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July 19, 2010

Windows Phone 7 with Google

I just returned from Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C.  As predicted, the number one topic was all things cloud, but number two might have been Windows Phone 7.  I saw several live demos, and I'm very curious about it.  When Microsoft began giving away copies of Visual Studio 2010 with the SDK for the phone back in March, I downloaded it and built my first toy app.  Since I had just reacquainted myself with Visual Studio 2008, it was very familiar and easy to get a demo app going.

Today I saw this article on what's coming with Windows Phone 7, and it gives more details than any that I've seen before.  It also addresses the catch 22 that Microsoft will be in at launch.  They lost ground to Apple and Google (and they weren't shy about admitting that at WPC) and so they have to get apps to attract users, but the users won't buy if there aren't apps.  If you read the article above, one of the commenters complained about having to use Bing instead of Google .  So I wondered - how fast could I write an app for Windows Phone 7 that would give the user a Google search box when they launch the app?

The answer is: thirty-five minutes and fourteen and a half seconds. 


Mind you, I never was a real engineer, and my coding skills are very rusty.  To be completely honest,  I am very slow and for this app I was going at the snail's pace of one line of code every 12 minutes.  That's right, this app took three lines of code, and I copied them from another app.  The only thing slightly original was figuring out how to build the http request, because Google wouldn't let me use the mobile version of Google, wrongly believing that I was on a desktop browser.  It kept serving me a page suggesting that I let them send a text message to my mobile device.  Anyway, here are the three lines:

    string site;

    site = "http://www.google.com/search?q=" + textBox1.Text;

    webBrowser1.Navigate(new Uri(site, UriKind.Absolute));


I also had to drag a couple of user interface elements (text box, button, browser) onto my app, and I did modify two or three strings in the code it generated for me so that the button would say "Google Search" instead of "Button."


It really was that easy, and because of that, I think Microsoft has a shot at getting some great apps on the device in time for launch.  The development environment is completely free and it will run on a really cheap laptop.  And if you have any Visual Studio experience, it's going to be really easy to pick up.  (I know the image above looks like a photoshop image, but I swear the app is real and running in the emulator.  That's really how it looks)


I'll definitely be getting a Windows Phone when they are available "late this year."  The interface is completely different from Windows Mobile, or iPhone or Android.  We'll see if different is good, but it is already getting some good press from the people who are lucky enough to have evaluation devices. 


Hey Microsoft, how about sending one my way??





July 19, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack