Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Response to CNET: Is AT&T's sales force prepared to sell the Nokia Lumia 900?

Mary Jo Foley (@maryjofoley) tweeted that this article was depressing and I felt compelled to write an opinion.

Now, let me first state that I am not a journalist or a professional blogger, yet a passionate developer who lives Windows Phone and has been an iPhone user for the last 3 or so years.

One thing that we all must remember when answering the posted question above, is that we are talking about people, with opinions and passions and habits.  These things are hard to break.

There are a great deal of AT&T employees that have been carrying around an iPhone for the better part of five years living most of their lives looking into that screen as if every bit of information and experience they could ever find would only come through the 3.5 inch display.  Not to mention there are plenty of non AT&T employees that walk around the same way.

Remember the approach that Apple took when they premiered the iPhone?  They told the free world it was Amazing! The focused on the users first, showing them how awesome it was, how it connected to iTunes and they could put their music on it so on and so forth.  Me as a developer, I had no idea I could right apps for this thing and I stay pretty dang connected on whats new out there regardless of the OS or vendor.  Found that out later.

Microsoft's approach, in my opinion is from the other side. Make the developers love Windows Phone, and we do. Show us how quick and easy it is to create apps for it and how awesome Visual Studio and Blend is for creating these applications, and it is.  Let the developers do the talking, until recently the Nokia Lumia 900, Nokia/AT&T/Microsoft marketing campaign to get this beautiful device out there into the everyday persons' hands.

Of course, what is the first thing most analyst say  "It's a great OS / device...but there are no apps".  Well Android had the same issue and it seems to be doing just fine now.  I would like to see some group do a true analysis on the "quality" (I know, it's subjective) apps out there for each of the platforms taking these few points into consideration:

  • # of applications actually installed on devices
  • Fart apps don't count
  • # of trial apps installed on devices - users never thoughts it was good enough to pay for the full one
I'm sure there are other things that would narrow down the list of apps, and sure iTunes would probably still be ahead no doubt.  However, it would give us a better measure of the playing field.

Sorry if I got off here...but I have shown my Lumia 900 to many iPhone users and Android users. Their first comment 8 of 10 times is "Damn that's fast!".

So, what we as developers, Windows Phone lovers, Microsoft and Nokia must do is now focus on the people who use their smartphones everyday.  Tell them WHY they will love, not necessarily why its better than the iPhone or what apps they can install to replace the ones they had so they can get close the same one. But again make them see why it so great.
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Monday, April 9, 2012

48 hrs with My Lumia 900 Windows Phone

So its been 2 full days with the Windows Phone, jumping out of the iOS world using the Nokia Lumia 900 as my everyday device.  I have to say I'm still swimming in the pool doing the backstroke.  I love it!

Battery life is great and I use the hell out of my phone. Email , Twitter, News, Checking In, Photos and browsing constantly while running around with the family doing our very filled life things.

Couple of observations I wanted to point out.  I had the strangest thing happen to me while walking around the locked up. Now, before anyone starts with "Well guess your new fancy phone isn't so fancy (as my daughter would say)".  My dang iPhone would lock up constantly, as would my Android and Blackberry etc etc.  So it's not uncommon.  The issue was I had no freaking idea how to unlock it.

I was holding down the power button and getting the normal "slide down to power off" screen, but the screen wouldn't respond.  Camera worked though??  And the battery symbol had a "?" on it. I was lost and thought crap" Now what.

Solution: Hold down the power button for about 15 seconds, hard reboot all is well.

Now since I practically live on my phone after a few days I wanted to see what I really missed as far as apps and other functionality I used constantly.  Here is a list so far:


Flipboard - (@flipboard)

If you haven't used this application on your iPad or iPhone your missing the best news, social aggregation application out there.  Funny thing is when I first saw it, I thought, "Man this looks like a Windows Phone App!". When I installed it, i uninstalled about 6 other applications.

Banking Applications

I know they are coming, but I use SunTrust and Chase and the Chase application on iOS is great.  Depositing checks via pic upload is fantastic.  Now I tweeted over the weekend about Suntrust and today got a reply from them unprovoked.  I do just simply browse to their sites, but there are some baked n OS functionality i do miss.



Unless I've missed it, but I did search online and found nothing.  In iOS use can press the "home" button and the "power" button at the same time to capture the current screen regardless of what your doing on the device and it snags the screen an puts it in your pictures.

This is great when watching screencasts, doing research on apps, so on and so forth.

