A year ago we had smartphones, we had two major players and some minor ones. We had platforms with apps and games and huge ecosystems and we had platforms with great web browsers and email support. What we didn’t have was a platform with great social integration. That is, until Windows Phone.
Sure, you can probably name a platform with a few social apps and maybe some present, but unfinished integration, but Windows Phone was the phone that changed how we look at our devices. Windows Phone is the platform that takes your information as well as your friends and family’s and integrates it throughout the phone in ways that make sense. Your pictures hub not only includes your pictures, but pictures of your friends as well. Your contacts are not just a name and a phone number any longer, but everything about that person that you wish to be there, including their status updates. This was all present in the original release of Windows Phone, but it gets even better in Mango.
In the mango update for Windows Phone, the much-sought-after Twitter integration is finally present and in a ways that makes sense. In the original Windows Phone release, you could setup your Facebook account so that your friend’s status updates would be available in the “What’s New” section of the people hub. Now you can add your Twitter Timeline to that as well and if you don’t want everything mixing in together, then you can tap the top of the feed to select how you would like to filter the “What’s New” feed by social network type.
You can also now receive updates from Twitter on the “ME” tile in Mango. Not only does the live tile update with retweets and new tweets, but if you go into your ME tile in Mango, you can view your most recent tweet, check notifications and view your What’s New feed as well.
Integration with Facebook has also been improved in Mango. You’ll see a few new updates to the Facebook integration sprinkled throughout the OS, but the major addition to Facebook integration is Facebook chat. Mango now includes and combines all messenger chat into the Messaging app. This means that chat conversations will appear just like a normal MMS chat would. It’s seamless, elegant and exclusive to WIndows Phone. The ME tile also now includes the same Facebook integration as it does Twitter.
LinkedIn is a business-related social networking service for those professionals who would like to stay connected and network with other professionals. The LinkedIn integration also appears in the What’s New feed in the people hub as well as the ME live tile area.
The Windows Live service by Microsoft has always been the backbone to the Windows Phone platform. Services on Windows Phone are linked to Windows Live to be used on the phone and Microsoft also adds to the functionality by bringing WIndows Live Messenger capability to the messaging app. Just as with Facebook chat, messenger is tightly and seamlessly integration into the MMS features of the phone. Mango will allow users to update their availability status either in the ME tile or within the messaging app itself.
Overall, the social integration in Windows Phone by far exceeds the integration in any other platform. Microsoft knows that most people want to have their cake and eat it to, but the challenge was how to deliver it. After using both Mango betas for weeks now, I think Microsoft got it right.