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Hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7 Part 2

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Anton Polimenov
Anton Polimenov
Joined Nov 10, 2009
Articles:   7
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4 comments   /   posted on Jul 21, 2010
Categories:   Windows Phone

This is part 3 of the Windows Phone 7 series.

In the previous article, I talked about the Windows Phone 7 hardware requirements and more specific about Buttons, Screen, Cameras, Keyboards, Wireless, Bluetooth and CPU. In this article, I’m going to write about the sensors and their requirements in Windows Phone 7.


The accelerometer is required for Windows Phone 7. It is an electromechanical device that measures the acceleration caused by the gravity or external sources. A 3D motion sensor that provides continuous information about the forces being applied to the device in the X, Y, and Z planes. Windows Phone can leverage this feature to create sophisticated experiences for the end user. Some of the goals of the design are to provide managed APIs that are easy to use and flexible to offer scenarios such as automatic screen rotation, tilt-to-scroll, and gaming. Unfortunately, these APIs aren’t available in the Development Tools yet, although they wouldn't be very usable in the emulator anyway.


The compass is required for Windows Phone 7, too. There is not much to say about the compass (everybody knows what a compass is, right?). The purpose here is to be provided more precision for GPS and GIS Software. There is no information about the APIs for the compass, but I believe that the developers will have access to the compass.

Light sensor

Light Sensor is used to measure the radiant energy that exists in a very narrow range of frequencies basically called “light“.

The main benefit of having a light sensor in Windows Phone 7 is the energy saving by dynamically managing the brightness of your screen. There is no info about the API, too.

Proximity Sensor

A proximity sensor is a sensor that is able to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact.

The main benefit of having a proximity sensor in Windows Phone 7 is the energy saving by turning the screen off when you are in a call, or when the phone is in your pocket for example. There is no info about the API.

A-GPS (Assisted GPS)

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides reliable location and time information in all weather and at all times and anywhere on or near the Earth when and where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.

The main benefit of having a GPS in Windows Phone 7 is the ability to use navigation software.

The GPS needs 12 minutes for fully positioning. Most of the GPS Software is saving the information about the satellites positions and reduces the startup time by calculating the new positions using the time.

A-GPS is a system which can improve the startup performance of a GPS satellite-based positioning system by using the mobile operator’s data (cell info) and internet.



  • tausick

    RE: Hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7 Part 2

    posted by tausick on Jul 22, 2010 09:35

    Does the GPS include hight (over sea-level)?

    12 minutes to fully position? Is that normal, sounds like a long time.

  • AnTo

    RE: Hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7 Part 2

    posted by AnTo on Jul 22, 2010 09:50

    Actually I haven't seen GPS that doesn't support height, although It's not very precises. You can read here why the GPS height is not preciseous.

    And yes, 12 minutes is very long time. That's why there are a lot of systems to reduce this value. For example most devices, remembers your last position and time, and calculating your approximate new position.

    Other way is HTC's Quick GPS, which downloads the satellites positions over the internet. In general this is A-GPS idea too.

  • -_-

    RE: Hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7 Part 2

    posted by aavidgator on Aug 23, 2010 04:42
    I would argue that not only are accelerometer features useful in the emulator, they are nearly critical.  Allowing the emulator to provide simulated accelerometer information - either through raw text entry or through a 3D interactive UI alongside the emulator (running inthe host machine) will allow develoeprs to write and test applications without requiring an actual hardware device be connected - for example, how precisely do you test an input of exactly 1.2G's (arbitrary value for example) in the -Z direction from hardware that is connected to your PC via a (probably short) USB cable?
  • AnTo

    RE: Hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7 Part 2

    posted by AnTo on Aug 23, 2010 09:18

    @aavidgator Actually recently I saw a video, where some dude uses the accelerometer of him HTC HD2 for testing Windows Phone 7 application. You can see the article here, and the video here. I agree that this is not the answer, but it is some kind of temporary solution.

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