Other than that, so far, I don't miss it.  And looking at the iPhones in my house, there are a bunch both 3GS and 4s, they look so tiny and dated compared to the Windows Phone. 

Till next time...

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Friday, April 6, 2012

My Nokia Lumia 900 Has Arrived - It Killed My iPhone!

Nokia Lumia 900
The newest Windows Phone 7 device has arrived and I have to say I can't put it down!

No seriously I can't! First, because ever since I told my 4 yr old that "...on Daddy's new phone you can play XBOX Live" (he almost exploded) he has been as anxious as I have to get it in. Secondly,it just plain beautiful. The OS, weight, size and speed of it all, what a home run.

Now, let me first say that I'm not going to post step by step pictures of the unboxing as there have been and will be more shots of this gem online and although a few more pictures won't degrade the quality of what I hold in my hand, I don't think you need to see what my coffee table or desk looks like.

iPhone 4 - Lost the battle!
I have been an avid user of the iPhone since the release of the 3GS and then moved to the 4. Before that I have owned an Android G1, Windows Motorola Blackjack and of course a Blackberry. I feel that I have experienced about every mobile OS up until this point and have developed applications, or at least learned the tools to do so.

So for the last many years, as have many others agreed that Apple hit the home run with the smartphone market. I was in the pool with all the other swimmers head first. Then came Windows Phone, and I thought, again as others had, "here we go again, haven't they tried this before"? When CES came around and the Nokia Lumia 900 showed up, I said whoa! I want that. My wife said what? You said yourself that no one would beat Apple...

I had occasionally stopped by a mobile store and futz around with a Windows 7 Phone here and there and thought it was different for sure but it was newly releases and the hardware and some of the software features were lacking in comparison to the iPhone 4 that I had in my pocket. Then of course there is the lack of app conversations...but that is another topic (I have all I need to be productive).

When the 900 was shown and I spent more and more time developing in the tool set for Windows Phone, I was hooked for sure. Now that I have it in my hand, WOW.

The boot time is unreal! I had to reboot my iPhone4 and the Lumia 900 to try and activate and I could have rebooted the Nokia 5x before the iPhone started.

So, the first order of business was to get this puppy dialed in.

  • Wifi
  • Windows Live Account
  • Twitter
    • Seesmic - uninstalled for Rowi
    • Rowi - best Twitter client for WP7. Pay the $.99 the developer deserves it!
  • 4th & Mayor - Foursquare should just hire Jeff Wilcox to redo their app or pay him to re-brand his.
  • Mail Accounts
    • Exchange
    • GMail
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Netflix
  • SkyDrive
  • My Rubber Duck - cause I gave him a shout out in my last entry and it's just funny.
  • Setup the Family group and pinned the tile too
Total setup time including installation of apps and dinking around with being picky on what tile is where and what is or isn't pinned? 1.5 hrs  (oh and I ate dinner with the family during that time too without the phone in my hand). So call it 1 hr.

I must mention that the download and installation of apps is super fast! I am on Brighthouse Lightning over Wifi.

Oh, forgot to mention that I got the Black one, going to try out some of the cases that are out to see if I'll dress it or go naked.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Where's Your Rubber Ducky App?

I recently attended Orlando Code Camp for the second straight year and I must say that it really topped last year and I cannot wait to see what's in store for next.  That's not the point of this post, but a number of sessions I attended there did put some thought in my noggin I thought I'd share.

Champions League Tracker
A new track this year was Windows Phone 7 and one of the talks that really stuck with me was Jonas Stawski's "An Inside Look into a Successful Windows Phone App" where he opened up a good portion of his code of his "Champions League Tracker" application and gave fast and pretty thorough walk through of not only the patterns (MVVM Light) and coding decisions he made, but also the short cuts he made in the early stages in order to well; just get it out there.  Now he mentioned that there were also some legal issues he muscled through but nonetheless got the app in the marketplace and its doing pretty well.

After some success and feedback, he went back made some changes and submitted updates and has other apps there as well.

The most interesting statement he made during the talk was the answer to this question (paraphrasing)

"How many games do you think the creators of Angry Birds wrote before they hit that one?


My Rubber Duck
So that reminded me of a conversation I had with someone at the Tampa WP User Group when he showed me the "My Rubber Duck". He said to me now this app just works!  Yes its simple, but do you have an app in the marketplace, he asks?

The point to this is don't try and write Angry Birds on your first application, find your rubber ducky app.  Take that to learn the tool set if you don't know it already, the submission and review process. And of course how kind the the reviews can be "wink".

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