Left the Circus Circus and headed to the geek circus at Mandalay Bay. Got in, got some breakfast, met a few more people and headed to the keynote.
The first video demo of something was of Bing Maps and various aspects of Microsoft Research integrated together. Namely the pictures, put in place, on real 3d element maps of various environments.
Scott Guthrie, as one would guess, kicked off the keynote. His first point was that user experience has become a priority at Microsoft. This can be seen by any observant soul with the release and push of Expression, Silverlight, and the other tools. This is even more apparent when one takes note of Microsoft bringing in people that can actually do good design and putting them at the forefront.
The next thing Scott brought up was a few key points about Silverlight. Currently Silverlight is a little over 2 years old and has achieved a pretty solid 60% penetration. Silverlight has all sorts of capabilities that have been developed and are now provided as open source including; ad injection, smoothing, playback editing, and more. Another thing he showed, which really struck me as awesome being in the analytics space, was the Olympics and a quick glimpse of the ad statistics, viewer experience, video playback performance, audience trends, and overall viewer participation. All of it rendered in Silverlight in beautiful detail.
The key piece of Scott’s various points were all punctuated with the fact that all of this code is available as open source. Not only is Microsoft really delving into this design element of things, they’re getting involved in the right ways.
One of the last points I’ll bring up about Silverlight 4 is the ability to have HD video on a monitor, and an entirely different activity being done on the other monitor, effectively making Silverlight the only RIA framework that supports multi-monitor support. Overall, Silverlight is continuing to impress ? providing superior capabilities tit-for-tat with the competition.
Windows 7 Phone
The Windows 7 Phone has 3 primary buttons (yes, more than the iPhone, don’t let your mind explode!!). Start, Search, and Back control all of the needed functionality of the phone. At the same time, of course, there is the multi-touch, touch, and other interactive abilities of the interface. The intent, once start is pressed is to have all the information that a phone owner wants displayed immediately. Avoiding the scrolling through pages of apps or rolling a ball to get through multitudes of other non-interactive phone interfaces. The Windows 7 Phone simply has the data right in front of you, basically a phone dashboard. From there it is easy to dive into the interactive areas of the phone.
Each area of the interface of the phone is broken into hubs. These hubs include applications, data, and other things based on a relative basis. This basis being determined by the user. These applications interact on many other levels, and form a kind of relationship between each other adding more and more meta-data to the phone user, their interactions between the applications, and of course the social element of their interactions on the phone. This makes this phone a practical must have for a marketer involved in social media. The level of wired together interaction is massive, and of course, if you’ve seen Office Outlook 2010 you know that the power that is pulled into the phone by being tied to Outlook is massive.
Joe Belfiore also showed several UI & specifically UX elements of the phone interface that allows paging to be instinctual by simple clipped items, flipping page to page, and other excellent user experience advances for phone devices. Belfiore’s also showed how his people hub had a massive list of people, with pictures, all from various different social networks and other associated relations. The rendering, speed, and viewing of these people’s, their pictures, their social network information, and other characteristics was smooth and in some situations unbelievably rendered. This demo showed some of the great power of the beta phone, which isn’t even as powerful as the planned end device.
Joe finished up by jumping into the music, videos, and other media with the Zune Component of the Windows 7 Mobile Phone. This was all good stuff, but I’ll get to what really sold me on the media element in a moment.
When Joe was done, Scott Guthrie stepped back up to walk through building a Windows 7 Mobile Phone. This is were I have to give serious props. He built this application, in Visual Studio 2010, in front of 2000+ people. That was cool, but what really was amazing that he build the application in about 2 minutes. The IDE, side by side design that is standard in Visual Studio is light years ahead of x-Code or any of the iPhone IDEs. The Windows 7 Mobile System, if it can get market penetration, poses a technologically superior development and phone platform over anything on the market right now. The biggest problem with the phone, is it just isn’t available yet. I personally can’t wait for a chance to build some apps for the new Windows Phone.
Netflix, I May Start Up an Account Again!
When I get my Windows 7 Phone device, I am absolutely getting a Netflix account again. The Vertigo crew, as I wrote on Twitter "#MIX10 Props @seesharp on @netflix demo", displayed an application on the phone for Netflix that actually ran HD Video of Rescue Me (with Dennis Leary). The video played back smooth as it would on a dedicated computer, I was instantly sold. So this didn’t actually sell me on the phone, because I’m already sold, but it did sell me whole heartedly on the media capabilities of the pending phone.
Anyway, I try not to do this but I may double post today. Lunch is over and I’m off to another session very near and dear to the heart of my occupation, Analytics Tracking. Stay tuned and I should have that post up by the end of the day.