My last evening at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Los Angeles was amazing. My colleague, Wes Brock, and I attended an event in Hollywood. One of the great benefits of attending the conference is, of course, the networking. While in LA I met with several members of various Microsoft teams as well as partners and vendors from around the world. I was continuously amazed at how much buzz there was around slate and Windows 7 for varying form factors and the recognition for companies like ours that are pioneering line of business applications that target enterprise (not consumer) slate devices.

The event was an awards ceremony and they recognized some great companies for doing amazing things over the past year. The story of helping customers shake off their legacy XP dust and move to the more modern Windows 7 OS was fascinating and exciting at the same time. There is a strong adoption rate, and I am still surprised so many companies are still on the legacy platform. It is interesting to hear the buzz around the upcoming announcement of Windows 8 when so many companies still have to move through the step of Windows 7. That translates to a nice buffer and is again why I tell people to stop sweating what Windows 8 will be – I’m sure it is going to be incredible but in no way, shape, or form can it possibly stomp out what we are doing in the Windows 7 world when so many customers will be stepping through 7 on their journey from XP.

We were extremely surprised and delighted to receive the inaugural Windows 7 2011 Slate Partner of the Year Award. It was an honor to learn our efforts in that space were so impactful. We’ve done quite a few projects ranging from Rooms to Go point of sale to e-Reader applications to creating frameworks, guidance, and best practices for reusing components between Windows Phone 7 and slate projects. The exciting thing about slate development is that it can be done with the same tools and platforms Microsoft developers are already used to, such as WPF or Silverlight. We’ve been able to leverage frameworks like our LightTouch library and the Jounce MVVM Framework across multiple projects in this space.

The award was an amazing honor but to me speaks to much more than what we were able to accomplish. It is a true indicator of what the pipeline looks like and how important slate will be in the coming years, for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 based solutions. I’m excited to hear what comes out of BUILD and to see how the landscape changes in the coming year. Make no mistake: while the consumer devices have forced executives to wake up and companies to revisit their approach to cross-platform development, it is the line of business applications that require ruggedized devices, strong security policies, and integration with legacy code and services that will drive the enterprise experience, and in my opinion that experience will not be written in Objective-C. There definitely is a place for the consumer devices and we can’t ignore that, and it does make sense for many applications to focus on the reach necessary to show an executive dashboard on a CEO’s favorite device, but this will never negate the reality of what the nurse is carrying in the field when making house visits, what the sales person is using the salesroom floor, or what the worker is using mounted to their fork-lift as they navigate the aisles of a large warehouse.

Thanks Microsoft for the amazing award and congratulations to my colleagues at Wintellect who worked together to make it possible.