This is a great day to give you an update on what is happening with Windows Phone – I am excited since I just updated the design of the blog to be aligned with the Windows Phone branding. I hpe you like it.
Also, the rollout of Windows Phone 7.5 (code-named “Mango”) is complete, and there are many enhancements and improvements – I’ve fielded a fair number of questions in the last couple of months. So I thought it might be good to provide some links to usefull resources.
Articles for IT professionals
Windows Phone 7 Guides for IT Professionals has articles available for download that focus on different topics, including features, security, using Windows Phone devices with other applications such as Microsoft SharePoint, and the Windows Phone architecture. A newer site, Windows Phone 7.5 Guides for IT Professionals, provides updated articles on these topics and descriptions of new functionality in Windows Phone 7.5.
The article “Understanding Mobile Device Management” on Microsoft TechNet provides information on configuring Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and the Exchange ActiveSync protocol. The Mobility page of the Exchange Team Blog includes information about different Windows Phone announcements and capabilities.
Microsoft SharePoint Workspace Mobile is included with Office Mobile on Windows Phone, and provides the ability to download and synchronize Office documents with SharePoint servers. More information is available in the article “Use Microsoft SharePoint Workspace Mobile” on the Windows Phone site. Other helpful articles on using Windows Phone with SharePoint Workspace Mobile include “Configure external access for mobile devices” and “Building Windows Phone 7 applications with SharePoint 2010 Products and Unified Access
Gateway (UAG)” on TechNet.
A virtual private network (VPN) connection is required to enable access users to connect to internal SharePoint sites from outside the firewall. The only VPN server that is supported by Windows Phone is the Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG). Forefront UAG with Service Pack 1 (SP1) is recommended. For more information about Forefront UAG Sharepoint Publishing, see the “SharePoint Publishing Guide” and “Publishing SharePoint sites for SharePoint Workspace Mobile.”
System Center-related information
With Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager you can manage a wide range of mobile devices with a single administrative console. The article “System Center: Managing Mobile Devices” in TechNet magazine discusses the importance of having a solid strategy for secure device management. And “Windows Phone 7: Enterprises Go with Windows Phone 7” describes how consolidating personal and professional functions into a single mobile device made Windows Phone a compelling platform.
Third-party management solutions
IT professional-oriented apps for Windows Phone
Remote Desktop 7 by the Yalla Apps developer community is a native RDP client for Windows Phone that you can use to control remote computers over your LAN or the Internet, listen to remote audio, share your phone storage with remote computers, and more.
And for comprehensive information, Springboard for Windows on TechNet provides recommended videos, white papers, how tos, FAQs, webcasts, and step-by-step guidance for discovering, deploying and managing Windows.
Support for users
One popular resource is the Windows Phone help and how to page, where help information is provided for people who are new to Windows Phone as well as existing Windows Phone users. Topics range from getting started instructions to deciphering status icons, using the Speech features in Windows Phone, taking pictures, and troubleshooting. There’s also a special What’s new in Windows Phone 7.5 section.
Another great resource is Microsoft Answers, which includes a Windows Phone section. I recently used it to help a colleague who thought he had noticed some poorly designed functionality. Ever since he upgraded to Mango, his calendar was filling up with all the Facebook events to which he was invited – even though he hadn’t accepted most of them.
So I went to the Windows Phone section of Microsoft Answers, searched for “facebook events” and quickly learned there’s a configuration option in Windows Phone calendar to “Only show Facebook events I’ve responded to.” (My colleague now points out this handy feature to others as if he invented it.)
Support for developers
For developers, there are two informative and interesting App Hub forums. The Windows Phone 7 forum has numerous ongoing discussions on a variety of topics, mostly about specific aspects of app development. The Account Management forum focuses on registering with and using App Hub.
Microsoft Zune software available for download
You can download Microsoft Zune software to your PC and turn your Windows Phone into a player for all your music, videos, and podcasts. You can also use Zune to listen to FM radio and go to Marketplace to search for apps. To learn more about Zune, see Get to know the Zune software. Mac users can install the Windows Phone 7 Connector to sync media files with Windows Phone.
North Rhine-Westphalia Police delivers mobile innovation to its employees and residents on the Windows Phone. North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Police is the largest police force in Germany, with ~50,000 police officers serving about 19 million people. NRW Police added Windows Phone to their IT-approved list of smartphones for their employees because it met their security requirements and works with their existing infrastructure. Then they worked with a Microsoft partner to build an app that delivers breaking news, search warrant, and police
station information to their employees and users.
Major car insurer sees 60 percent faster time-to-market on Windows Phone 7. Geico needed to develop its GloveBox app for Windows Phone quickly, but it wanted full feature parity with its version for the iPhone. Geico met these goals and more through its use of the familiar Microsoft .NET development environment, the distinctive “Metro” interface of Windows Phone, and a close and supportive relationship with Microsoft. Geico produced its app for Windows Phone—using prerelease code—40 percent faster than it had developed the iPhone version and believes development would have been significantly faster had mature code been available.
How Microsoft Deployed Windows Phone to Employees isn’t really a case study, but it describes how Microsoft distributed more than 50,000 Windows Phones to employees around the globe. It’s an interesting read.
Windows Phone reviews
Windows Phone 7.5 Review by Paul Thurott on SuperSite for Windows There’s a New Windows Phone! Why you should be overjoyed about Microsoft’s latest entry in the smartphone derby by Farhad Manjoo on Slate.
Happy New Year, now is a good time to upgrade to Windows Phone.
Alan Meeus, Windows Phone Team