WP7 so near – yet so far…

As of a few months ago we’ve been members of Microsoft Bizspark (translation – free MS software and forums etc etc).

Cool enough on its own – even cooler was that Microsoft’s WP7 – as many bloggers have commented – finally seemed to be solid mobile offering from Redmond.

So we were very happy when Microsoft saw fit to send us a WP7 development handset (we got the LG one) a while back – and we immediately set about putting the O/S through its paces. Inconsistencies aside (some native functionality doesn’t switch properly between landscape and portrait) it was very slick. Minimalist, text-heavy but slick – with the most in-depth facebook integration I’d ever seen.

I was excited to figure out the ideal feel for echoecho on this new platform – and after some playing around with the UI templates here’s what we got:

echoecho wp7 inbox

oh wait – that’s just the inbox – here’s the full size map:

echoecho wp7 map

Clean enough right.
Yeah.

Except it’s not possible to DO THIS on WP7.
What ???
You can’t do maps with accuracy circles??

No. You can do that.

You can’t do push notifications??

No. You can do that too.

I know…you can’t do mini split-screen maps?

No. You can do those also.

Well….what then??
Believe it or not – you cannot look up a number in an address book.

Yes. I know it sounds weird. So weird that when I first read it in their API months back I assumed it was an oversight and they wouldn’t actually launch with that part of the API disabled. But they did.

So basically – no 3rd party application can access the user’s address book. (as it happens that’s not the only API that’s been left disabled – but it’s the only one that concerns us directly)

This means that the echoecho inbox would essentially say stuff like 1 (310) 555 1231 instead of much more friendly and human-readable names like Dominika W..

WTF Microsoft !??

Even Apple’s iPhone (which is still more than a bit annoying/restrictive for many developers) launched with PIM/addressbook API’s that were accessible.

Unfortunately this means that the Windows Phone 7 version of echoecho is delayed until this aspect of the API changes.

We still like the platform – but we can’t port over to it until this changes.

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