7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

Summary: Windows Phone 7 devices launch on Monday, 8 November, and since I have been using the OS for a few months I thought it would be good to present seven things to look forward to doing on your new phone.

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I have been spending a lot of time with Windows Phone 7 and have a few tips to share with you as the launch kicks off on Monday morning. Try these out when you get your WP7 device and feel free to contact me with any questions you might have or actions you would like to know more about.

So, here are 7 cool things you can do with your Windows Phone 7 device:

  1. Find My phone: The ability to go to a website to find your phone whether you misplace it in silent mode or leave it behind is a very handy feature that is available for WP7 for FREE.
  2. Pinning miscellaneous items to Start: I am sure you know you can pin apps and people to the Start screen, but did you know that you can pin your favorite radio stations, games (even those within the Xbox Live hub), favorite web pages (even shows a thumbnail of the page), OneNote and Office docs, and more so make sure to tap and hold to find out what you can pin to Start.
  3. Voice Command: Microsoft included a very powerful Voice Command solution on Windows Phone 7 that is activated by pressing and holding the Start button. You can use this to call people or numbers, find destinations through Bing Maps, or launch applications on your device. As you build up your collection of apps you should find this to be the faster and more efficient option to control your device.
  4. Quick calling: You can call people in your Call History or ones that are pinned to Start with just two simple taps. Tap on the Phone tile and then tap the phone icon to the left of their number in the Call History. If you tap their name then you will open up their contact card instead. If they are one of your Start tiles, tap the tile and then tap Call…
  5. Change your Pictures Start background: I have had several people ask me about this since it isn't that easy to find. If you tap and hold on a photo there is an option to set it as wallpaper, but this is the wallpaper for the lock screen only. To change the background image in the Pictures hub, that also shows up on your Start screen, simply tap and hold on the main Pictures hub page that opens up and select to change the background.
  6. Use Outline view to navigate: Within Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files you can simply tap the Outline icon and see the words to quick navigate to other sections, spreadsheets, or slides within Office Mobile 2010.
  7. Let them know you will be late: If you have appointments set up that have attendees, they you will see an option in the bottom menu (access by tapping the More three-dot icon) that shows a person running as an icon. If you tap this as you travel to a meeting then you will see the quick option to inform other attendees you will be late.

Windows Phone 7 has quite a distinct and striking user interface and things may seem pretty simple and straight forward. However, you can dive deep into the settings and other areas to discover there are actually quite a few options, customizations, and capabilities down deep in the operating system.

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos, Windows

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  • Android has 99% of this

    And a better UI experience.

    The iPhone has 99% of this and a better UI.

    So why would I want a WP7?
    itguy08
    • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

      @itguy08 so why did you bother reading the article? - maybe like a lot of people you are still curious about Wp7???
      RonanSail
      • I thought the phone was supposed to get out of one's way...

        @RonanSail ... I read the article because I was so intrigued by the advertising, which mocks and belittles people who use smartphones. So stunned I was to see this article claiming there were things to 'do' with the phone.
        HollywoodDog
      • I know you are just trying to make fun but you have a point

        @Holly
        [i]So stunned I was to see this article claiming there were things to 'do' with the phone.[/i]

        If you actually look at the list, most [b]are[/b] time saving features that let the phone get out of your way. MS doesn't claim that smartphones can't do things, only that it takes [b]too long[/b] to do those things on existing smartphones. Just like you guys jump and scream and clap and whistle and cheer at the thought of Apple looking at existing smartphones and "reinventing" them (with a grid of icons, wow), MS has also looked at existing smartphones and has reinvented them using real innovation instead of just marketing like Apple does.

        [i]Pinning miscellaneous items to Start[/i]

        Get immediate access to your items from the home page instead of having to open an app and then open an item. Yes, you can rearrange icons on iPhone but you are limited to apps, web pages, and I read about some hack that kind of, sort of lets you create icons for phone numbers.

        This one makes the things you want to do on WP7 take less time than they would on iPhone.

        [i]Voice Command[/i]

        Apple has [b]very[/b] weak voice command capabilities. They still haven't caught up to where WM was 10 years ago. In many cases, using your voice can be faster (and safer) than using your fingers. Again, this lets you accomplish things faster on WP7 than you could on iPhone. Again, it isn't about not doing as much on WP7 but being able to do it faster.

        [i]Quick calling[/i]

        There is a hack that lets you create a URL shortcut that lets you create an icon in your iPhone's grid of icons that lets you call a phone number. No picture of the contact though. Very weak. Again, WP7 lets you unlock your phone and call your favorite contact in 1 click. Apple makes you unlock the phone, hit the phone icon (first click), click on the Favorites tab (second click), then finally click on your contact (third click). WP7 wins.

