This time I am saying, people Hub is an unmatched experience:
Once you all set with your accounts etc, then its time to check out People Hub that is the biggest asset for Windows Phones and no wonder, you would have already heard a lot of praises for it from multiple sources. The first question is, what actually people hub is?
People Hub on Windows Phone is our old Address Book made alive or in better words, this is actually very close to what the address book should have been on a phone, when we call it a Smartphone.
Let’s see what makes People Hub so special ….
We geeks\bloggers might be of different opinions about the phones, but when a normal consumer look at a phone, then he\she wants it be the simplest piece of tech to him and yet be the most powerful way of communication. What a normal user does when buys a new phone? Give your phone to a nearby geek so that he may configure it for you, install the required apps and then guide you on how to make use of them. Is it the right way?
Windows Phone fulfill the same desire to make the phones as most simple and yet most powerful way of communication.
With People Hub, your address book is no more just text and addresses, but becomes something that is alive. Multiple services like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google making your addresses, joining them automatically, making meaning of addresses (just like Nokia), brining their updates, photos from social networks and the fun way of navigation, everything just works without making any of the efforts from the user side and at the same time, looks to be integrated in core of phone, not some apps.
With People hub on Windows Phones, You don’t only Call/SMS to your friends, but can sent Facebook messages/ chats to them, can reply to their most recent status updates on Facebook\ Twitter\ LinkedIn or can view\comment\like their Facebook photos as well and you do this all within the same app without altering the user experience. It brings numbers of friends from Facebook\LinkedIn Accounts (if public from their side) and by tapping on their addresses (if specified via any of the social contact), you can go Bing Maps and find a turn by turn route to reach them (No Nokia Maps Integration though, neither the navigation app seems to be working offline). Not only this but you can link as many accounts as you want. I myself linked around 12 accounts in one, while on my SGS, stupid TouchWiz doesn’t allow me to link more than five accounts.
Believe me, all of the above seems as fast as any phone I ever seen and Windows Phones seem to be kind of defining the upper most bar for the daily usages of smartphones in terms of speed of operation at least. Buy any one year old Windows Phone and still you wont bother if it is some single core or Quad core or if the RAM is 512 Mb or 1Gb.
I know, you will say “See.. another blogger going round and round about People Hub”. Even I was used to think so, but trust me, you need to live with it for just a week to know that why even worse Nokia haters start loving it within days.
Anyway, coming back over the details. there are three tabs\pages\sections within people hub.
1. People, that will have your picture and the most recent update of yours coming from the linked accounts by side of the picture. Below the same, you will find names of the groups that you might have created. Then it goes for the list of all names in your contacts cleverly designed with kind of Jump navigation by Alphabets.
2. What’s new, that will bring updates from all your social accounts configured, with picture previews if picture upload. You can reply tweets, retweet them (No conversation mode or reply to all or picture upload via People Hub though), comment on Facebook pictures, save them to phone or add tags on them.
3. Recent, that will bring the faces\names of people you recently interacted with or even just loaded their profiles in People Hub or looked at.
You can post an update to multiple Social networks at once and can even choose every time that over which ones you wanna post the update.
With the latest version of Windows Phone, you also can create groups and can have separate tiles floating on your screen for those groups bringing up the status updates and pics uploaded by group members or even treat these tiles as small specialized address book of yours. Create a family Group tile, create a College group tile, create an Office group tile and so on.. and all these group tiles behave in the same way as People hub would have. Same features, same navigation, same pages and same experience all over, but this time just for the people within the group. Moreover, it adds one more section called Pictures to brings pictures from their social networks and also adds updates to be visible on the group tile as well.
Isn’t it neat and effective? Do the social profile of a common user involves any more activities other than this?
During the review of Nokia Lumia 800, while I was pleasantly surprised by the availability of online contents at an speed like never before, I actually tried to know that how the sync actually works. I mean its on Demand sync of content, timely sync or push? Confusion was because, it always seems to be updated and kept on scaring me that how much data it might be using. Later I realized that it syncs when I visit them or go on the more button (shown as three dots at right bottom) and tap refresh from there and syncs at timely fashion otherwise (couldn’t find the schedule anywhere though). More interesting part was, it downloads the pictures etc if we visit them so that it may remain available if we wanna see them offline. I couldn’t even find if any limit over this kind of cache or any kind of deletion schedule.
Lack of a data counter like app \ tile didn’t let me sure of exact data usages, but if one doesn’t consider that part then with floating tiles and animations all around within People hub, this is a tremendously beautiful experience.
While the same feature is great for users like me who always want to remain online and aware of data usages costing etc, it might be a different thing for the users without a data plan or a slower 2G or WAP connections. Though as much I seen of it, it seems to be highly optimized for that kind of connection as well. May be comments from Windows Phone users with 2G connections will put more light over it.