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Windows Phone 7: People Hub

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Syncing contacts and their respective Facebook accounts together on a smartphone is nothing new – it’s been around for quite some time now. Nonetheless, Microsoft’s approach with the People Hub on Windows Phone 7 is like nothing you’ll have seen before.

For starters, all the action takes place over a large panoramic canvas, which is broken up into three main sections:

“All” – that’s your contacts, which is everyone you know in one place and that includes Facebook friends, Windows Live contacts and SIM contacts.

“What’s New” – this is a live stream of your friend’s Facebook and Windows Live activity, like status updates, pictures, videos and comments.

“Recent” – This keeps a log of your recent activity like the last profile you looked at for example.

Contacts Book

Find friends easily
Each of your contacts in the People Hub is stored in alphabetical order. At the beginning of each section of names, say contacts beginning with the letter ‘a’, there is a small corresponding letter icon.

Tapping this letter icon brings up an alphabetical menu (from A to Z) so you can quickly locate and contact the person you’re after. For example, if you’re after Zoe simply tap ‘Z’ and you’ll be taken to a list of all your contacts that have a name beginning with the letter ‘Z’.

Alternatively, you can simply scroll up-and-down the contacts list manually – we found using the alphabetical method significantly quicker, though.

Contact details
Once you’ve located the person you’re after, click on them and it’ll bring up there immediate profile details – so, ‘call mobile’, ‘text mobile’, ‘write on wall’, ‘send email’, ‘birthday’, ‘significant other’ and ‘notes’ –, giving you one click access to practically every means of communication possible.

However, if you want to see what’s been going on in that particular contact’s recent social networking activity, simply flick across to ‘what’s new’ and you’ll be able to see all their recent Facebook and Windows Live activity.

Pin contacts to your Start Screen
Everybody has a select group of people they spend most of their time texting, calling and emailing. Whether it’s family, friends or work colleagues it’s good to have all these important contacts in one easy to access place. In Windows Phone 7 you can ‘Pin’ all your favourite contacts to your Start Screen – and, as an added bonus, it’s very easy to do:

  • Go into your People Hub.
  • Find the desired contact.
  • Hold down on the contact until the option ‘pin to start’ pops up.
  • Click it and you’re done.
  • Now, on the homescreen there is a dedicated Tile for that contact.
  • You can pin as many of your favourite contacts to the Start Screen as you like.

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