While we had seen hints at changes to the Windows Phone People and Phone apps coming to Windows 10 for phones before, a BUILD 2015 presentation focusing on Windows Phone user data revealed more about how contacts will be handled within the new operating system as well as a few visual design changes.
In addition to the previously revealed streamlined design, new circular profile photos and the removal of the Rooms feature, other observed changes include the expected transition to the Universal App format, the addition of Voice Mail to the Phone app’s upper menu, contacts’ photos now showing up next to their names in Call History, and a new pull-down menu for specific contact information from select services such as the phone’s SIM card, Skype, Lync, and Xbox.
Pulling contact information from multiple services is, as current Windows Phone users already know, a feature already implemented in the People app on Windows Phone but the inclusion of a pull-down menu to separate each category of information does reduce the need for excessive scrolling and finger swiping for the user. This is something Microsoft has already been seen focusing on as seen by the new links for People, Groups, and What’s New which will all be viewable on screen at once in Windows Phone 10 for phones as opposed to the continuous horizontal menu design which is currently used.
An interesting addition is the support for connecting contacts to Xbox accounts which is a functionality that has been long overdue, especially when you consider Microsoft owns the gaming platform and already links Xbox accounts to other Microsoft services. With the shift to Universal Apps and the potential for the People app to appear on the Xbox One console itself, the possibility is there for further integration between the Xbox Friends List and linked contacts to allow greater ease in finding friends to add all from within a single app as opposed to having to type in or search for a Gamertag after acquiring it directly from the user as is currently the case.
With the numerous features available to Windows Phone users, it’s easy to forget that the device’s main purpose is to actually be a phone and while changes to the way contacts are handled may not initially be as exciting as new camera filters or video editing tools, the evolution of the People app is something that will affect the way every single Windows Phone owner uses their device on a daily basis.
Do you like the way the handling of contacts on Windows Phone is evolving? What would you do differently? Share with the community down in the comments.