Native Cross Platform UI Ideas for iOS, Android, Windows Phone with Xamarin

For many developers using C# and coming from the modern UI apps on Windows, developing cross-platform UI design with the best usability for Windows, iOS and Android presents an interesting challenge. First, they feel like they are coming to a more ‘traditional’ UI: let’s face it Microsoft team has created some very advanced and neat design concepts with the modern apps: with Modern design language, minimalism, panorama, motion animations and pivot. How do you translate that into iOS and Android?

Luckily, Xamarin team has done a lot of research porting and thinking through many of these ideas. Xamarin Forms are based on XAML and work on iOS, Android and Windows Phone natively. Here’s some interesting ideas to keep in mind building a cross platform app with Xamarin Forms:

Is cross-platform UI achievable and does it work fast and look native? Thanks to Xamarin team’s efforts the answer to this is yes! You can write UI code that will look and feel native with native speeds on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Things to remember: Forms markup uses XAML, but Xamarin team chose to use objects from iOS and Android stack. So instead of StackPanel you get StackLayout, TextBlock is Label. Attributes also resemble those of Android AXML: Visibility becomes IsVisible (we actually like that, it eliminates a converter which otherwise needs to be used on each boolean property). Background color property becomes BackgroundColor, Foreground property becomes TextColor, ForegroundColor etc depending on the context. In other words: instead of cut and paste from Windows Phone you need to really update your XAML. Which makes a lot of sense, Xamarin team chose to use Android/iOS UI elements in XAML.

Xamarin also figured out a very smart strategy wrapping native controls, while maximizing code re-use. On the screenshot below, Xamarin Forms maps control renders as a native Android, iOS and Windows Phone map on each platform.

 

Source: Xamarin: Controls Gallery

Active Fitness with SensorCore – Pedometer + GPS + Social + Action Photo + Music all in one free app

DOWNLOAD new version

Do you need to spend extra bucks on pedometer when you already have a phone? Now with SensorCore technology in latest Windows Phone 630 and other models, your phone can work as a pedometer and count your steps, whether walking or running 24×7. With apps like Active Fitness which already has millions of active users, adding step counter in addition to GPS Tracking adds a battery efficient way and yet another dimension to measuring your sport performance.

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Active Fitness unites millions of active users in a fun friendly social sports app and network. Now with new Lumia 630 devices and SensorCore technology, Active Fitness adds battery friendly Pedometer function. Simply take your phone with you and it’ll automatically count steps whole day long! Very little battery consumed. Active Fitness has also been redesigned to benefit from new features of Windows Phone 8.1, you’ll immediately notice many friendly improvements for an already beautiful app. Other features include: multiple activities from a comprehensive library, music, action photos, GPS tracking, goals, training module powered by professional instructors and more!

 

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Detailed charts of your activity

Active Fitness allows you to drill from monthly to weekly to daily view and then more into every split of your run! Windows Phone brings a clean fresh consistent design and everything about this fitness app looks great.

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Microsoft and Nokia at National Academy 2014

Microsoft and Nokia Lounge at PSIA-AASI National Academy 2014

PHOTOS, even more photos…

DOWNLOAD THE APP: Winter Sports

For the second consecutive year, it is becoming a tradition that Microsoft and Nokia participate in the outdoor educational events. One of these events is National Academy, a week-long event in Snowbird, Utah, at an altitude of 10,000ft gathering top ski and snowboard instructors from North America. PSIA-AASI is the nation’s oldest snow-sports educational organization, uniting more than 32 thousand professional ski and snowboard instructors. In 2013 Microsoft and Nokia teams for the first time participated in this event with a launch of Winter Sports, a ski and snowboard sports tracking app for Windows Phone and Windows.

This year highlights:

· Microsoft/Nokia Lounge

· Direct Verizon Sales: sold many high-end Windows Phones on-site

· XBOX ONE + fitness and games

· Nokia Lumia Icon, 1520, 1020, 520

· Nokia Accessories (Wireless Speakers, gadgets, wireless chargers, batteries)

· 3,000,000+ vertical ft tracked by the  app

· 50+ Windows Phones used on the mountain every day

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Outdoors Industry and Windows Devices

This year, we expanded our collaboration with the organization, by creating an on-site Microsoft/Nokia Lounge, equipped with Xbox One, fitness apps and games, and bringing 50+ Windows Phone devices: from smallest Nokia Lumia 520, to top of the line Nokia Lumia 1020 phone with 41 megapixel camera, Nokia Lumia Icon and large 6″ screen Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet, as well as Microsoft and Nokia tablets, such as Microsoft Surface. Each instructor could use Winter Sports app, tracking activity on the mountain, the app uses Microsoft Azure cloud to store tracking information securely and reliably (also see Microsoft case study).

