Microsoft to help OEMs make Windows Phone apps that "stand out"

This week, Engadget spotted an interesting job opportunity over on Microsoft's careers website - an ad for a developer who is interested in building unique and exciting applications for OEMs.

Microsoft stood on a few toes earlier this year when it announced a tight set of guidelines for Windows Phones - including the minimum 1Ghz SnapDragon and GPU. In addition to this, Microsoft went as far as completely disallowing OEM's to modify the user interface in any way using skinning - which is a great tool for manufacturers to identify themselves amongst the crowd on current mobile platforms such as Android and Windows Mobile .

The job advert is looking for a "senior Windows Phone developer" and says:

"We are looking for a strong and experienced developer to help the OEM to design and develop applications that make their devices stand out in the marketplace. You will also help them to bring new phones to market." and that this position would be "part of a dedicated team within MDSC working directly with a top Korean cellular phone manufacturer, who has made a large commitment to Windows Phone."

Engadget also points out that either LG or Samsung should be the "top Korean cellular phone manufacturer", although they think it will be LG, based on the early LG Windows Phone 7 prototypes that have been shown off. It seems that Microsoft is trying to make up for the fact that OEMs can no longer use their custom skins to lure potential buyers, and is finding another way for them to gain a competitive edge.

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Dessimat0r said,
There's no design to Windows Phone 7 apps is there? It's all just text.

Of course there's a design, you can pick how it looks, it can be text menus or icons, be a panorama or not and so on. There are some guidelines I'm sure but for the most part if you're writing the app you can design it how you like.

Dessimat0r said,
There's no design to Windows Phone 7 apps is there? It's all just text.

I'm guessing these "stand out" features are bold and italic text then if that's the case...

Dessimat0r said,
There's no design to Windows Phone 7 apps is there? It's all just text.

*wince* This is the problem with people getting their info from discussions instead of from source material.

The Metro UI is, as I understand it, inspired by traffic visuals. The idea of following the sort of cues we might see while driving, or navigating an airport or train station. It's an interesting concept, and part of why I'm very excited about playing with WP7 once it's released--it's an original UI not simply derived from previously existing computer OSes (Android feels like zooming in on any desktop OS, iPhoneOS is essentially an icon grid with a dock).

Just like you'd see while navigating, it's going to be very simple and minimal, which is why you might think it's "all just text". But it will also have plenty of icons and visual cues, lots of transitions and animations (lots--seriously, watch a VIDEO of it, not a screenshot).

As far as apps are concerned, there's no rule being laid down by Microsoft that they have to behave the same way as the OS. They can be as graphically intense as anyone wants (did you really, seriously, truly NOT read ANYTHING about the Xbox Live stuff and games? didn't see the demo videos? ANYTHING?).

Joshie said,

*wince* This is the problem with people getting their info from discussions instead of from source material.

The Metro UI is, as I understand it, inspired by traffic visuals. The idea of following the sort of cues we might see while driving, or navigating an airport or train station. It's an interesting concept, and part of why I'm very excited about playing with WP7 once it's released--it's an original UI not simply derived from previously existing computer OSes (Android feels like zooming in on any desktop OS, iPhoneOS is essentially an icon grid with a dock).

Just like you'd see while navigating, it's going to be very simple and minimal, which is why you might think it's "all just text". But it will also have plenty of icons and visual cues, lots of transitions and animations (lots--seriously, watch a VIDEO of it, not a screenshot).

As far as apps are concerned, there's no rule being laid down by Microsoft that they have to behave the same way as the OS. They can be as graphically intense as anyone wants (did you really, seriously, truly NOT read ANYTHING about the Xbox Live stuff and games? didn't see the demo videos? ANYTHING?).

+1

Joshie said,
iPhoneOS is essentially an icon grid with a dock

When did the home screen become the only UI element of iOS?

Dessimat0r said,
There's no design to Windows Phone 7 apps is there? It's all just text.

Ya if you call pictures and completely customizable controls text.

Not only are there standard UI controls and constructs, but interactions and behaviors that elements inherent. So not only do you get all the standard UI concepts Microsoft designed, adding to them or modifying them is extremely easy.

For example, if you take a listbox type of control, you can customize how it acts, looks, lays out content and it still remains a functional listbox control. Compared to doing this on the iPhone OS with ObjectiveC and Cocoa, you would have to recreate the listbox control completely and it would no longer be a listbox control to the iPhoneOS.

(This is where Silverlight and C# shine for ease of development and also showcases the difference between true Object Oriented Language and API set vs ObjectiveC and Cocoa that is an Object BASED languaged and an Object BASED API.)

I hope someday the people get the difference and we can finally kill off object based thinking/programming. Watching Jobs drag around Object BASED concepts from NeXt for 20 years is starting to get really sad.

thenetavenger said,

(This is where Silverlight and C# shine for ease of development and also showcases the difference between true Object Oriented Language and API set vs ObjectiveC and Cocoa that is an Object BASED languaged and an Object BASED API.)

That is quite interesting what you write there. I never heard of that difference.
But doesn't Objective-C also support subclassing, and I can use methods of the superclass, without defining them in my subclass? So doesn't that mean it is object-oriented?
(As far as I know, "object-based" means a class is self contained, it can implement interfaces, but has to implement everything itself, without the ability to use methods of a superclass)

robert_dll said,
could be interesting

Indeed. I wonder what this will yield... I guess this is to help get the OEM's started? Though I wouldn't mind Microsoft being more involved in the software these OEM's develop (A lot of it is poorly coded it seems)...