Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Year in Review of Windows Phone Part 1

Samsung Focus
     Hello again! In my last post I talked about my breakup with Apple and iTunes after owning the 1st gen iPhone and then the 3GS. What could have possibly made me switch to something else you might ask?? Honestly, it wasn't the iPhone at was iTunes!! The entire problem with iTunes was that every time I updated my iPhone, iTunes never quite restored my phone back the way it was. I'd end up with duplicate contacts, missing apps, missing music or sometimes none at all, and so on. I never knew what I was going to end up with after an update and after toying with settings and such I just got disgusted. I needed something new and I knew that Android was not it. I tried Windows Mobile 6.5, it had a lot going for it, but it lacked stability and was not user friendly. It seemed like a mashed up OS with a flaky UI over top of it. So, I waited until Windows Phone 7 came out and I made the jump. I must say that I couldn't be happier!! It has a sleek simple interface that just works and makes sense not to mention that Microsoft's Zune software is leaps and bounds ahead of Apple's iTunes (I've always liked Zune).

     Day 1 of use!! Ah, I remember that day well. Opening the box to my new Samsung Focus!! I powered the phone up and within a few seconds I was looking at the Windows Phone start screen. To the untrained eye, it looks like a bunch of squares with not much going on. These are actually called "Live Tiles" and they animate giving you information from within the app that they represent. More on that later! So, I'm staring at this phone that has no information on it at all, no contacts, no pictures, no music, Nothing!! So, how do I get all of my info on there?? I can't just transfer everything from my iPhone to my Windows Phone?? How indeed!! The answer to this question is Microsoft's Windows Live. Maybe you already have a Live id and a Hotmail account, if so, you're golden!! Simply go to the phone's settings menu and input your Windows Live account info. I had a Live account, just never really used it. So, I downloaded all of the Windows Live software including Live Mail and the Live Mesh. You'll need the Live Mesh to keep your PC synced with your Live account. Since all of my contacts were already on my PC from years of syncing with my iPhone all that I needed to do is get that info to my Live account in the cloud. You can do this 2 ways: the first way is to get Live Mesh running on your PC and it will sync whatever info you want to your Live account OR you can input your Live account info into your old iPhone or Android phone as an Exchange account and everything will sync to your Live account. Then all that is needed is to simply input your Live account info into your new Windows Phone and voila!! You now have all of your contacts and any mail accounts that you have synced with your Live account. Easy! (There are many other features of Windows Live, such as remote desktop and such, feel free to explore as these services are free!) Now that all of that is done, let's talk about Facebook!! Again, in the settings menu you can add your Facebook account to your phone. This will enable you to see all of your wall posts, messages, and such straight from the people hub in Windows Phone. No app required!! So, add your Facebook account info and bam, now you have a nice link to all of your friends and within moments you'll see the "People" tile start to animate with profile pictures of your friends!! Open up the people hub and swipe over to "What's New" and you'll see wall posts. Cool!
     So, now my phone had my contacts and all of my Facebook friends on it. I was able to see my friends' profile pics and any updates that they posted. Now for the music!! Since I knew that my new Windows Phone was supposed to sync with my PC over Wifi I just had to try it!! First, I connected my phone to my PC and the Zune software discovered it. I went into settings and enabled the Wifi sync for my phone. Once that was done, I disconnected my phone from my PC. I then dragged and dropped all of my favorite albums to the phone icon in the lower left corner of the Zune software. This told Zune that I want it to sync these albums with my phone over Wifi the next time I charged my phone. I then put my phone on charge and took a break. After 10 minutes on charge, the phone is supposed to sync with the PC and it did. There was my music and I didn't have to even connect my phone to my PC to get it there!! Brilliant!! you can also do this with pictures and videos, although there is another way to do this as well!! More on that Later!! Stay tuned!!

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