webOS and the Early Adopting Windows Phone Developer

Last week, HP announced it was killing off production of hardware devices for it’s mobile operating system webOS.  This was just a few days after it was reported that Best Buy had 250k+ devices that it wanted to send back to HP because they couldn’t sell them.  Always willing to jump on an opportunity to push the Windows Phone platform, Brandon Watson tweeted the following:

Brandon Watson's tweet to webOS developers

As of yesterday (and my last look for a count), Brandon had received responses from over 1k webOS developers looking for more information.  Not a bad response to his offer, although I’m also not sure how many active webOS developers there are.  But the point of this post is this…

What about the current/early entry Windows Phone developers?

Microsoft’s app store has seen great growth through it’s first year of existence.  Developers are creating apps for it, partly due to Microsoft’s tremendous development tools and partly due to easily transitioning existing skill sets with Silverlight and XAML developers.  Many ‘expected’  (Words with Friends I’m looking at you) apps are missing, however the addition of things like Sockets support in the upcoming Mango release should bring some of these apps about.  But where are the free phones, free dev tools and free training for us?

Take a peek at Brandon’s email to webOS developers. Quick summary — free phones, dev tools and training. 😉

Well, they’re already there…

Microsoft knows it needs developers and since the beginning has been actively pushing to get them what they need to succeed.  Charles Petzold released a free (and paid if you desire) bookVideos were produced for absolute beginners.  More videos were produced for “Jump Starts”.  Hands on labs were created for introductory training and with each release more have been created to expand on new features.  And of course the always spectacular MSDN site is loaded with info (1, 2).  Are you getting the feeling that MS is serious about developers?

So what about training.  Well, there’s one today and tomorrow (continuation of today’s).  They’ve also held “Windows Phone App Garages” where you train for a day with the whole intent to get an app published in the app store by the time you leave.  These have been held in Birmingham, Tampa, Atlanta, New York, Charlotte etc. etc.  Free, live, in-person events.  And I’m sure there have been plenty more.

Oh yeah, there’s the free phone thing.  Everyone would like a free phone.  Free is good, but how come I’ve been developing for Windows Phone for 6 months and this new guy gets a free phone?  That’s not fair!!  Well, let me quote from Brandon’s email…

Ahem… “We have phones for developers committed to building apps and games for Windows Phone.  This isn’t a free ride program where we just hand out phones to people because they say they want one.”

Wait, what?  That sounds like it’ll take more than just an email to get Brandon’s team to send off a phone.  But more to the point, Microsoft has been offering free phones to developers for a while.  I attended one of the App Garage events and was given a code to enter to get a free phone.  What did I have to do to enter?  Submit an app.  My understanding is that these codes were given out to developers everywhere.  Different codes for different events, possibly as a way to track the viability of these training sessions and provide feedback for the presenters MS sent out to do the trainings.    Phones are given out to student developers as well.  A recent #WPAppItUp promotion on twitter did just that.

But the best part about these training sessions wasn’t the possibility of a free phone and might not have even been the training provided.  It was the connections.  Meeting people that are looking at the same road ahead as you, whether that be full time WP7 development, just taking a gander to see if it makes sense to develop for this platform or even just starting out.  People willing to share knowledge and help each other.  At least that’s what I took away from my experience.

My point here is that MS loves developers.  And it doesn’t matter if you are exclusive to them or not.  Developers, developers, developers.  😉

Tags: Microsoft, WP7, WP7Dev

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 Microsoft

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