Most cell phones reviews are done by analyzing hardware specs, running a few applications and speculating how the device’s features are evidence of the legendary iPhone killer. Very rarely are reviews done by someone actually switching from their preferred handset to the new device that is the object of their scrutiny.
This is more than a review, it’s a journey, a story if you will, about what it really means to switch from the iPhone to a new Windows 8 Phone.
Why Windows Phone?
In researching this decision, I found similar statements to, “If something is working well for you, then why switch?” To be honest, I feel the same way. I love my iPhone and have been an iPhone user since version 1; having every intention of upgrading to the new iPhone 5. So this post isn’t about any Microsoft vs Apple fanboy business.
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According to CNET, there were about 1.2 billion mobile broadband subscriptions in 2011, mobile computing is quickly becoming the primary computing platform. As a developer, mobile is an exciting place to be and the technology and landscape is changing every day. So what do we make of products like Google TV?
With so many companies trying to shoehorn every possible online service onto a tiny screen, do we really need to think about a technology that is stuck in one place, where people spend very little time these days? Web TV came and went in the 90s, with little success at bringing web services to the sofa; but, is cramming everything into a mobile device the right way to go either?
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We are pleased that our latest application, Pyramix, was listed in the New and Noteworthy section of the iTunes Store for iPad word games.
In the last couple months we have released 7 of our own iPhone, iPad and Android applications. Here’s the rundown.
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Does It Have To Be One Or The Other?
If HTML5 truly is a competitor of Flash, that is a good thing. It will only encourage better performing, feature-rich options in Flash going forward. This notion of HTML5 being a Flash killer, just is not true, at least for a long time.
Taking the Test:
There are some online HTML5 browser tests you can use to test compatibility. Until all of the major browsers (IE) fully adopt this standard, it is not a viable option for most web development needs. Even Safari is not fully complitent with the HTML5 standard according to this test. I got 115 out of 160 with Safari 4.0.5 and 113 out of 160 on my iPhone, with some of the most important UI support still not supported.
Here is a great video, sent by Greg Wilson, that puts the HTML5 vs. Flash in perspective for now.
Just days before the official announcement of Adobe’s suite of CS5 applications, Apple Inc, updated their iPhone Developer Agreement with a few lines like, “Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++…” and “Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited”. The web was abuzz with what all this meant for Adobe and other third party tools that make developing for Apple’s iPhone more accessible. It was speculated that this was a clear shot from Apple Inc, across the bow of S.S. Adobe Systems, Inc. It might as well have been a headline that read, “Safari Dropping Flash Player In a Push for HTML5”.
On April 15, 2010, Adobe forged ahead and introduced Flash CS5 and all of its iPhone app building potential. Were they disoriented from the blast still ringing in their ears, or did they know something the rest of us didn’t?
As we internally discussed the repercussions of the Apple Development Agreement update and what it meant for our future on the iPhone/iPad platform, we contemplated the words “originally written in …”. Perhaps this was not as bad as it sounded. We are, after all, users and fans of Apple products and are very concerned by the thought of this great company becoming that grouchy old man in the neighborhood that just put up a huge warning sign stating “If You Are Not an Objective-C programmer, You Shall Not Pass!”
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Building iPhone Applications with Flash CS5 – video – taterboy
December 6th, 2009 | Filed under: ActionScript 3, Flash, iPhone
Lee Brimelow at gotoAndLearn.com posted a great video tutorial showing how easy it is to build iPhone applications with Flash CS5. Here are a few subtle observations from watching the presentation.
1. The iPhone development option in Flash is no small part of the next Flash release. The Flash Team really want to make the process as pleasant as possible. It will be easier to build iPhone apps, according to the video, then it was to build AIR applications when AIR was first released.
2. Flash CS5 will have a more Flex-like feel and better coding experience when writing code in the actions palette.
3. iPhone hardware acceleration will be in the final release of Flash CS5, the video has an exciting preview of different examples of Flash animations using hardware acceleration on the iPhone.
It’s hard not to cynical, the official announcement was made at MAX seemed too good to be true, the lack of hardware acceleration made the pre-release applications less appealing, but things seem to really be coming together as we are coming closer to the final release. The last obstacle is the size of the applications themselves. We want to release applications that can be downloaded over the air.
By the way, I am still waiting on my pre-release version of Flash CS5, maybe Santa can put in a good word for me. I have been nice all year.
I have to admit I was skeptical of the rumors and was not alone either. There were many tweets on this subjects as everyone speculated what the “Big Flash Announcement” was was going to be. So now it’s out of the bag, you will be able to build iPhone apps with Flash Pro CS5. So what does this mean?
Most Important, The FAQs:
7 Current Flash Apps In The appstore:
This article may sound cynical as we discuss some of the different hurdles to getting an app from Flash Pro CS5 to the iPhone. The news is exciting to hear and your brain can go wild with the possibilities, but the real question is what kind of apps can we actually build with Flash for the iPhone?
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iPhone Application (Game) Reviews.
We currently have 4 apps in the store, 2 games, one lite version of a game and a companion app to the book The Business of Design by our founder Joe Desetto. Though we had plans to have at least one new app in the store and another one really close to being submitted by now, I was pulled away from developing for the iPhone to work on other projects. I hope to be back to work soon.
Note: TapDots is now a free app and has done really well now with it’s gratis price, in the education category.
In the name of research and planning for new apps we downloaded and played some of the newer 99¢ games on our iPhones. Here are some brief reviews on a few of those apps.
Research or Play?:
Flight Control is like the gold standard in the 99¢ iPhone game market, it is what every game developer strives to put into the store. It is a simple, challenging and addictive game with great design and replay value. Unfortunately, like with all great things there are many copycats. There are a whole new line to line drawing/prioritizing games now, must are fun to play, but it is hard to enjoy them as much of the original. Too much of a good thing and all that….
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The gig is up. All those who thought I was really smart for building Box of Sox with xCode now know the truth. Box of Sox and tapDots were built with Corona, not the beer, but an iPhone SDK from Ansca Mobile.
Ansca is officially announcing Corona and it’s early adopter program this week at the HOW Conference in Austin Texas and will give a live demo on Friday in a session called “iPhone Development for Designers”. They will be joined by our own Sean Carey and Joseph Desetto to talk about the production process used to build Box of Sox.
To find out more about Corona, sign up for the early adopter program and download the SDK, check out their website here.
Information Week also quoted Trae Regan, another HDI guy, on trying out Ansca. He is a PHP/Database programmer and had his first iPhone prototype, pulling and parsing xml from the web, in a couple hours. Like many of us, Trae has spent numerous hours on xCode/Objective C tutorials with a nice collection of tutorial samples to show for it. Contrast that with a few hours spent with Corona, he was able to build a unique working prototype for a new application from scratch.
If you are looking for more details about Corona, check out this podcast at mobileorchard.com. Carlos and Walter from Ansca really get into the inner workings and their vision for Corona.