Continuing in a series we’re calling “What’s on your home screen?”, we’re asking bloggers how they are using their Nokia Lumia phones in interesting or unique ways.
Today, we’re continuing with Matt Miller, the author of the Mobile Gadgeteer column at ZDNet.
Matt, what’s on your home screen?
I’ve been using and loving Nokia devices since 2001 and when I heard about the move to Windows Phone, I was ecstatic because I also thoroughly enjoy the sleek Windows Phone user interface. I couldn’t resist picking up a Nokia Lumia 900 in Stormtrooper white when it was available on AT&T. The first thing I do with Windows Phone is setup all my accounts and then customize my home screen, especially with a focus on the first two screens (main one of eight tiles and one swipe up).
Just like Windows Mobile in the past, Microsoft includes LOTS of functionality and capability in the OS itself. Nokia also includes most of the functions you need, so there are many apps and utilities you can grab just from the OS and pin to the Start screen. I have a mixture of these integrated utilities and third party apps on the Lumia 900.
First Start screen
Starting in the top left and then working to the right and down I have the following on the Lumia 900:
Phone: Yes, I still use my device for calls and in a quick two taps I am calling my most recent people on the Lumia 900.
Family group: Windows Phone 7.5 added the ability to create groups and this function itself is a MAJOR selling point for the OS to me. I have my immediate and close family members all in this group where I can quickly send them all an email or text, view what is new on their Facebook page, and see what new photos they have shared. Once you set these up, I think you will find them essential as well.
Messaging: Another awesome integrated functionality of Windows Phone is the ability to have both text messaging and Facebook Chat integrated into the Messaging app so you can keep the conversation going in a method that you choose.
Linked Inbox: Here I go again with another integrated functionality. I have an Exchange account for work and a Gmail account for personal and 2nd job communications so prefer to have an inbox that brings this all together in one tile that shows me how many emails have arrived since I last read them.
Music & Videos tile: I am a longtime Zune Pass subscriber and have quick access to offline and streaming content via this tile. I also enjoy the way the Live tile gets updated with the album art from the artist I last listened to as it changes the look of my Lumia 900 display dynamically.
Rowi: I enjoy communicating with friends and fans via Twitter (I am on there as “palmsolo“) and found Rowi to be my favorite Twitter application on Windows Phone.
YouVersion Bible: As a Christian, I find it very helpful to have quick direct access to my daily Bible reading plan and YouVersion Bible provides this capability to pin from within the application.
AlphaJax: Yes, I do play games from time to time and AlphaJax is my favorite word game on Windows Phone. Feel free to challenge, and likely beat me, in the game where my userID is again “palmsolo”.
Second Start screen, one swipe up
Here are my next eight tiles on the Nokia Lumia 900:
Calendar (two tiles wide): I like to know what is coming next and get quick access to creating new appointments.
Wonder Reader: My favorite RSS reader that provides Google Reader support.
Internet Explorer: Web browsing is an essential function I perform.
Slacker Radio: I know I have Zune to stream too, but I like the way Slacker Radio lets me just choose a channel and listen to a plethora of song titles.
ESPN ScoreCenter soccer tile: Nokia has an exclusive that lets you pin specific sports to the Start screen and as a soccer (aka football) fan I have this one pinned so I can follow my favorite team.
Xbox Live gaming tile: There are some great games for Windows Phone and they play very well on the brilliant Lumia 900 display.
USAA: My bank was the first to launch on mobile devices and has a fantastic mobile client on Windows Phone.
I have two more swipes up full of Live Tiles and personally try to get everything on the Start screen that I use every single day or two and rarely have the need to jump to the right. I also recommend you put quick connection tiles to wireless radios somewhere on your Start screen (I use the free Connection Tiles app) so you can toggle WiFi and Bluetooth on and off to save a bit of your battery life.