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I just got my first WP7 (an LG Quantum) about ten hours ago. Since then I’ve explored it, played games on it, registered it as a dev phone, deployed my project that’s nearest to completion and tested that, taken some pictures, transferred some essential albums to it, downloaded some apps and some trials, and setup my twitter account and several email accounts both standard and custom. Between one thing and another, I never had a chance to use an actual phone until now. So I’ve been running on pure faith since WP7 was first announced. I’m glad to say that my faith was well-placed. The past ten hours have been like Christmas Day was when I was a kid. Are there some things that could be better? Sure. Having to type a particularly long domain name several times while setting up a set of email accounts would’ve been helped along by copy-paste. There are a few quirks in Zune that I’d enjoy seeing fixed in the future. But in general, it’s really been a pleasure and it’s more beautiful than I could’ve imagined. It makes me want to go out and do things and take pictures and show the phone to people.

In my initial journey, I bumped into several things (most of which I’d heard about before but had to research nonetheless). So I thought I’d chronicle them and share them with you so that when you get your WP7 (assuming you haven’t already) and are ready to start developing with it, you can have as smooth an experience as possible (and perhaps discover a few things you didn’t know about more quickly). Without further ado:

  1. To register your phone as a developer device (assuming you’ve registered at the AppHub and completed the verification process), follow the instructions here:
  2. If you get an error when trying to perform the registration itself (and you’ve made sure that your time & date are correct), make sure that you don’t have your phone connected to a Wi-Fi network. If (like me) you connected to your Wi-Fi network as soon as the phone discovered it, you can disconnect by going to your phone’s home screen (the thing with the tiles), pressing on the right arrow in a circle and swiping left to go to the full list of applications, going to “Settings” and then under “system” choose “Wi-Fi” and swipe the selector left to turn it off. I’m not positive this is required, mind you, just that the first time I tried to register it gave me an error, I confirmed the date & time, decided maybe it was a network confuzzlement issue, disabled Wi-Fi, tried again and it worked.
  3. If you’re doing anything with music and get an exception while trying to run (e.g. I got an UnauthorizedAccessException trying to set MediaPlayer.IsRepeating to true), what you need to do is close Zune and run the WPConnect utility (available as part of the October tools update This is a known issue and I think they’re working on a more permanent fix, but for now, running WPConnect in lieu of Zune is the solution. If you’ve installed the October update, WPConnect can be found at: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v7.0\Tools\WPConnect\WPConnect.exe (for 32-bit systems) and C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v7.0\Tools\WPConnect\WPConnect.exe (for 64-bit systems). Note that you’ll need to run that from a command prompt (which you can get to by pressing Windows-R and typing ‘cmd’ (without the ‘s). If it errors on you, give it a moment; the Zune software is probably finishing up closing down in the background.
  4. You don’t need to run anything special on the phone to deploy to it. Just make sure that in Visual Studio you change the deployment from “Windows Phone 7 Emulator” to “Windows Phone 7 Device”.
  5. If you’re trying to deploy and get an instant error, most likely your phone was idle for too long and did it’s turn off the screen & lock the phone thing. One of the first things I did was change my phone’s default screen time out (under “lock & wallpaper” in the “Settings”) to 5 minutes from 1 minute. I’d love it if they added a 10 minute and/or 15 minute screen time out option in the future and if they made it so that you could have different settings depending upon whether or not your phone was plugged in to a power source. I would leave it at 1 for unplugged and set it to a hypothetical 15-30 minutes for plugged.
  6. I was really amazed at how fast my game loaded up. Maybe a second, maybe less. I believe that the design of XNA’s Game State Management sample has a lot to do with that. Note that deploying might take a little while, but actually starting it up on the phone (you can test this by deploying, quitting your game/app, then launching it from the applications menu) was surprisingly fast after all the rumors of I/O speeds being meh. Note that if you’re front-loading a lot of data you’ll probably see something different entirely and will need to engage in some sort of splash screen with threaded loading optimizations.
  7. IMPORTANT. If you have trouble safely disconnecting your Windows Phone from your PC (i.e. you get an error message about a program still using your phone when you are trying to use the USB eject device thingy in the notification area), you will need to go to “Administrative Tools”->”Services” and stop “Zune Windows Mobile Connectivity Service” first. You probably need to close Zune first (I did not test leaving Zune open and stopping that service). Not sure if this is something wonky with my setup, but I thought I’d post it. This was tested in Win7 Ultimate x64. Your mileage may vary with other setups. 1
  8. My LG Quantum (which I’m very happy with so far) has both an “AT&T AppCenter” and an “LG apps store” in addition to “apps” “games” and “music”. They both have some fun, free content in them (e.g. the Xbox LIVE for WP7 game “ilomilo” in the AT&T AppCenter and a handy collection of “tools” in the LG apps store along with the cool looking “Panorama Shot” app that I haven’t had a chance to try yet but am excited about) so I definitely recommend checking them out (or whatever version(s) of these that your phone happens to have). A quick note, btw. I got my phone through Amazon Wireless but nevertheless qualified for AT&T’s free content offer. The wording on that was ambiguous but it seems that it’s if you get a phone with AT&T service, not that you have to actually buy it directly from AT&T.
  9. There are all sorts of interesting settings you can set in Zune for your phone. Browse around and have a look for yourself. Click the little “settings” text button in the top of Zune when your phone is connected to get there. “Do More On The Web” is particularly neat in my opinion.
  10. One thing you’ll see in “Do More On The Web” is the ability to locate your phone. To enable this and/or make it work better (not quite sure which), you’ll want to go into your phone’s settings, scroll down to “find my phone” and check (at a minimum) the “Save my location periodically for better mapping” checkbox. This service works through text messaging and, with the exception of any costs you may incur for the text messages, is free. Very neat. You can also use that site to do things like ring your phone, lock it (and add a “please return” type note) in case you’ve misplaced it, and even erase it back to factory defaults.

