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Nokia's Current Offerings for Developers

Thanks for everyone who listened to me talk at PADNUG last night about Nokia's current offerings for developers building Windows Phone apps. The two programs I talked about were DVLUP and their Premium Developer Program (PDP).

DVLUP is FREE to join. In fact you should all join it right now if you already haven't. There's a 80 second video on the homepage that gives a quick overview of what DVLUP does for you. Go ahead and watch it now, I'll wait.

The other program (PDP) will cost you $99 and includes a lot of tools (see below). But save your money, I have free tokens for the Premium Developer Program to raffle out. In order to be entered in the raffle I need you to email me your DVLUP username. You already signed up after you watched the video, right? I mean, it is FREE to join and I did wait for you. Here's what PDP gives you:

  • One year of Windows Phone Developer Center membership ($99)
  • Free license for Telerik RadControls for Windows Phone ($99)
  • Up to 12 months' worth of access to up to 1 million API calls per month with's cloud APIs ($1200)
  • Two Nokia Tech Support Tickets ($198)
  • Marketing In A Box
  • Remote Device Access

Like I said, I have tokens to raffle out, but what I need is you to email me your DVLUP username. So if you haven't already the please go sign up now.  I'll be doing the raffle on Friday, so please get me your information soon.

Also, I want to introduce you to Jan Hannemann. He is out of Vancouver B.C., and is the Nokia Ambassador over our region (Oregon). He's has two promotions going on right now, one is WriteOneGetOne and the other is 620 hours of April. Last night I was explaining the WriteOneGetOne promotion. Here are the rules:

  1. You must not have previously released a Windows Phone app to the Windows Phone Store or Marketplace.
  2. Your app must have been Certified and available in the store AFTER January 1st, 2013.
  3. The app must be a QUALITYapp… What does that mean? It means:
    • Must pass Marketplace Certification
    • No Hello World or Flashlight apps.
    • The app must have a useful function.
  4. All Apps will be assessed by Jan and his decisions regarding validity in this promotion are final.
  5. This is limited to as long as he has the phones to give away, which is right now.

As you can see, this WriteOneGetOne program benefits those of you who have been sitting on the fence wondering when is the right time to get into Windows Phone development.  NOW IS THAT TIME!

Please let me know if any of you need help finishing your apps so you can submit to Jan for these contests. Many of you saw me pairing with Scott Hanselman last night as I was helping him with an app he's working on.  Know that I am more than happy to do the same for any of you.  Just reach out and ask and let me know.

tags: Windows Phone | wpdev | Nokia | Lumia | DVLUP

Mobile Hackathon - Portland (4/6)

This upcoming Saturday (April 6th) there is a hackathon being sponsored by Act-On Software in Beaverton, Oregon (map and directions).  The hackathon is themed around creating a mashup that uses gamification to drive green behavior in the community.  There is a very big emphasis on mobile.

Schedule & Registration

The event starts at 9:30am with Voodoo Doughnuts, and will wrap up around 11:00pm with an awards ceremony.  Yes, awards.  Bring any existing project you have or start from scratch and build a brand new project that uses gamification to drive green behavior in the community.  You have the chance to will $$ for your favorite charity or non-profit, as well as some really cool beer-ware made in Portland, Oregon.

While this event is free, you do need to register in advance in order to help with meal planning and logistics.  Please take the time to register now.

Making you successful with Nokia

I'll be there looking to hack with various folks on Windows Phone.  Don't have a Windows Phone?  No problem, you can borrow one of mine.  I'll be there with an extra Nokia Lumia 920 or two that I'll be loaning out.  I'll also be there talking about Nokia's current offerings for developers, primarily DVLUP and Nokia's Premium Developer Program, but also other not well known features such as Marketing in a Box, Remote Device Access, and Nokia Ad Exchange.

Free Phones for Dedicated Developers

If you're interested in getting a free Windows Phone, or interested in getting a free token to Nokia's Premium Developer Program then make sure you come find me and let's talk.  If you're serious about getting an app built then I can make sure you get hooked up and taken care of, but you've got to be serious (i.e. it's time to be serious about publishing).

