Our friends at Nokia sponsored our latest Hackathon series by supplying us with 30 brand new Lumia 800 phones. Operating on the Windows Phone 7 platform, these Nokia Lumias nicely highlighted developer ability to create an engaging consumer experience using existing Microsoft tools and technologies such as Visual Studio, Expression Blend Silverlight, and the XNA Framework.
While WP7 is still seen as a new and somewhat unknown platform to many smartphone consumers, at Xtreme Labs we find have recognized that our familarity with other Microsoft tools have flattened the learning curve significantly. In an effort to become more familiar with the platform our software engineers had the chance to participate in an internal, two-part Xtreme-Nokia WP7 hackathon series. Two events took place over two Saturdays in the month of February at the Xtreme head office. The first event was dubbed the ‘Learn and Hack.’ Atley Hunter, a Microsoft WP7 expert, along with our very own Greg Burgoon, ran morning tutorials on the platform. They covered an array of topics like Background Agents, Tiles, Location, Media, and Push Notifications.
The afternoon was spent in experimental creation mode. Given the opportunity to play with knowledge they had learned earlier in the day, the developers were able to start manipulating the code to their will. It was clear by the end of the day that our team was ready for the next event.
The main Hackathon event was held the Saturday after the long weekend. Teams spent the whole day working on assigned features in hopes of creating usable code for future app creation. Paul Laberge and Matthew Rabinowitz from Microsoft, and Chad Saliba from Nokia paid a visit to our office. They toured our facilities and got to see our devs in action.
By the end of the day our developer teams had created four very cool apps, utilizing social integration, location-based services, and media playing. While the specifics are top secret, we can tell you that one team worked on push notifications using tiles, while another created a social alarm clock. Stay tuned for more details on these projects as they become available.
When demos were over and we were all feeling pretty accomplished, we still had one more detail to take care of: giving away six brand new Nokia Lumia 800s. By luck-of-the-draw six lucky developers took home the top prize that Nokia generously donated. In the post-event wrap up, the reviews about WP7, and the Nokia Lumia 800s were overwhelmingly positive. Our developers found the platform easy to to work with and were impressed by the tiles feature, as well as it’s smooth UI which were so brilliantly brought to life by the Lumia’s 16 million colour display.
If you are interested in learning more about the WP7 platform, check out some of Microsoft’s online tutorials.