Microsoft isn’t messing around when it comes to phones anymore: Windows Phone 7 doesn’t just catch up with Android and the iPhone: in many ways it surpassed those platforms.
Whether you think that statement is absurd or are the happy owner of Windows Phone who knows, you should really read “Understanding Windows Phone 7: Your Complete Guide.” This manual teaches you to use the many features of Windows Phones 7 along with tips and tricks for doing just about everything. It’s the perfect way to find out how to use your Windows phone, if you already own one. It’s also a great way to decide whether you should buy a Windows Phone or not, because you’ll learn exactly what the platform can and can’t do.
Table of Contents
§2?–?The Metro User Interface
§3?–?Contacts, Social Networking and Photos
§4?–?What Microsoft Brings to Windows Phone
§5?–?Music and Video with Zune
§6?–?Microsoft Office Mobile
§7?–?The Windows Phone Marketplace
§8?–?Gaming with Xbox Live
§9?–?Tweaking Your Windows Phone
§10?–?Windows Phone Security
§11?–?Internet, Email and Connectivity
§12?–?Misconceptions About Windows Phone
After years of struggling to provide an operating system for smartphone users, Microsoft blasted back into the market in 2010 with Windows Phone. A whole new take on mobile phone operating systems, it first appeared on devices from HTC, Samsung and LG and can now be found on the latest devices from Nokia.
Featuring the tile-based Metro user interface, Windows Phone offers an alternative to the iPhone and Android’s rows of icons and makes performing some of the most common smartphone tasks quick, easy and satisfying.
1.1 What You Need To Know About Windows Phone
First things first: Windows Phone is NOT Windows Mobile!
Initially released for PDAs in 2000 as Pocket PC (retroactively referred to as Windows Mobile Classic), the Windows Mobile name was introduced with the introduction of smartphones in 2003 and went through several releases, all of which featured a keyboard or stylus-driven user interface that owed a lot to the desktop Windows OS.
Over the years this approach drew criticism: Microsoft was attempting to “squeeze” Windows into a mobile phone or PDA; certainly their approach to software for these devices seemed to mirror the desktop model, with high prices for barely-used applications.
The writing was on the wall for Windows Mobile in 2007 when Apple released the iPhone; by 2008 and the arrival of the first Android handsets, manufacturers such as HTC and developers like SPB were able to sell the idea of a redesigned user interface for the platform. Thanks to this support and a loyal community of developers, the platform managed to last a little longer than it might have otherwise.
Rather than bring the axe down straightaway, Microsoft released Windows Mobile 6.5 and even announced Windows Mobile 7, but the lukewarm reaction to the former resulted in a massive rethink.
1.2 Windows Phone 7 vs Windows Phone 7.5
This rethink of course resulted in the development of what was initially known as Windows Phone 7 Series (amended soon after following feedback), a complete departure from both Windows Mobile and any other mobile operating system on the market.
When Windows Phone 7 was released in October 2010, it drew a lot of positive reviews and admiring glances for the user interface… but curiously it wasn’t quite ready. Microsoft realised that they were so far behind Android and iPhone that they opted to release their new mobile operating system early, a potentially dangerous move.
As a result, key features now expected of a mobile phone were missing, such as copy and paste, wireless tethering and native cloud support, to name a few.
Fortunately, following the release of Windows Phone 7.5 in late 2011/early 2012, these issues (and several others) were resolved, resulting in a vibrant and user-friendly mobile platform supported by some of the biggest device manufacturers in the world.
It is worth mentioning that the first generation devices can all be updated to Windows Phone 7.5, enabling all Windows Phones to enjoy the same features.
1.3 Manufacturers of Windows Phone Handsets
The old Windows Mobile platform was licensed for use on many different devices, from Dell-built PDAs to HTC “superphones”, slimline BlackBerry-esque handsets to low-spec touchscreen phones. Basically: if you were a company building a mobile phone and needed a platform, Microsoft was the developer to go to. Again: it’s similar to Microsoft’s desktop business model…
With the release of Windows Phone, however, Microsoft focused on quality rather than quantity. The result of this is that only a handful of developers – those able to meet the device specifications and successfully distribute devices – were invited as partners.
Windows Phone 7.5 minimum device specifications are:
• Capacitive, 4-point multi-touch screen with WVGA (480×800) resolution.
• ARM v7 “Cortex/Scorpion” – Snapdragon QSD8X50, MSM7X30, and MSM8X55.
• DirectX9 rendering-capable GPU 256MB of RAM with at least 8GB of Flash memory.
• Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and Assisted GPS.
• FM radio tuner.
• Six dedicated hardware buttons: Back, Start, Search across the front, a 2-stage camera (launch and take photos) and volume buttons on the side and a power/sleep hardware button usually found on the side (on the top edge on Nokia phones).
(The majority of devices available exceed these specs.)
Samsung, LG, HTC and Nokia are the producers of the most high profile devices.
• Samsung: Focus, Focus S, Omnia 7, Omnia W
• LG: Quantum, Optimus 7
• HTC: Trophy, Mozart, HD7, HD7S, Titan. Titan II (Released March 2012)
• Nokia: Lumia 710. Lumia 800, Lumia 900 (Released March 2012)
• Dell: Venue Pro
• Acer: Allegro
• ZTE: Tania
Availability for Windows Phone is now widely available, with the second generation of devices running Windows Phone 7.5 (also known as Tango) featuring among the top sellers of many popular mobile phone networks around the world. For more information on a specific model, head to the appropriate developer’s website or your favourite mobile phone retailer.
2. The Metro User Interface
Probably the most striking thing about Windows Phone is the Metro UI, an interface that relies on movable tiles rather than the traditional rows of icons made famous by the iPhone.