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Windows Phone apps

This event helps Microsoft and Nokia to collaborate with top sports and outdoor organizations, having devices used in real-life mountain high-altitude conditions, taking professional grade pictures and sports activity tracking and gathering feedback from top North American ski and snowboard instructors, including National Team champions. Also check out these apps for Windows Phone and Windows:

Winter Sports

Active Fitness

ELAN Skis

Rollerblade® Inline Skates

Microsoft/Nokia Lounge at 10,000ft

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Microsoft/Nokia Lounge at 10,000ft in Cliff Lodge was set up for the whole week to present latest gadgets from Microsoft and Nokia, and became an Xbox One playground. For one week we entertained instructors with latest fitness and sports apps and Xbox games, demoed latest Windows Phones and Windows tablets, as well as Nokia accessories, such as wireless speakers, wireless chargers, headphones, phone batteries and more.

During the trade show we also had Verizon on site, selling Windows Phone devices. After ski and snowboard instructors were introduced to Winter Sports app, some were interested in purchasing top of the line Lumia Icon devices with unbeaten screen resolution and 20 megapixel camera. We certainly recommend these devices for ski instructors, because of their quality, reliability, great camera resolution, built-in action shot features and great outdoors apps.

Educational On-Snow Events

Some of Microsoft’s own team are certified ski instructors and participated in the on-snow educational groups. We skied Snowbird and Alta, tracking skiing with Winter Sports app: in one week the app tracked 3,000,000+ vertical feet, tracking supported by Microsoft Azure cloud technology. Anyone had an opportunity to try one of several Windows Phone models. Great thing about Windows Phones is that they support a variety of form factors and features: from best camera phone in the world: 41 megapixel Lumia 1020, to a small footprint very inexpensive Lumia 520, to 20 megapixel Lumia Icon device.

In-class events and trade shows

During the National Academy we had a number of in-class training events and a trade show. During the trade show we had a joint Microsoft/Nokia/Verizon booth set up, with devices available for sale from Verizon. A number of high end Windows Phones were sold and activated at Verizon booth.

Next Year

We are planning to continue working with National Academy and bring the excitement of technology and new devices to the world of outdoors.

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On the photo above: a special WINTER ski named after the app is signed by National Team coaches at National Academy. The right ski was signed at 2013 National Academy. The left ski was signed this year. I guess next year we need to make new skis J

PHOTOS

even more photos…

DOWNLOAD THE APP: Winter Sports

Rollerblade® Inline Skates app launched at BUILD

As the summer and spring season starts, I’m happy to announce that we just launched Rollerblade® Inline Skates app at Microsoft BUILD conference in San Francisco!

http://bit.ly/rollerbladeapp

The awesome sports app is immediately available from Nokia Collection on all Nokia Windows Phone 8.0 devices. More to come… SmileSmileSmileSmileSmile

From our partner:

West Lebanon, NH –Rollerblade®, the international leader in the inline skating industry, recently announced the launch of the Rollerblade® Inline Skating App, a brand new application that’s taking the sport to a whole new level. Through a partnership with Nokia, Microsoft, and the Active Network, the Rollerblade® Inline Skating App is the official application for the sport and will enhance the skating experience for users worldwide. The new Windows 8 Phone app allows users to enjoy features such as tracking workouts and fitness goals, sharing progress and photos with friends and family via social media, finding the newest gear, and photographing their skating experience.

DOWNLOAD THE APP

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Active Fitness for PC, tablets and Surface

Download Active Fitness for PC, tablets and Surface: http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/app/active-fitness/5a64d9f1-aea7-493c-a353-da41c08c0e77

Active Fitness for PCs and Tablets

Active Fitness is a personal trainer and fitness organizer for your Surface tablets or any Windows PC, with a companion Windows Phone app and a social network of quarter of a million users. Active Fitness is great for running, cycling, walking and hundreds of other activities, the app that earned raving reviews by Microsoft Phone blog and WPCentral for its companion Windows Phone app. Now with a Windows version of the app, you can enjoy your free sports analytics from the comfort of your tablet or PC and import data from other apps or devices.

