice our customers to use cross-platform frameworks like PhoneGap or mono to develop their solutions to save both time and money when there is no technical reason not to use them. 95% of all applications that are being developed for tablets and smart phones will never  meet performance issues that justify the doubled or tripled development cost.

To learn more about the open source framework PhoneGap visit their website. mono is a different kind of framework that let’s you share back end code between platforms and then develop custom UI for each platform, that way you preserver the uniqueness of each platform – it’s user interface. To read more aboutMonoTouch for iOS and Mono for Android visit the Xamarin website.

For developers that want to check out mono I’ve linked to a NDC 2011 season by Jonas Follesø here.

I am really looking forward to spend more time doing development also, I’ve missed it.

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Welcome to the future and Windows 8

Last night I watched the keynote over the web as an invitee of Microsoft at their auditorium with a handful of others. As the keynote progressed you could almost touch and feel the excitement in the room from everyone and I left the “show” at its end think THIS is how you change the game and create computing for the future.

Talking about future, in january I wrote about the future of computing, “The PC is dead – long live the PC”  and that is exactly what Microsoft have done with Windows 8. Taking the design concepts from Windows Phone, know as Metro and extended it onto their other platforms like the PC and Xbox. Making everything touch and gesture centric but still with your excepted support for interaction through keyboard and mouse.

You can now create applications that behave and look the exact same (if you want to) on all screens and share content across computers and devices without custom adaptation and development for each and every device/form factor.

I applaud this and congratulate Microsoft on their launch. Apple and Google must seriously step up their game to keep up with this because I think that when 450 000 000 copies of Windows 8 is running on PC’s, and then another multi million figure of tablet devices are running windows 8 with seamless integration the platform choice  more or less becomes obvious for most IT Pros and consumers.

From the developer point of view application (or app(s) as it is called nowadays) developers also has a new way of creating Metro style applications for Windows 8 through HTML5, CSS and JavaScript in Visual Studio 11 and Blend. You can still use all of your familiar technologies from .NET if you prefer that, but everyone that can create a web page is now a Windows Application Developer!. And with the possible reach out to 450 000 000+ computers/users with the click of a button for distribution and marketing - the competition to create the coolest app of the universe will be fierce.

The core of Windows 8 comes with a huge array of sensory features built into the operating system and when the next version (beyond 7.5) of the phone os is being released we will probably see a transition to where you just install windows, not really caring if it’s on a PC, tablet or phone - these sensory features, like the support for NFC just becomes available on all your devices.

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Cross platform .NET mobile development

One of the highlights of this year NDC conference  was the talk Jonas Follesø gave about using .NET, MonoTouch and Mono for Android for developing  cross-platform applications for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone powered devices. He’ talked through these topics:

  1. Portable Class Libraries
  2. Linked Files
  3. The “Project Linker” tool
  4. VSMonoTouch to open MonoTouch projects in Visual Studio
  5. Pre-processor directives
  6. Abstract common functionality
  7. Leverage MVVM on all platforms
  8. Use pre-built abstractions such as MonoMobile.Extensions

In his blogpost  (http://jonas.follesoe.no/2011/07/22/cross-platform-mobile-ndc-2011/) you can watch the presentation as a Vimeo movie, and view the slides on slideshare.

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iOS to WP7 API mapping tool

On Tuesday April 26th it became even easier to be a Objective-C developer looking to port applications to the Windows Phone platform.

With The iOS API mapping tool, iPhone developers can grab their apps, pick out the iOS API calls, and quickly look up the equal classes, methods and notification events in WP7. A developer can search a given iOS API call and find the equivalent WP7 along with C# sample codes and API documentation for both platforms.

The code samples allow developers to quickly migrate short blobs of iOS code to the equivalent C# code. All WP7 API documentation are pulled in from the Silverlight, C# and XNA sources on MSDN.

From the navigation menu you can map features from the iOS 4.2 AddressBookUI, iAd, MessageUI, AssetLibrary, UIKit, CoreFoundation, CoreLocation, Foundation, CoreMotion, CFNetwork, GameKit and StoreKit. Check it out here.

Microsoft is also open for suggestions on how to make this an even better developer resource and  you can suggest your own, vote on suggestions and follow the feature roadmap here.

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