        [i]Let them know you will be late[/i]

        While you are busy composing a text message or an email, I'll have hit the "I'll be late" button and my task is done. Again, WP7 lets you do the same tasks but they take a fraction of the time when compared to the iPhone. [b]That[/b] is the crux of MS's marketing message. That is how MS has just reinvented the smartphone. That is what has you cowering in fear.
        NonZealot
      • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

        @NonZealot - You make no sense! You moan and complain about Apple products but you own BOTH a MacBook Pro and an iPhone4. Cue the double standards!
        The Danger is Microsoft
      • @Danger: How do I have a double standard?

        If you honestly believe that it is a double standard to buy a product that you don't believe is perfect, please admit it now. ZDNet talkbackers could use the laugh.

        So come on Danger, please write the following in your response:
        [i]I buy Apple products because they are perfect. I can't think of a single thing I would change about any of my Apple products. And next year, when Apple releases the iPhone 5, it will be perfect + 1. And the year after that, the iPhone 6 will be perfect + 2. I know I just said that my current Apple product was perfect but somehow, Apple will innovate a way to make something better than perfect![/i]

        Write it. I dare you.
        NonZealot
      • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

        @NZ<br><br>"That is how MS has just reinvented the smartphone. "<br><br>You owe me a keyboard and a can of Coke for that line, reinvented the smartphone? LOL. <br><br>This is the problem with MS and their defenders. Taking something that's popular and doing their own version but slightly different is not reinvention. Adding a pretty background image to Bing is not reinventing search. kinect is not going to reinvent the casual game market either, it's a combination of EyeToy and Wii. ZuneHD did not reinvent the mp3 player, they just made a slightly different version of the iPod Touch (same metro UI as their phone). See the pattern? The iPhone changed the whole smart phone market when entered and had everyone including MS follow them, that's reinventing the market.<br><br>If you noticed those that uses WP7, they always tend to gravitate over to the icon list anyway. The same icon list on iOS and Android and BlackBerry devices, only they made it one silly long list just for the sake of being <b>different</b>. Or maybe it was to downplay it. Either way it will be hell trying to find (or manage) when you have a long list of third party apps.
        dave95.
      • Double standards.. Speak for yourself..

        @The Danger is Microsoft
        So he owns a bloody MacBook and an iPhone. Gee. That sounds to me like he's speaking from sage experience.

        You ABM guys seem to always be saying that if you get the Mac or the iPhone, you'll suddenly see the light (and after a few pints of Apple brand Kool Aid) it will all make sense and life will be good.

        So he actually bought them and he's still not converted to being one of the devout faithful. No double standard there. Just a man with experience who might actually know what he's talking about.
        Wolfie2K3
      • time saving

        @non zealot<br>as much as i like wp7's (unique) approach and ui, the marketing message is phony at best. time savings? sure, there are some with wp7, the same is true for the iphone or android at other areas.<br><br>how is it time saving to scroll down a giant home screen multiple times to get where you want instead of swiping to the right to the next screen?<br><br>sure, one touch less for calling someone but before you can do that you had to go through the effort to pin the person to your home screen or remove it when you want someone else there. <br><br>the people hub is a good example. when you go there you only see the 4 (and two half tiles) recent people, you have to swipe left or right to get more people. you see more people in your iphone's address book at one glance, you have to tap probably less to get to the person you want. so all in all advantages for wp7 in certain areas and for other platforms in other. <br><br>voice command on different platforms? weak on the iphone? any proof for that? is there any comparison study between voice on android, ios and wp7 that you could link to? weak in your opinion? so be it.<br><br>what i want to say: wp7 phone is a good start and a unique platform for a change (though of course they still can't help themselves, they have to shamelessly copy apple as much as they can in other areas - "find your iphone" anyone?). but i think it is much better than the patent infringing shameless copy of iOS that android is. i wish msft all the best for the platform but the marketing campaign is a big fat lie (you have to engage with your wp7 phone as much or as litlle as with any other smartphone) and stupid. making fun of people that love their smartphone (and are your potential customers)? good luck with that.
        banned from zdnet
      • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

        @RonanSail LOL exactly. I don't read about Iphone... been there ... no thanks why waste my time hahaha
        tazmanrising
    • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

      @itguy08 A better user interface? Wow! That certainly is subjective. Why would you want a WP7 device over an iPhone or Android? Let me see.

      - A distinctive user interface that many who aren't fans of the Android/iOS layout may choose.
      - Integrated Microsoft Office Mobile suite for all your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files
      - Microsoft Exchange support (likely best in the business)
      - XBox Live Integration (might not be a big deal to most business users, but will make WP7 uniquely appealing to a niche market under-served by iOS and Android)
      - Higher quality apps available due to superior free development tools and the enormous .NET developer pool already in existence.
      - Consistent and up-to-date operating system that is updated by Microsoft, not your mobile carrier, so no platform fragmentation like Android.
      - Clean interface not mangled and crippled by carriers like many Android devices.

