1. Wintersdark's Avatar
    So, I'm looking at picking up a new phone to replace my iPhone 4 this spring. I'm very intrigued by Windows Phone, particularly with the entirely different - and wonderful - UI paradigm. However, I'm concerned about how customizable it is.

    For example, it's very fast and easy to, say, post a picture to Facebook or Twitter, as shown by the Smoked By Windows Phone ads; but what if I want to send a picture to some other destination? Say, Picasa, or my Dropbox? Is that easily configured, or am I stuck with using a standalone app? More accurately, can apps integrate with the existing system seamlessly?

    Can I create tiles pulling information from disparate sources? Say, specific twitter lists, facebook groups, google+ circles?

    Can apps customize these things, or is such functionality locked out?


    Note: I'm not asking for an iOS vs. WP7 comparison, I'm aware that iOS doesn't offer much of any customization out of the box either - I've long jailbroken mine to enable it. Rather, I'm hoping Windows Phone will be sufficiently extensible that I'd be happy with it.

    Particularly as I've some experience with C# coding, and would love a phone I could tinker with - without a Mac, it's ridiculously difficult to create anything for an iPhone.
    02-28-2012 06:54 PM
  2. selfcreation's Avatar
    hey Wintersdark ,

    Welcome to WPcentral :)


    first things first MS is very good with Developers , they have allot of free phone give aways to devs and offere DEV unlock phones for you to test your apps!

    you can check out the thread in my signature , all the ways to unlock and getting started with developing for WP. :)

    if you unlock you phone we do have SOME homebrew that offers more custom options , and more are comming out every day as well.

    regarding tiles pulling random info , it doesnt do it , im not sure if its POSSIBLE for YOU to create it as a developer , you can try asking in the Developer Section :)

    for sending pictures , its all prety easy to set up , doesnt matter where yu send it! and we have a nice skydrive app to hep you share your info between devices!
    Last edited by Se1fcr3ation; 02-28-2012 at 08:06 PM.
    02-28-2012 08:01 PM
  3. Wintersdark's Avatar
    hey Wintersdark ,

    Welcome to WPcentral :)


    first things first MS is very good with Developers , they have allot of free phone give aways to devs and offere DEV unlock phones for you to test your apps!

    you can check out the thread in my signature , all the ways to unlock and getting started with developing for WP. :)

    if you unlock you phone we do have SOME homebrew that offers more custom options , and more are comming out every day as well.

    regarding tiles pulling random info , it doesnt do it , im not sure if its POSSIBLE for YOU to create it as a developer , you can try asking in the Developer Section :)

    for sending pictures , its all prety easy to set up , doesnt matter where yu send it! and we have a nice skydrive app to hep you share your info between devices!
    Thanks for your response!

    Just to clarify, when you say unlock, you mean the wp7 equivilant of jailbreaking (allowing the execution of unsigned/non-marketplace apps), and not unlocking in terms of carrier locks, correct?

    Your blog is looking very helpful too, thanks for the link!

    I'm going to head over to the dev section and take a look. I'm entirely a hobby-level fellow, hardly a proper developer, but I'm more interested in what's possible than what I personally can do. If something is possible, someone will get it done, whether I personally can or not.
    02-28-2012 08:59 PM
  4. dtboos's Avatar
    Customizing is getting more and more creative and will continue to get more support as Nokia drives sales and consumers to the platform.

    There's a dev section here, but check out the xda forums if you haven't.

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=605


    As far as saving pictures to other places its pretty easy, and the apps are readily available for most places (not sure about picasa though). Flickr, skydrive, dropbox, sugarsync is coming, ect ect.
    02-28-2012 09:00 PM
  5. Wintersdark's Avatar
    Customizing is getting more and more creative and will continue to get more support as Nokia drives sales and consumers to the platform.

    There's a dev section here, but check out the xda forums if you haven't.

    Windows Phone 7 Development and Hacking - xda-developers

    As far as saving pictures to other places its pretty easy, and the apps are readily available for most places (not sure about picasa though). Flickr, skydrive, dropbox, sugarsync is coming, ect ect.
    Thanks, I'll check there too!

    As for pictures, I was more interested in the flexibility of the OS integration overall than pictures specifically; it's just difficult to express. It's a (in my opinion at least) major problem in the mobile space right now, because it's extremely difficult to get some play time with new toys and (at least hereabouts) Windows Phones are not exactly common.

    Stores typically don't have functional display models, and even if they did, they're generally unwilling to allow you to really monkey with the handset. And store staff generally have limited or no technical knowledge of their products.
    02-28-2012 09:27 PM
  6. doublebullout's Avatar
    Can I create tiles pulling information from disparate sources? Say, specific twitter lists, facebook groups, google+ circles?
    You can create live tiles for groups of contacts easily. This may get you pretty close to what you want, although you'd have to build the group manually by selecting group members yourself. The members must be in your contacts. For example, I have a live tile for my wife and kids, and a different live tile for my team at work. But I can't pick my Facebook "College Friends" group directly. Does that help?



