Predicting The Future!

So it has been a while since I have posted and I am not doing so hot on my goals for the year.  Work has kept me pretty busy an I have not had time to play but when I heard about Windows Phone 7 Series from Microsoft I had to make time to talk about a bunch of small observations that add up to something that is potentially big.

I am going to make a prediction about what is going to be announced at Mix 10: “The Window Phone 7 Series SDK is Silverlight!”   There it is my prediction and I am not just talking about browser support.  It is pretty obvious that Microsoft is going to include Silverlight in the phone’s browser, if they don’t then it is a big fail.  What I am saying is that applications developed for the phone will use Silverlight (think out of browser apps) as the platform.  Here are some of my observations:

1) Ray Ozzie got up at PDC 2009 and stated that the vision of Microsoft is “Three Screens and a Cloud”.  During his address he kept going back to this premise. During that address I could have sworn I saw a slide that had the Silverlight Icon on all three screens (I will have to go back and take a look).  It makes sense to have a common development platform for all devices.

2)  During Scott Guthrie’s keynote at PDC a Silverlight Client for Facebook was demo’ed and subsequently released to the public.  If you take a look at the UI it looks very similar to the functionality seen in the Phone Demos.  Was this a Proof of concept for the Phone?

3) My next observation is the install base of the Silverlight Plug-in is continually increasing.  This is due in part to events like the Olympics on NBC and other high profile applications using Silverlight to deliver content.  This helps push developer to develop Silverlight content.  If the 7 Series uses Silverlight as it’s SDK then there is already a developer community that can start creating applications that work both on the PC as well as the Phone and it is not a big stretch to move that app to the Big Screen (Think Three Screens and a Cloud).  That is one of the reasons Apple made the iPad use the iPhone operations system; over 100,000 applications ready to use once the iPad is released.

4) At PDC 2009 Silverlight 4 was introduced to the world and as such there were many sessions centered around Silverlight 4.  The one thing I noticed was that there were not too many session on WPF.  The out of browser functionality of SL4 moves it closer to replacing WPF as a platform for Windows based systems.  Plus SL4 works nicely with the Cloud (Here again that Three Screens and a Cloud is popping up).

5) The last point flows nicely in to my next point the Silverlight 4 Feature Set.  If you look at the features that are coming they play nicely with a phone:

  • Hardware Access (camera, microphone, etc.)
  • Out of Browser (The base OS is a form of Windows)
  • COM Interop (Integrate with Outlook on the Phone?)
  • Rich Text (foreign character recognition, think text apps)
  • Multi Touch Support (hardware requirement)
  • Sensor Awareness (could this be coming)?

6) My final point is the lack of Silverlight 4 support in Visual Studio 2010 RC.  It has been noted that the next public release of SL4 will work with the RC.  My guess is that release will happen at Mix 2010.  What better way to announce that SL4 will be the SDK than at Mix 2010.  Microsoft has already said that they will be making announcements at MIX around the SDK.  Is there anything new in the SL4 release that can be tied to the Phone (see sensor awareness prediction above)?  Is that why there was not a public release at the same time as the RC release?

I may be way off as I have no affiliation with Microsoft. I am not privy to any ongoing development there or at any of their partners.  My prediction is based upon my observations that I noted here.  But if I am right, then I think that exciting things are in store for the future.  Makes me wish I was going to Mix!


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