Mobile DevCon 2004 rocked! Unfortunately, I was unable to attend in person, but I have heard so many cool reports from the conference. Krishna Kumar submitted a conference report which covers the highlights! Let's get to it! Kudos to Krishna Kumar!
MDC 2004 Highlights
"Mobile Developer Conference 2004 provided the developers and mobile community in general with tons of insight into the direction Microsoft (and also its partners) is taking with respect to Mobile Computing. The 3 day l-o-n-g conference was filled with sessions that taught us what is available in the platform today, and what will be available to the users/developers down the road.
So here is a bunch of highlights from the conference. I am emphasizing on the future direction. And most of it is in Developer Speak. I wish I could more justice to the information presented, right now I wanted to get the information out (and head back home). So if anyone has questions they can either post them on the discussion board or send me private mail, and I will try to answer them.
Bill Gates keynote
Well by now most of you must have read the keynote, if you haven’t, check it out over here.
- Future is all about Connected Applications (and products). Also seamless computing.
- Common set of development tools (Visual Studio 2005 aka Whidbey) for anything that is Windows
- Largest Market Share in Pocket PC space.
- Windows Mobile Smartphone is gaining strength, Market Leader in the enterprise smartphone market.
- Announced Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition.
- Proudly demoed the MPx. (He also mentioned the SPOT watch, that too right at the beginning of the talk, but I feel SPOT watches are over-rated in their current form. That’s my opinion
I am not a watch person!!)
- Mobile2Market is going to make it easier for ISVs to take their applications to market. Registered ISVs can submit the app to the M2M developer portal and it will be made available (published) on partner sites like that of the carriers, Handango, CellMania etc. All in one click of a button.
Windows Mobile Future Stuff
- Lots of cool hardware/software improvements coming your way. Apart from performance enhancements, future releases will bring a lots of cool end user and developer features.
- Support for variety of screen sizes for both Smartphones and Pocket PCs.
- 1.8” to 2.9” screens
for Smartphones, Note current screen size is 2”.
- 2.7” to 4.1” screens for Pocket PCs (also 2.3” to 3.5” Square screens, they had slides showing screen shots of some prototypes/reference designs).
- Smartphones will have resolutions of QVGA 240x320 (current version supports 176x220)
- Pocket PCs will have VGA resolution 640x480 (current version supports 320x240).
- Pocket PCs will come in varying shapes, sizes and form factors – Clam shells, with (slideout) keyboards (yay!). They had screen shots of prototypes in the slides. (I will see if I can post them here later.)
- Support for peripherals – microdrives, camera, keyboards, secondary displays
- Home Screen implementation to be unified between Pocket PC and Smartphone. Next gen Home Screens will be XHTML based.
- Installer improvements, unified CAB files for Pocket PC and Smartphone.
- Configuration Manager to be extended to Pocket PCs. This will enable Enterprise or Carrier Provisioning.
- Future Windows Mobile release will be based on Windows CE ‘Macallan’, it will include CE .NET 2.0, SQL CE, Direct 3D/Direct Draw, MFC 8.0 and ATL 8.0 in the ROM.
- Future Windows Mobile will have support for Location, Camera, POOM, TAPI and SMS in .NET CF.
- Notifications Broker in the Future Windows Mobile release will enable developers to get notification regarding system state changes like battery strength, signal, wifi/gprs connection etc.
- New form controls in VS .NET 2005 - .NET CF 2.
- Pocket Watson for Window Mobile. This will handle application errors and exceptions. It will prompt the user if they wish to submit the error report to Microsoft.
- Changes to the Application/Code Signing, to enable more flexibility.
- And the future version will provide (standardize) an easy way to eject battery, for faster resets
Third Party and Partners
- Motorola had a nice presentation that effectively demonstrated that they are committed to the Windows Mobile platform. They are committed to innovation and that you can expect more cool hardware/software from Moto. MPx line of products is aimed at the Enterprise market.
- I played with MPx (yes!) and MPx100. Both are cool but I am in love with MPx100. Moto will not talk about any other products or plans. No news on MPx220 or CDMA phones. But I was told that the best is still to come!! And yes CDMA market is not being ignored.
- Motorola has done a lot of in house research to identify what all features the phones must have (over and above Windows Mobile provided stuff). Things like Java, MMS, Digital Rights Management, Ringtones, Bluetooth profiles or ‘Dedicated Accessory’ for the MPx100 which will enable wifi/802.11 without taking up the SDIO slot !!
- Voice Over IP, Text to Speech, Push to Talk are all the stuff, Moto wants to bring to MPx line.
- Intel talked about Bulverde, the next gen mobile chip with SpeedStep and Wireless MMX. Most of the talk went over my head
but one thing I did gather was faster processor (software configurable speed for optimum power management), better power management, MMX instruction set which will enable superior audio/video/gaming experience.
- Checked out the Sierra Voq phone, surprisingly didn’t feel all that bulky in my hand. The keyboard is nice. But its styling is nothing compared to that of Moto’s MPx100.
- For whatever is worth, I would like to mention that I did talk to a Samsung Rep at the booth. Inquired about the 2003 update for i600. Answer is Samsung has the 2003 update working on the phone, it is up to the carrier (Verizon did not have a booth) to adopt it. I also inquired if it would be possible for them to open up the developer program a bit more so that developer can test/debug code on the phones (and access privileged APIs without the need for certificates etc). Also requested for more info on their developer web site. It is a work in progress, I have to initiate email conversation with the rep, after I get back home.
Another interesting tidbit – 20 or more Mpx200 were given away by AT&T to the participants, and I did not win one
So I will be having a grumpy face during my entire 6 hour flight back home."