I have written before that I believe smartphones are “the platform” for social networks. Some degree of social network integration is now expected with all smartphones, from iOS 5’s Twitter integration, to Android’s Google and Android integration, and Windows Phone’s integration with Windows Live and Facebook. Of the smartphone platforms on the market today, I think that Microsoft has been making the biggest effort to use social networking integration as a differentiator.
The design principle behind Windows Phone is to focus on how users share and retrieve information with their phones. For example, in the first release of Windows Phone, Facebook and Windows Live status updates are integrated in the People hub, which is where you also find contact information. You go to one spot, the People hub, to find out what your friends are doing rather than having to start up Facebook, Windows Live, or Twitter.
Microsoft is currently working on a new version of Windows Phone that has the code name “Mango.” The developer’s preview of Mango has been released by Microsoft, and during this past week several web sites have been posting their first impressions about the preview, which is far from being complete. If you are looking for a detailed overview of the differences between the current version of Windows Phone and Mango, I recommend that you read Paul Thurrott’s app by app comparison.
The key social networking improvements in Mango are:
– Twitter and LinkedIn integration in addition to Facebook and Windows Live
– Facebook Events integration in Calendar
– Facebook Chat integration in Messaging
– Face detection and tagging with Facebook photo uploads
– Facebook photos integration in the People hub. In the current version of Windows Phone, you can only see Facebook photos in the Photos hub
– A Check-In feature added to the Me Live tile, which you can use to send place check-in information to a variety of social networks. The Me Live tile is your profile on Windows Phone where you enter your status updates for Facebook and Windows Live and see comments to the information that you share on those social networks