Although the display of a Windows Phone handset is WVGA with at least 480×800 pixel resolution, the number of colours used on the Start screen is restricted to the background and accent colours chosen. But why? Just what is going on with the Metro UI?
2.1 Understanding Metro
Conceived as a user interface that would overcome the bad memory of Windows Mobile and make the experience of using a touchscreen phone pleasing, fast and easy, Metro is functional and easy to understand.
Employing the striking Segoe WP font, the Metro UI makes Windows Phone as memorable to look at as it is to use. If you’re used to opening menus by tapping settings icons or seeing the features of a mobile app squeezed uncomfortably into the confines of the 480×800 display, you’ll see something new in Windows Phone.
Rather than force icons into a single screen, native and third party Windows Phone apps take advantage of a slim strip of display real estate on the right-hand side of the screen to hint at the fact that there is more to be seen. This hint prompts the user to swipe their thumb or finger from right to left to bring the next screen of the horizontally panning layout into view.
2.2 Interacting with Metro
There are various ways in which you need to use your fingers to interact with the Metro UI. Additionally, the interface features some innovations that you will be initially unfamiliar with.
First of all: several finger gestures are required. The most obvious of these is the tap, used for launching applications; old gesture for some tasks such as opening a context menu or moving a tile. Multifinger tapping is also available for using the keyboard and keypad.
Swiping left to right and right to left allows you to access additional screens within applications you use, while the thumb and forefinger “pinch” is used for zooming in and out of web pages and photos.
Finally, keep an eye out for ellipses (“…”) that indicate that a menu is hidden. By tapping or dragging these dots you can view the options available for that app.
The keyboard will appear on any webpage or app when text input is required. By default it will appear in your default language; the main keyboard will show lower case characters, the shift key will switch to upper case and the “&123” button will display symbols. You will notice some useful shortcut keys, such as “.com” – tap and hold this to choose from other common top level domains such as .net or .org.
When typing you will see various autocomplete options quickly appear – you can tap these to add them to the current sentence. Spelling mistakes are highlighted with a red wavy line, and these can be tapped to prompt the phone to make suggestions for correct spellings.
Should you wish to change the language, open Settings > Keyboard where you will find several options. In the Typing settings button on the same screen you will be able to configure how Windows Phone spellchecks your emails and documents.
2.3 Hardware Buttons
In addition to taps and menus you need to be aware of the hardware buttons on your Windows Phone. There are seven in total: three “soft keys” on the front of the device and a further four hardware buttons on the side.
The soft keys are:
• Back – sends the user back a screen; when held displays the task-switcher.
• Start – takes you back to the Start screen from any other view or app.
• Search – opens the Bing search tool.
On the edge of your phone, the hardware keys are as follows:
• Power button – switches the screen on or off with a quick press; shuts down the phone when held.
• Volume up and down rocker.
• Dual-function camera button – launches camera, also used to take pictures.
Being familiar with the soft keys is particularly vital for successful interaction with Metro.
2.4 Tiles and Live Tiles
Larger than the icons found on other platforms, tiles are key to the Metro design, allowing both easy interaction (they’re large enough for those of us with big fingers and thumbs) and enough space to display information. Windows Phone has no need for status bars and notification areas: everything is presented in the relevant tile.
For instance: appointments are displayed in the calendar tile; social networking information appears on the Me tile; missed calls and your current mobile network are listed on the Phone tile.
Some tiles present static information; others are regularly changing, depending on the information they display. The majority of native tiles can be described as Live Tiles while some third party apps also provide updates in this way or via pop-up notifications.
The great thing about these tiles is that they can be moved around the Start screen; you can have as many or as few as you like, although in Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 you might also use the tap and the Start screen is limited to the portrait orientation.
A quick look at the Windows Phone display reveals a handful of tiles that hide a lot of functions – the Hubs.
These tiles act as a gateway to various functions and features that have been organized logically and simply to enable fast, effective and enjoyable use of your phone. For example: while the Marketplace Hub offers access to apps, games and music, the Pictures Hub allows you to view photos that you snapped on your phone, those uploaded by friends on your social network and photo editing apps.
Grouping apps and features in this way allows the Windows Phone display to remain clean, functional and uncluttered.
2.6 Applications List
Rather than scroll through several grids of app icons, Windows Phone allows you to easily find the app you’re looking for, using either the application list or the Start screen.
A tap of the arrow in the top-right corner will display a list of installed apps – in full colour! From here you can easily find what you need by scrolling up and down. Better still, when the list starts to get too long to scroll through you will notice that apps are grouped alphabetically under small tiles labelled A-Z. Tapping one of these will open a grid display from where you can skip to apps beginning with that letter; for instance, you might tap Y to find the YouTube app.
The beauty of Windows Phone is that everything is fast — with Metro UI tasks that might take several minutes on other platforms are made easy.
2.7 Metro UI = Simplicity
As you can see, there is a concerted effort by the Windows Phone developers and the team behind the Metro UI to produce a user interface and operating system that is as easy to use as possible.
This doesn’t mean that functionality is sacrificed, however. You can perform virtually all of the same tasks with a Windows Phone as with a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android device. Whether you need to use a word processor, send emails, load web pages, enjoy streaming music, use your phone as a satnav or instantly upload new photos to Facebook, you can do so, effortlessly.
3. Contacts, Social Networking and Photos
The first thing that anyone does with a phone is make a call – after all, this is the device’s primary function!
Of course with Windows Phone there are plenty of things that you might do beyond calling, text or emailing people from your contacts list. You might check the status of a Facebook contact or send a Tweet; alternatively you might check photographs on Facebook, browse through your own or snap and upload some new pictures.
