Focusing on Photography with Windows Phone 7
A live chat with JP Wollersheim, Group Product Manager for Windows Phone, just ended over at Windows Phone 7 Backstage where we learned some really cool things about photography in Windows Phone 7. First of all, the dedicated hardware camera button makes launching the camera very quick and easy. Fast cameras seems to be a big priority for Windows Phone 7. Even if the phone is locked or turned off, just press the camera button to turn it on and start taking pictures. Windows Phone 7 is very smart about that feature, too! If the phone is in your pocket and the camera button is pressed accidentally, that will not turn the camera on and start taking pictures in your pocket… it uses the proximity sensor to know that it’s in your pocket and won’t turn on.
We also got a first look at the video recording interface. It’s pretty much the same as the camera interface, except when the recording starts, a nice big time code appears on the screen and counts up the seconds as you record.
Then there’s the pictures hub where every 5 times you access it, it will change the background & live tile by itself. Optionally, you can tap and hold on an empty part of the pictures hub and change the background manually. We also got to see a very cool transparency effect in the pictures hub where while your finger is touching the screen and panning, the thumbnail photos become somewhat transparent as you move. While we didn’t get too much information about the image editing capabilities in Windows Phone 7, JP mentioned that there are some possibilities for developers to integrate image editing applications with the pictures viewin hub.
Of course there’s also some nice social sharing integration as well. You can set your default online sharing location to either Facebook or Windows Live for easy uploads of photos taken. The “What’s New” section shows photos recently posted by your friends. Initially, it downloads a screen resolution image, but then progressively downloads the full image so you can zoom and add comments.
Another interesting feature is the integrated viewfinder in the camera. After you’ve taken a photo, you’ll see the edge of the last picture you took creeping over the left edge of the viewfinder. Swipe that to the right with your finger and right away you get to see the last picture you took. Swipe again and you’ll see the one before that. Swipe the other direction and you’ll get back to the camera’s viewfinder. That sounds like a great feature!
Lastly, there’s filmstrip view. When you’re looking at an album full of pictures, you can pinch to zoom out and see all of the photos in a horizontal row as thumbnails so you can more easily navigate through them very quickly.
The recorded live chat should be posted here after it’s been processed.