Charles Petzold

Windows Phone 7 and the Art of Presentation

October 20, 2010
New York, N.Y.

Tomorrow evening I'll be giving a presentation to the NYC .NET Developer's Group on Multitasking on Windows Phone 7. If you plan on coming, please use that link to register. Your name needs to be on a list in the lobby in order for you to get up to the 6th floor for the event. I hope to see you there! I don't get out very often, and this is my only presentation about Windows Phone 7 currently scheduled.

Some of you may have seen my lunchtime presentation on Windows Phone 7 programming in April at Devscovery 2010 where I had to use the phone emulator included with the development tools, and then simulate a Windows Phone 7 device by putting my Zune HD into an antique Trimline case.

The presentation tomorrow night will be different: I'll have real Windows Phone 7 device and demonstrate real applications, many of them from my forthcoming book, Programming Windows Phone 7 (which turned out to be quite a bit longer than I originally anticipated, and which will be made available as a free download next week during PDC 2010).

In fact, I'll be using my Windows Phone 7 for the entire presentation tomorrow night. Aside from talking about multitasking on the phone and demoing programs, I'll also be showing a short PowerPoint deck right from the phone, and seamlessly task-switching between the PowerPoint slides and the demo programs. I'm very excited about it!

There's only one little hitch.

If you saw the video of Joe Belfiore at the Microsoft and AT&T Press Conference on Windows Phone 7 last week, you saw how he was able to hold a phone tethered to a PC and then project the phone's screen to the audience through a live video feed:

Microsoft and AT&T Press Conference on Windows Phone 7

Way cool, right? Imagine strolling into an office meeting next month, taking your Windows Phone 7 out of your pocket or purse, plugging a little cable into the top, and then treating your workmates to a PowerPoint presentation (or perhaps something more interesting) right from the phone!

And that's what I wanted to do tomorrow evening. I wanted to hold the phone, stroll around, show my slides, do my demos, and demonstrate the great leap we're making into truly flexible and powerful mobile computing.

But like I said, there's one little hitch: That live video feed from the phone? It's not a standard feature. It's not on the prototype phone I have, and it's not going to be on the production phones that you and I are going to buy over the next few months.

Of course, it occurred to me to try to get my hands on one of the "special" phones that have live video feeds just for my presentation. My official channel responded with a definitive No. (Lawyers weighed in, I'm afraid.) My unofficial channel was potentially more fruitful but in the end I decided that I shouldn't be using a feature of the phone that will not be publicly available. As a developer talking to other developers, I need to keep it real and honest.

So, tomorrow evening I'll be propping the phone on a podium, pointing a camcorder at the screen, and projecting that image. It definitely won't be as crisp as a direct video feed, but you'll be able to see my giant fingers press the phone buttons and use multi-touch.

And I hope that the next time I do a presentation on Windows Phone 7, I'll be using a device with a direct video feed that has become a standard feature.