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Review: Living with Microsoft Windows Phone 7 - six weeks on from launch

by Pete Mason on 6 December 2010, 08:06 3.5

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Using WP7

Integration and set-up

Notwithstanding a few teething problems that can probably be pinned to my service provider, setting up the phone was a breeze. There are default wizards – for lack of a better word – for Yahoo, Windows Live, Gmail and Outlook/Exchange, although you can obviously set up any other accounts manually. However, it’s the Facebook integration that was one of WP7’s headline features.

After setting up your default account – which has to be the same one you plan to use for Xbox Live integration – you’re free to add as many accounts as you like and sync whatever features you choose from each. Handily, you can pick and choose what to sync - pulling your calendar from Google, contacts from Windows Live and e-mail from Yahoo won’t kick up a fuss. If you use a variety of different providers for your services, you’ll be well-looked after with WP7.

All of the e-mail accounts will get their own icon – no universal mailboxes, in case you’re into that sort of thing -  and as much as Microsoft wants to tell you that you can ‘glance and go’, the live tiles won’t tell you anything beyond how many new e-mails you have in that account.

Stay social...as long as it's on Facebook

As far as integration goes, the designers did a good job, but I can’t help but feel like they could have done so much more. As for Facebook, you can easily link your contacts to your friends – or have the phone import all of your ‘friends’ wholesale – and it will go ahead and populate the contact with a photo and contact details, as you’d expect, as well as their latest status update. When you select a contact, you can check ‘what’s new’ to see their online activity and add likes and comments, but don’t expect to be able to send pokes or private messages through Facebook.

In fact, Facebook messages don’t seem to factor into the equation at all. There’s no way to send them and you don’t get any sort of notifications when you receive them. This might all change with the introduction of a more-developed Facebook messaging system, but, for now, it just seems like a massive missed opportunity when the social network has been advertised as such an important part of the interface.

The same could be said for the contact integration when it comes to e-mails and texts. When you open up a contact, you can’t see any previous conversations or e-mail messages. Even though the homescreen live tiles show Facebook status updates, they don’t show you if that person has e-mailed or texted you. It all just reeks of unrealised potential that could actually make WP7 a glance-and-go OS.

And of course, don’t even think about integrated Twitter support.