All of these things are easy to access and interact with, courtesy of the People Hub.
3.1 The People Hub
If you’re looking for a contact to call, text, email, Tweet or message using Facebook, then your first stop should be the People Hub.
Easily identified via ever-changing grid of profile pictures, the People Hub collects all of the data about your contacts from various social networks and indexes, allowing you to group them together under single profiles.
Navigating the People Hub is easy. Under the All heading you will find a list of contacts, grouped by alphabetical tiles that can be tapped to jump down the list as with the applications list. Opening a contact will reveal a profile picture, phone numbers, email addresses and other data, such as work address. You can also set a ringtone for each contact and check their most recent social network updates, if you want.
Social networking is a very important element of Windows Phone. Via the People Hub you What’s New screen, where your contact’s various social network statuses are displayed. Swiping again will reveal the Recent page, where contacts that you have interacted with over the past few days are listed for easy access.
3.2 Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and Windows Live
Viewing and interacting with social networks on your Windows Phone takes place entirely within the People Hub (although dedicated apps are available for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). Via the What’s New screen you can check updates – Facebook statuses, interesting Tweets, etc. – and use the small + symbol to leave a comment or simply “Like” the item.
By tapping the name of the poster, meanwhile, you can see all of their recent updates, their profile details and any pictures that they have shared on any of the configured social networks.
You can also interact with these networks via the Me tile, an extension of the People Hub that focuses purely on you. This screen displays your profile, listing the social networks that you have set up, and your most recent stats. You can post a message to any subscribed social network, use a check-in tool and set your chat status.
In addition, you can check the Notifications screen to view any messages, comments and replies from your social contacts and keep an eye out for updates on the various posts and that you have been involved with via the What’s New screen.
But how do you add a social network?
There are two ways of doing this. First: you can open the People Hub, tap the ellipses and select Settings. From here, scroll down to Add an account and select your preferred social network to connect to, entering the credentials (username, password) when prompted. As long as your phone has an Internet connection you will be able to sign in and sync.
Different social networks add different details to your phone:
• Windows Live: profile images, contact details, status updates
• Facebook: profile images, contact details, status updates
• Google: profile images, contact details
• Twitter: profile images, status updates
• LinkedIn: profile images, employment details, status updates.
With so many origins for the details that populate the People Hub there is of course a chance that the data can become duplicated or unnecessarily busy.
Fortunately, the developers of Windows Phone thought of that!
3.3 Adding, Syncing, Editing and Merging Contacts
There are different ways in which contacts can appear on your phone.
The most obvious is the SIM import method, ideal for anyone who stored their contacts on their SIM on a previous device. Using the People Hub, tap or drag the ellipses to access the Settings page and use the “Import SIM Contacts” button to add names and numbers of your contacts to Windows Phone.
Adding a new contact is a simple matter of opening the People Hub and tapping the “+” button at the foot of the screen. Select New Contact to proceed and choose your preferred location for the details to be stored – either in Windows Live or Google. (The contact doesn’t need to have either of these accounts – this is purely for cloud storage purposes).
With your choice made, select the relevant section to add a name, phone number, email address etc. If a photo of the individual is saved to your phone, select Add Photo to add this to the contact. Remember to tap “Save” when you’re done.
As Windows Phone uses cloud storage to save contacts, syncing should happen automatically whenever you make a change and your phone is connected to the Internet. If you have contacts saved in Windows Live or Google, these will be added when you add your appropriate login details.
Should you need to edit a contact at any time, simply open their profile and select the “Edit” option to make the changes, remembering to tap “Save” when you’re done.
Discarding contacts is just as simple – open the profile, tap or drag the ellipses and select Delete.
If you have a duplicate contact on your phone you can merge all of the records for that individual into one using the Link tool. Begin by opening the People Hub and checking through for multiple entries (some may have the surname as the first name, for instance) and then use the “Link” option to display any suggested links that Windows Phone detected. If there are none, use the “Choose a Contact” option, scroll through your list of people and tap the one you wish to add.
Should you link someone in error simply tap and hold their linked profile to display the Unlink option and use this to discard them.
3.4 Messaging with SMS and Facebook
When you open a contact you will see that there are various options; if you have their email address then you might use the Send email option; with the phone number stored you might choose call phone or call mobile.
If the contact has a Facebook profile then you might select Write on wall, but Windows Phone 7.5 features a very cool messaging system that allows you to switch between Facebook, Windows Live and SMS.
For instance, you might start an SMS text message conversation with a contact, but decide to save money by taking the conversation to Facebook chat or Windows Live Messenger. As long as your contact has one of these accounts, and it is synced to your phone, then you will be able to use the “Switch” button in the message thread to swap to your preferred medium. The flow of the message isn’t interrupted, so you can keep track of what you were talking about earlier.
3.5 The Pictures Hub (camera, photos and sharing)
There are two sides to the Pictures Hub: the camera and pictures themselves.
To take a photo with a Windows Phone, hold the camera button on the side of the phone to launch the camera. Next frame your shot and press the camera button again to take your picture. You can also tap the screen to take the photo.
You will also notice a zoom tool (+ and – buttons) as well as a settings button for altering resolution, metering, effects and flash; remember to use the Save settings option after making a change. Note also that you can switch to video camera mode via the small camera icon in the top right of the viewfinder.
Once a photo has been taken you can swipe your finger across the screen from left to right to go back and view it; you can actually view all recent photos this way. It is probably preferable to hit the Start button and open the Pictures Hub if you want to spend any considerable time looking at photos on a Windows Phone, however, because it offers a better interface.
Via the Pictures Hub you will have the option of viewing photos on your phone, seeing images shared by friends on social networks and launching any image tweaking apps that you have downloaded.
