Rollerblade® Inline Skates app launched at BUILD

As the summer and spring season starts, I’m happy to announce that we just launched Rollerblade® Inline Skates app at Microsoft BUILD conference in San Francisco!

http://bit.ly/rollerbladeapp

The awesome sports app is immediately available from Nokia Collection on all Nokia Windows Phone 8.0 devices. More to come… SmileSmileSmileSmileSmile

From our partner:

West Lebanon, NH –Rollerblade®, the international leader in the inline skating industry, recently announced the launch of the Rollerblade® Inline Skating App, a brand new application that’s taking the sport to a whole new level. Through a partnership with Nokia, Microsoft, and the Active Network, the Rollerblade® Inline Skating App is the official application for the sport and will enhance the skating experience for users worldwide. The new Windows 8 Phone app allows users to enjoy features such as tracking workouts and fitness goals, sharing progress and photos with friends and family via social media, finding the newest gear, and photographing their skating experience.

DOWNLOAD THE APP

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Active Fitness for PC, tablets and Surface

Download Active Fitness for PC, tablets and Surface: http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/app/active-fitness/5a64d9f1-aea7-493c-a353-da41c08c0e77

Active Fitness for PCs and Tablets

Active Fitness is a personal trainer and fitness organizer for your Surface tablets or any Windows PC, with a companion Windows Phone app and a social network of quarter of a million users. Active Fitness is great for running, cycling, walking and hundreds of other activities, the app that earned raving reviews by Microsoft Phone blog and WPCentral for its companion Windows Phone app. Now with a Windows version of the app, you can enjoy your free sports analytics from the comfort of your tablet or PC and import data from other apps or devices.

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Take your active lifestyle with you

With Active Fitness you can use the same account you used for companion Windows Phone app, or your Winter Sports app account from another popular app for tracking activities. You are presented with a simple and rich interface that allows you to check your stats, add your activity from Windows Phone or any other app or device, check your training schedule, find your friends and see where they run or exercise and more!

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Hub for all your sports activities

Active Fitness automatically synchronizes your data with Windows Phone Ski & Ride app, and easily imports your data from other apps, Web sites and devices. Essentially, Active Fitness is a personal trainer, organizer and a fitness hub for all your sports activities on any Windows devices.

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Personal Training

Active Fitness provides dozens of training plans: both videos and automatically tracked with Active Fitness app for Windows Phone. Training plans keep you organized and motivated, and you can see your progress real-time as you run or cycle with Windows Phone.

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Companion app for Windows Phone

Active Fitness app comes with a free companion app for Windows Phone: the app that earned raving reviews from Microsoft Phone blog, WPCentral and is included in Nokia Collection.

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Feels like Olympics

Active Fitness has a rich global leaderboard that immediately makes you feel like you are in the middle of Olympic Games. Compete with thousands other users of Active Fitness social network and Active Fitness will track your position on the leaderboard.

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Where’s your friend?

Active Fitness has 200,000+ active users, the number that grows by thousands every day. To see where your friends are, use Active Fitness Friend Finder feature to find your friends.

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For Windows PC, tablets and Surface

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For Windows Phone

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POWERED BY ACTIVE FITNESS SOCIAL NETWORK

Windows Phone: one week with professional ski and snowboard instructors

Event Facts:
2
0+ teams lead by National level instructors with Windows Phones
200 ski and snowboard instructors
30+ Nokia Lumia Windows Phones uploading real-time stats and photos
Nokia and Microsoft employees helping on-site and skiing
1,000,000 vertical ft tracked by Winter Ski & Ride app
Technology used: Windows Phone, Windows Azure, SkyDrive and Windows 8
Altitude: 8,000 – 11,000 ft
= TOTAL SUCCESS

Tons of photos here

… even more photos and videos here

Windows Phone taken to the extreme

What’s the best proof of technology? Taking it to the extreme! Last week more than 200 attendees of the National Academy of Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) have been skiing, riding, taking pictures, videos and played with the apps, like the Winter app, at 10,000 ft elevations in the mountains of Utah. Microsoft and Nokia helped in this event, providing phones, skiing with the teams and of course showcasing the app for Windows Phone. Result? Thousands of pictures, videos, lots of smiling faces and memories that last.