Enterprise App Development

I've also been doing some "real" Enterprise App development with Windows Phone.  I'm not talking about faking it like we did in Windows Phone 7.5, I'm talking about real enterprise development and management of apps (e.g. think System Center and Intune).  I'm happy to talk more about this with any of you, I'll be blogging on that in more details in the future.

Windows Store Apps

And yes, I'll be there with my Surface and HP Slate, so if none of you want to do Windows Phone apps but you've got a great idea for Windows Store, then I'll be happy to help you hack out a solution for that.

Making Money

Let's be clear, I'm interested in publishing apps to stores and making money.  That's a big reason why I'm spending so much time in Nokia's programs and offerings.  Microsoft helps with the technical end of getting an app built.  Nokia helps with the business end.

I'm planning on having a lot of fun on Saturday at this hackathon.  Hopefully you are too and I'll see you there.  Please ping me after you register and let's start talking about we're going to build.  Might as well get started now, eh?

tags: Windows 8 | Windows Phone | wpdev | Nokia | hackathon

Behind the Tiles with Windows Phone

I wanted to let you all know about this event series. You'll have a chance to win the highly coveted Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone and be one of the first to get an in-depth hands-on trial at our special Behind the Tiles with Windows Phone events premiering at select Best Buy® locations.  I'll be at the ones held in Portland next week.

An Exclusive Event

During this invitation-only engagement, you'll have the opportunity to:

  • Attend a Nokia Lumia 900 instructor-led demo lab
  • Learn about the "Metro" style user interface and the future with Windows Phone
  • Get the latest information on Windows Phone for IT and Developers
  • Play with some of the latest and greatest Windows Phones
  • Network with peers and Windows Phone experts
  • Have a chance to win great prizes
  • Food and beverages will be provided to help you recharge your battery.

The number of attendees at each event is limited, so don't delay. Register today (registration code: UGM) to join me. I look forward to seeing you there.

To learn more about the Nokia Lumia 900, click here.


  • Charlotte

    Best Buy
    10221Perimeter PKWY
    Charlotte, NC 28216

    May 14, 16, 17

  • Chicago

    Best Buy
    Yorkshire Plaza
    4400 E New York St
    Aurora, IL 60504

    April 23, 25, 26

  • Dallas

    Best Buy
    Midway Shopping Center
    4255 Lyndon B Johnson FWY/I-635
    Farmers Branch, TX 75244

    April 30, May 2, 3

  • Houston

    Best Buy
    Galleria Mall
    5133 Richmond Ave
    Houston, TX 77056

    May 7, 9, 10

  • Irvine

    Best Buy
    901 S Coast Dr
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626

    April 23, 25, 26

  • Minneapolis

    Best Buy
    11600 Leona Dr
    Eden Prairie, MN 55344

    April 19, 23, 25

  • New York

    Best Buy
    Union Square
    52 E 14th St
    New York, NY 10003

    May 7, 9, 10

  • Portland

    Best Buy
    9739 NE Cascades PKWY
    Portland, OR 97220

    May 14, 16, 17

  • Redmond

    Best Buy
    19225 Alderwood Mall PKWY
    Lynnwood, WA 98036

    May 7, 9, 10

  • San Diego

    Best Buy
    5151 Mission Center Rd
    San Diego, CA 92108

    May 14, 16, 17

  • San Francisco

    Best Buy
    1717 Harrison St
    San Francisco, CA 94103

    April 30, May 2, 3

  • Waltham

    Best Buy
    550 Arsenal St, Space 2
    Watertown, MA 02472

    April 30, May 2, 3

tags: Windows Phone

Barcamp Portland 2012

Barcamp Portland 6 is happening March 30th and 31st at the Eliot Center in downtown Portland. This is an annual event that brings together people from throughout Portland's tech community (and beyond!) to learn and share about the wide range of things we're interested in.

We'll start off on the evening of Friday March 30th with an opening reception, then resume on Saturday with a full day of unconference sessions. The unconference format is like a conference, but all sessions are scheduled on site the day of the event, allowing anyone who wants to start a discussion, ask a question, or show off something neat, join in by adding their topic to the session board.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP on Eventbrite to let organizers plan accordingly for space and food. The event is free, thanks to generous sponsors and individual contributions. If you'd like to know more about sponsoring, see

Barcamp Portland is completely volunteer-run. If you can help out during the weekend of the event, or want to get involved in the planning process, check out or stop by a planning meeting Monday nights at Collective Agency between 6:30 and 8pm.

