Windows Phone 7… Who??

Ever observed, how one of the most common questions among aquaintances is, “Which phone do you have?”.

Now, I’m OK with judgemental people wanting to know what type of phone I own. What is irritating however, is the snotty look of derision I usually get when I tell them that my phone is a Smart Phone, but not an iPhone or an Andriod phone. Not to exagerate, but at times, it borders on people giving me the dramatic chipmunk  look too.  Dont even get me started on Blackberry users. (If researchers ever need a new study on addiction, a good place to look out would be all those who post their BB pins as their gtalk or Facebook status.)

So, What’s the deal with Windows Phone 7? I guess its best if I explained it using this short 90 second video below:

So as you can see, the basic idea behind a Windows Phone, is customizability. It is one of the stellar features of the WP7 that makes it so different from any other phone. Being a developer, I get to meet a lot of people who have a diverse understanding of various technologies. After hearing their biased and sometimes unbelievably biased opinions, it would be safe to claim that the general consensus is that the Windows Phone focuses more on giving that “Personal Touch”.

Compare any 2 iPhones. The major difference you would notice would be the icons of the Apps installed. Now compare any 2 WP7s. Yes, they do have similar tiles. But each tile would have been customized according to the user. That makes a difference. The live tiles, the People’s Hub, that gives the Windows Phone something unique to really admire about. Now I am not trying to bad mouth any other product by any other company. I’d be a fool to say that the iPhone is a piece of junk. It has its own strokes of brilliance. But when I compare a Windows Phone 7 to any other phone, I will say that the WP7 is the hands down winner.

Essentially, Windows Phone, is a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft. Its predecessor, the Windows Mobile, was primarily aimed at the enterprise market unlike the Windows Phone, which entered the Consumer Smart Phone market sometime in the second half of the year 2010.

The fundamental concept of the new UI (User Interface) introduced by Windows Phone, was “Metro”. The concept of Metro however, isnt really that new. It was used as early as in the 1990s’ in products such as Microsoft Encarta 95. Metro is based on the design principle os the Classic Swiss graphic design.

It is interesting to note that the Metro UI is partly inspired by signs that are commonly found at public transport systems. I was a little surprised when I read this at first. But as it turns out, it’s quite out there, if you really look for it. The other night I stumbled across this banner while on my way to the Dubai Jazz fest:

If you observed the tiles in phone shown in the Video and the tiles in this banner, you can actually see the similarity.

The real beauty in all this is that, since Microsoft only makes the Operating System and provides phone manufacturing companies like Nokia, Samsung, LG, HTC, etc, the chassis (guidelines to be followed, like minimum hardware requirements, support etc), this gives manufacturers a chance to use their creativity to make the phone’s physical appearance classy, or jazzy, or simple, or sleek. The icing on the cake is that, all these phones are much cheaper than any other smart phone that can come even close to the specs of these Windows Phones.

To give you an idea of what I mean (about the looks of phone) :

Well, that wraps it up for today.

More on “WP7” Vs “the Rest” in the next post. Till then, Take care folks.


Day 1: Orientation & Introduction

Hello World!

Yes, I know its cliched. But considering the fact that I am a programmer, I believe it would be sacrilege if I posted anything other than a “Hello World” as the very first words I write in my new blog.

So, to briefly introduce myself, I am Prashant Vaidyanathan. I’m 21 years old, and am in my final semester in Engineering (Electronics and Electrical) in BITS -Pilani-  Dubai Campus. I currently am interning in Microsoft, and work as a Junior Software Developer. I love Basketball and used to be a National Level Basketball player back in India, and I love watching NBA matches. I also love football, and am an Optimistic Arsenal fan. ( optimistic would be pushing it here. I truly believe in the Arsenal youth system and believe that they will win their next major silverware when my children are old enough to write a blog of their own). Also apparently, I tend to digress from the main point.

My true interest however, lies in Computers. I have been playing with computers ever since I was 4. I know a couple of programming languages: C, C++, C#, Visual Basic, Lisp, BF, Whirl, Java, Assembly Language, HTML, CSS, XAML (Gasp for breath….). I work on multiple platforms, tools and frameworks including AutoCad, Visual Studio, Expression Studio, Silverlight, XNA, Adobe Photoshop, Maya. (Pretty cool eh? ). Last year I presented my paper on “A new encryption technique for the secured transmission and storage of text information with medical images” in the IN-TECH 2011 conference organized by the World Association for Innovative Technologies (WAIT) for which I was awarded the Award for Science and Technology transfer.

So yeah. Thats me, being not so modest. But I believe that I must give the readers of this blog a fair reason to believe in my posts.


I work in Microsoft Gulf in Dubai in the DPE – Developer Platform and Technologies department. My job entails:

1) Making Windows Phone 7 Apps

2) Training Students from other universities to build Apps for the Windows Phone.

3) Testing out the cool new technologies here in Microsoft.

Its been 6 weeks, and I must be honest. Its been one of the best 6 weeks of my life. I have learnt a LOT. More than what any textbook or course could offer. And this, being my dream job, I am actually loving my work here.

The reason, for me picking the name of the blog as captainwp7. Well, I’d like to think of myself as some super hero for the Windows Phone 7 from the DC universe making Apps for Batman, Superman and Flash. But seriously, its coz, I used to be called Captain back in school, and well, this blog is going to be about the Windows Phone.

I will be discussing cool new features that I come across. I will also be sharing tricks and tips for programming, not just for the Windows Phone or Windows 8, but also, for other technologies. I will also be sharing source code for most of my programs.

For all those of you who are actually afraid of programming or code or feel your greatest achievement with any computer has been using MS Paint (no offense), fear not. This blog is to help you overcome that fear of programming and actually learn cool tips that you can have fun with.

So, thats it for now. Will be posting soon about the Windows Phone to give most people who dont know what it is, a general overview about it. Till then, Chao.