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In the mountains of Utah…

All National team leads were given latest Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 Windows Phones, and they took them to the places, chutes, cornices, bowls and steep bumpy rides we could never think of. Together teams skied almost 1,000,000 ft vertical, tracked by Winter Ski & Ride app. The amount of April snowfall in Utah made every day the best day of skiing ever: with 5-8” of fresh snow falling almost every day, we also enjoyed days of sun and light, champagne powder.

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National level ski and snowboard event

The National Academy is an annual event gathering professional ski and snowboard instructors of America (PSIA-AASI), an organization of more than 32,000 ski and snowboard instructors training students in every region of the US. During the Academy instructors learn from the top national instructors.

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Microsoft and Nokia showing new technologies

Microsoft and Nokia representatives were very busy at the event, answering questions about Windows Phone, showcasing the app, making new friends and skiing! Some Microsoft employees skied for the first time, but after the event were ready to hit the slopes again! Presentation1

Photo: Matt Rothschild, Nokia’s head in North America demonstrating Nokia devices. Nokia and Microsoft showcasing devices, skiing and answering questions

What we learned

We’ve heard many great comments about Windows Phone, its video stabilization capabilities that make devices especially useful in the mountains, when taking instructional videos. Many mentioned superior device and camera capabilities that Windows Phone has, and also the software: such as Winter app that makes skiing with friends fun and also helps ski instructors teaching students. Together with PSIA-AASI, we also had a feedback and planning session from 30 national team leads, suggesting ideas for the next generation of Winter software and what a ski instructor may need in the mountains. This brainstorming will take the app to the next level. By the next season we are planning to significantly extend the app to include more exciting features.

SkyDrive + Windows Phone + Large Events = Awesomeness!

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Photo: Windows Phone SkyDrive settings

SkyDrive integration with Windows Phone provided seamless photo transfer from the mountain to the slideshows at night. Windows Phone 8 can seamlessly sync photos and videos with the SkyDrive, and with 30+ phones we managed that integration allowed us to instantly prepare slideshows at night, when the skiers came back from the mountain. To access this feature go to Photos –> SkyDrive Settings. We used PowerPoint to play the shows, but what we didn’t discover until the last night was the Windows 8 Photos app, which can also play the slide show!

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Photo: Windows 8 Photos app, notice Slide Show button at the bottom

Highlights

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Photo: PSIA Alpine Team member David Oliver, wearing Winter app snow-bandana.

Peter Kray, the author of “American Snow” book reached more than 100K vertical, skiing with the Winter app and had a goal of beating top skiers on the leaderboard. Pete’s book is beautifully printed, with pictures from both the old and modern days of ski instruction in America. Passionate skier himself, Pete says in his book: “To teach someone how to ski or snowboard is like sharing superpowers – giving the gift of motion, freedom, and flight – it’s the sensation of flying, with the world spinning beneath your feet and wind whipping across your face”.

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Custom made Winter skis made by Wagner Custom Skis to theme with the Winter app have proven to be a huge success: I skied them every day of the event, at various conditions: on groomers, steep, bumpy terrain and loved the way they feel. Winter app now includes a form where you can order skis made by Wagner with either Winter or any custom graphics. Skis are created personally for you to fit your skiing needs: Wagner makes any types of skis: from racing to big mountain skis. Born in the mountains of Colorado, in Telluride, these skis provided me with the best moments of my National Academy – at the end of the feedback session the skis were signed by national team leads – this will keep me motivated on working on the app in the summer. I hope to meet Pete Wagner personally to thank him for the joy of skiing his skis.

More about the event:

PSIA-AASI Selected as exclusive content provider for Winter Ski & Ride app

PSIA-AASI National Academy Day 2: Deep Returns, Hot App + Ages and Stages

Winter app

Photos taken by Nokia Lumia Windows Phone

Thanks!

