Many of the new features of Windows Phone 7 are similar to what you’d find on competing phones. The Zune player is much like an iPod, the Marketplace sure has some new ideas but it’s not unique in any way. The camera is high quality, but so is the camera in Nokia’s latest model. In this article, I discuss the importance of Office Hub and why it’s one of WP7’s key features.
Dropping my jaw
During the WP7 developer day, we got to see a quick demo of how the Office hub works. The example was done with PowerPoint, a tool we all use. The presenter, Ben Riga, opened a ppt document from his mailbox. It looked very nice. He showed us how he was able to flip through the slides and animations to get an idea of how the presentation was going to look. He then came to a part which seemed to be a bit off. He said “this isn’t right” and tapped on a button in the application bar. He then edited the PowerPoint on his phone!
The realization I got from this was that the difference between other phones and WP7 was that although many other phones have the ability to read Office documents, WP7 actually has a version of office in it with proper editing capabilities. I commute a lot and being able to play through a presentation or make some last minute changes to a presentation would be very nice.
Syncing your life
Using Windows Mobile 6 and lower, we’ve all come to expect the ability to read documents on the go. Documents saved on a device or documents sent to us via e-mail. Using SharePoint 2010, Windows Phone 7 will facilitate syncing of documents between your desktop and your phone without any effort on your part. This means that a document you were working on at home or at the office will always be in your phone and up to date. If a colleague edits your document, you always have the most recent version. A nice feature in my mind. Something I hope can be extended to take further use of the features of SharePoint 2010. Tracking workflows, version history and being able to collaborate from anywhere seems like it could be nice.
I also see WP7 as the platform that will redeem and popularize Microsoft’s dark horse note-taking software OneNote. I personally love OneNote since I use many different computers. OneNote is a very lightweight note-taking tool which facilitates text, images, sound-clips and much more. It sorts and categorizes your notes into “books”. I’ve managed to sync my OneNote to a location online. In this way, whichever of my computers I use, I have all my notes available. As you can see in the picture above, OneNote has a central role in the Office Hub. Imagine every note scribbled, every meeting minutes and every “need to do” list you’ve written being available on your mobile device at all times, without any extra effort on your part.