The main viewing section is split into four filters — Camera Roll, Albums, Date and People — so you should be able to easily find the snap you’re looking for. You will notice that the Pictures Hub and its Start screen tile have a background image from your collection. This can be adjusted in the ellipses menu, where you can tap “Choose Background” to apply a specific image, “Shuffle Background” to have the phone randomly pick a photo or access the “Settings” view.
From here you can adjust how the camera behaves, from including location information in images to controlling how the camera button behaves.
It is also in the Settings screen that you can determine the social networking aspect of your phone’s camera. At the bottom of the menu are two options. The first is “Automatically upload to SkyDrive”; this will keep a copy of your photos in the cloud, useful if you don’t have regular access to a computer (you can sync with Zune) or just like to keep copies.
The second option is to choose a “Quick Share Account”. Three options are available here, SkyDrive, Facebook and Twitter. What is a quick sharing? It’s the simple act of taking a photo and uploading it to your favourite service for friends, family and followers to see.
You can upload a photo to any of these services in seconds by taking a new photo and swiping back to preview it, or by viewing in the Pictures Hub. Simply open the ellipses menu and select Share on Facebook (or SkyDrive, or Twitter) and you will be prompted to add a caption; you might also add a tag. Once you’re done hit Upload and within 10 seconds – depending on the speed of your Internet connection – the image will be present on your preferred social network!
3.6 Don’t Forget – It’s a Phone as Well!
When you first tap the phone tile, it will take you to the keypad, waiting for you to enter a number. Tap “Call” to proceed, or “Save” to add the number to your contacts. Subsequent use of the phone will default to the history view so that you can quickly call previously dialled numbers or return calls.
One thing to note in the call history screen: you need to tap the phone icon on the left of the contact name, because tapping the contact itself will open their details.
The buttons on the menu at the foot of the screen offer additional features — the “Voicemail” button will call your voicemail while the “Keypad” button allows you to make calls. The “People” button opens your contacts while the Search button will let you find contacts in your call history.
Via the ellipses you can expand the menu and use the Delete all option to clear history. Meanwhile the Call settings option allows you to check and edit your Voicemail number, choose how your caller ID should be displayed, enable and disable Call forwarding, switch International assist on or off (a useful tool for correcting common mistakes when dialling international numbers) and set a Pin for your SIM card.
When making a call you may need to switch to speaker mode or put the call on hold;
this can be done by tapping the menu grid button next to the End call button. Should
you need to mute the call or add another person to the conversation you can also use this option, and if there is any requirement to enter numbers (for instance: you might need to negotiate a menu system when calling customer service department) you can tap the menu grid button again to return to the keypad.
4. What Microsoft Brings to Windows Phone
iPhone users get the advantage of Siri, iTunes, iCloud and all of the other amazing services provided by Apple; Android owners can enjoy Google maps, Google Docs, Gmail and more. Windows Phone owners have at their fingertips a range of excellent native apps and services that enhance the functionality of their device.
Bing provides universal search tools that will help you to find local points of interest, identify music, scan barcodes and search the web with your voice.
Voice is a strong part of Windows Phone, which features various hands free options from voice search to opening apps, calling and texting.
Finally, Windows Live is a key element of Windows Phone 7.5, allowing users to check email, use online chat, access the Windows Phone Marketplace, store data in the SkyDrive cloud storage, track a lost phone and much more.
Search is a key element of Windows Phone and this is represented by Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, which can be accessed using the Search button on the bottom right of your handset. When you launch the tool it will display the “image of the day” along with a couple of highlighted areas that you can tap to reveal information about the photo (a similar feature exists on the desktop browser version of the search engine).
Using the search field you can return results from the web and recent relevant news items. Swipe left and right to get images and local information.
More local data can be found on the Bing page by pressing the Scout button. This will find places to eat and drink, places to go to or see, shops you might like to try and a map of your immediate area – very useful for finding somewhere to eat in a new town or city.
The Music option, meanwhile, works in a similar way to the popular Shazam app, determining the name of a piece of music that you play back or sing into the phone. You also get an option to purchase the track. You can check previous searches via the Music history option in the ellipses menu.
Vision is an excellent new addition to Windows Phone 7.5, allowing you to scan barcodes and Microsoft tags with your phone’s camera and find the related information almost instantly.
4.2 TellMe about Speech…
Various voice tools are available in Windows Phone. One is found in the Bing search tool, which can be activated by tapping the microphone icon. All you have to do is state the term you wish to search for and Bing will convert this to text and submit it.
Other voice options are available. For instance: if you are with your phone connected to your audio system for hands-free phone calls, you would typically still need to use your hands to dial a number. With Windows Phone, however, simply hold the Start button and state “Call…[contact]” or “Call…[telephone number]”. Using the same method, you can open apps: “Open calendar”, for example.
With Windows Phone 7.5 Microsoft added TellMe, a Siri-like service that searches the web to return useful answers via Bing. By holding the Start button or using the Voice search option you can search for things such as “calories in a bag of crisps”. As long as there is an Internet connection (required for all voice services) your phone will display the results in the browser.
Finally, don’t ignore the advantage of voice messaging. When a text message is received and your phone is locked, the message and sender will be announced; you’ll get the chance to have the message read or ignored using a voice command. You can have a response sent if necessary, dictated by you and translated to text by your phone. A new voice message can be created by you in the messaging screen by tapping the microphone icon.
Settings for these functions can be found via Settings > Speech. For instance, you might wish to disable audio confirmations or the reading of text messages except in special circumstances, such as when using a Bluetooth headset.
