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Review: LG Optimus from PDC10

I recently had a friend ask what I thought of the LG Optimus that was handed out at PDC10.  I feel like I'm in a good position to have an opinion on it, as I've been using it as my personal phone for the last 2 weeks, rather than just leaving it in the box.

First of let me say that this is a "solid" phone.  It doesn't feel light-weight or cheap.  As far as look and feel, this phone holds it's own when compared against the iPhone 4 (I can say that because I currently carry and use both).  The LG Optimus has a much better feel than the other LG carried by AT&T (that one has a slideout keyboard).  When contrasted with the HTC Surround, the LG Optimus is thinner and feels better built.

I’ve put this phone in the hands of multiple managers in at least 3 different AT&T stores.  Each of them has said the LG Optimus is their favorite Windows Phone 7 device, even when compared against the Samsung Focus.  Why? because of the form factor and how solid it feels.  I should mention that each of these managers also use an iPhone 4 as their personal device.

When I first got my Windows Phone I took my SIM card from my iPhone 4 and slid it into the LG.  It took some time to get the position just right (see photo).  I still need to pick up a micro-SIM adapter from Amazon.  The voice and SMS messaging worked right out of the gate.  I needed to configure the APN settings in order to get data to work (blogged about here).  After using the phone for 10 days I realized that I couldn't send/receive MMS messages (think pix and video messaging).  That's when I started visiting all the different AT&T stores.

At the last store which I visited, they swapped in multiple SIM cards and ultimately verified that I could send/receive MMS on the store's Samsung Focus, but not on my LG Optimus.  I was told this isn’t that uncommon with international phones purchased overseas and brought over here.  I was further told that it's something to do with AT&T’s network and the phone not being built/tested for it.  Really?  Everything else was working fine: SMS, data, voice, just not MMS.  Because of this last fact I stopped using the LG as my personal device and switched back to the iPhone 4.  This was last Saturday.

Yesterday I took the liberty to tweet my frustrations.  I thought I was polite and cordial about the whole matter, but honestly I was fumming inside.

Twitter is amazing.  Earlier today I got a response to my tweet with a link which showed others experiencing my same problem.

The instructions were a little scary, but I went through the steps below and now MMS messaging works on the LG Optimus which I got from PDC10.  Note that you're using a built-in LG app to adjust these settings.

  1. Dial ##634# (this will cause a MFG app to appear in your app list)
  2. Launch the MFG app (password is 277634#*#)
  3. Select "7. Engineer Menu"
  4. Select "6. Other Setting"
  5. Select "Set network profiles"
  6. Select "_PROV_ATT_US_310_410.xml" from the list of available profiles

That's it, once I did this I could send/receive MMS messages.  My phone is now complete and works for everything (voice, data, SMS, MMS).  Should I need to reset my device to the factory settings then I'll need to go through these instructions again.

I'm so happy.  Don't get me wrong, there's things with the OS that need a ton of work.  For example the camera takes pictures of a quality similar to my Droid and not nearly as good as my iPhone 4, and the browser is not nearly as sharp as the browser on the iPhone 4. The team has a big list of stuff to be working on, and I'm good with that.  I'm happy with this initial release, and I'm confident the updates will flow at a pace that pleases me.

If you were at PDC10 and got one of these devices then I challenge you to not leave it in the box but instead use it.  Be fair though, and try it out for at least 2 weeks.  I don't believe you can adequately provide feedback on Windows Phone 7 without using it for at least that long.  The LG Optimus is a simple and yet beautiful device that complements the simplicity of the Metro and other concepts in Windows Phone 7.  Hopefully it will come to AT&T pretty soon so other people can enjoy it.

tags: WP7 | PDC10 | LG Optimus

PDC10 - Recap

PDC10

Last week I recorded a show with Erik Mork where we talked about PDC10, the announcements, the content, the activities, and the swag.  One of us may not have sounded too enthused about having attended the conference (you’ll have to listen to find out who).  Last week I also got an email from a friend asking me if I was happy with having attended PDC10.  I’m starting to get the vibe that some folks were disappointed with PDC10.  Here’s my take…

