A PC for the Post PC era?

Windows RT first Impressions

So prior to using it I kind of had a mind set that Windows RT was going to feel like using Windows CE’s big brother (which technically maybe you could argue it is) but in practice what I have found so far is that the experience is EXACTLY the same as standard Windows 8.  I am emphasising that because it does feel like the same O/S and not some kind of cut down little brother (which again, technically in many ways you can argue that it is).  So what does that mean? I guess in the first instance it is good news for Microsoft.  It means RT devices are more attractive than they otherwise might be and bodes well for the future (though I do wonder how long it is until the Intel chipsets match ARM for battery, cooling and  ‘small device’ opportunities – making RT nigh on redundant).  At this point I should mention the Elephant in the room – you cannot run legacy Windows Apps on Windows RT, but what is surprising is at this early stage, and even with the limited (10k+) number of apps available this fact is maybe not such a big deal after all.  Most of the devices I have seen so far fit firmly in the iPad competitor category and when viewed in this light the story for RT devices is very positive.  Microsoft have been very smart in including what feels to me like a full version of Office with Windows RT – making it a even more compelling than if it only supported  Windows 8 apps (which is does extremely well!). 

So the overall initial impression of RT is very positive. If you want something that offers iPad like weight and size (or lighter/Smaller) with reassuring levels of Device*, Office and PC compatibility and a relatively low price point then I would urge you to check out these devices now! 

* The device support in terms of things like printers, scanners, mice etc. looks to be good but with some limitations with older equipment – so check this out first if you want to use RT with any third party hardware that it getting a little long in the tooth.

Update – where do I see myself using my RT device?

My own RT device (Surface) will live its’ life on a day to day basis in the family lounge.  By day it will be the target device for the development of new Windows 8 Apps, by night it will become a leisure device for the whole family to use (Browsing the web, Skype calls, etc.) .  It’s portability also makes it a candidate for taking on holidays or business trips where its’ note taking and office / calendar functionality will come to the fore.

Your Apps: How to succeed in the Windows Store

So early days but so far the signs are that I am not getting my Apps into the hands of the users as effectively as I would like.  How so?  Check out some of the metrics available from Microsoft for your apps:

First the good news: when I manage to get this App into the hands of users they are using it more than the average for other news apps:


Then the bad news, I’m getting less downloads than I would like.  So this got me thinking.  I have written about the value of promotion before and there is a lot you can do.  But here is what you should be aiming for as far as the Windows store is concerned:

1. Get your App featured in the Spotlight section!


2. Get you App featured in it’s own category section in the store:


3. Get your App up there in the ‘Top free Apps’ section:


So the big question.  How do you go about achieving the above?  First of all look at providing effective graphics for the store to use.  Take real time out doing this or you probably won’t get off first base!  Here are the graphics I have provided for my own App ‘Live Tile News’:

(I am particularly proud of the last image that brings all the semantically zoomed categories together to look like a British rocket!)

Here are some more that I provided for ‘Live Tile Browser’

I really like the effectiveness of the colours and the association with Windows Phone (which is what this App is all about)

But the real answer to the question is one that I cannot answer.  I figure a part of it must be letting ‘whoever makes these decisions’ that you are keen to do what it takes to get your own App featured!  (and correspondingly this is in part the motivation for this posting)

Good luck with your own apps, there is already a lot of competition out there!

Using the BUILD Session Planning Tool

So I played around with this great tool and came up with some recommendations for using the tool that work well for me.

Here are the steps I took to maximise my BUILD experience:


1. Begin by filtering sessions by day and select all the sessions that you would like to see on that day:


2. Next flip across to the schedule tab and spend some time removing multiple choices you made in a particular slot and then consider adding interesting sessions in slots that don’t already have a choice:


3. Review your choice in the ‘my schedule’ tab:


4. Now repeat the above process using filters set for the other days of the conference (day 2, day 3 etc.)

5. Once I had completed this process I then set filters on particular subjects that I am interested in to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

6. Finally I set filters on my favourite speakers to make sure I didn’t miss anything interesting there.

Remember that a little dead time is not necessarily a bad thing – your brain will be overloaded by the end of the conference so consider giving it a break!

Hope you find this run through useful.  It’s a great session planning tool this year and my thanks go to whoever was behind it!

Have a great conference and say high if you spot me wandering around!




Windows Phone “Marketplace Trial” Error Details

I received the following mail yesterday from the Windows Phone Team.

I have to say that I wasn’t aware of this issue and am pleased that Microsoft is dealing with it in what appears to be a sensible and straightforward manor.   I trust that they will provide the name of the App[s] along with number of downloads when they provide details of the compensation!  I would also be curious to know how this happened and the steps MS have taken to ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.


Windows Phone Marketplace Commerce

05 October 2012 23:03:17


Windows Phone Marketplace Commerce Team


We are writing to advise you that your app was inadvertently made available via trial mode to Windows Phone Marketplace users during the period of September 19-28, 2012.  The issue was corrected on September 28th and since that time no trial versions of your app have been downloaded (unless you changed your app to enable trial mode).

Within the next ten business days you will receive communication on how and when you can expect compensation from Microsoft for the monetary value of these trial downloads. 

We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your continued support of Windows Phone.  If you have any questions, please email us at mplcomm@microsoft.com and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Best regards,

Windows Phone Store Commerce Team