ME developers interested in Phone 7 and Kinect says Microsoft

Developer community in the region looking to Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Kinect for opportunities

Tags: Microsoft GulfMicrosoft Kinect
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ME developers interested in Phone 7 and Kinect says Microsoft Microsoft is supporting its local development community through events like Tech.Ed and the Yalla Apps platform, says Abu Ltaif.
By  Mark Sutton Published  March 16, 2011

Software developers in the Middle East are looking at opportunities around Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Kinect, according to Samer Abu Ltaif, general manager for Microsoft Gulf.

Speaking to itp.net at last week's Microsoft Tech.Ed, Abu Ltaif said there is a great deal of interest in both Microsoft's new mobile platform and the hands-free interface technology of the Kinect.

The company showcased both at the event held in Dubai, and also announced a new developer platform specifically for Windows Phone 7 in the Middle East, Yalla Apps. The platform is open to all developers, and Abu Ltaif said that hopefully it will eventually lead to local developers being able to monetize their apps.

"We had interest from individuals as well as companies that wanted to write applications for Windows Phone 7, and in response to this excitement, we made an investment here in this region, and created Yalla Apps, which is a foundation for them all to connect on the Windows Phone 7 application," he said. "We are mapping our efforts and focus to support them, and they will see more support coming forward from us, as we progress in the development and launch of Windows Phone 7 in our area."

Microsoft's Xbox Kinect is also drawing attention from developers in the region, Abu Ltaif said, and with the launch of the Kinect Software Developer Kit (SDK), Microsoft will be extending additional layers of support to build a developer community around the technology.

"We are going to realize, through , innovation from this part of the world, some very interesting scenarios on how the natural user interface will evolve. There are a lot of people talking about using the Kinect to create a new dimension of interface, and with the way we have succeeded in delivering it [to games] with the Kinect, we can really take those scenarios to another dimension," he said.

"With the release [of the SDK] there is an ecosystem of support that we will extend as needs be. We expect that in various sectors, there will be development that can eventually become commercially viable - there are a lot of people talking about what [Kinect] means in the education sector, what it means to the healthcare sector, and to that extent, obviously people will find a commercially viable application. I am hoping that some companies from the region here might come up with solutions which will create wealth, and a software economy around them," Abu Ltaif added.

This year's Tech.Ed, the second to be held in the region, drew over 2,000 attendees from 14 countries, up from 1,500 last year. The event included 200 sessions, with 80 speakers across 20 different tracks. The event also gained strong support from vendor partners and sponsors, according to Abu Ltiaf.

"Tech.Ed is far less of a marketing event, and more really an opportunity for the technical communities and people with specific needs to go deep into what the technology is offering today from Microsoft, what are the new tools that are available, what are the roadmaps that will transform IT," he said.

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