I think we’ve all seen the commercial where the kids are playing with their dad who is grocery shopping. The kids update the grocery list with all kinds of sweets. Eventually the dad realizes what is happening and he changes the list to “Do your homework!!” Microsoft is famous for showing stuff like this, and about 2 to 3 versions of VS later it gets available to the masses. In other words, it’s a feature they keep to themselves for a bit and then they give it to the developers. Oftentimes we have already moved on or have built our own solutions to the problem that we are now stuck with (until we refactor our code).
This is why I am amazed at what has been announced surrounding SkyDrive, Windows Phone (aka WP7, WP7.5, etc), and the next version of Windows. We are actually getting the ability to make apps like this! Very, very cool!
Theme Park Pro – A Scenario
I was recently at an Amusement Park and used my buddy’s NeurelNet’s Theme Park Pro App. If you are not familiar with the app, it let’s you scope out a bunch of Amusement parks (like Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens in Tampa, and Universal Studios Parks in Florida – just to name a couple). They actually offer badges as you walk around the park letting you check in at the Roller Coasters and other rides. As I was using the app that day I started thinking about a few changes I was going to suggest to the guys.
As the went on I realized that there were a couple things bugging me. I’m getting older (but still in my early 40s), so there are few roller coasters I ‘m not really interested in riding (mainly because I am not the daredevil I once was). I started realizing that what I wish I could have done was customized my trip to show those things that I wanted to do on my trip. Of course I really didn’t want to do this on my phone.. I wanted to do this on something like my tablet or my laptop.. I wanted to be able to customize my experience in Theme Park Pro and have it reflected when I grabbed my phone.
As I was thinking how to send this idea to my NeurelNet buddies I realized what an opportunity we all have (those of us who develop for Windows Phone –or other Mobile Platforms, really). We can make Phone Apps that absolutely rock and that combine the experiences of the PC and the Phone. I watched the demos at BUILD, but the reality is hitting me now.. I think there is a huge financial opportunity for us all again!