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    02-28-2012 10:11 PM
  7. Wintersdark's Avatar
    You can create live tiles for groups of contacts easily. This may get you pretty close to what you want, although you'd have to build the group manually by selecting group members yourself. The members must be in your contacts. For example, I have a live tile for my wife and kids, and a different live tile for my team at work. But I can't pick my Facebook "College Friends" group directly. Does that help?



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Sort of. What I'm aiming at here is, can you add other contact sources other than Twitter/Facebook? Say, can one download a (as an example) Google+ app, which then adds those people to the phones' Contacts, then enabling that data stream to be combined with others like the stock apps? Or, is WP7's Contacts (People?) limited to specific providers (Say, twitter, email, sms, facebook) and not extensible?

    OS integration is awesome if it's extensible, but if it's not... once you need to start using standalone apps for various services, the integrated ones lose a lot of value - you may as well just find a standalone app that covers what you want and be done with it, which eliminates a major benefit of WP7 overall for me.
    02-28-2012 10:34 PM
  8. jimski's Avatar
    People Hub will be populated with the email address books you sync with your phone. Hotmail, GMail, Live, etc. Currently no support for G+ though. Apps you install that can upload photos will automatically link to the Pictures Hub. So when I select a photo, I can share it with SkyDrive or many other options; Messaging, EMail (4), Dropbox, FB, Twitter, Wordpress. Same for the Music Hub. All associated Music and Video apps get linked to the Hub.

    Sent from my HTC Surround using Board Express
    02-29-2012 12:05 AM
  9. coffeemike's Avatar
    Sort of. What I'm aiming at here is, can you add other contact sources other than Twitter/Facebook? Say, can one download a (as an example) Google+ app, which then adds those people to the phones' Contacts, then enabling that data stream to be combined with others like the stock apps? Or, is WP7's Contacts (People?) limited to specific providers (Say, twitter, email, sms, facebook) and not extensible?

    OS integration is awesome if it's extensible, but if it's not... once you need to start using standalone apps for various services, the integrated ones lose a lot of value - you may as well just find a standalone app that covers what you want and be done with it, which eliminates a major benefit of WP7 overall for me.
    Caveat - I've only had a Windows Phone for not quite two weeks. Prior to that, iOS for years.

    The best answer I have is, "sort of". Tight integration like you're talking about is, I believe, limited to what the OS knows to create as accounts (currently - email of all flavors, twitter, facebook, linked in). Although it's just your example, any of your G+ users *should*, I think, be contacts in your Google account, which you could integrate by connecting that phone in the OS. (I'm not *sure* whether G+ people are Google Contacts entries - that's something to check with Google.)

    Standalone apps are largely standalone, but they CAN hook into the OS integration more cleanly by (as I think of it) advertising services. For example: if I use the native Bing search to find a restaurant, WP7 knows that I can pass that location off to OpenTable (app) to make reservations, or to Foursquare (app) to check in - and shows me a list of other possibilities including any apps I may not have installed yet.

    I haven't seen enough details yet about upcoming releases of the OS (Tango and Apollo; think iOS 5.1 and iOS 6) to know what additional services are being baked in to the OS. I do expect that native set to grow.

    Having just made the switch, the single most impressive thing about WP7 is how tightly integrated everything I want to do actually is. Managing people and updates is straightforward, and I don't have to think about which app to be in for this or that function - if I want to share a picture, I go to the picture, not to the app for the target. For example.

    Fire back with some specifics; Dropbox is notably absent, although Skydrive (SkyDrive?) has more than made up for it for me. Evernote is present as an app, with some hooks as above (I shared a picture into an Evernote note last week). What else are you looking at?
    02-29-2012 12:42 AM
  10. doublebullout's Avatar
    I agree, the OS integration is one of the most useful features of WP7. The closest equivalent is Synergy in webOS, but WP7's integration is more powerful and pervasive. The Windows Phone motto - "Put People First" - describes it really well.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    02-29-2012 08:42 AM
  11. jimski's Avatar
    Curious coffeemike, where is Dropbox absent? No official app, but many good 3rd party offerings. I can upload photos to DB from the Pictures Hub, download photo from DB, backup and restore numerous apps through DB, play music and video directly from DB. Send DB file links via email. Grab Office, TXT and PDF files. Why are you specifically looking for from Dropbox? Yes, I am glad SkyDrive is finally getting their act together, but DB is currently better integrated till devs to more advantage of SkyDrive.

    Sent from my HTC Surround using Board Express
    02-29-2012 08:52 AM
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