See the Barcamp Portland website for more details:

My intention is to find other folks interesting in talking about Windows Phone, Windows 8, and mobile development in general. Hopefully I'll see you there.

tags: Windows 8 | Windows Phone | Barcamp | Portland

Considering Mobile Development? Think Windows Phone.

I attend a fair number of user groups, code camps, conferences, etc., in Portland and Seattle.  Basically if it’s a developer-oriented event then you can probably count on seeing me there.  I see developers covering a wide range of interests and specialties.  I must admit, that I am continually amazed regarding the population size of mobile developers.  Let’s be honest.  It’s small.  No, it’s very small.

Almost every developer is intrigued by the current opportunities in mobile development.  Most will tell you they want to start developing apps, but they don’t have an idea.  Many have downloaded the development tools for one of the platforms.  Some will even take time out of their schedule to attend a full day of training (either free or paid).  A few of those have actually built an application and deployed it to their personal device.  Very few have gone on to publish an application.

Are you thinking of getting started in mobile development?  If so, then you should seriously consider building apps and/or games for Windows Phone.

As you get ready to start your mobile development career you must first pick a platform.  There are many reason for selecting Windows Phone rather than Android or iPhone.  I’m going to try and outline some of those reasons in this post, but we should really be having this discussion over drinks or a burger where it can be an actual conversation.  This topic of where to focus your energies as you prepare for the next step in your career, it’s a very personal topic and one you feel pressured to get right the first time.  You don’t have time to learn and do everything, which is why you’re first picking a platform to invest in.  You’d be crazy not to try and learn from those who have gone before you.  It would be nice not to make some of the same mistakes.

What you’re looking for is advice and perspective, not answers and instructions.

The case for Windows Phone

Here are 10 reasons for why you should select Windows Phone for the next step in your career as a developer.  This list is by no means complete, but it will have to suffice until you pull me aside and we have this conversation.

1. Use your existing knowledge and skills
Most of the people I talk to are .NET developers.  They’ve developed in C# or VB.NET and are familiar with the Microsoft stack and how to solve problems using the .NET framework.  They’ve invested time in learning WCF, WPF, Silverlight, and LINQ.  For them jumping to Objective-C and learning a new set of libraries is a scary prospect.  Windows Phone represents a huge opportunity in moving to mobile development while leveraging the skills and knowledge they’ve spent years investing in.  If this scenario applies to you then can understand why I ranked it as number one.

2. The Metro design language
Metro is the design language for Windows Phone.  It focuses on typography and content, and in presenting everything in a very clean fashion.  Metro removes any unnecessary chrome and removes all unnecessary clutter.  Metro apps are easy to use and those who use them don’t become lost or overwhelmed.  Metro also presents a great opportunity for developers to start growing their designer skills.  Metro is also easy for developers to learn.  You’ll quickly break those old habits from years of designing ugly applications in VB6 / Windows Forms.  I think everyone will concede that having even basic design chops makes you so much more valuable as a developer.  You’ll start to be viewed as someone who can conceptualize and capture the vision of a product.  That’s a high-value skill which is easily recognized by upper management.

3. World-class tools and support
Microsoft makes the best development tools in the world.  Period.  Their tools make you more productive in development (Visual Studio), in testing (Windows Phone Emulator), and even during design (Expression Blend).  Building with these tools or using an add-on like ReSharper doesn’t mean you’re a “weak” developer.  Instead it shows a level of understanding and maturity.  A good comparison would be choosing to use a nail gun over a hammer when building a home.  Sure you’ll break out the hammer occasionally, but you’ll get most of your work done with that nail gun.  When you’re developing for Windows Phone you take advantage of that amazing tooling and emulator support.  This translates to faster development, fewer bugs, and a shorter development life cycle.  That then leads to more applications being built, more success stories, and ultimately more profit.  I should probably also mention that the tools for building Windows Phone applications are free.

