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Windows Phone 7, Day 18: Productivity On the Go

Since the smartphone is the device I have on me 24/7 it makes sense to be able to manage basic productivity with it.

30 Days WIth Windows Phone 7: Day 18

There is one thing that the Microsoft mobile OS has always had that no other mobile platform can really match--Microsoft Office. Windows Phone 7--especially "Mango"--goes beyond the Office Mobile apps with the Office Hub, so today I am going to jump into the Office Hub and see how "Mango" lets you be more productive on the go.

Let's be honest--it's a smartphone. Your screen real estate will vary some based on the exact hardware model you are running "Mango" on, but the reality is that you aren't going to create a multi-worksheet Excel spreadsheet with charts or pivot tables, or write the next great American novel on your smartphone.

But, even if the smartphone is not going to be your platform of choice for content creation, it's hard to argue with the awesomeness of being able to view and edit Microsoft Office files natively, or to even create a simple Word document or Excel spreadsheet in a pinch.

Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" takes the Office Mobile apps experience to a new level with the native and seamless integration of SkyDrive and/or Office 365. As long as I rely on SkyDrive, or an Office 365 SharePoint team site for storing files I create on my PC, I have instant access to open, view, and edit those files from my "Mango" smartphone. When it comes to tracking projects and to-do lists, I use OneNote. The OneNote data is also stored online and is available to me any time, no matter where I go from my smartphone.

I can create new OneNote files, new Word documents, or new Excel files from the smartphone. It even has a handful of templates to choose from--things like Agenda, Expenses, Mileage Tracker, Golf Scorecard, and more.

I have advocated for years that Microsoft should be aggressively developing Microsoft Office Mobile apps for all platforms. Even if Windows Phone 7 lives up to the loftiest of expectations and ascends to the number two position among smartphone platforms, it will still only have 20 or 25 percent market share. That leaves three fourths of the smartphones with no Office Mobile and possibly exploring alternatives.

Microsoft needs to give customers incentive to rely on Microsoft Office, and Microsoft's backend infrastructure (Exchange, SharePoint, etc.). It needs to make this same, consistent experience available on iOS, Android, and any other platform that comes along.

I'll get off my platform-agnostic Office Mobile for all soapbox now. I didn't even scratch the surface today, though, on actually using the Office Hub, and seeing how it works with the SkyDrive or Office 365 integration, so we'll call this topic "...to be continued."

Tune in tomorrow to really get into the nitty gritty of the "Mango" Office Hub.

Read the last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With Google+

Day 17: Taking and Sharing Pictures with WP7

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