4.3 SkyDrive/Windows Live
Microsoft’s other lasting gift to Windows Phone is the integration with the various Windows Live services such as email, calendar and SkyDrive.
Windows Live/Hotmail email accounts automatically sync, so you have always on access to Windows Live messenger and your phone’s calendar will also sync – particularly useful if you use Outlook or Windows Live Mail on your desktop computer.
Additionally there is the cloud storage solution, SkyDrive. With a Windows Live account you can have all of the photos and videos you record synced to your SkyDrive storage, ideal for avoiding problems should your phone be damaged, lost or stolen. In addition it provides a home for Microsoft Office documents that you create on your phone; these can be opened via a desktop web browser or downloaded and saved to your computer if necessary.
You simply cannot get the best experience from a Windows Phone without a Windows Live or Xbox Live account, any more than you might from an Android phone without a Google account.
5. Music and Video with Zune
Mobile phones are increasingly used as multimedia devices, and it is easy to see why. With vast amounts of storage and processing power – not to mention quality audio reproduction and high resolution displays – you can enjoy your favourite tunes, shows and movies whenever and wherever you like. The Music + Videos Hub features a version of the software seen on the old Zune HD media player device.
Thanks to the Zune store and desktop client, users can download and synchronize music with their phones. Additionally, the software is used for synchronizing photos and videos recorded on the phone with the host computer.
Zune can be downloaded from the web before you connect your phone to your PC for the first time, or you can simply connect your phone using the USB cable and wait for the prompt.
5.1 Using the Zune media player
Available from www.zune.net, the Zune media player and sync client is vital to getting the most out of Windows Phone. A much better application than Windows Media Player, Zune is easy to use and features a version of the Metro user interface. Thanks to its ability to sync media with a Windows Phone as well as provide an interface to the Zune store and the Windows Phone Marketplace (more on that later), Zune can be considered the “iTunes of Windows Phone.”
Once you have downloaded and installed the player you will be required to sign in. Use the same details as entered on your Windows Phone – typically a Windows Live account or perhaps an Xbox account – and wait while your details are updated. The next step will involve the client check your Windows profile libraries for music, but you can stop this and provide alternative locations via Settings > Software > Libraries.
The Zune player is clearly organized thanks to a menu and back button in the top left corner. The standard menu – used for finding music in your library or accessing the Zune store – will have the additional Phone entry listed whenever your device is connected.
5.2 Syncing with the Zune desktop client
When you connect your phone to your computer, two things will happen:
1. You will be unable to use the camera, the Music + Videos Hub, the Pictures Hub or the Windows Phone Marketplace.
2. The Zune client will launch.
If this is the first time you have connected the devices, then you will see notifications for drivers installing. Next, you will be asked by Zune to set up a relationship with the phone by designating a name for the handset. Once this is done, the synchronization will begin.
Various options are available via the “View Sync Options” button (also available via Settings > Phone > Sync Options) where you will find the settings required to manage how music, videos, pictures and podcasts are synced to your device. You can also Erase all content and Forget this phone if you want to start over.
Managing the space on your Windows Phone is also possible using the Zune client. You can check how much storage you have on your device via Settings > About, or you can turn your attention to the bar across the foot of the Zune client on the Phone screen.
Here you should see a meter displaying how much space is reserved (typically for apps) and in use and how much is available for additional videos, music and photos. Obviously this is useful to know when you’re deciding which albums or video clips to transfer to your phone for enjoyment later.
When syncing your Windows Phone you will notice that it displays a list of items that have been added to your computer from the device. These (usually photos or videos) can be viewed in Zune where they can be played as a slideshow or edited in Windows Live Photo Gallery (if it is installed on your computer).
Via the View Sync Options button you can also configure how images are stored, videos encoded and even determine how much space should be reserved on the phone for you to add your own data. Via Wireless Sync you can also avoid connecting your phone to the computer at all!
Manually syncing to your Windows Phone is easy, too. First, make sure you have your device connected and the Phone screen open in Zune. Next, open Windows Explorer and find the files you wish to sync and then left-click and drag them to the Zune client, dropping the files on the small phone icon in the corner.
5.3 Streamed music with Zune, Last.fm and Nokia Music
Windows Phone offers various opportunities to enjoy streamed music on your handset. If you don’t have a massive collection of MP3s, or if you don’t have a PC or Mac, you can take advantage of Zune and other services to stream great tunes to your phone.
The Zune service offers the ability to browse the online store and download tracks to your phone; pretty much as you would expect. However, with Smart DJ enabled, you can also pay a subscription to stream music to your phone based on the tracks you already own. This is charged to your Windows Live account; you’ll need a credit or debit card attached for this and for purchasing apps and games.
Free music is possible, but not via Zune. Fortunately there are a few apps that you can use for this. Those of you in the UK and Europe can take advantage of Last.fm; while this service requires an annual subscription for use on Android and iPhone, Windows Phone owners get to use it that you enjoy it free! Again this is a service that streams content based on songs that you indicate
Owners of the new Nokia Windows Phones will also have the chance to use Nokia Music, a great app similar to Last. fm which delivers great tune choices from Nokia’s huge library of tunes, completely free.
Finally, you can stream music the old fashioned way to your Windows Phone, thanks to the FM antenna!
5.4 Windows Phone and Podcasts
One of the most popular uses for mobile phones is to enjoy podcasts. Because Zune comes with the ability to subscribe to these downloads, you can listen to podcasts of various subjects. These are automatically downloaded to your phone whenever you sync, allowing you to always stay up to date with the most recent podcasts.
Subscribing is easy – simply find the RSS feed for the podcast concerned and open Collection > Podcasts in Zune. Click Add a favourite podcast, enter the URL and click Subscribe. Over the next few moments Zune will download the files to your computer ready to sync to your phone.
