If you've seen any of the incredible dearth of Windows Phone 7 pre- and post-launch coverage and press releases, you heard about them or seen them. They are those wonderful things on the Windows Phone 7 home screen that provide you with easy access to information - your email, Xbox Live games and other applications. Any application on your phone can have one. They are Tiles. The early demonstrations showed all of the amazing things they could do - provide animations to inform and entertain and update dynamically as new information becomes available. And they were referred to on a regular basis as Live Tiles. They made us all very excited about the Windows Phone 7 platform - well, almost all of us. For another audience, the concept of Live Tiles made us a bit nervous.
For those of us who have been involved with the Windows Phone 7 platform from the initial announcement back at Mobile World Congress and the launch of the development tools at MIX, there typically came a point of realization regarding Windows Phone 7 tiles. For myself, that realization made me look to the future and the launch of the platform to the public. There would be questions from users, and perhaps a bit of disappointment. There might even be some anger.
When Windows Phone 7 was launched in Europe and the Asia/Pacific region on October 21st, 2010, those questions started coming. They came in emails and in forums. The names might have changed, but the question was always quite consistent:
"Why isn't the Live Tile for [Fill in the application name here] doing anything?"
While my answers may have been slightly different in each case, they all always boil down to the same simple fact - Not all Windows Phone 7 Tiles are created equal. In many cases, the reason why they are not is based on very good reasons. Recently, a discussion with Jason Dunn made me realize that it might be a good time to explain some of the reasons to the community-at-large. Read more...