Microsoft explains lack of Windows Phone 7 Photosynth app, promises one in future

By Tom Warren, on 19th Apr 11 12:30 pm with 29 Comments

Microsoft made its Photosynth technology available to iPhone users on Monday and immediately received criticism for its lack of Windows Phone 7 version.

The Photosynth app  allows iPhone users to stitch together panoramic imagery to create 3D immersive images. Microsoft’s choice of iOS over its own Windows Phone 7 platform angered a number of users on Monday. “This releasing on iPhone and not on WP7 is getting ridiculous,” wrote one WinRumors reader. Microsoft anticipated the response and Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Bing Mobile architect. penned a personal blog post on Monday explaining the Windows Phone situation:

What about windows phone 7?
I’m sure over the coming days and weeks we’ll be answering, over and over, the “why didn’t this ship first on Microsoft’s own phone” question. Our approach to the design of the Photosynth app hopefully provides some evidence that we very much think of Windows Phone 7 as brethren and inspiration, not to mention proof that Microsoft can make beautiful things. (Such a joy and a relief, after the previous generation of Windows phones!) If we could have shipped first on these devices, we would have. But the level of camera and low-level algorithmic hacking needed to make Photosynth work meant that, if we wanted to get this out as quickly as possible— and we surely did— we needed to do so on a platform that provided the necessary low-level device access. Windows Phone 7 doesn’t yet allow this for apps. It will soon. It’s worth keeping in mind that the first several generations of iPhone device and OS wouldn’t have allowed us to build this app either. For now, iPhone’s platform maturity— and of course the large number of people with iPhones out there— meant that it made sense for us to go for it.

At Bing we’re always interested in reaching as many people as possible, which means we’ll always develop for multiple platforms. But over time, we’ll be doing more and more of our early innovation on the Windows Phone.

Microsoft’s promise of a future version of Photosynth for Windows Phone will appease many but unfortunately it’s not likely to be available until the company ships its major Windows Phone “Mango” update later this year.

  • Sebastian Gorgon

    Yeah its all about iPhone and WP7, Android not even mentioned, probably not even thought of, So i guess the majority of users which actually have android will be disappointed

    • Keno Butler

      in my opinion MS is gonna take the “don’t build anything of substance for android” sure make a bing app to directly compete with the native google but thats pretty much it…

    • Sebastian Gorgon

      Its also them missing out, users have no Windows Live Messenger for android therefore they will look for alternatives…

    • mackenziepricee

      Wrong. An app is currently being built.

    • Sebastian Gorgon

      Where have you heard that?

    • mackenziepricee
    • Sebastian Gorgon

      Looks awful, but at least there will be an app.

    • mackenziepricee
    • mackenziepricee

      Majority is a bit unfair. Maybe a slightly higher markets are.

      Personally if I were to build an app iOS would be the first platform I would target.

    • Sebastian Gorgon

      I already got app’s for my Website, didn’t like to be unfair so i made it multiplatform, WebOS, WP7. Android, and iOS can kiss my ***

    • mackenziepricee

      Building apps for your website is a little different then a corporation investing thousands and thousands of dollars to build an app for a product.

    • Dong-heon Phil Shin

      Well, even WP7 users would get Photosynth later this year. Until then it’s virtually iPhone exclusive. Funny paradox.

  • Chr Brondum

    Pretty angry about it, they should release better apps and alternativea for other platforms, it should have been wp7 that would get a app with all the features and then the other platforms to get some of them like a lunch of meat for saying ” look what we can do, now if you want more, switch to wp7″ Im angry!

  • mike g

    Yaaaaa, thats pretty messed up when MS wont even support their own platform till the next major update.

    • mackenziepricee

      Did you even read the article.

  • Tim

    To be honest I’m more annoyed at the One Note app for iPhone. One of WP7′s features is meant to be OneNote, yet a few month’s after it comes out they release OneNote for iPhone. Not only that but the iPhone version is better!!!

    • Dong-heon Phil Shin

      iPhone version is better? I don’t think so…it’s slow, not support many embeded, ugly. to be honest, If I were not One Note(PC) user, I don’t want to use One Note for iPhone. There are much better apps such as Awesome Note, Evernote, etc…

    • philf

      So MS should let Everynote crush One Note in mobile?

    • mackenziepricee

      The main goal of any firm is to make money. MS were losing ground to apps like Evernote without an app.

    • contextfree

      making it easier to share and interoperate with more platforms makes OneNote more useful for everyone, including PC and WP users.

  • Dong-heon Phil Shin

    I’m always interested in Photosynth technology since it was just lab experiment. Photosynth with mobile phone is amazing combination. App itself still has room for improvement but basement is quite good. Actually it could be better than PC version. It actually synthesis all images into one panorama image. of course there are some problems. Image quality is poor. Synthesis is not so accurate. still it’s great app considering it’s just 1.0.

    I want to go to WP7 later this year(because it will be released that time in Korea), so I hope Photosynth for WP7 ready until then.

    • philf

      Um, this is what the iPhone app is based on.

    • Mark

      Me too. It’s great technology that MS should have taken more advantage of. It’s perfect for a cloud/social app but they’ve been very slow in bringing it out in a consumer friendly form. Maybe this app is the start of that.

      On the 1.0 status, technically that’s true. But the stitching stuff almost certainly comes from the MSR ICE technology which debuted back in 2008. Windows Windows Live Photo Gallery includes a newer iteration of that as well. My experience is limited to ICE and the WLPG versions. They’re pretty good. Better than most packages that you have to buy, with the exception of Autopano. And on the PC at least, image quality hasn’t been a problem that I noticed. Although in some limited cases it does fail with alignment.

  • w1ngnut

    It’s clear that MS treats WP7 a beta OS. That’s why it released this and other apps 1st for iOS.

  • Mark

    1) If they anticipated the question, why didn’t they include this answer in the initial release (minus the sarcasm)?
    2) Did they really need to include the negative and gratuitous comment about the previous generation of MS phones?
    3) So basically they’re saying that WP7 is too incomplete and immature to support this app?
    4) Is that meant to inspire developer confidence in WP7 or MS overall?
    5) If matuirity and user base were the key critieria for first ship status, why was Android left out?

  • Anonymous

    From what I can tell, there is already a pretty similar app in the WP7 market called Ztitch. Once I got used to it I was amazed by what I could do.

  • Mestiphal

    I’m a WP7 owner, and yes, I’m disappointed I do not get to play with this app for buying a Microsoft phone.

    However, if you think about it, Microsoft will have it’s brand on Microsoft, Apple, Android and every other platform, that’s a much wider umbrella.

    Besides, if MS doesn’t do it on the competitors, they’ll just come up with their own thing, creating more of an overall competition.

  • Steve

    I am seriously annoyed with Microsoft right now! First no decent VNC application but i find one on the wifes iphone which just gutted me and now this great app is also no availible for my Windows 7 Phone, Get you act together Microsoft!

  • Denis Nickoleff

    I guess it’s time for me to get an iPhone. Since Microsoft shows more support for it than they do for my Windows Phone.