Synced podcasts can be found and played back via the Music + Videos Hub.
5.5 Mac Users
Windows Phone isn’t exclusively available to Windows desktop owners. If you own a Mac you can still take advantage of media synchronization using the easy-to-use Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac.
Available from Microsoft you can download this tool (run the DMG file to install) and use it in place of Zune. While there is no access to the Windows Phone Marketplace you can use this to sync media from your iTunes library to your Windows Phone, share images from your phone to your Mac and install updates for your phone.
6. Microsoft Office Mobile
Windows Phone handsets aren’t just phone, social networking and multimedia devices. Alongside all of the fun stuff are opportunities to get some real work done, courtesy of the Office hub.
Featuring excellent mobile versions of OneNote, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Microsoft Office Mobile is complemented by Exchange functionality for email accounts and the ability to share documents via email, SharePoint, Office 365 or SkyDrive.
6.1 The strengths of OneNote
Have you seen the Microsoft Windows TV advertisement where a father goes shopping, using OneNote as his shopping list only to see the items updated with endless sweets and candy by two mischievous kids on the home PC?
This is made possible thanks to OneNote’s excellent synchronization feature, made possible because of the cloud. The application features the ability to make lists, tap out thoughts on the Windows Phone keyboard and even record memos that can be saved and synced with your SkyDrive account. Best of all: if you use Office at home then you can sync the same OneNote file between your PC, SkyDrive and your Windows Phone. Simply open the Office hub, swipe to the OneNote section and hit + to get started with a new notebook.
6.2 Using Word on Windows Phone
If you’re planning on typing something more in-depth or want to edit an existing document don’t worry: Microsoft Word Mobile is available on Windows Phone. Capable of opening DOC, DOCX and RTF files, this app also features spell check, formatting tools and the ability to add comments, as well as options to share via email or SkyDrive and save to your phone or your cloud storage. You can also jump through a document via the Outline view, rather than spend time scrolling to find what you’re looking for.
Word processing on Windows Phone is as easy as typing an email, with spellcheck functionality indicated via the traditional wavy red line beneath the queries words. Tapping the word in question will display the keyboard and some suggestions; you can select from one these to amend or simply overtype the problematic term. Alternatively you might add the word to your phone’s dictionary.
6.3 Create and Edit Spread Sheets with Excel
Mobile office tasks aren’t limited to Microsoft Word and OneNote on your Windows Phone. Using the Office hub you can also create, open and edit Excel documents in XLS and XLSX format. If you’re planning on an expenses spread sheet then you can take advantage of a template file; those looking for golf scorecards, mileage trackers and timesheets are also in luck.
An Excel document on Windows Phone features an auto-sum tool, cell formatting and sorting as well as the ability to leave comments and share using email, SkyDrive, Office 365 or SharePoint.
6.4 PowerPoint on Windows Phone
Things are a little different with PowerPoint; while presentations can be opened from email or any of the other storage option they cannot be created from scratch. This is mainly due to the storage space required to provide templates for PowerPoint projects.
Fortunately there is the option to edit an existing presentation.
This useful feature enables you to alter the text, hide unnecessary slides and generally tweak the file as you see fit, with all of the same sharing and storage options as Word and Excel.
6.5 Exchange Email and Calendar
Along with standard POP and IMAP email accounts, Windows Phone supports Exchange email and calendar. While all email accounts can be easily setup automatically via Settings > Email+accounts > Add an account, the Microsoft Exchange or Office 365 account – enabled by selecting Outlook – will sync contacts, tasks and calendar items. (Note that Google Mail and Windows Live users also have the benefit of contact and calendar sync.)
Sending an email is a simple matter of opening your email inbox and tapping the + symbol. You can then enter the recipient’s email address or tap the To: box to select them from the People hub. You can add Cc and Bcc fields via the ellipses menu. (You might also send an email directly from the People hub by opening a contact and selecting Send email.)
Accessing to the calendar is delivered via the Start screen by default; here it is one
of just two tiles that span both columns of the display, such is its importance. Appoint-
ments can be created or edited via the calendar. As long as your phone is connected to the web this will sync with your Exchange account.
6.6 Sharing and Saving Documents with SharePoint and SkyDrive
Various methods exist for users to share and save documents on a Windows Phone.
The first is to save the document locally or send via email. Alternatively, if you have access to a SharePoint server (typically you would be a business user for this option to be available), documents can be instantly uploaded to this service and shared with your collaborators.
Since the release of Windows Phone 7.5 the ability to sync documents with the cloud storage service SkyDrive is available, resulting in a streamlined document management solution for the platform!
7. The Windows Phone Marketplace
Despite being one of the first mobile platforms to support the installation and running of third party software, the old Windows Mobile completely missed the boat in creating a centralised location where apps could be downloaded and installed.
Aware of this, Microsoft provides the Windows Phone Marketplace for Windows Phone users. Requiring a Windows Live account for access (with an attached credit card for purchases) the Marketplace is an ever-growing selection of games and apps you can browse on your phone, a PC or a web browser.
7.1 Finding Apps on Your Phone, PC or Browser
The first place you should start looking for apps on your Windows Phone is in the Marketplace hub, where you will initially find a summary of the top apps, games and music, as well as a menu to help you to select which category you want to browse (some handset manufacturers provide device-specific apps; these are also available via this menu).
If you would rather view apps and their details, reviews and prices via your PC, the
best option is to open Zune and select the Marketplace. From here, select the Apps
option to view the latest games and apps that are available for your phone. The top
paid and top free apps are listed, and a search tool is provided for you to search beyond the most popular choices.