Many thanks to Mark Dorsey, William McSherry, Earl Saline, Matt Rothschild, Thierry Doyen, Olga Vigdorovich, Matt Thompson, Warren Wilbee, Nisha Baxi, Kenny Spade, Randy Guthrie, Ain Indermitte, Razvan Furca, Ben Adams, Max Felix, Mike Hafer, Nick Herrin, Lane Cleua, David Oliver, Rob Sogard, Michael Rogan, Robin Barnes, Bob Barnes, Scott Anfang, Matt Boyd, Jennifer Simpson, Jeb Boyd, Dave Lyon, Ryan Christofferson, Jonathan Ballou, Jim Schanzenbaker, Heidi Effenger, Chris Fellows, Eric Lipton, Andy Docken, Dave Lundberg, Kelly Coffey, Pete Kray, Susan Urbanczyk and many others who helped organizing this event.

Ready to make some money, Windows 8 is coming!


This weekend I invite you to my session at Silicon Valley Code Camp 2012:

We’ll discuss Windows 8 Store, monetization and… a bit of a surprise: for the first time I’ll be announcing my book Professional Windows 8 Programming: Application Development with C# and XAML
, written with a great team of authors: Nick Lecrenski, Doug Holland, Allen Sanders, Kevin Ashley. At this session we’ll focus on practical aspects of monetizing Windows 8 apps. I’ll share some code examples, including: in-app purchase, trial unlocking, placing ads in the apps and using trial model to support monetization. We’ll also touch on more advanced topics, and as an author of several apps in Windows Store, I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Windows 7 sold over 500 million copies in just three years, if Windows 8 does that well this is going to be one of the biggest opportunities our industry has ever seen. Come learn how to get your app into the Windows Store and how to make money. After all, you want to be the first app in the marketplace and have the early mover advantage, don’t you?

SESSION CODE EXAMPLES INCLUDE: Trial, in-app purchases, store simulation.

1:45 on Saturday

Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

http://binged.it/WmQYKH

I just ranked #10 in Card+Board Category in the Windows Phone Marketplace!

imageIn November 2011, i.e. less than four months ago I humbly released a card game app to the Windows Phone marketplace. Mostly I built it, because I feel that as a Microsoft Windows Phone evangelist, I can help developers and partners better, if I have a hands-on experience on the subject, and also generate some content for my blogs, presentations and events. Today is time to celebrate: XYOLOGIC site ranked me #10 in the card and board category in the Windows Phone marketplace! Today, I want to tell you the story of this little achievement, hope it’ll be entertaining to any aspiring app developer.

It was a great and rewarding experience indeed, from the start! And I feel very proud and grateful for every $0.99, free download and user review I’m getting. In fact, I read every review, including those written in Chinese, German, Italian, French and Russian (thanks to Bing Translator!).

Where did my game engine come from?

I created the card engine called “Card Lion” back in 1999, when I was trying to build a Java applet for a little known card game called 101 “Hundred and One”. The game had a console client and a Java applet client. The purpose was just as humble: learning Java language.

Later, when .NET 1.0 came along, I decided to port it to C#, with the same goal: learning a new language. It was a Windows Forms based game, and I also built it for Pocket PCs. Microsoft was waaaayyyyyy ahead of its time with Pocket PCs! What we were missing was the Marketplace! This tiny little bit of infrastructure makes all the difference! This is why you can download my games today, and not back in 1999, when I already had it built, but had no way to share with users.

Porting to Windows Phone: the big leap

I took the leap and ported a Windows Forms .NET 1.1 C# game to Windows Phone XAML and C#. So all graphics had to be replaced, I’m glad my game engine was in a separate library and could be simply recompiled and attached to a new Windows Phone solution. Because of all animations on the composition thread possible in XAML, the game of 2011 started to look much better than Windows Forms game of 1999!

I had to recreate all graphics: every graphical element in this game, including cards was manually created in Inkscape in SVG format. There’s only a couple of images I bought for $$, everything else is my design, and boy, was it a lot of work!

