Friday, February 18, 2011

Windows Phone 7 Connector, For Mac

This story has a happy ending, just keep reading.

I've been working with a friend of mine since July of last year to develop a game for the Windows Phone 7 Platform. We're probably at the half-way mark and have a large amount of content and code put together. It's coming along nicely. All the same we are a tiny two(ish) man studio that hasn't had a release yet.

As is probably evident from this blog, I'm mostly an Apple guy these days so I do most of my developing on a Mac or from inside a Windows 7 or Linux VM. When Microsoft announced they were going to put out a WP7c for Mac, I downloaded the beta even before I had my developer phone. It seemed righteous, even allowing you to change your selections mid-sync.

Now, imagine my excitement after they published the same application Apple's new Mac App Store? I was jazzed. When I downloaded it I experienced some pretty significant trouble getting it to sync with my device. My partner and I had already suffered some setbacks (his laptop's HD died) and I was feeling pretty discouraged about WP7 at that moment anyway.

The news of the release made it on Engadget and I decided to make a post under the article just in case anyone at Microsoft was paying attention. Less than an hour later my post has a reply beneath it. Someone claiming to be from Microsoft wants to talk to me about the issues I've been having. I text my partner to verify that the email and the person are legitimate, being fairly certain it's just a Troll out to ruin my day.

It wasn't. This guy was the real deal.

I contacted the nice gentleman at Microsoft who works in the Zune Dept. with the WP7c specifically. Over the next two days he and I correspond. I log the connector, try swapping things around, and attempt to get my phone to sync the problem file, a short video of my Guinea Pig Lucy eating a carrot. Gotta have it on my phone for obvious reasons.

During the course of the exchange I learned a lot about Microsoft-Windows cross compatibility when it comes to Zune, iTunes and the Windows Phone 7. What files will sync, which one's won't and so forth. If you're a Mac user with a WP7 device and have questions, I'll be posting some of my findings soon.

The end result? We swapped videos of fuzzy critters for our own amusement AND I have a build (ver 1.0.1) of the WP7c that syncs all my content (non-DRM prot) to my Samsung Focus. The friendly gentleman at Microsoft told me the fix I helped discover will be in the next public release. If you're a Mac user with a WP7 languishing under a WP7c that doesn't work right, have no fear... the next one will work better for you.

If you're a developer who is struggling to stay motivated, I can say with confidence the folks at Microsoft are hard at work to make WP7 successful. Yep, they even care about the experience Mac users are having with their device. For me, being able to contribute directly to the platform in this way was a huge boost during a time when I was feeling particularly discouraged.

I love Apple's devices but I don't think I could ever be a developer for them. All my interactions with them on the phone/online/etc have been cold, robotic and a complete waste of my time. Microsoft's high-level and hands on approach to seeking solutions for WP7 has me convinced that it can succeed in a mobile market (thus far) dominated by Androids and Apples.


  1. hi, i am also a focus user with mac. i have issue importing like everything in my focus into mac, can u help me with that? i really need to upload the videos in the phone to mac.