4. The Windows 8 effect
Arguably this reason could have been number one, however Windows 8 has not even been released.  Let’s think about this.  Windows 8 takes advantage of the Metro design language.  Metro now becomes the common design theme across the three screens (PC, Xbox, Phone).  Let’s be honest, once Windows 8 is released then every PC becomes an advertisement for buying a Windows Phone.  I saw a guy selling a laptop on the home shopping network, and he kept chanting how the world runs Windows, and Windows is what you know, and you won’t get lost when you use it.  Techies will purchase a Macbook Air and an iPhone or Android.  The rest of the world will purchase Windows 8 and then have their first smart phone be a Windows Phone.  I’m generalizing and I shouldn’t be, but we all know there’s more truth in that statement then we’d like to admit.

5. Nokia
I don’t know how many iPhone and Android devs I’ve talked to, but the majority have dismissed Nokia and its ability to have a positive effect in Windows Phone sales.  They won’t be saying that after today*grin*  Monday night during Mobile Portland I had a chance to listen to George Kurtyka talk a little about what Nokia is doing with Microsoft.  Nokia has an established reach into international markets such as India and China that is simply amazing.  However, only two phones were announced today, and the Lumia won’t even be in the US until early 2012.  Let’s be honest, they’re just getting warmed up.  By the end of next year, Nokia will be selling a ton of phones.  You don’t have to take my word for this.  Wait 4-6 months and then see what the landscape looks like.  But don’t look only in the US, look in Europe and Asia.  By the time your kids are out of school for summer vacation you’ll know whether the Nokia partnership was an absolute success or an horrific flop.  I’m pretty confident it won’t be the later.

6. Discoverability
Today it was announced there are just over 35,000 apps in the Windows Phone marketplace.  That means there’s still opportunity for you to build an app and have it be successful without any marketing.  However, one thing I really like about Windows Phone is how the new marketplace in Mango highlights more apps in each of the different hubs.  In addition there’s now a web version of the marketplace where I have dedicated web pages for each my apps (e.g. Alchemy, RunPee).  Anyone who has a Windows Phone can now purchase and install apps directly from those web pages.

7. Monetization – Ad Revenue
There’s money to be made with free apps which display ads.  The first key is to have an app which users will keep coming back to.  The second key is to display ads which are relevant to your app.  There’s a concept called eCPM which is essentially how much you get paid per 1,000 ad impressions.  Yeah, it’s nice to know you get paid just for showing the ads.  However, what most people don’t realize is that those eCPM values will increase if users click on the ads.  Because more clicks lead to a higher eCPM, your primary concern should be how to generate more clicks.  Consider that users are starting your app because they are interested in it, so why not show them an ad which they’re more likely to click on?  If your app displays movie reviews, then it makes sense to show an ad related to movies in theaters, or home entertainment systems, or even DVDs for sale.  Starting in April of this year I’ve had one app make over $5,700 with over 8 million ad impressions.  Beginning in August I saw my eCPM values double from what they previously were.

8. Monetization – App Sales
If you make a quality app then people will pay you good money for it.  And they won’t just pay 99 cents; they’ll pay 2 or 3 dollars.  I’m not sure if it’s the effect of having Xbox titles on the phone or something else, but this platform is not like Android.  People purchase apps on Windows Phone.  Don’t get me wrong, folks love to have free apps.  However, they aren’t afraid of purchasing an app provided they can see the value of the purchase.  For the last two months the royalties I’ve made on my paid apps have been double what the total ad revenue is for my free apps.  Again, the onus is on you to create a quality app.  If you think you’ve built yourself a winner then don’t be afraid to charge for it.

9. BizSpark
Not everyone has the stomach for starting a new company that’s building a mobile app, especially if it involves quitting their day job.  Regardless of whether you’re even considering such an idea, you should do yourself a favor and become familiar with Microsoft’s BizSpark programThis program is an absolute must for any startup.  Microsoft understands how important innovation from new startups is to the overall ecosystem.  They also know that 80% of all startups fail.  Thankfully Microsoft has made it easy and cheap to get into the program, and easy and cheap to graduate after three years.  Not all, but some developers learn they have the “innovator’s itch”.  If you find out that you’re one of them then the BizSpark program and support it brings is a great reason for developing on Windows Phone.

