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Windows Phone 7: 30 to Launch Windows Phone App Competition; Beginner’s Guide to Pick a Smartphone; Memory Profiling for WP App Performance

Windows Phone 30 to Launch ChallengeMicrosoft Windows Phone is setting the new cool for mobile computing “Your path to a Windows Phone app in 30 days” challenge. The 30 to Launch competition is on January 31, 2012 – February 29, 2012.

There will be an opportunity to register for App Hub for free in week 2 of the challenge. Plus, there’s a pretty sweet prize for 4 winners – a state-of-the-art entertainment package complete with a 3D TV and the ultimate gaming experience with Xbox Kinect.

“With great devices hitting the market and the broadly acclaimed user interface based on Metro design principles, Windows Phone is setting the new cool for mobile computing. Take advantage of the excitement and create a cutting edge application – fast. Really fast. 30 days fast,” reads the challenge description.

  • Starting Jan 31, you will have access to a weekly schedule with useful videos and guidance from experts to keep you on track.
  • In Week 2, you have a chance to request a token to register for App Hub if you do not already have an account.
  • In Week 3, you could get a Nokia Lumia 800 to test your app (And the phone will be yours to keep!)

Are you in? Sign up today to join the challenge beginning January 31.

Your path to a Windows Phone app in 30 days challenge

Microsoft is paying Nokia $230 for each Windows phone in an effort to catch up with Apple and Google in the cell phone market, according to an estimate by Forbes. Microsoft paid venture partner Nokia $250 million, which shipped 1 million Windows phones. Microsoft receives a license from Nokia of about $20 per phone; or a $230 price that Forbes calls “desperation.”

Microsoft paid Nokia $250 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 under an agreement that has Nokia adopting Windows Phone 7 as Nokia’s primary smartphone platform.

Microsoft Smartphone Beginners GuideAlso, for those itching to get hands on one of those sleek and powerful new Windows Phones the company is announcing lately – Microsoft created a beginner’s guide to hardware options and specs.

See this guide.

“Memory usage is one such source of performance issues that can degrade user experience, and the Windows Phone Marketplace enforces a technical certification requirement that an application must not exceed 90 MB of RAM usage, except on devices that’ve more than 256 MB of memory,” a Windows Phone team member stated.

There could be several causes of 90 MB of usage in a garbage-collected runtime:

  • Allocating too much.
  • Long living objects that bloat working set.
  • Holding on to references unintentionally leading to memory leaks.

“Applications allocating too much could end up with working sets breaching this threshold; applications with a large working set might eventually exit with an “Out of Memory” exception; and holding on to references unintentionally can lead to memory leaks causing working set to increase steadily and stealthily, eventually leading to the application exiting with an “Out of Memory” exception,” the member explains.

Adding he said, the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 addresses this through the introduction to profiling tools to analyze the execution, visual, and memory characteristics of an application. “Install the SDK now, and let us walk through the Memory Profiler as we investigate a case of a memory leak caused by unintentionally holding on to references,” he said.

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Profiling tools

Microsoft also recently published a Windows Phone Design Guidelines on MSDN, for developers looking for these design guidelines presented in an easy-to-consume format. Along the lines of easy to consume are the control design guideline topics. There are design guideline topics for most controls that ship with the Windows Phone SDK.