Windows Phone 7 Mango and Office 365
So today was the big Mango day for Window Phone 7. Microsoft released the much anticipated update to Windows Phone 7 which was codenamed Mango. This update makes 100’s, per Microsoft over 500, improvements to the Mobile Operating System. Some of the big new features is multitasking, the ability to leave an app and do something else and then return to the original app right at the exact place you left off at. Some applications can also take advantage of running in the background, until this update, only native Windows apps like Zune could use this. Also big in this update is the inclusion of Twitter and Linkedin feeds to be included into the People hub just like Facebook feeds have been since the initial launch. Couple other features that are great is now the app list has a "jump list" by alpha and a search function; Linked mailboxes, the ability to link multiple mailboxes into a unified inbox; Mobile IE 9 browser; History for Contacts, now I can quickly see the emails, calls, SMS texts and updates from a specific contact; and the inclusion of Exchange Mailbox tasks in the calendar view. One other area that was greatly improved and had added functionality is the included Bing search. Not only can I search and get results from the web and locally to me based on location but they have Bing Vision, this allows me to scan UPC and other codes to get immediate information about the product, Bing Music, just think Shazam music identity service and Local Scout, the ability to find Eats and Drinks, Shopping and things to do around me. There are numerous, numerous other new features and improvements! (Some of these have been stolen by IOS)!
So what does this have to do with Office 365? Well the original RTM release already had very good integration with Office 365 via ActiveSync for Mailbox and with Office Mobile and SharePoint Online. But this just got better with Mango! Like I previously stated now tasks you have created in your Exchange Online mailbox are sync’d via ActiveSync to your calendar view to keep up with these items while on the go. Also Mango brings something to the Phone mailbox that I live by, Conversation view; the ability to have email threads viewed as a string instead of individual out of sequence mail messages, this makes keeping up to date on a long back and forth conversation between one or many users much easier to respond to. Another nice feature is pre Mango you only could Pin a mailbox to your start screen, now with Mango you can Pin a specific email folder to the start screen!
Another huge new feature with Mango is the ability to Read and send Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) protected content. This is huge for support and adoption of WP7 in the enterprise, as it is the first mobile OS to support this natively. And as a consultant I have done several ADRMS deployments as organizations see the need to protect documents when they leave the enterprise and ensure that data leakage is kept in check!
Another feature of Office 365 is Lync Online, and as Catapult is a Microsoft Gold Partner we have been fortunate enough to be in the TAP (Technology Acceptance Program) for Lync Mobile. I have been running it for about a month now and it is great! It allows the user to see presence and have IM conversations while away from the laptop or desktop. You can also configure Lync to ring your cell phone when a Lync call is received, and also place calls that appear to be placed from your Lync, or desktop phone. The Lync Mobile client should be released shortly for everyone, I highly recommend it.
The SharePoint integration has also been improved to allow the creation of documents on the phone and then saved to a SharePoint Online Doc library. This is great as basically with Catapult the file server is dead, every, and I mean everything is kept on SharePoint; it is my office no matter where I am at. Now I can review a PowerPoint presentation on the go, can review an SOW quickly and easily, it just gives me the power to do things without a WIFI network for my laptop or just a faster quick access (note to anyone thinking of a birthday present for me, I want the 4.7" screen HTC Titan when it comes out!) The SharePoint Portal view on the phone is great, it is not just a "Mobile" view, but a view and construct that is tailored for mobile access, you can easily see lists, calendars and document libraries on a SharePoint site and Pin them to Office mobile. I also greatly appreciate the new Mango integration with SkyDrive, the Microsoft free storage location for Microsoft Live Ids. As a consultant I use Microsoft Office OneNote extensively, I make it a point to try to take all notes from the sales cycle through project implementation with OneNote. And 80% of the time I am on my company laptop, but I find using my newly installed Windows 8 tablet and also some quick notes from my WP7 phone handy as well. So now I store all my OneNote notebooks on SkyDrive and I can access from any device, work laptop, tablet, and phone easily and always in sync. I can do a whiteboard session with a client and use my phone to take a picture of the whiteboard and add it to the clients OneNote page for that project!
These new features for WP7 with Mango make it an ideal platform for the Enterprise. While this was first and foremost a personal mobile OS, Microsoft understands and listened to the needs of the Enterprise with this update. I personally think this is the best Mobile OS on the market; it makes staying in contact and up-to-date easy and has over 30K other apps to play with and have fun. I highly recommend you seriously look at a WP7 phone when you are looking to make a change!