      Do I need to keep going? :-)
      Tiggster
      • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

        @Tiggster

        Just a little rebuttal.

        - <i>A distinctive user interface that many who aren't fans of the Android/iOS layout may choose. </i>

        Interface looks nice, but WebOS also had a nice distinctive user interface, and that went nowhere.

        - <i>Integrated Microsoft Office Mobile suite for all your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files</i>

        Office without the ability to copy and paste is a none starter.

        - <i>Microsoft Exchange support (likely best in the business)</i>

        iPhone and Android have support for MS Exchange, ActiveSync.

        - <i>XBox Live Integration (might not be a big deal to most business users, but will make WP7 uniquely appealing to a niche market under-served by iOS and Android)</i>

        I've yet to see anything here that lives up to the XBox Live moniker. View, and track achievements? Play around with a cheesy avatar? I was expecting more groundbreaking features here. Most of the games listed are ports from the iPhone. And Apple have game center which does many of the same things.

        - <i>Consistent and up-to-date operating system that is updated by Microsoft, not your mobile carrier, so no platform fragmentation like Android.</i>

        A good thing, but it's still unclear how this will all play out with carriers. The updates come from MS but carriers can also have some control in blocking it for a maximum duration of one update cycle.
        dave95.
      • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

        @dave95

        Just a little rebuttal rebuttal.

        Interface looks nice, but WebOS also had a nice distinctive user interface, and that went nowhere.
        - webos had very little else going for it, and hp outsourcing everything they own to india indicates it's pretty much going to remain that way...

        Office without the ability to copy and paste is a none starter.
        - unless you're an early adopter trying to use this by Christmas you're going to have c+p. In fact you're going to have the best c+p implementation in all of mobile. The reports all say it's done and is releasing in an update shortly after the new year, which all owners will get for free.

        Phone and Android have support for MS Exchange, ActiveSync.
        - This isn't the crippled iphone/android minimal activesync, this is true best in class exchange integration.

        I've yet to see anything here that lives up to the XBox Live moniker. View, and track achievements? Play around with a cheesy avatar? I was expecting more groundbreaking features here. Most of the games listed are ports from the iPhone. And Apple have game center which does many of the same things.
        - This is coming for free and will work on phones you buy now. Way before iphone/android have anything like xbox live...

        A good thing, but it's still unclear how this will all play out with carriers. The updates come from MS but carriers can also have some control in blocking it for a maximum duration of one update cycle.
        - This is the same with ios, and vastly superior to androids only if you ever care to model. Unlike android the oems dont have to build all sorts of ux and drivers to get their hw working with wp. theres very little os dependency to test during updates and MS will do 99% of the testing. Like ios unless the mo can show a negative network impact it will not be help up.
        Johnny Vegas
      • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

        @Tiggster A distinctive user interface that many who aren't fans of the Android/iOS layout may choose.

        I have to say that this is one place (there are others) that Android wins hands down. Subjective? I can make my interface look like anything I want with Android. Hell, I can and have made it imitate the WP7 interface.

        Not a pissing contest...just an observation. I actually think that MS has designed a nice UI and I think the phone will sell if they can get the support of the carriers and stores.
        redhaven
      • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

        @rdaleypa,<br><br>Well said. This best thing about the Android devices is the customizability of the UI. I actually hope WP7 has some success. Customers can only benefit from more competition, especially if each OS brings something different to the table.
        bmonsterman
    • RE: 7 cool things to do with Windows Phone 7

      @itguy08 That is your opinion, personally, I find the new WP7 to have a far better, UI, with a much better experience overall.

      So, why would I want an iPhone?
      roteague
      • Because...

        you could have been using it for quite some time now instead of waiting for an eventual release date.
        jasonp9
    • HAHAHAHA!!! Android ux totally BLOWS compared to WP

      And what's even better is the ux of the WP apps totally smokes the ux of the same apps on adroid. There's not even a comparison, the android versions are laughable. Clearly you've never used a WP app or you'd chuck you pos android into the toilet. Android is for losers who have settled for the worst experience because they're fanbois and their moms wouldn't let them come upstairs. Why would anyone want an android phone? So they can join you in your mom's basement in the Android For Losers Club. HAHAHAHAHA!!! No thanks.
      Johnny Vegas
      • A fanboi laughing at other fanbois...

        and he doesn't even feel the wind as the irony flies right over his head.
        jasonp9
      • Perhaps the wind you didn't feel as the sarcasm flew over your head?

        @jasonp
        I thought it was pretty clear but for those who hit the pipe early today that response was to highlight the banality of itguy08's talkback by replying to it in kind...
        Johnny Vegas