Smartphone Skills: Part 01 - Introduction

I decided to start a series of blog posts regarding various aspects of using, customizing and developing for the Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone. This will be the first post … in which I will begin by describing what to expect and where to get some of the basics. I’ll try to keep this series short and to the point so they are very digestible. (On that same note, there may end up being a lot of posts in this series depending on how many topics I end up covering.)

Let me start by getting this out right away … I will not be discussing any other mobile OS. I will only be focusing on the Windows Mobile 5 for Smartphones (with a light sprinkling of Pocket PC). yeah, the name “Smartphone Skills” is a bit odd … but I thought it was catchy.


What is it the Smartphone OS?

Its a bit of a niche … its not just Windows Mobile 5 development, but its development for the Smartphone version of the OS. The Smartphone version of the OS is a bit scaled down than that of the Pocket PC version of the OS. The Windows Mobile 5 for the Smartphone is targeted for (obviously) Smartphones … which generally are phone 1st, PDA 2nd. (There is also a Pocket PC edition and a Pocket PC Phone edition, the latter of which is generally agreed upon as PDA 1st and phone 2nd.) I won’t go into all of the differences nor do I know them all by heart. However, some of the big differences are that the Smartphone OS does not handle stylus/pen events as the screen for Smartphones are not interactive. The user uses special keys on the phone to interact with the applications. Smartphone OS usually does not support some software, as well … usually because the applications require too much stylus interaction with the touch screen. So Office products like Pocket Word and Pocket Excel do not come with the Windows Mobile 5 OS on the Smartphone. (However, Outlook does.) Anyway, a description as per Microsoft can be found on the site located here.


So What Do You Need?

There are plenty of tools that are helpful, but here is the core list of tools you need to get started in developing for the Smartphone.

  1. 1) Visual Studio.NET (I’ll be using 2005)
  2. 2) .NET Compact Framework (I’ll be using v 2.0 but you could use version 1.1)
  3. 3) Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK for Smartphone (there is another SDK for Pocket PC)
  4. 4) You do NOT need an actual Smartphone to do any development. You could instead use the device emulator that comes with Visual Studio.NET.
  5. 5) ActiveSync 4.1 … even if you are not going to use an actual Smartphone and you will instead rely on the emulator, you will still want to install the latest version of ActiveSync (currently 4.1). In fact, I believe the SDK will not even install unless ActiveSync is installed first.
  6. Once you have these installed you can get started and write you first mobile application.


    Other Useful Links (maybe):

    Here are some links that can help you get started:

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Hi, I'm John Papa. I author this blog, create courses for Pluralsight and am a Google Developer Expert and Microsoft Regional Director. I travel speaking at events and train technology thought leaders