Earlier today a handful of stories were published describing limitations and weaknesses in the provided support for developers concerning access to the camera on Windows Phone 7s. Microsoft did not appreciate the tone of the stories, and reached out to set the record straight.
To catch you up a touch, this is what we said previously:
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…. 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.
That is not exactly the case says Microsoft, who released this statement:
Windows Phone 7 does restrict third party access to certain phone functions in order to ensure consistent performance and a great customer experience; however, it is not accurate to say “the camera’s off-limits” to “Windows Phone 7 app makers”.
Windows Phone 7 does provide third party developers with access to the camera in order to perform key functions such as taking and editing pictures. There are several apps in Marketplace today that not only take advantage of the phone’s camera for use within the third party app (e.g. Twitter), but also integrate the third party app into the phone’s own camera application interface (e.g. Pictures Lab). This integration means that the third party application is only one step away from the photo that the user has just taken. [emphasis TNW]
So in the end we were partially correct, Microsoft does have restrictions in place that many developers claim are strangling their work, but you can still use the camera in stunted ways.
I’m not sure what “consistent performance” problems opening up the camera to more uses would cause, but Microsoft seems to have their mind made up. Now if they would just roll out cut and paste we could talk.
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