Finally, you can open your web browser and visit the Marketplace via phone.com/marketplace; you will need to sign in to this with your Windows Live login. Using the browser apps can be installed over the air, useful if you need a specific app on your device but don’t have it close to hand.
7.2 Finding, Reviewing and Buying Apps
Whichever method you use to find apps, there are certain steps that need to be followed.
When you find an app you’re interested in select it to check the various details; you should find a description and screenshots as well as a rating and a price. The rating is based on user reviews; you should give this serious consideration, as well as look out for any mention of device-specific issues that might affect you. Remember that you can also leave reviews of apps, either via your preferred interface with the Marketplace or by uninstalling the app and selecting Rate and review.
If you’re ready to buy an app or game, select the Buy option and wait; if you have already added a credit card this will be charged automatically, otherwise you will need to add your details.
7.3 Troubleshooting Installation
From time to time apps don’t install correctly; occasionally they might stop working as they should.
If you’re having problems installing an app, make sure your phone is still connected to the Internet or your local Wi-Fi network (use either Mobile Network or Wi-Fi in the Settings menu). Should everything appear alright, disable your network connection and re-enable it; following this head back to the Marketplace and find the downloading app, which you should tap and hold, selecting Retry to restart the download. If this fails, cancel completely and try again.
Should you have an app that will no longer launch, find the item in the Apps list or the Games hub and tap and hold, selecting Uninstall to remove it from your phone. You can then reinstall from the Marketplace.
Note that when installing games it is recommended that you do so over a Wi-Fi connection, due to the size of most downloads and the bandwidth involved.
7.4 Updating Apps
From time to time you will notice that the Marketplace hub displays a number. This is the total of apps that you have installed that require updates, a process that can be carried out automatically.
Simply open the hub, find the message at the foot of the main Marketplace menu that will read something like “5 apps require updating” and tap this to view the summary of what is pending. From here, you can either tap each to update individually or tap Update all to let your phone manage the update process.
8. Gaming with Xbox Live
Mobile gaming has really taken off in the past few years, so it makes sense that Microsoft provides a means for enjoying games on their new mobile phone platform. There are two ways in which you can play games on Windows Phone:
1. Via Xbox Live
Both ways are fun, but you’re more likely to find amateur or free titles in the standalone category. On the other hand, games on the Xbox Live network will usually cost a bit more but come with unlockable features, achievements and the ability to add to your Gamerscore.
All games can be purchased and installed via the Windows Phone Marketplace and launched via the Games hub.
8.1 Top Gaming Titles
As you might expect from a Microsoft operating system, the selection of titles is great.
Along with obvious touch-screen titles, like Angry Birds and Sonic the Hedgehog, you’ll also find some major EA titles, such as Sims 3 and Assassin’s Creed – Altair’s Chronicles. Better still: some of the best games from Xbox Live Arcade can also be found, including Max & the Magic Marker and Rocket Riot. There are also several platform-specific titles, such as the remarkable ilomilo, and new Xbox Live games are released on a monthly basis.
8.2 Managing Your Avatar and Gamerscore
The Xbox Live network allows you to use the same login as your Xbox console, meaning your Gamerscore and Avatar can be checked, updated and managed on both devices.
(Note that, if you have setup your phone with a Windows Live account that isn’t linked to your Xbox Live account, you will need to resolve this when prompted. If the two accounts are one, however, you will have no problem.)
Via the Games hub you will find that you can check your achievements, monitor your Gamerscore and, with the help of the free Xbox Live Extras app, you can tweak your Xbox Live avatar. It is also possible to exchange messages with other Xbox Live users via the Games hub, whether they’re using an Xbox 360 console or a Windows Phone!
8.3 Non Xbox Live Gaming
Don’t feel that you have to sign up to Xbox Live to play games on a Windows Phone, however. You will find a massive selection of games produced by amateurs and professionals alike on the Windows Phone Marketplace that don’t have Xbox Live integration.
All that this means is that playing them won’t improve your Gamerscore; one of the advantages of Xbox Live is that you can top up your score and achievements while you’re at work or on the train.
Great games that can be found on other platforms are available, some of which feature turn-based and real-time online multiplayer gaming.
If you would prefer to avoid using Xbox Live completely you can disable the various levels of integration via Settings > Applications > Games.
9. Tweaking Your Windows Phone
Microsoft is happy for users to alter backgrounds and apply themes on their desktop and laptop computers, but the same isn’t true of Windows Phone. This is no doubt an attempt to retain control over the stylised Metro UI, but it can result in a lack of individualism – unless you know what you’re doing.
Fortunately there are various ways in which you can tweak your Windows Phone.
9.1 Customizing Ringtones
A selection of ringtones is provided out of the box for Windows Phone, and these can be selected on a universal or per-contact basis. Via Settings > Ringtones+sounds you can select a ringtone from those already on your phone, as well as configure audible alerts for text messages, voicemail and email.
With Windows Phone 7.5 comes the ability to add custom ringtones. This is done by first preparing a suitable WMA or MP3 file no longer than 40 seconds and no larger than 1MB, which can be synced to your device.
Next, with your phone connected to your computer, open Windows Explorer and drag the MP3 file to the phone icon in the bottom-left corner of the Zune sync software. When you next open the Settings > Ringtones+sounds screen the new file will be listed under Ringtone. If you don’t see it, find the ringtone in Zune and check which genre it is listed under. If it isn’t displayed under the “Ringtone” genre then right-click the file, select Edit and amend as necessary before trying again.
9.2 Adjusting the Tile and Background Colours
By default your Windows Phone will typically have a white background, perhaps with blue tiles or whatever colour arrangement has been programmed by your mobile phone network or vendor.
