Author: Michael Stroh
Publisher: Microsoft Press, 2010
Aimed at: New users of the Windows Phone 7
Pros: Lots of clear illustrations, easy to follow
Cons: Spends time explaining the obvious
Reviewed by: Lucy Black
If you are new the Windows Phone 7 is also your first smartphone then this book will be a great help.
This book is aimed at new users - and will be particularly helpful if your Windows Phone 7 is your first smartphone. As it points out at the beginning of Chapter 2, "Taking a Quick Tour":
Smartphones are the Swiss Army knives of the twenty-first century. And Windows Phone 7 is no exception. It's a camera, a media player, a game console, a web browser, a GPS navigator, an alarm clock, a scientific calculator - oh, did I mention it also makes calls?
The format of this series with plenty of space for illustrations is ideally suited to introducing the Windows Phone 7. Every chapter is characterised by anotated pictures and clear step-by-step instructions. Tip boxes and "See Also" cross references are used to help you get up to speed without to much repetition and cautionary notes are included where required.
The book starts with an overview of the book itself and then an overview of the device - which you quickly understand is so much more than a phone in any traditional sense. In fact this book leaves "Talking on the Phone" to Chapter 5, after devoting Chapter 3 to "Setting up and Personalizing your Windows Phone" and Chapter 4 to Typing and Using Speech - by which it refers to voice commands thanks to its speech recognition capability.
Chapter 5 on phone functionality includes dialling by voice, juggling calls, conference calls, checking voicemail and forwarding calls. Then comes a complete chapter on contacts, "Connecting with People" that not only covers contact lists but also posting to Facebook and Windows Live. Email is the topic of the next chapter and then comes text messaging. Chapter 9 is on "Working with the Calendar".
Chapter 10 is on Browsing the Web including changing you website preferences. Then comes a chapter "Finding Places and Getting Directions" which uses the phones GPS capability and the Maps app, a mobile version of Bing Maps which even delivers real time traffic conditions to your phone.
In Chapter 12. "Playing Music and Video" we learn that Windows Phone 7 inherits much of its digital DNA from Zune .. one of Microsoft's least-known consumer products. Michael Stroh continues "As with the rest of the phone there's more to the Music + Videos hub than meets the eye" - and yes reading this chapter is probably going to reveal features you were not aware of. Next comes equally enthusiastic coverage of "Taking Pictures and Videos".
In Chapter 14 "Shopping for Apps and Playing Games" we are introduced to Microsoft's Marketplace, its virtual store that can be accessed from the phone and from a PC. On the games front it covers setting up an Xbox Live account - but on the whole the chapter is a brief one. Similarly Chapter 15 "Working with Office Mobile" is short and only scratches the surface, which is all it needs to do. The final chapter is on "Synching with your PC".
Aimed at the smartphone user the book stops short of discussing how you develop apps. But there will be other books for that and meanwhile I Programmer has plenty advice to get you started.
I began by wondering whether 250 pages could possibly be needed to introduce a phone - the answer is yes when your are explaining how to get the most from a smartphone with so many capabilities. Luckily it is all highly readable and generously illustrated. There's even a good index to help you locate specific information quickly.