It has been almost three months since the launch of Windows® Phone 7, Microsoft’s® re-do of its mobile OS. Since the launch, our application development team has had fun playing with the phone’s features and brainstorming possible applications and development implications. We thought it might be useful to identify some of the differentiating features from a development perspective, to give potential app creators an insight into why Windows Phone 7 is an important platform.
Live Tiles allows applications to push live updated data to a tile, giving the user instant up-to-date information. This allows the app to display lots of data in a small space. Users can see on the tile, if they have a new update or new emails to read without opening that application up to see the information. The advantage of the tiles for app developers is the ability to instantly notify your user of data when the data has changed. Examples: weather, sports scores, subway times, emails, Facebook, calendars, etc… The application possibilities are endless and our mobile application development team would be happy to discuss any ideas you might have for utilizing the Windows Phone 7 live tile feature in your next application.
Windows Phone 7 allows users to scroll through screens by scrolling side to side as well as up and down. This is a big difference from other Smartphone operating systems and basically eliminates the concept of one screen. There is fluid movement between the menus and apps, by using the side to side scrolling. The view also wraps, allowing users to go back to the beginning by continuing to scroll to the left or the right. This is a unique feature and app creators can take advantage of this to make navigation within their apps more user friendly.
The Windows Phone 7 Hubs are groups of like applications linked by a piece of data. The hubs allow users to move within the hub without exiting to another application. It allows the user to jump side to side keeping the same data in mind. There are six hubs; People, Pictures, Music, Office, Games and Marketplace. A user could be viewing their calendar and want to make dinner reservations; they can do that without ever exiting the hub by using a 3rd party app integrated into the hub. This is a great way for app developers to integrate their 3rd party apps with existing hubs that people use every day, increasing the usage and exposure of their app. Windows does require specific development requirements in order to integrate your app with a hub, but because it is a differentiating factor, we believe it is worth the extra red tape. The hub feature allows data/apps to come to the user vs. the user seeking out the data. It takes applications and mobile application development to a new level.
As an app creator it is important to think about the benefits Windows Phone 7 operating system gives you and the different ways you can design your app, or redesign your app to take advantage of these features. Windows Phone 7 was created for the consumer and positioned in between the Android™ and iPhone™ operating systems giving developers a fair amount of freedom in developing custom Windows Phone 7 applications. Please feel free to leave comments below or contact us with your Windows Phone 7 application ideas.