Getting to Grips with Windows Phone Contacts

July 6, 2011, By Christian Cawley

One of the greatest innovations of the Windows Phone 7 platform – as if the stunning Metro UI wasn’t amazing enough – is the People Hub, a living contact management hub of friends, family and colleagues, unified across various networks such as Windows Live and corporate Microsoft Exchange and combined with Facebook (and soon LinkedIn and Twitter) to produce a single, point of contact app for everybody that you know.

Accessible via the Start screen, as one of the hubs this tool is a key element of any Windows Phone, and as such delivers you the ability to not only call, text and email your contacts but also interact with them on Facebook and other social networks.

Integration with social networks doesn’t feature the full set of functions however; for these, you will need to use the full dedicated app; for instance, Facebook for Windows Phone 7 offers further functionality, but via the People Hub you can easily add comments to your friend’s social presence and update your own status.

Get to grips with Windows Phone contacts

Reaching Out with the People Hub

You will notice that the People Hub features an ever-changing selection of images, and these correspond with the current social networking profile pictures. Friends that have been recently active will appear here from time to time, but the real meat can be found within the hub, which you access by tapping the tile.

Once open, you can straight away see What’s new among your friends, or swipe left to see who you recently contacted. Meanwhile, swiping further left (or right from the first screen you saw) will display the entire list of contacts.

Using this screen you can find a contact (using either the magnifying button on the screen or the button in the lower-right corner of your phone) and open up their details to see a mobile number that you can call or text, or an email address.

Get Social with Your People

Additionally, the Facebook integration is present here, as you can choose to Write on wall once you have finished observing other information such as the company they work for or its address. This option takes you to a quick text input screen with the keyboard displayed and allows you to make whatever useful or useless observation you feel like.

Similarly, you can like and post comments to your other contacts status updates, as well as set your own. In order to set your own status, open the People Hub, swipe right to find All and tap your existing status (synchronized from Facebook) which once again open a text entry box and keyboard and allow you to enter the relevant information.

No Facebook? No Problem!

As great as all of this sounds, you might be reluctant to have Facebook integrated into your People Hub, but this isn’t a problem. All you need to do is avoid setting up your Facebook account (which you would have done via Settings > Email & accounts > Facebook) but if you have already got this up and running, simply tap and hold the Facebook entry in the Email & accounts screen and tap Delete in the context menu.

You will then be able to manage your contacts without any social networking interruptions, although note that Hotmail/Windows Live accounts will also display status updates.

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