Type keyboard is a good custom keyboard available for the Android platform. It has a number of themes to imitate keyboards of different style. The free version offers text prediction up to 14 days after which the prediction service will be discontinued.
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Other features like theming , however remain active. After installation is complete, go to the App list by swiping right to left from the Launcher 8 home screen. Open A. Type Keyboard should be near the top of the list since the list is alphabetically arranged. The wizard takes you through the steps to configure A. Type for first use: Enable A.
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Type Settings. It also includes cool animations and is pretty smooth to use. After you install Messaging 7, scroll down the app list and open the app. Press on the Menu hard key to reveal the Settings options. Open the Settings page; here you can set up several preferences for the app. Most of them are self-explanatory. Make sure the app is working fine with your device. Download Messaging 7 from Google Play. Just download and install WP7Contacts to your Android device.
The Dialer and Contacts app are bundled together and imitate the look and feel of the Windows Phone Dialer and Contacts. This app is similar to the iPhone Notifications app that we covered in an earlier post. Office support Similar to Exchange, we expect good integration between the Microsoft Office Suite and Windows Phone 7, and the elements are certainly there. You can view, edit, and create Word and Excel documents, whereas PowerPoint files are limited to just view and edit.
We downloaded Word and Excel attachments from our e-mail and were quite happy with how documents were displayed with original formatting. However, editing options are pretty much limited to formatting, highlighting, and changing font color. Microsoft is working on bringing this basic functionality to Windows Phone in the near future, but at launch, you'll be without. The note-taking app is quite useful; you can add photos and recorded audio clips, as well as bulleted or numbered lists to notes.
You can pin notes to the Start page, e-mail them, or sync them to your Windows Live account, so you can access them via the Web later on.
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Finally, if your company uses SharePoint Server for storing documents to share and edit, you can access them by entering the URL. Web browser Mobile Web is such a huge part of smartphones nowadays, and fortunately, Windows Phone 7 provides a relatively good browsing experience, certainly much improved from Windows Mobile. The Internet Explorer browser offers support for up to six windows and thumbnail views of all open pages, so you can easily toggle back and forth. You can also bookmark sites, and if you feel like it, you can pin pages to the Start screen for easier access.
Zooming can be handled either by using the pinch-to-zoom gesture or by double-tapping the screen. Both are smooth and zippy, but there's a slight delay when re-rendering text and images. Other available tools and settings include keyword search, the ability to share links, and page suggestions by Bing. Now, for the bad news. As of right now, there's no support for Flash, Silverlight, or HTML5, so despite taking several steps forward, Windows Phone 7's also several steps behind the competitors.
There's some consolation in the fact that Adobe did say at Mobile World Congress that it's working with Microsoft to bring Flash to the browser, but it just won't be in time for the holiday launch. Music and video If there's one area where Windows Phone 7 really excels and gives the competition a run for its money, it's the music experience. Xbox Live might be another, but hard to say without testing it. If you're new to Zune, there's a slight learning curve, but the interface is fresh and fun. The player offers simple controls and displays both the album art and an artist picture in the background.
That said, it'd be nice to have better player control when multitasking. When working in another app while listening to music, nowhere on the screen do you see your current track or any type of controls for advancing or rewinding tracks. It was only when we pressed the volume rocker by accident that a small toolbar dropped down from the top of the screen to expose the media buttons. This treatment is fine and we can learn to live with it, but we just wish it was more apparent from the get-go.
To get music, videos, and photos onto your phone, you will now be required to use Zune desktop software, and it's not just for multimedia. All synchronization and content management between your device and your computer will be handled through the Zune software; there's no more Exchange ActiveSync, and we can't say that we're sad about that fact. The Zune desktop client is much more attractive and easy to use. We dragged and dropped songs, videos, and podcasts with no problem note that there is no drag-and-drop mass storage, however , and playback was fine.
Windows Phone 7 also allows for Wi-Fi syncing, so you can drag and drop files to the phone icon on the desktop client, then the next time you plug the phone in for a charge and it detects your preferred Wi-Fi network, it will wirelessly sync the new files. One other very important feature to call out here: Windows Phone 7 will sync with Macs. Yes, you read right. However, it's quite limited in its capabilities.
For example, you can choose to sync only by playlist, artist, or genre; you can't pick individual songs. The same holds true for photos--you can sync entire albums but not individual photos. At launch, it also won't support contact syncing. Still, we'll take the limited capabilities over nothing. We received an early version of the software to try out, and we were able to sync albums and photos just fine. However, we weren't able to play our selected songs on the Samsung Focus. We could see the album art and full track list, but received the following error message: Try signing in with your Windows Live ID or try syncing again.