There’s probably plenty more to say and I’m sure I’ll have further posts in the coming weeks. Anything that really fits with this post I’ll add as an addendum. Until next time, good luck!

Edit (Nov. 22, 2010):

1A quicker way to get into the "Services" is to press Windows-R and type "services.msc" (without the quotes) and click 'OK'. This assumes you have Administrator access on your machine or that permissions are such that you can access and stop that particular service. (Not sure whether that's possible without Admin access.

Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 4:30 AM general , wp7 | Back to top

Comments on this post: Miscellany Tips for Working With a WP7 Device for the First Time

# re: Miscellany Tips for Working With a WP7 Device for the First Time
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Were you able to deploy to your phone without going through Geotrust verification?
Left by Yenian on Nov 18, 2010 11:21 AM

# re: Miscellany Tips for Working With a WP7 Device for the First Time
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No. Nor did I try. I signed up for the WP7 Marketplace back in July so I've been verified for quite some time now. It does suck for people in countries that aren't yet on the approved list for developers, though.

But I don't condone any attempts to circumvent security systems. Nor should anyone who is serious about developing for a platform. It does nothing to help anyone living in places that don't have developer registration (since they still can't sign up for the marketplace). It simply aids criminals who want to rip off small developers (like me) who just want to try to make a living at writing fun games and apps for people.

My advice is to be patient, use the developer tools, and keep your eyes open for opportunities to work for companies that are approved already. Having the security restrictions circumvented (or "jailbreaking" to use the happy, "we're not really stealing food from the mouths of developers' kids and causing them to be broke and their lives to be miserable" euphemism) helps no legitimate developer/developer-in-waiting.
Left by MikeBMcL on Nov 19, 2010 5:41 PM

# re: Miscellany Tips for Working With a WP7 Device for the First Time
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Not implying circumventing the restrictions placed. Geotrust verification was not automatically kicked off for those of us who have been registered on the old XNA Creators Club for several years now. It seems kind of backwards that the work around we face is to submit a 'dummy' app in order to be verified to deploy to our phones.

Xbox deployment was quite a bit easier. Had I realized this was going to be a problem, I probably would have kicked off a 'dummy' app before getting my Focus.
Left by Yenian on Nov 25, 2010 4:44 PM

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