No Layar or Fring on WP7 due to lack of camera access: "We need openness"

Though the launch for Windows Phone 7 has been mostly positive than negative (777 apps so far but supply issues in Europe and Australia), there are a few holes left in the OS that are keeping certain developers from entering the WP7 field.

Two of those companies are Fring (past coverage) and Layar. The former is a VOIP/IM solution familiar to Windows Mobile users (they offered the best Skype experience before their falling out) and Layar, offers an "augmented relaity" app for finding local happenings.

The issue for both of them is lack of access to the camera: Fring for video calls, Layar for its camera/GPS combo that allows you to "see" locations in your surroundings. For Fring, they don't need the camera, but after entering the video chat market big time with the EVO 4g, not having access "cramps their style" and of course with no camera, there is no Layar. Layar had this to say about the issue: "On our side, we don't really understand what this means or why [Microsoft is] doing this" and Fring was also as direct: "We need the ability to get to all the different parts of the device. We need to have that freedom. There have been standards set by Android and the like. When the cards are held too tight, it cramps our style and we can't deliver the value that consumers want and expect from smart phones."

Evidently, Microsoft is mum on the issue. Is it because the API is not ready? Do they plan on addressing this soon in a developer tools update? Or is it verboten indefinitely? We'll keep following the story for any changes.

Source: Fortune/CNN


Reader comments

No Layar or Fring on WP7 due to lack of camera access: "We need openness"


This is going to be a huge growing pain for WP7. The APIs are just way way too restricted. It's really difficult to think outside the box and come up with creative and innovative software for WP7 devices first. What I think you are going to see a lot of is catch-up APIs. Like, oh look what the Android device can do, we need to add that. Microsoft has actually stated they are developing the APIs this way on purpose. They favor waiting for highly requested features over getting creative and seeing what developers do with it. They just don't want to see a lot of time wasted on unused (or infrequently used) APIs, like in WM's history.

Of course, all that might just be time constraints since they are still prioritizing. Welcome to the world of complete rewrites! You stand a long time catching up... Just ask Corel. Remember WordPerfect and Quatro Pro? Death by rewrite.

I was just looking into the media APIs. Lame. Basically you can write a remote controller for Zune, but, again, everything is locked out.

I can see WP7 biting into iPhone, but not Android greatly. Google is releasing crazy complex apps, like Goggles and WP7 can't even provide a camera API.

Ugh... MS is really taking the wrong approach... I hope WP7 gets better. More competition is always good, but so much simple stuff is missing. Maybe in a year or two. Afterall, iPhone, Android, WebOS, and even PPC (back in its day) were not that great in their version 1.0s. I guess WP7's 1.0 is actually pretty good in comparison.

Have apps like Metro Scanner and ScanSearch had Microsoft help in getting access to the camera? Because they show camera image with "stuff" superimposed, like Layar like AR apps.

OEM's have access to native mode so thats probably why LG was able to do Scansearch. Pretty useless feature anyway so apart from keeping up with the joneses I personally dont see it as a big loss.

I think MS might want to work out it's WLM video messaging side first before it gives access to others, but hat's just my guess. I mean look at the evidence, you can do it on the PC now with the client, soon you'll be able to do it on the 360 with kinect, so 360-360 or 360-PC video chat etc and I expect the phone will get in on that at some point.

PDC is coming up soon, they'll probably talk about things there, hope so.

I am pretty sure with the January update(if that is the update month, unless I heard it wrong) a lot of issues will be fixed...