Obviously, there are some kinks that need to be worked out. You can, of course, purchase and download new music and video from the Zune Marketplace, directly from the phone or from your PC. With a Zune Pass subscription, you'll also be able to stream unlimited music to your phone. Even if you opt not to get a Zune Pass, the good news is that Windows Phone 7 handsets will all have FM radios and support third-party streaming services, such as Slacker, which is already available in the Marketplace.
Camera and photos All Windows Phone devices are required to have a 5-megapixel camera at the minimum, but the editing options may vary by handset. Any photos you take with the camera will show up in the Photo hub under the Camera roll. With any photos, you can do a long press on an image to share it either via e-mail, MMS, or Facebook, or you can upload it to SkyDrive, which is Windows Live's online storage system.
Along with your camera photos, the Picture hub will also display any images synced from your computer, Facebook albums, and mobile uploads. You can filter images by date or favorites, as well as check out a timeline of photos that your friends have uploaded to Facebook. Curiously, there isn't a slideshow option built into the Picture hub, so you have to manually swipe through your photos if you feel like taking a trip down memory lane--a shame particularly for those handsets with built-in kickstands. Also, unfortunately, right now you can't upload or share any videos directly from the phone.
You'll have to transfer the file to your computer if you want to do so. Apps have become an integral part of smartphones and are a key differentiator among platforms. So how will Windows Phone 7 fit into the app landscape? Will developers take to the platform? Will the quality of apps be on par with iOS and Android? It will be some time before we know the answer to some of those questions, but from what we've seen so far, the outlook is promising.
Microsoft says it's confident that the Windows Phone Marketplace with launch with more than 1, apps and games when the first phones ship in the U. The company expects to release several hundred apps per week till the end of During our review period, there were about apps available, including some of the more major and mainstream apps such as Twitter, Slacker, Foursquare, OpenTable, and Fandango. Our concern going into the testing wasn't so much with the quantity of apps the apps will come but with the quality.
However, we were heartened by what we saw when we checked out some of the available titles. Many of the apps, such as Twitter, Slacker, and IMDb, have adopted the same type of panoramic interface found in the hubs, so you already get a familiar feel as you're using the apps.
They're also quite eye-catching and full-featured.
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For example, in Fandango, you can watch movie trailers within the app and purchase tickets. You can check out more Windows Phone 7 apps here. Xbox Live Xbox Live wasn't fully functional or live on our Samsung Focus and HTC Surround review units, but once it's officially turned on, you'll be able to personalize your avatar and your gamer's profile and achievements. You'll be able to try all games before buying.
There were a handful of titles available for us to check out, including Twin Blades, Frogger, Star Wars: Battle of Hoth, and Bejeweled--all of which we downloaded over Wi-Fi. A number of the games took a while to load, but once going, the gameplay was smooth and fun. In Twin Blades, a zombie-slashing game, we were able to maneuver easily even on a smaller touch screen, thanks to well-placed controls. Without knowing what the final experience will be like, it's hard for us to really make a judgment, but the Xbox Live integration could be a key differentiator for Windows Phone 7.
Maps and search Bing serves as the primary search engine on Windows Phone 7. A press of the phone's search brings up the delightful Bing app into which you can enter your search term either by text or voice. Bing will then display Web results, as well as local and news items for the search term. If you choose local, results are listed based on your current location, and tapping on a listing will bring you to a new page with the address, phone number, link to directions, and if available Web site, hours of operation, and reviews.
Turn-by-turn navigation is offered in both vehicle and pedestrian modes as text-based instructions, but there's no option for mass transit or bicycle modes as there is with Google Maps. This probably is fine for a majority of people. However, in cities like New York and San Francisco, it would be nice to have those options, since mass transit and bikes are popular modes of transportation. Overall, we were quite happy with the navigation experience. The Bing search engine was quick to return results, which were mostly relevant to our searches.
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Our position on the map was sometimes off by a half block or so, and map redraws definitely took some time. This is one area where we miss Nokia's Ovi Maps. Directions were also accurate, and we liked that Bing showed both a smaller map view and text-based instructions on the same page so you don't have to switch back and forth.
You can view each separately, though, and Bing offers traffic data as well as an aerial view. In mid-May, Microsoft updates its Bing application to bring voice-guided navigation to Windows Mobile devices and the plan is to bring this to Windows Phone 7, but it won't be available at launch. I tapped on show times and received a recommendation for several movies apps, including MSN Movies.
I tapped the app and—voila! A nice bonus feature is how the app also takes advantage of Windows Phone 7. Download MSN Movies. The tile also displays my previous game mode: In this case, I was able to interrupt the game to check email and send a text without having to shut it down.
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