Nokia Lumia 800: social features

, posted: 20-Mar-2012 08:00

I covered the Nokia Lumia 800 hardware in my previous blog post, and promised a review of the software to follow. Problem is, there's so much software to cover. To narrow down the scope a little, I'm going to start out with the phone's "social" software: contacts and social networking. I'm going to have to bounce around a bit, because these elements are so tightly integrated in Windows Phone that they blur together.

Let's start with contact management. The "People" app is where it all happens. Even before you open the app you'll start to see images of your friends flashing up on the app's tile. Inside the app, you have an obvious list of all your contacts, but swipe to the right and you'll see "what's new": a feed of all updates from your contacts from Twitter, Facebook, and other networks you've added. You can tap on the "what's new" title to filter it down to just one network.



One thing to note: if you've added Facebook and Twitter accounts on your phone, you'll get all your contacts from those services listed. This is not always ideal, especially if you follow a lot of people on Twitter. Easy fix: in the application settings for the People app, you can filter your contacts list to only show contacts from the accounts you select. In my case I choose to show contacts from Gmail and my work email, but nowhere else. Don't worry though, you'll still see updates from Facebook and Twitter for the contacts you have displayed.

How does the integration with social networks work? Pretty easy really: Windows Phone automatically links contacts together from each network. You can see in the image below that my lovely wife's contact record has five different accounts linked together.



It's very accurate, with most accounts automatically linked except where friends are using pseudonyms and different email addresses.

With these accounts linked, when I view contact information for any one person, I see updates from their social networking accounts, photos from some, and a history of all my interactions with them, whether that be emails, phones or messages.

The real power of this integration comes to life when you create a group. Add up to 20 contacts into a custom group, and the group's "What's new" tab now becomes a custom filtered social network feed, showing only updates from people in the group.

You can pin groups to your start screen to get a snapshot of the latest updates on a tile, and of course you can send group SMS messages and emails from the group tab.

 

The social networking features of the phone extend through into other apps as well. The Photos app lets you view photos from Facebook and Windows Live from anyone in your contacts list. And the "Share" option can be integrated into any app (e.g. a photo editing app), allowing you to post updates to social networks from within app.

Finally, in the event that the built-in features of the Lumia 800 don't cut it for you, there's plenty of first and third party apps to try out. Great first-party apps include Facebook, Foursquare, and Skype (currently in beta). For Twitter, the official app is not that great, but Rowi and Carbon are fantastic alternatives.

That's it for a first look at contacts and social software. I'll follow up with a deeper dive on other aspects of the phone software. If you're looking for cool apps for your Nokia Lumia 800 while you wait, I can highly recommend AppFlow for discovering new and cool apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

About the author
 
Hey. I'm Ben, also known as @nzben on Twitter. I'm a gadget-obsessed software developer. I spend my days building stuff using Microsoft tools and frameworks, but my website runs on Linux, and I harbour impure thoughts about learning Ruby on Rails. I've built apps for all the current mobile platforms except BlackBerry, and at one time walked around with three phones in my pockets while testing apps. I come at the Lumia 800 with a bit of experience in Windows Phone, but my my most recent phone was an iPhone 4S, so I'm no fanboy. Feel free to comment and ask questions - I love a bit of feedback.

Other related posts:
Kids and the Nokia Lumia 800
Nokia Lumia 800 Battery Issue
Nokia Lumia 800 as a Remote Office






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Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

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