Multitasking-iPhone/Windows Phone 7

gato

状元
Not anytime soon, no. I don't think WP7 even supports Chinese text display in its initial release (even webOS managed that), and it's not expected to have Chinese input support until mid-2011, so we couldn't even think about possibly considering starting work on a WP7 port until then. It also requires everything to be written in .NET, there's no possibility of running native code as there is on Android, so ironically, while with Android we can keep most of our cross-platform code intact, on WP7 we'd have to completely rewrite our software from scratch.
Does WP7 development on a similar model to WebOS? Or can you do more with WP7 than you could with the original WebOS before they allowed native code. Aren't all the game publishers Microsoft say it has attracted going to use native code?

Was reading these blog posts comparing development on iOS vs. WP7. Thought it was interesting. MSDN.com obviously is biased. :wink:
http://www.archgrove.co.uk/weblog/2010/ ... -challenge
A response to Part 2 of the “iPhone vs Windows Phone 7 Challenge”

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sburke/archive/ ... oveme.aspx
iPhone SDK vs. Windows Phone 7 Series SDK Challenge, Part 2: MoveMe

I read that the first release of WP7 won't have cut & paste. I think that's a huge marketing mistake. But it's seem that the SDK includes a nice GUI builder. Anything similar available for the iOS?
http://www.computing.co.uk/computing/analysis/2270984/windows-phone-lacks-business
Windows Phone 7 lacks business cred
But the advanced mobile management features provided by integration with Microsoft’s System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008 will be unavailable with WP7. Businesses that require centralised user policy configuration, virtual private network (VPN- ) -protected application access, remote data wipes, automatic software upgrades and a range of other administration features are therefore better off sticking with Windows Mobile for the moment.

Mobile application developers may also lament the absence of any cut-and-paste function, support for third-party application multi-tasking, Adobe’s Flash player, or the ability to tweak hardware processor power to conserve battery life, though Microsoft is not ruling out the possibility of these features appearing in later versions of the software.

“Using the Expression Blend design tool is awesome because dealing with designers can be a nightmare. You can import directly from Photoshop, which I haven’t seen on any other [mobile] development platform. I found Android not to be that good – it was not as easy to create a user interface for the device, and the UI is the key to everything [in mobile apps].”
 
mikelove said:
Also, I think the best thing for the mobile software world now is for us to coalesce around a benevolent Apple-Google duopoly - one polished, curated experience and one crazy open free-for-all; developers have their hands full with two platforms as-is, and Apple and Google seem to be doing a fine job at keeping each other honest without any other serious competitors. More platforms means more time spent on platform-specific issues and less time on making great software, so ultimately the quality of everyone's mobile software suffers. So I wouldn't want to do anything to encourage people to buy WP7 phones at this stage.
Thank you for the response. Hmm... That's very disappointing news though. I'd have to say, however, that I'm definitely sticking with Windows Phone 7, so I guess I'd have to choose WP7 over Pleco.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
gato said:
Does WP7 development on a similar model to WebOS? Or can you do more with WP7 than you could with the original WebOS before they allowed native code. Aren't all the game publishers Microsoft say it has attracted going to use native code?
Not that it uses native code, that it uses XNA / DirectX - the programming tools are tools that a lot of game developers are comfortable with. The real question is how large the market is for smartphone games that are actual proper Games rather than quick little games of the Angry Birds / Flight Control / etc vein.

gato said:
I read that the first release of WP7 won't have cut & paste. I think that's a huge marketing mistake. But it's seem that the SDK includes a nice GUI builder. Anything similar available for the iOS?
I've never used GUI builders and never will - if you want your interface to be at all customizable they usually end up being more trouble than they're worth. Every bit of Pleco's UI on iPhone is programmatically generated, and most of the UI on Palm/WM was too (except for dialog boxes, but even those were hand-coded and not edited graphically because the resource editors were so terrible).

yottaflops said:
Thank you for the response. Hmm... That's very disappointing news though. I'd have to say, however, that I'm definitely sticking with Windows Phone 7, so I guess I'd have to choose WP7 over Pleco.
Understood. You might want to consider getting another device that's more Chinese-friendly to go with your new phone, though, like a cheap iPod Touch or a used Windows Mobile PDA, because given the expected state of Chinese support in the early releases of WP7 it may be difficult to do much with even a web-based Chinese dictionary on WP7 phones.
 

gato

状元
Some big developers are allowed the privilege of native code.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/10 ... _insights/
Another question is whether managed .NET code is really sufficient for every kind of application. If it were, you would have thought that Microsoft itself would have used it for the built-in applications, but this seems not to be the case. In addition, Adobe has a special pass to develop Flash for Windows Phone 7 in native code.

