For Microsoft Kool-Aid Drinkers, Non-paid MS Evangelists written by a Senior Consultant, Passionate about Tech

All posts tagged mobile

ApplicationBar

Okay, we have finally made it to our final post on using the awesome tool, Metro Studio, by Syncfusion to create great assets for your Windows Phone Application.  Hopefully you got something out of the last three posts:

Metro Studio, Part 1 – Splash Screen

Metro Studio, Part 2 – Icons and Tiles

Metro Studio, Part 3 – Background

Todays focus is going to be on creating a quick application bar using the plethora of icons available in Metro Studio.  It is amazing how quickly we can create a great looking application bar for our application.  So, let’s get to it.

Before we get started, I have a little bad news.  My system crashed the other day and I lost the Metro Studio project that we were using for the previous posts.  I did, however,  have the Visual Studio project backed up, so we are good there.  I won’t be going back to create everything the way it was before, so, hopefully you are smarter than me and back up your work.  Okay, what do we do next?

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imageWell, I have used Felix the Cat and Captain Caveman in my last two posts, so it is time to crack out a superhero, The Fly.  In the first four issues of Adventures of the Fly,  others took on the character and made him an adult lawyer who fought crime in Capital City. He was later partnered with Fly Girl.

So, as a continuation of my previous posts, Text to Speech in Windows Phone 8 and Voice Commands in Windows Phone 8, I thought I would expand on my previous post and show you how to update your voice commands on the fly.  For example, what if we wanted to add to a command by introducing a new word to the phrase that was spoken?  Up until now, we could only issue commands that we defined in our voice definition.  Well, today, I am going to walk you through how to add this functionality programmatically.

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FelixTo play off of my last post on Text to Speech in Windows Phone, I thought I would continue the theme of cartoon characters.  So, anyone out there heard of Felix the Cat?  Felix the Cat was a funny cartoon character in the silent film era.  He always found himself in a fix and needed to resort to his bag of tricks.  Well, let’s jump into the Windows Phone SDK bag of tricks and see how we can send voice commands to our Windows Phone 8 application.

Windows Phone 7.x introduced simple voice commands such as “Open Ebay”, “Call Ed Glogowski”, “Find food in Apple Valley”, “Text John Cannon” or even “Note It is my wife’s birthday on Friday”.

Windows Phone 8 has given developers the option to extend the voice commands to call directly into their application.

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imageDoes anyone out there recall the old cartoon, “Captain Caveman”?  Well, if you don’t recall it is probably because there is a great chance that you haven’t ever even heard of it.  He was basically a really hairy caveman, with a club, who could pull anything out of this hair and eat about anything you can imagine.  His club would also open up with miniature dinosaurs that would perform various tasks.  Here is a quick video in case you are interested.

So, you are probably wondering about now where I am going with this, huh?  Well, just as Captain Caveman could reach into his hair for goodies, so can we with the Windows Phone SDK.  One very powerful feature we can pull out is the Text to Speech API.  Windows Phone developers are given a SpeechSynthesizer object that you can use to add some very powerful functionality to your app.  It can provide subtle user feedback as well as very elaborate speech feedback.

At the time of this writing, SpeechSynthesizer supports 15 languages and each supports both a female and male voice.  You can view these languages in your phones settings under Speech.  In the Speech settings you will see the a number of settings, but the important ones to note are the Text to Speech voice and the Speech Language.  These settings will be what the SpeechSynthesizer uses as its default.  Your app will have the ability to change it programmatically as well.

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If you want to learn anything about the new “awesomeness” of Windows Phone 7 … click on the image below and find an event near you!  Did I mention it is FREE?

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imageAs most of you know … over the last few years … Microsoft has taken a beating for it’s OS, Vista.  Though this operating system was an improvement from previous versions, meaning it had features and functionality that consumers requested most … it lacked quite a bit of hardware support.  Hence, setting itself up for attacks from all angles.  FYI … Microsoft still owns a huge, monopoly, percentage of the OS market.  Nobody really comes close.

Let’s move to the Windows Mobile OS arena.  What?  Windows is on a cell phone?  Yes.  Windows Mobile 6 and 6.1 were the previous versions of their mobile operating system.  Needless to say, those versions, while very powerful, had many issues that again created a huge target on the back of Microsoft.  Things like, battery life, outdated user interface, etc., caused people to move to a better experience.  aka iPhone.

The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile phone market.  Well, sort of … at least from a user interface perspective.  If people were to look at the iPhone and an old WM 6.1 or WM 6.1 phone, the clear winner would be the iPhone.  Well, that is if you were just looking at a phone to play with … meaning, listen to music, make calls, text, surf the web and add on third party applications from their app store  However, if you were going to run your business from the iPhone and you had been using Windows products, servers and services … the iPhone fell short in many areas.  So, needless to say, people were very interested in the iPhone because it was cool … and disinterested in the Windows Mobile phone because it wasn’t … cool.

In hopes to move closer to a better, more attractive, or should I say, “cool” mobile OS … Microsoft has released Windows Mobile 6.5.  Is this the iPhone killer?  Absolutely not … but, what it is is a means for Microsoft to slow down the popularity of the iPhone and in essence, relay the message to Microsoft and Non-Microsoft users that they are coming … be prepared.

In hopes to help lead the charge, I thought I would include the video that I found on the site, Slash Gear.  It is reviewing one of the 30 phones that will be released at the end of this year with Windows Mobile 6.5.  Notice the great user interface that was built on the top of Windows Mobile 6.5 and all the functionality available thru the new mobile OS.  Watch the video below…

 http://vms.slashgear.tv/sgtv/sgtv_player.swf

As you can see, pretty impressive.  Great step Microsoft!  I want to go out and purchase this phone … but … read below ….

Do you want to know what is even more exciting?  Microsoft is working hard to release their Windows Mobile 7.0 mobile OS early next year.  This is a complete rework of the OS which will surely be a huge blow to Apples iPhone!  Again, look for that early spring 2010.

So, has Windows Mobile 6.5 been a good step for Microsoft or a waste of time?  Well, there are two sides to every coin.  One side says, “Stop wasting time and get a product out the door that will “blow away” the competition.”  The other side of the coin says, “Hey, we have to do something or we will become too far behind to ever catch up.”  Microsoft has their hands in so many cookie jars, that it is hard to to focus in on any one thing.  So, I guess it is a flip of the coin for now, but … 2010 will be a huge year for Microsoft.  The hard work to get Windows 7 right this time around will pay off … they will be releasing a new windows mobile 7 OS … they will be releasing Microsoft Office 2010 … Microsoft Office Live Apps (the free online versons of their office suite) … a revolutionary “controller-free” based add-on to their XBox 360 called project Natal … new Windows Live services … new online application stores … new retail stores … a whole new set of developer tools … oh, and you can bet that their will be more secrets revealed as the year moves forward.

I would love to hear any feedback you might have on this topic here on my blog or via Facebook or Twitter … usernames for them are Edyg023.