10. App Contests
Folks laugh that Microsoft keeps promoting contests where you can publish an app for Windows Phone and either win a device (e.g. phone, slate, Kinect, etc.) or free advertising for your app.  What they don’t realize is that members of my local user group have won 2 windows phones, 1 Kinect, over $1400 in cash, and at least 4 apps have won free advertising.  There are two high-value contests happening right now.  In the first contest you can win one million ad impressions for your app (details).  In the second contest you can win either a Samsung Series 7 Slate and/or free advertising for your app (details).  For the second contest you’ll need a promo code (use KWHIT).  Advertising has a huge impact on how successful (or not) your app is, just ask the folks building for iOS.  These contests represent huge opportunities for success, so get your apps finished, published, and submitted to these contests ASAP.  See Cigdem Patlak's blog for a more complete list of contests

Areas of concern (why not to choose)

I didn’t like writing this next section.  It felt like I was taking cheap shots at the friends I have on the Windows Phone teams and that wasn’t my intention.  However, I felt I needed to include this to provide an honest and fair perspective for you readers.  Of course there are areas where Windows Phone is lacking right now.  Are they deal breakers?  If not addressed, then absolutely.  Will Microsoft address and remedy these issues?  Why wouldn’t they?  I mean, isn’t this what the whole “reset” was about? Microsoft taking the time to get it right?  Or did they already have the reset and now we should expect them to be firing on all cylinders?  No, we’re still feeling the effects of that reset, and unfortunately Microsoft is still playing catch up.

1. Missing:  “Amazing” Success Stories
The types of stories I’m talking about are those where someone releases an app/game and after 6 months it’s made over $500K in sales.  Those stories happen routinely on the iPhone and even occasionally on Android.  To my knowledge there has not yet been a success story of this magnitude on Windows Phone.  Notice that I said “yet”.  I want to be one of those success stories (I mean, who doesn’t).  I also need there to be a few of these stories which I can then point to as I answer the critics I face.  I believe it’s only a matter of time.  Within the next 4-6 months I fully expect these types of success stories to become routine.

2. Missing:  Monetization – In App Purchase
Earlier this summer it was confirmed by Todd Brix that In App Purchase (IAP) was a high priority but would not be included for the Mango release.  Two months later during the BUILD conference the Windows 8 App Store was announced with support for IAP.  During GameFest I attended a session on the new in-game purchase API which uses Microsoft Points and is only available to Xbox Live titles (e.g. Beards and Beaks).  In my opinion, not having IAP is akin to not having copy/paste.  It appears that the Windows 8 and Xbox Live teams would agree with me.  Who knows, maybe there will be an out-of-band update similar to Nodo just for IAP.  It really, really hurts not having this feature.  Hopefully we’ll get some news on it around the MIX or MWC timeframe.

3. Missing:  Enterprise Support
From the beginning Microsoft has announced that the first release would be consumer focused.  Mango is still part of that first release (e.g. the version number is 7.5).  Yes there’s SharePoint integration on the phone right now, but I’ve been told that isn’t enough.  So exactly what is needed?  Honestly, I couldn’t tell you.  What I do know is that there is an enterprise application development model for the iPhone.  I also know we don’t have that model for Windows Phone.  I’m sure there’s more beyond just that.  I don’t expect Microsoft to leave this area alone.  In fact, I don’t see how they could.  I mean, we’re talking about Microsoft and they understand the enterprise's needs better than anyone else.

4. Missing:  Native Support
I used to think this wasn’t an issue. After attending GameFest and talking to folks at EA Canada and Unity I started to get a glimpse of how important it really is.  At BUILD I saw Windows 8 making a big deal about native code and not talking about XNA.  Now I finally understand that XNA isn’t the be-all-end-all solution I once thought it was.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love XNA.  However these big game studios have an amazing amount of influence.  Consider that they will be making games for the Windows 8 App Store.  How are those games going to get onto the phone?  Are they going to rewrite them in XNA?  Not a chance.  I know, because I asked them.  Now think about how big of a deal it was to finally bring Angry Birds onto Windows Phone.  I’m not going to draw any conclusions, but you have to wonder what kind of influence Windows 8 and WinRT will have on Windows Phone.

My Experience

I started out on iOS, and then started doing Android and Windows Phone.  Earlier this summer I abandoned all my efforts, projects, and opportunities for paid work using iOS and Android.  I only develop for Windows Phone.  My advice to you?  Mobile is super important to your career, so pick a platform and start developing now.  Personally, I think you should pick Windows Phone.

tags: Windows Phone | wpdev | Mobile

Windows Phone - Upcoming Events

There's a few upcoming events that you'll want to register for if you're thinking about Windows Phone Development.