When I walked away from PDC10 I was 100% satisfied.  Why?  I can promise that it’s not because they handed out Windows Phones for each attendee (though that was awfully nice).  First let me say that I attend conferences for a variety of reasons:

  1. Ask-the-expert sessions
    1. One-on-one opportunities to ask questions to team members
  2. Workshops
    1. Often taught by actual team members
  3. Opportunities to participate in user studies
    1. Giving feedback on the technologies that matter most to me
    2. Being the “squeaky wheel”
  4. Networking with other industry professionals
  5. Networking with Microsoft employees
  6. Swag
  7. Be included as part of Justin Angel's entourage
  8. Tweetups
  9. Sessions
  10. Keynote Announcements

When I mention “team members” I’m talking about Microsoft team members.  This would be Joe Stegman, Mike Harsh, Pete Brown, Jesse Liberty, Tim Heuer, John Papa, Shawn Hargreaves, Yochay Kiriaty, Jaime Rodriguez, Clint Rutkas, Karl Shifflett, Scott Hanselman, Phil Haack, Glenn Block, those kinds of team members.  I’m not name-dropping, these are people that I had actual conversations with, and because I’m a “squeaky wheel” they actually know who I am.  These guys are more than happy to answer questions, help you with your app, and help you be successful.  To be fair, Joe Stegman will most likely only remember me as a punk Boise State fan.  Meh.

At PDC10 I stayed a day later and participated in an all-day workshop for Windows Phone 7.  It was a deep dive on tips and tricks from team members.  About half of my time was spent getting answers to questions on apps I’m currently building.  You can listen to me talk about my experience with Jesse Liberty (begins at 6:15).  That extra day of workshops and one-on-one time was the most important thing that happened at PDC10.  During MIX10 I came a day early to participate in the workshops.  Mike Taulty and John Papa did a Silverlight 4 Bootcamp that was absolutely phenomenal.  Seriously, Mike’s opening session was the best Silverlight presentation I’ve ever seen, period.  In my experience, workshops at a Microsoft conference are worth their weight in gold.

You might be surprised to see how high swag is on my list.  Let’s be honest, attending conferences is expensive in both time and money.  Many professionals are trying to maximize their opportunities while remaining platform agnostic and I’m not any different.  That means I’m much more likely to go to a conference such as Adobe MAX where I can get some “bleeding edge” hardware, rather than one that typically hands out nothing (e.g. MIX).  This is playing a huge factor as I’m evaluating what conferences to attend next year.  The question is which conference will give me the best bang for the buck?

Believe it or not, the Silverlight community is fairly small.  The WP7 community is even smaller.  The XNA community is the smallest of all.  Getting out and being a part of these communities is pretty easy.  You’ll find that these are tight knit groups who are more than happy to welcome newcomers.  I’m not going to extol the benefits of networking, but I will say that conferences are the best place to do it.

Let me summarize by saying that I don’t attend conferences for the sessions or the keynote announcements.  Honestly, you shouldn’t attend conferences for those reasons either.  Your boss will be quick to tell you that the sessions are recorded and broadcast for free, and he’s right.  If your primary reasons for attending PDC10 were the sessions and keynotes then it’s no surprise that you were disappointed.  I’d have been disappointed too as there weren’t any “big” announcements.

I attend conferences for everything else, and my advice is that you should do the same.  As the old adage goes, you get out what you put into it.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDC10

Setting up WP7 from PDC10 for AT&T

Last week at PDC10 I was one of the many developers who walked away with a brand new LG Optimus (LG-E900).  Yeah, I finally got my Windows Phone 7!  Since then this phone has taken on the following roles:

  1. Used as a developer phone
  2. Used by my wife for her personal phone
  3. Used by myself as a personal phone
  4. Back to being a developer device
  5. Now sharing role of personal phone with iPhone 4 (swapping sims)

As you can guess I've had to reset the phone multiple times.  You can do that by going to Settings > about > reset your phone.

