Friday, February 11, 2011

Discovering Windows Phone 7 – Part 2

Having played with a demo unit of the HTC HD7 at a roadshow (as mentioned in Part 1 of blog post), I was left drooling but it’s not enough to make me splurge well over RM2K for a no-contract set for a few reasons.

Not having an official apps marketplace for the country is a big no-no for me for a high-end smartphone. Apps are what make a smartphone smart, right?

At time of writing, only 30 countries in the world have official Marketplace access. So, the only way to have some form of Marketplace access is to fake the country that is tied to the Windows Live ID bound to the phone.

With that, accessing free apps or trial apps from the Marketplace is at least possible. To buy apps, one need to register their credit card info but then, the country information would not match…so this is an issue.

Well, I thought if I were to spend so much on a WP7 smartphone, I’ll wait till Marketplace access is officially supported for the country but I don’t mind owning a WP7 phone “now” if I can get it for a real bargain but I guess it’s only a dream…NOT…read on…it gets better!

The Opportunity

It was just about a week before Christmas of 2010 when I came across a Facebook posting about a HD7 contest or more formally the Microsoft Web Camps @ KL HTC HD7 contest. I read the details of the competition, and hey…this is no big deal for me!

As mentioned in Part 1, I had already developed a few WP7 apps though these apps were not quite complete. In a heartbeat, I jumped at the opportunity and got myself registered for the contest.

The contest required participants to write a WP7 app and the top 3 apps win. The top two prizes were HTC HD7 phones and the last one, a Zune HD player.

There was an informal community meet-up to discuss about the contest details at a Starbucks just 10 minutes walk from where I live. How convenient!

Since I already had a basic working app which was capable of displaying live traffic cam images, all I needed to do know was to add the features required to meet the contest criteria. These criteria included integration with one of Windows Live services or Bing, and Facebook or Twitter.

I did get some useful ideas from the Microsoft MVPs who were also part of the organizers. We had about two weeks to complete the app from the time of meet-up.

So, my app would enable users to pick the nearest traffic cams from the current GPS location from within Bing Maps, and show a live traffic view which refreshes every few seconds. The user is also able to alert other Twitter users by posting a tweet and a snapshot of the current traffic image (via Twitpic). On top of these, there are many more “convenience” features in the app which you can read about here.

I submitted my entry on the last day of the contest and kept my fingers crossed.

To be continued in Part 3…

1 comment:

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