Okay, so we have a new mobile computing device looming on the horizon (note I said looming, not in hand). Great. So it comes with a few fun apps like Sudoku, IM client, and a few other standard type tools. Not enough. People have to have software, and they want software that is engineered to work well on their new device. Thus the role of the Independent Software Vendor (ISV). Just because an application runs on Windows XP, it’s not good enough for the Ultra-Mobile PC. Just because an application runs well on a Tablet PC, it still is not good enough for the Ultra-Mobile PC. Now don’t get me wrong, a number of these apps will run fine on the Ultra-Mobile PC, they just will not be maximized for it. What we need now are ISV’s that are stepping up to the plate and writing code insuring their device not only runs, but takes advantage of the new form factor. It will not be a success unless someone writes these applications. Period.
(Note to ISV’s: Don’t just install your app on an Ultra-Mobile PC and say, “yep, it runs”!. Give me a compelling reason to want to install it because it takes advantage of my needs in portability, which is why I bought an Ultra-Mobile PC anyway!)
Lora Heiny at WhatIsNew.com has posted a nice set of guidelines on how to get started in Ultra-Mobile PC development. There is a really great list of links, resources, and general comments on this process. If you are considering Ultra-Mobile PC development, you need this list. Here is her statement to those already doing Windows dev work:
“As a Windows developer, the knowledge you have acquired and applications you are building today will transfer directly to a UMPC. Because the UMPC runs Windows XP, all of the familiar Windows APIs are still available to you when you design applications for it. In addition, developers of Tablet PC and mobile PC applications have the expertise gained from using the API for pen and ink, designing for flexible display layouts, and network and power awareness that will enable them to optimize applications for this new class of computer. “
Lora is very involved in the ISV program at Microsoft as a developer evangelist, so keep an eye on her blog for good developer information and links to things you want to know. Lora also posted this list of ISV’s that are “stepping up to the plate“. on the Ultra-Mobile PC support side. Here is a list she shared of some of those ISV’s:
- Adobe Flash and Shockwave
- Agilix GoBinder 2006
- Ambient Design ArtRage 2
- Blackboard Backpack
- Corel Painter Essentials 3
- Design Universe E-Mobile Solutions
- DyKnow Vision and Monitor
- FranklinCovey PlanPlus
- JumpingMinds InkGestures
- Mi Corporation Mi-Forms
- Microsoft Office, Streets & Trips, FolderShare
- Mindjet MindManager
- Mobile Kinetics HandPortal
- NewspaperDirect PressDisplay
- xThink MathJournal
Note to these ISV’s: WE ARE WATCHING YOU. Do not try and slip a Tablet PC application in and call it Ultra-Mobile PC friendly. Maximize screen real estate, use touch well, make sure buttons are large enough — you get the picture. We will talk bad about you if you do not do these things.
Boy, I bet they are scared now, huh?