The rumor is that other companies are also getting special privileges. The Spotify music service has been announced for Windows Phone 7, but it is hard to believe that the music will stop whenever the user switches task. One attendee told me that the Windows Phone 7 native code framework is called Iris, is based on what was used for the Zune music player, and is used by Microsoft as well as by Spotify. He added that major games developers will also be allowed to use native code.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
gato said:
The rumor is that other companies are also getting special privileges. The Spotify music service has been announced for Windows Phone 7, but it is hard to believe that the music will stop whenever the user switches task. One attendee told me that the Windows Phone 7 native code framework is called Iris, is based on what was used for the Zune music player, and is used by Microsoft as well as by Spotify. He added that major games developers will also be allowed to use native code.
Neither Apple nor Google have stooped as low as giving big developers the tools to make their apps significantly better / faster / more feature-rich than small developers'; if this is true, it's basically the mobile app equivalent of (not having) net neutrality, give the big guys everything they want and shut the little guys out. Microsoft might be able to make EA happy this way, but EA's iPhone games suck - if Microsoft wants to get the next Angry Birds or Flight Control or, for that matter, Pleco on WP7, they have to open up their native code APIs to everyone and not treat small companies like second-class citizens. Giving us access 6 months later isn't the same, either - if anybody gets to use a particular framework to develop shipping apps, then everybody should get access to that same framework; if it's not ready for prime time yet, release the beta version to everyone and only make it official once it is.
 

Ivan006

Member
yottaflops said:
Thank you for the response. Hmm... That's very disappointing news though. I'd have to say, however, that I'm definitely sticking with Windows Phone 7, so I guess I'd have to choose WP7 over Pleco.
Understood. You might want to consider getting another device that's more Chinese-friendly to go with your new phone, though, like a cheap iPod Touch or a used Windows Mobile PDA, because given the expected state of Chinese support in the early releases of WP7 it may be difficult to do much with even a web-based Chinese dictionary on WP7 phones.[/quote]
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Hi Mike,

I'm also going to purchase a new Windows phone, but I'm considering just getting a 2nd gen iPod touch to use the Pleco software.

I was watching the reviews on the Engadget's website and while they were demonstrating third-party apps, I noticed Chinese characters in one of the feeds of the Seesmic app:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/20/wind ... -7-review/

You don't have to watch the whole video, just skip to 54 seconds into the video and you'll clearly see Chinese characters. Now, I don't know if this has to do with the fact that these are international phones, but clearly no developers have to wait till next year to see characters on their devices. Somehow, the person who sent this message in character format, did not know it would be read on a WP7 device. I'm sure seeing a Chinese website or using a Chinese dictionary site on these devices will not be a problem.

I remember a time when you mentioned that making a pleco version for android was not going to happen because there was too many different android devices for the program to work. If the demand for pleco on WP7 comes in waves, then will you consider making a pleco version for this phone? Because as I see the trend with your software, it's based on popular demand with the development of phones, not just software issues. Would a beta version or a lite version be a consideration for you guys?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Ivan006 said:
You don't have to watch the whole video, just skip to 54 seconds into the video and you'll clearly see Chinese characters. Now, I don't know if this has to do with the fact that these are international phones, but clearly no developers have to wait till next year to see characters on their devices. Somehow, the person who sent this message in character format, did not know it would be read on a WP7 device. I'm sure seeing a Chinese website or using a Chinese dictionary site on these devices will not be a problem.
Maybe they did manage to get a font built in, but it seems like Chinese text input at least is still lacking, which would complicate matters trying to enter characters on a Chinese dictionary site.

Ivan006 said:
I remember a time when you mentioned that making a pleco version for android was not going to happen because there was too many different android devices for the program to work. If the demand for pleco on WP7 comes in waves, then will you consider making a pleco version for this phone? Because as I see the trend with your software, it's based on popular demand with the development of phones, not just software issues. Would a beta version or a lite version be a consideration for you guys?
It isn't about demand as much as it's about ease of development; unless Microsoft opens WP7 up to to-top-bottom native-code development, it's simply too much work and the results are too uncertain. We spent a long time trying to rewrite portions of the Pleco engine in Java for use on Android / BlackBerry devices and ultimately came to the conclusion we just couldn't get it to be fast enough, and we'd have to spend a similar amount of time rewriting Pleco for .NET with the likelihood of encountering the same result.

On Android, getting us over the "hump" to announce a port took a combination of partial native-code development support and the appeal of developing for an open platform on which we can release updates / betas / etc whenever we like, slander the company founders in our About box (not that we would, but we could...), and not have to pay anybody a 30% cut, and it still took a lot of persuading as you can see. Not having to release on Android Market also means we can have a short list of specific devices we've actually optimized around and not have to officially support any others - the hardware compatibility situation is only as tricky as we allow it to be, to some extent.

WP7 combines the closed nature of iPhone with an even more difficult programming situation than Android, and on top of that, assuming iPhone and Android are both still alive and kicking and achieving good market share, supporting WP7 would require us to make the leap to actively developing Pleco on three platforms at once; we're a small company in what's still a limited-size market (especially with so much free competition) and it's hard enough to justify even supporting two of them.

These are much bigger problems than what I'm sure is only a temporary lack of Chinese support - I brought up the lack of Chinese support more as a way of illustrating how late to the game Microsoft is on this and how far from "finished" WP7 is at this point.

If Microsoft opens up WP7 native-code development to everyone in the future (and I mean everyone - Microsoft deciding Pleco's big enough to open it to us doesn't make things right, every developer deserves the same opportunity to make his/her app great) and if that proves an easy enough port over from desktop Windows to make it a reasonable project for us, we might consider a WP7 port, but absent that I can only see it happening if WP7 does really really well (i.e., eclipses both Android and iPhone in market share) - the only way you're likely to see Pleco on WP7 in the next year or two would be through a web-based app.
 
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