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Take your active lifestyle with you

With Active Fitness you can use the same account you used for companion Windows Phone app, or your Winter Sports app account from another popular app for tracking activities. You are presented with a simple and rich interface that allows you to check your stats, add your activity from Windows Phone or any other app or device, check your training schedule, find your friends and see where they run or exercise and more!

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Hub for all your sports activities

Active Fitness automatically synchronizes your data with Windows Phone Ski & Ride app, and easily imports your data from other apps, Web sites and devices. Essentially, Active Fitness is a personal trainer, organizer and a fitness hub for all your sports activities on any Windows devices.

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Personal Training

Active Fitness provides dozens of training plans: both videos and automatically tracked with Active Fitness app for Windows Phone. Training plans keep you organized and motivated, and you can see your progress real-time as you run or cycle with Windows Phone.

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Companion app for Windows Phone

Active Fitness app comes with a free companion app for Windows Phone: the app that earned raving reviews from Microsoft Phone blog, WPCentral and is included in Nokia Collection.

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Feels like Olympics

Active Fitness has a rich global leaderboard that immediately makes you feel like you are in the middle of Olympic Games. Compete with thousands other users of Active Fitness social network and Active Fitness will track your position on the leaderboard.

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Where’s your friend?

Active Fitness has 200,000+ active users, the number that grows by thousands every day. To see where your friends are, use Active Fitness Friend Finder feature to find your friends.

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For Windows PC, tablets and Surface

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For Windows Phone

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POWERED BY ACTIVE FITNESS SOCIAL NETWORK

Winter Sports app available for PCs, tablets and Surface

Winter Sports for PCs and Tablets

Download: http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/app/winter-sports/e142d77f-4266-44e6-ac4a-4a8bcd28fd52

For all snow-sports enthusiasts, Winter Sports is this season’s must have app for your Surface tablets and any Windows PC and Windows Phone. If you like skiing, snowboarding or any winter activity, Winter Sports is an official app of Professional Ski and Snowboard Instructors of America. Winter Ski & Ride for Windows Phone is the companion app for Winter Sports, has been translated to 10 languages and is crazy popular with skiers and snowboarders around the world, overall quarter of a million users. Now, there’s a large screen version of the app with tons of new capabilities, in case you want to show off your skiing or snowboarding to your friends, import data from other apps and devices.

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Take your skiing and riding with you

With Winter Sports you can use the same account you used for companion Windows Phone app, or your Winter Sports app account, and also load data from another popular app for tracking activities. You are presented with a simple and rich interface that allows you to check weather reports and conditions at thousands of resorts worldwide, check your stats, add your activity from Windows Phone or any other app or device, check your training schedule, find your friends and see where they ski or ride and more!

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Hub for all your snow-sports activities

Winter Sports app automatically synchronizes your data with Windows Phone Ski & Ride app, for all other apps and devices, such as Strava, RunKeeper, Garmin etc, Winter Sports allows you to import that data, and also add and edit your sports activities. Essentially, Winter Sports is a hub for all your sports activities on any Windows devices.

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Personal Training by Professional Ski and Snowbnoard Instructors of America

Winter Sports provides dozens of training plans: both videos and automatically tracked with Winter app for Windows Phone. Training plans keep you organized and motivated, and you can see your progress real-time as you ski or ride with Windows Phone.

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Companion app for Windows Phone

Winter Sports app comes with a free companion app for Windows Phone: the app that earned raving reviews from Microsoft Phone blog, WPCentral and is included in Nokia Collection.

Feels like Winter Olympics

Winter Sports has a rich global leaderboard that immediately makes you feel like you are in the middle of Olympic Games. Compete with thousands other users of Active Fitness social network and the app will track your position on the leaderboard.

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Where’s your friend?

Winter Ski & Ride is part of Active Fitness network which has 200,000+ active users, the number that grows by thousands every day. To see where your friends are, use Friend Finder feature to find your friends.

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Download Winter Sports app for Windows tablets, PCs

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Download Winter Ski & Ride app for Windows Phone

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POWERED BY ACTIVE FITNESS SOCIAL NETWORK