Windows Phone 7
Mobile Speak for Windows Mobile, 5 years of successes and challenges
Code Factory products will not be compatible with the initial versions of Windows Phone 7
Terrassa (Barcelona), Spain, September, 1st, 2010
Code Factory has always shown a great commitment to keep up-to-date with the latest mobile phone technology. Back in 2005, Code Factory launched Mobile Speak Pocket. “Many of our users were asking us to make Windows Mobile Pocket PCs accessible, because at the time they were the only professional-oriented mobile devices,” explained Eduard Sánchez, Code Factory’s CEO. “One of our top priorities has always been to allow our profesionnal blind and visually impaired users to be as efficient and productive as their sighted peers. Therefore, based on the experience of Mobile Speak for Symbian phones released two years earlier, we put together all our passion, knowledge and effort and developed Mobile Speak for Windows Mobile”.
In five years, Code Factory took up many challenges with the Windows Mobile platform, including support for the first touchscreen devices; support for hundreds of devices from more than fifteen different manufacturers such as HTC, HP, Motorola, and Samsung; support for customized firmware from carriers from all over the world; and support for five new operating system (OS) versions, from Windows Mobile 2003 SE to Windows Mobile 6.5.
Microsoft has announced the upcoming release of Windows Phone 7. Windows Phone 7 is not an upgraded version of Windows Mobile 6.5. It is a brand-new OS, which means that applications built for Windows Mobile 6.x or earlier will not run on Windows Phone 7.
As a software developer, Code Factory is facing the same issues as mainstream companies such as Mozilla, Adobe or Skype. “Windows Phone 7 doesn’t support native code development, which means that it is technically impossible to develop a screen reader application without the direct help of Microsoft, the OS maker”, explained Eduard Sánchez. “Therefore Mobile Speak, Mobile Geo, and Mobile Magnifier will not run on the initial version of Windows Phone 7”.
However, Mobile Speak, Mobile Magnifier and Mobile Geo will of course keep running on supported Windows Mobile devices. Also, the Windows Mobile 6.5 devices won’t disappear from the market all at once, and Code Factory’s customers should still be able to acquire them for a reasonable period of time after the release of Windows Phone 7.
“We have been talking with Microsoft for the last few months to try to remedy the situation and come up with an accessible solution for Windows Phone 7 as soon as possible. In fact, we waited until now to make this announcement because we were hoping that together with Microsoft we could find a solution before the release of the first Windows Phone 7 devices, but unfortunately this will not be the case” added Eduard Sánchez. “Microsoft has always been willing to put accessibility on its road map, however it hasn’t been possible for the first release of Windows Phone 7. We at Code Factory are at their entire disposal to provide our assistance and expertise”.
Greg Sullivan, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft Mobile Communications Business Group said, “We understand that the initial Windows Phone 7 release doesn’t live up to some expectations in specific scenarios but as we work on future versions of the technology we hope to learn from the Accessibility Community about what scenarios and features will allow Windows Phone to appeal to more users.”
Eduard Sánchez concluded, “Developing Mobile Speak for Windows Mobile has taught us a lot and we are proud of our development team for those five years of hard work. We are very excited with the future of mobile phones and all the new platforms which are coming out. We hope that soon we will be able to add Windows Phone 7 to the list of our successful challenges”.
For more information about Microsoft Accessibility, visit http://www.microsoft.com/enable/
For more information about Code Factory’s accessible solutions, visit http://www.codefactory.es or submit a ticket through Code Factory’s Help Desk at http://www.codefactory.cat/helpdesk/