Microsoft to developers: no touching the Windows Phone 7 camera

Microsoft to developers: no touching the Windows Phone 7 camera

Update, please see this post.

If you were to set out to develop an application today for the new Windows Phone 7 platform you might encounter a nasty surprise: you can’t interface with the phone’s camera.

Whether this is an honest mistake, merely an artifact of “it has to ship today, give me what you have” feature-loss, or part of an actual plan is not known, but developers are plenty annoyed.

Many popular applications today that are in the Android or iOS app stores use cameras heavily; those applications cannot be ported over to WP7 until the camera problem is fixed.

Fortune summarized the situation brilliantly:

…it appears that Microsoft left out the software hooks necessary to fully control the lens. For app developers, it’s a little like being asked to cook an omelet without a frying pan — it’s probably possible to get the job done, but it’s not going to be pretty.

What will the impact of this be on the level of development for the phone line? It can’t be positive. With the gadgets just coming out around the world Microsoft needs to have all hands on deck to support the platform. It needs to grow the WP7 application pool so that it will no longer be a competitive hurdle. With a mere 1,000 apps available, Microsoft is at a 300-1 disadvantage to Apple’s iOS store.

Fewer available apps will lead to fewer WP7 sales, which will in turn lead to lessened development for the line. Microsoft needs to fix this on the double; let the developers in.

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