First off, let me say that working at Microsoft is nothing what you would expect! Most people think of Microsoft as boring, dated and lame. That could not be more wrong. It is one of the most dynamic, fast paced placed I have ever worked. Working at Microsoft is fun and challenging.
Windows Phone was a late comer to the whole mobile OS arena. With iOS and Android taking up most of the market share, is there room for a 3rd OS? While the answer to that question is up in the air, I have to say developing for Windows Phone is a dream! I have done some Android work in the past and the SDK seems a little hacked together. Clearly Google was trying to make it usable with Java, but the overall experience was just okay. Windows Phone on the other hand integrates well in Visual Studio. Microsoft focus on the experience and encourages developers to do the same. Raw specs only go so far. The quality of the OS under the hood is really what matters.Nokia has some very solid handsets and while they are single core, the out preform my dual core Android phone. (Java is slow, what can I say?) I must admit I have never developed for iOS (although I just ordered my first Mac) so I cannot really make a comparison there.
This summer I have been developing some apps for WP7.5. The metro design is smooth and makes it easy for a person like me (who is not a UI designer) easy to design a decent user experience.To make things even better, Microsoft is encouraging interns to develop apps. It’s called Xapfest and it is sponsored by Windows Phone and Microsoft Research. Microsoft gave us loaner phones (Nokia Lumia 710!), the new MSR Hawaii SDK and hosted several hackathons! What is a hackathon? Well it is free food, WP7 experts and 6 hours hanging out with other interns. I have been working on an app called Find It. It will be in the Windows Phone Marketplace in mid to late July. The app uses speech to text and optical character recognition of the Hawaii SDK to enable user to find a word or phrase in text. Think of this as Ctrl-F for the real world. The screenshot you see here is rather early. I will be working on making it look better come July.
The Windows Phone SDK is a free download from Microsoft and if you are a student, the costs to share your app is free (thanks to DreamSpark!). So why not give it a try?