If you plug in a SIM card you'll quickly notice that data isn't working unless you're on WIFI.  In order to get data to work on your phone you'll need to manually configure your APN setting.  To do this, go to Settings > cellular > add apn.  You'll then enter the following information:

  • APN:  wap.cingular
  • Username:  wap@cingulargprs.com
  • Password:  CINGULAR1

Thanks to Ryan Cain for originally digging up this information. 

tags: WP7 | PDC10 | LG Optimus

State of Silverlight - PDC10

During the PDC10 and the last few days there's been some discussion on the state of Silverlight, and some speculation on what Microsoft may plan on doing with it.  Mary Jo Foley summed it up best:

After I published a blog post last week about Microsoft’s shift in its Silverlight strategy (based on an interview I did at the Professional Developers Conference with Server and Tools President Bob Muglia), there were a lot of concerned and angry Silverlight developers and customers.

Heh, no kidding. Since then a lot has been written on the subject.  Today I shared some of my thoughts with Erik Mork on the Sparkling Client podcast. Listed below are links to the original articles by the key contributors in this story:

More thoughts by key individuals:

Silverlight is not going away, it is and will still be used for the same purposes as before.  Silverlight is the future of application development on mobile devices for the Windows platform.  This discussion has been somewhat interesting, but sadly more just a waste of my time.  I have no desire to speculate or debate this anymore,  Say what you want, I'm very busy doing Silverlight application development for web, desktop, and mobile platforms.

Lastly, please feel free to come to the PDXSLUG meeting on 11/9 and ask Scott Stanfield (CEO of Vertigo) his opinion on the topic (http://portlandsilverlight.net).  He’ll be talking about HTML5 in the context of his company being known predominantly for their amazing work in Silverlight.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDC10

PDC10 Live Portland!

Here's a public service announcement for those of you in Portland who aren't going to PDC10.  Thanks Stuart!

 

Developers! Developers! Developers! - LIVE from the Microsoft campus to Portland, Oregon.

Come join us for this FREE community event in the Microsoft Portland office.

Space is limited so register right away at http://pdc10portland.eventbrite.com/

PDC10 sold out fast, but you can still join in the excitement here in Portland with the LIVE STREAM and in-person sessions. Watch and discuss PDC10 keynote addresses with Microsoft Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ballmer, and Microsoft President, Server and Tools, Bob Muglia, plus other sessions streamed live from PDC10 and presented in person by Microsoft Regional Director, Stuart Celarier. The PDC is Microsoft's forward-looking conference for software developers and architects who want to stay on top of the latest directions in technology from Microsoft.

PDC10 conference contain includes next-generation Cloud Services; Client and Devices - including Windows Phone 7; and Framework and Tools. This year's PDC is a groundbreaking event with live streaming of the keynotes and other sessions. And now you can get the highlights of PDC10 without leaving Portland.

During the lunch break, attendees are encouraged to form small discussion groups and dine at one of several nearby restaurants. A variety of discussion topics will be suggested that align with the PDC10 content, or you are welcome to propose your own topics. As a free community event, PDC10 Live Portland does not include a hosted lunch: however, you will have a chance to win.

One fabulous door prize! Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with a one-year MSDN subscription, valued at $11,900.

Watch and discuss PDC10 together in Portland!

tags: PDC10

Register NOW for PDC10

Yesterday I registered for the Microsoft Profession Developer's Conference, otherwise known as PDC.  This year it will be held on October 28-29 on campus in Redmond, Washington.  Registration is only $1000 and it's going to sell out fast as there were only about 1000 or so spots available.  While you'll be able to watch all the sessions online for free, nothing beats being able to talk to the team members in person, to ask them your questions, and to participate in all the discussions that are happening off camera (e.g. in the hallways, during the meals, etc).

I really want to start a rumor that Microsoft will be handing out either Slate or Windows Phone 7 devices to all attendees.  I should probably clarify that I said the same thing during MIX10, and we all know how well that turned out.  I'm planning on using my iPad during all the sessions, and I'm not getting my hopes up about the swag.  :P

Let me know if you are planning on attending.  With such a small crowd this is sure to be a blast. 

tags: PDC10