Windows Phone Design Day

Ok, these are by far the most important events you can attend in the next 3 months. Period. Arturo Toledo has all the information about these on his blog. You should make sure you do whatever is necessary to attend one of these events. This is especially if you're a developer!

  • Find one nearby (details)
  • Register now
  • Get the day off
  • Use vacation time
  • Call in sick if necessary

Corrina Black and Arturo will both be at all these events. I cannot stress how important it is to listen and talk with both Corrina and Arturo in person. Also, be sure to take your app with you and get feedback on it.

However, you also need to that as of right now these events are only scheduled for Europe.  For those of you in the US, please start sending feedback to both Corrina and Arturo letting them know you want to see one of these events in a city near you. They need to hear from you personally, and the best way to reach them is through Twitter (@corrinab and @arturot).

Windows Phone Camp

These are the second most important events you should attend in the next 6 months. There are 33 that have been scheduled all across the US. Some are two day events, and most are just a single day. Right now you can go to the MSDN Events site and see a map of where these are all scheduled (red pushpins). The same advice applies:

Windows Phone Camps

  • Find one nearby (map)
  • Register now
  • Get the day off
  • Use vacation time
  • Call in sick if necessary

The Windows Phone Camp for Portland is scheduled for December 1st. I'm already registered. Be sure to say "hi" and let me know if you'll also be there. We'll probably do a nerd dinner / "appy" hour that evening.

If you don't have a Windows Phone Camp scheduled near you, ping your local user group leaders and/or myself and let's talk about organizing one near you. It could be as simple as a half-day event during the weekend. If it's not too far and my schedule permits, I'd be happy to show up and help support it. You should definitely be thinking about hosting your event before the second week in December.

HTML5 Web Camp

Depending on your perspective, this could also be a candidate for the most important event you should attend in the next 3 months. Especially with all the opportunities that will be coming with Windows 8.

You'll want to look at that same map on the MSDN Events site, but this time focus on the blue pushpins. There's not as many of these scheduled right now, but I'm sure you'll see more and more of these being added in the future.

Honestly, this is a great event that your non-Microsoft friends will also be interested in. Especially once they realize they can build apps in HTML5 and deploy them to the Windows 8 app store.

The HTML5 Web Camp for Portland is scheduled for December 8th. I'm already registered  This will be hands-on, so you'll want to bring your laptop. Space is limited, so register now.

tags: Windows Phone | HTML5

Augmented Reality Game in Windows Phone

Back in July the AT&T Developer Program sponsored a mobile hackathon up in Redmond, Washington.  This was an all day event heavily focused on building apps for the following three platforms:

  • Mobile Web
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

One team shined brighter then all the others and built an augmented reality first-person-shooter game.  It's amazing to see what they could get done in a single day.  Included below is a short video where give a demo of the app and briefly explain how they built it.  Did I mention this was built using the Beta1 tools for Windows Phone Mango?!

The next mobile app hackthon will be held on October 15th in Seattle, Washington.  There is no charge to attend this event, but you do need to register in advance.  I won't be able to attend, as I'll instead be attending the Portland Startup Weekend.  If you're thinking of attending the hackathon, be sure to register now.  Let me know if you do attend, I'd love to see what you build.

Augmented Reality Game in Windows Phone from Silvertail Software on Vimeo.

tags: Windows Phone | Augmented Reality

WP7 Mango Beta 2 - Get it now

This is the update you've been waiting for...

  1. Read Brandon Watson's blog post - all of it
  2. Download the Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta 2

You'll notice that with this update you now have the chance to update your retail phone to Mango. I'm in the process of doing this myself. Listed below are the high-level steps you'll need to follow (as suggested by Brandon Watson).

  • Read the instructions before updating, there are important steps you need to follow to the letter.
  • Update your retail phone to Mango.
  • Rub it in your friends' faces that you have Mango and they don't.
  • Build Mango apps.

So go get the bits, get registered for AppHub if you haven't already, get Mango on your phone, and then have a blast building new and exciting apps for Mango.

tags: WP7 | Windows Phone | mango