There are sadly only two background colours available for Windows Phone – white and black – although a number of different accent colours (the colour used for tiles and links) are available. Some of these depend on your phone model or where you bought the device.
To alter the look of your phone, open Settings > Theme and choose your Background and Accent colour from the options provided.
9.3 Choosing Wallpaper
Although there is no way to change the wallpaper on your Windows Phone, it is possible for you to alter the lock screen on your phone, as well as the background displayed in the Pictures hub.
To adjust the lock screen wallpaper on your Windows Phone, open Settings > Lock+wallpaper and tap the Change wallpaper button to select from any suitable images stored on your device. Note that a number of images are provided, but you can also select from those saved from the web, synced to your phone or snapped using your camera. You can also launch the camera from the Choose picture screen to capture a scene there and then.
Altering the image displayed on the Pictures hub Start screen tile and hub background is a case of tapping the tile to open the hub and then dragging the ellipses […] to either Choose background or Shuffle background.
9.4 Repositioning Tiles and Pinning Favourites
One of the great advantages of the tile-based Metro UI is its flexibility for providing you with a customized Start screen. While Windows Phone 7.5 doesn’t offer a Start screen in landscape view, it can nevertheless be reconfigured with favourite apps, games, contacts and websites all joining the default tiles.
To adjust the position of a tile all you need to do is tap and hold; the rest of the screen will fall into the background and you can then drag the tile to your favoured position. You will note that other tiles rearrange slightly to accommodate your change, and when you’re happy all you need to do is tap the tile to drop it into its new home.
Removing a tile is a matter of following the same procedure, but instead of moving the tile around tap the remove pin symbol in the top-right corner. Conversely, you can add a tile from the Apps list by tapping, holding and selecting Pin to Start.
Contacts and web pages can be pinned to the Start screen as well. To add a contact open the People hub, find the contact in question and tap and hold, selecting Pin to Start from the menu.
Pinning a web page will allow you to quickly open it, rather than first opening Internet Explorer, and can be done by browsing to the page, opening the ellipses menu and selecting Pin to Start.
9.5 Battery Management
With emails, Internet, games, apps and music – even phone calls! – taking their toll on your battery, you’re bound to come across some power management issues sooner or later.
There are various ways you can deal with these. For instance: you might change the Start screen background from white to black, effectively turning the background “off”. Similarly, you can use Settings > Lock+wallpaper and use the Screen times out after option to ensure that the display switches off when the phone is not in use.
It is also worth keeping an eye on your connectivity options, via Settings > WiFi and Settings > Mobile network; you can disable these more easily via the Settings > Flight mode option, although this will also switch off your mobile signal. A quicker method might just be to use Settings > Mobile network and switch your Data connection to Off.
With Windows Phone 7.5 Microsoft delivered the very useful Battery saver option, also available via the Settings menu. This has two options: the first is to enable the feature whenever the battery is low; the second is to enable it on an ad hoc basis. An estimated battery life remaining is displayed at the foot of the page and alters automatically based on your choice.
Note that, if you use a Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone, most battery issues that you have encountered can be dealt with by installing the latest update (see below).
9.6 Unlocking and Sideloading
The ultimate tweaks for Windows Phone come are only possible if you unlock your device. This isn’t a SIM unlock we’re talking about but a device unlock – pretty much “jailbreaking” the phone so that access can be granted to core operating system directories.
Two methods are currently available on all devices. The first is to use the ChevronWP7 (no longer online) service to purchase a code (about $10) and use this to “officially” unlock the device, allowing the installation (via “sideloading”) of homebrew apps and games. Endorsed by Microsoft, this method is intended for homebrew (amateur) developers and their fans, and is limited to installing 10 apps. To sideload apps you will need to download the Windows Phone SDK.
Another method is available; however, it is a lot more expensive and requires you to register your Windows Phone as a developer device. This also requires the Windows Phone SDK and your Windows Live account, and will cost around $100.
9.7 Updating Windows Phone
Microsoft releases updates for Windows Phone from time to time. Since the release of this OS there have been several updates, both large and small, and these are installed on your phone using your computer
Your device should let you know when it is time to install (adjust notifications for this via Settings > Phone update). When the time comes all you will need to do is hook up your phone to you computer using the USB cable, ensure that the Zune software is running on your PC (or the Windows Phone 7 Connector on your Mac) and follow the steps displayed on screen.
During the process you will be unable to make or receive calls or use your device in any way; do not disconnect it from the USB port until the process is complete. If you use a laptop computer, ensure that a mains connection is in use rather than relying on the battery. Fortunately failures are rare and a backup is made of your phone’s contents before the update begins, allowing you to restore your data should problems occur.
The entire process can take up to an hour (depending on the size of the update) so it is often best to leave the task until late evening.
10. Windows Phone Security
If you’re using a Windows Phone, you’ve either bought an expensive new smartphone, been given one as a gift or signed up for a deal that gives you the device free while tying you into a contract.
Either way, you’ll need to protect the device.
The first thing you should do is speak to the retailer who supplied the phone and find out who they recommend for providing insurance in the event of loss or theft. Spend some time researching this to get the best deal and make sure you’re aware of all clauses before signing up.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to take advantage of the on-board security tools.
10.1 Find My Phone
Absolutely the second thing you should do is open Settings > Find My Phone and activate both options, Connect to these features and Save my location every few hours for better mapping.
Then, on your desktop computer, open www.windowsphone.com and save the address to your favourites. Sign in with your Windows Live account and select the My Phone item on the menu.
This will take you to the My Windows Phone page, which will display a summary of information: your device model, phone number, recently uploaded SkyDrive data, and a link to Find My Phone.
Clicking this option will put yo