With less than 60 days till launch; a few friends and readers are approaching me with questions on how to be prepared for moving everything they have on their current smartphones into their new Windows Phones. This is an attempt to help out those who have already decided to make the jump into this innovative phone OS. If you have seen the demos and how Windows Phone 7 works; you probably have realized that most of the content residing in your phone is also stored somewhere in the clouds, either as a backup or it is the actual source of content in your phone.
You need to have a Windows Live account (a.k.a. Microsoft Passport account), this is probably one of the first and most important things you need to do. If you don’t have one, you can get one [here], if you do… you may want to make sure you pre-setup some of the features (some new, some have already been there for a while) so that they start feeding content coming in from the web from your own family, friends and colleagues. These feeds will come into the phone from the many social networks you belong to. The main source though, will be Windows Live, and even though not as many people use it right now as a social network, it actually works as a great social network center. This means that you can access the content from a large number of social networks in a single place; just like your Windows Phone will end up being your center for updating you on the content coming in from the web.
Once you have a new Windows Live ID, you can add, remove, change settings for many social network sites. You can do that [here]. For example, you will be able to connect your Windows Live ID to your Facebook account and whenever you receive content in your Facebook wall, you would see it in your Windows Live account. You can also setup so that you Facebook status changes and is posted on the wall when you change the status of your Windows Live account. The same thing goes for pictures and other features. Most social networks have similar features, so you can count on them feeding content into your Windows Live account and your Live account feeding them. The idea behind all this is that as other people change their information or update their status in their own social networks, your contacts will automatically feed you with their own updates whether that is a brand new picture or an update with their new phone number. There are other items you can setup into Windows Live, such as RSS feeds. Let’s just say you love to read our blog, the articles written by someone in your local news station or even major news and sports sites such as ABC News, CBS News, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, ESPN, etc… then all you need to do is enter the address of their RSS feed and your phone will have readily available news from their corresponding sites, just as you would if you were going into each of them independently. Customized news from the sources you like 24/7! When your Windows Live ID is set up in your Windows Phone, you can expect all this information to come streaming into your Windows Phone automatically. Preparing your Windows Live account and keeping it updated is probably what is going to save you from having to enter (or import) most contacts into your new phone, setting up news feeds, maybe even from going to your favorite news sites for your morning news.
If you enjoy of an Xbox game every now and then, or if you play all the time on your Xbox, then you should link your Xbox Live account into this setup. If you haven’t joined Xbox Live, you can do so [here]. Your game achievements, games score and other features will become available from your phone. Some games will be available to be played from both your phone and your Xbox, so that you can get entertainment whenever and wherever you want. The avatar you created in your Xbox will show up in your phone along with the information that your profile carries for the games you are playing.
If you are a music fan. Take a look at [Zune.net], this service is going to be available for Windows Phone users. The same principle applies and you most likely will take advantage of it. If you are willing to pay a monthly fee for unlimited downloads you will particularly enjoy this service where for less than the price of one CD, you can download as many songs as you want. If you are not willing to pay a monthly fee, then simply register and you can use the service for purchasing songs whenever you want. In the mean time, your registration is free and you are not required to make any purchases.
All in all, if you have these 4 items setup, updated and prepared, you can consider yourself ready for moving into Windows Phone effortlessly.