Decisions, Decisions

There were many decisions I had to make, and every development decision had consequences: whether to use XAML or XNA, whether to make my games 2- or 4- players, whether to use landscape or portrait orientation or both, whether to integrate with Facebook, whether to use live tiles… How to design scoring and achievements… Should all my games be FREE? What should be the pricing and monetization? App developer needs to do lots of thinking and make many decisions Smile

Reading Reviews and Really Listening!

image6_thumbI use a fantastic app called zTop for that, it really simplifies the process or reading through user reviews across all global marketplaces, and even allows you to contact the reviewers back via Zune.

Most reviews, including negative ones have been extremely helpful. For instance, the first version of the game didn’t have a mute mode for sound effects. Thanks to the reviewers, I added mute mode and many other features to the apps. People mentioned that the trial on the “Card Games Chest” was limited to only one game, and I submitted an update, which allowed any game in the chest to be played in the trial. Over time settings, achievements and other features were added thanks to users’ comments and reviews.

Sharing the Code and Ideas

I also used many code samples from my apps in during my presentations in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the US, and I feel that became somewhat of an expert in the card game subject area for Windows Phone.

Since then I published 5 other card games, and I’m not at eleventh iteration, which added more features, including achievements, Facebook integration, live tiles and more.

Advice

My advice to app developers: listen to your users, submit updates, change pricing if necessary. Follow best practices and advice available on MSDN for app developers, but also listen to your inner self. Think of your users as your friends. Good rankings and reviews will come! If you are fair with your users, they’ll notice it! That’s the magic of making good products Smile Somehow your users will feel that you take care of them, and will promote your app. I’ve seen some apps placing an AdControl at the bottom of the screen where the user can mistake it for the application bar and click the ad. This will earn you $0.01, but it won’t in terms of your users’ love. Winning love is far more important (to me) than winning a few cents of revenue.

So, I call for fair apps. I call for fair apps that treat users with dignity. This is not about being free: there’s a lot of sweat and sleepless nights in those little apps. But economics of scale will only work with fair apps, it seems.

Many Thanks!

During all this time many people supported me enormously, and to all of them I’m very grateful. This may be a little funny game, but with all the polish, and work, and sweat, and nights it turns to be an adventure. Like writing a book.

Continue reading “I just ranked #10 in Card+Board Category in the Windows Phone Marketplace!”

5 Windows Phone games great for holiday travel

In my previous post we discussed using Expression Blend to create a flipping card animation. Since the Holiday season just started, I’d like to share these games I built, that use this technique. Happy Holidays, have a great holiday season, and for those skiers: Let It Snow!

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Register for Windows Phone Camps!

 

If you are a developer, or just curious about Windows Phone platform, we have a series of Phone Camps in Costa Mesa, Phoenix, Denver, Santa Monica, San Diego, San Francisco, Redmond and Portland. I’ll be speaking at Costa Mesa, Denver, San Francisco and San Diego.

Resource Links
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DEMO Fall 2011 Highlights

P1050205To someone transplanted from the East Coast and new to Silicon Valley, it’s charged with events. And September seems to be the craziest month, with Microsoft showing new products at BUILD in Anaheim, CA,  MEGA Startup Weekend in Mountain View, CA and DEMO Fall 2011 in Santa Clara, at a Hyatt convention center next to CITRIX.

This is my first DEMO event: last time I was about to present at DEMO when I was running my own CloudOLAP startup project. I didn’t happen because I feel that the event is about technologies that change the world radically, and CloudOLAP is a business intelligence “workhorse” type of product. So, it was interesting to see startups that actually made it to DEMO to change the world Smile

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Windows Phone Apps – Marketplace Rapid Growth, Developers Jump in the Game Early

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Windows Phone is experiencing an exponential growth in the number of apps submitted to the store, but developers still have a chance to capture this rapidly emerging market. If you are an individual developer, joining Microsoft’s marketplace called App Hub costs same as Apple’s, but if you are a student it’s totally FREE via program called DreamSpark. Also, if you are a student, publishing your first 100 apps in the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 market place is free and only limited by your imagination. And Microsoft also has many rewards for new developers, including brand new unlocked Windows Phones.

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