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People on your Nokia Lumia

LONDON, United Kingdom – The Nokia Lumia 800 price of around £400 looks better and better value the more I explore this phone.

The main reason is that stock features like the People Hub, Nokia Drive, Nokia Music and the messaging system feel like apps that haven’t been invented on other phones I’ve tried.

Over the weekend I’ve been exploring the People Hub.

I set aside Friday evening to load up my contacts and add my social networks.

I soon loaded my contacts via Bluetooth using the Contacts Transfer app in about three minutes and linked my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Hotmail and Google mail accounts on the People Hub in another five.

The rest of the evening I was free to sit in front of the TV, playing with the People Hub. It brings your contacts to life, making them far more than just a list of numbers and addresses.

It gives you a proper joined up picture of them as people.

For example, I go to colleague Adam Fraser’s People Hub profile and there’s a picture of him and his latest online post next to it, about him growing a moustache for charity.

From here, with one touch, I can chat via Facebook or post on his wall, mention him on Twitter or email him. It even tells me where he lives and with one extra tap on his address I can find directions of how to get there on a map. The apps aren’t just connected, they’re joined at the hip..

I don’t have Adam’s personal phone number, but I can add it and it will be there on this profile allowing me, with one extra touch, to text or call him.

All good so far? But it goes a lot further.

The People Hub is one the first places to go

I can create groups of family, friends and colleagues and pin any or all of them to my home screen. I can also link several so that they are all on the same screen.

So you could put very close friends in a group or link them, either way you can keep in touch so much easier with the People Hub than on any other phone’s interface.

On other UI’s you find yourself going between apps all the time chasing email alerts of activity in various accounts.

Also, using the Nokia Lumia 800’s impressive 8-megapixel camera, you can load pictures to your social network very quickly.

When you start messaging people via the People Hub, you get replies in the messaging area. This is integrated too, so that no matter whether it’s a text or chat message, you see it in the same inbox. How many times have you missed a message from someone on a chat message, because you’ve been focused on your text inbox!

The second of the three People Hub pages is the news area, where you get all your updates under one roof. Again, this is a big step forward over other phones I’ve used, enabling me not to miss an update on Facebook because I’m lost in Twitter. It also removes the step of being notified of a Facebook or Twitter alert via email, closing your email and opening the relevant social network app.

The third area is called ‘recent’ and displays all of the people you’ve had recent contact with or even just loaded or looked at.

It’s like a human pasteboard showing all the people who have been on your mind recently.

All of these appear as mini tiles, with pictures and names on.

You’ll find the main People Hub tile on the top right of your home screen, next to the phone tile, and you won’t want to move it from there.

I’d classify this as a superapp, because it incorporates and manages other apps, simplifying everything.

So, just now I got a message in my message inbox. It was from Facebook confirming a meeting tonight, along with a phone number.

It strikes me that this phone is actually making it easier to stay connected with free messaging via social networks as an alternative. So it could even save you money.

Straight afterwards comes another Facebook message from someone at the Lewes Fireworks parade in southern England with a picture of some weird and wonderful Guys they are about to put on the fire. I wish I was there to see them burn, but I’ll just have to make do with watching the display from my back yard in south-east London.