Try WP7 via the Browser
Written by Ian Elliot   
Tuesday, 06 December 2011

Microsoft has come up with a clever idea. Why not create an HTML app that simulates the WP7 UI so that any other phone user can try it out.

Microsoft has come up with a clever idea that that might just backfire given enough time.

The idea is simple.

Why not create an HTML app that simulates the WP7 UI so that any other phone user can try it out. All the user has to do is to browse to the URL and start using their phone as if it was a WP7 Metro style phone. You could even download and run it in a desktop browser but there is some code in the simulation that checks to make sure you are running on a phone.

 

 

Of course, even if you do try sending emails or logging on to your Facebook account, nothing actually happens - no emails or social networks were harmed in the making of this demo - but of course they could have been.

The point here is that if WP7 can be simulated so well as an HTML app why not make WP7 just an HTML app?

This is the age-old question that first scared Bill Gates into creating Internet Explorer many years ago to keep the idea of browser as operating system away from Windows.

The browser has almost everything needed for an operating system and what it doesn't have can be added quite easily. This is how Chrome works and it is how Mozilla's Boot to Gecko works. Put simply if you are going to write everything in HTML/CSS and JavaScript then you really don't need an operating system that runs Java, C# or objective C. So why not just get rid of Android, iOS and WP7 and simply replace them by a browser OS?

Yes, Microsoft has had a good marketing idea and it might even make one or two users consider WP7 as a possible next phone. We just have to hope that they don't start wondering about the magic that puts WP7 on their phone even though it was something completely different. Pointing out that the way a phone behaves has nothing to do with its hardware, and nothing much to do with its operating system, might not be the smartest thing for an operating system company to do.

If you want to try out the simulation browse to

http://m.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/demo/index.html

using a mobile phone of course...

And finally the answer to the question every programmer must be asking is - yes. You can run the WP7 simulation on the Android emulator:

 

WP7onAndroidSim

 

Such is the power of software... it does run a little slow but it is usable.

 

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