Featured App: Favorites (People) Hub for WP7
There are plenty of Favorite People apps scattered throughout the Marketplace to choose from, and they all do pretty much the same thing. Personally I look for an app that is; simple to setup, simple to use and has a clean, polished appearance. Favorites Hub scores well in all those categories. Running WP7 without a net, meaning no nightly full backup to rely on, I don’t want to spend more than a few minutes setting up any app that I can’t backup.
Favorites Hub has a clean metro interface without any overdone graphics (a certain unnamed staffer referred to my previous Favorites app as being designed for a three year old). Adding/deleting and selecting contacts is quick and easy. The interface is made up of five screens; Telephone, Messaging, Email, Internet & Settings. The Settings screen includes options for adding; any of the 4 entry types, deleting entries, configuration and an about screen. Entries, which include the shortcut name you create, with the associated number/address below, can be sorted alphabetically or you can position them however you prefer. The app opens to the Telephone screen and Settings is a quick flick to the right.
To add a new entry, tap Add (telephone, messaging,email or internet). The Add screen has two text boxes; display name and associated entry which is “hot selectable” from the Peoples hub (except for Internet. where you need to enter a web address), or you can also manually add a number/address if it does not yet exist on your device. The Telephone Add screen has a shortcut option to add a Messaging entry using the same selected number. There are four buttons at the bottom of the screen; Save / Save+Add (for quick multiple entries) / Reset (to clear contents and start over) / Cancel. Favorites Hub allows you to designate “any” phone number for Messaging (texting) so you can create multiple SMS entries for the same contact. Selecting an entry opens the appropriate interface; phone call, text, email (send from) or IE.
Configuration gives you options to organize entries alphabetically or by preference (you can move entries up but not down), theme management which includes 4 different themes, along with options to rate the app or contact support. When you select “Delete Favorites” from settings, regardless of the theme selected, the background will turn “red” to remind you of the mode you are in. Simply tap an entry and it’s gone. Tap the Back button to close the Delete function. I currently have 24 entries in the four categories and Favorites Hub takes about 1/2 to 1 second longer to open than the Peoples Hub, which is on par, or better than the other Favorites apps I have tried. Not sure, but I would assume there is no limit to the number of entries you can add to the app, for those of you who think “everyone” is a favorite.
You can find the Favorites Hub in Marketplace here (NOTE: the link will open Zune desktop). It is available for 0.99 or you can download the trial, which as I recall is fully functional.
I know I demand a lot, but can you also include the MS tag for the app? 🙂 Take it as another challenge from me Mr. Jimski.
in the mean time, I use Send to WP7.
Boy, tough crowd around here. At least I got to test out Tag Reader. It works!
@jimski: haha you are awesome SIR!!!
Excuse my ignorance, but I don’t get what this app does? I have my favorite people pinned to my Start page, so I have direct access to all their contact info etc. What’s the advantage of having an app like this?
@Gary: Good point. Guess the short answer is I have about 9-10 Favorite people and my Start screen is already getting cluttered with Live Tiles and other apps that I access frequently. 38 tiles now, counting doubles as 2.
So using default it would be; Tap People hub>scroll/letter search for name>tap; number, text or email. Using this app, its: Tap Favorites Hub>tap number to call (most frequent use)or swipe left once or twice to tap text or email. Saves time. Agreed, pinning Favorites to the Start screen adds contact photos, opens fast and gets you to the info you need more quickly.
But I value that Start screen real estate, thus my need for an app like this. I have situated Favorites Hub just below the People hub so its easy to get to, but only takes up one tile location. Now, if someone could make a Favorites App Hub (hint, hint) then my Start screen might look a little different.
Jimski, thank you for the explanation. Now I get it.
not widely available as yet, no for OZ tonight
Jimski – thanks for the review, I am deeply humbled. Hope you like the latest revision, it allows you to create your own theme with a background of your choice. The app also support 5 languages now: English, Spanish, German, French and Italian.
I can’t get the new update to download and install on my Focus. Can’t remember if I have the free trial or if I purchased the full version, and nothing I can find answers that for me. Anyhow, it shows up as an Update in my Marketplace hub, but won’t install.
@Gary: I was going to suggest you go to Zune>Settings>Account>Purchase History>Apps, and check to see if you downloaded the Trial or Paid version, but they went and screwed that up again, so Rights (Purchase or Trial) is not showing. Also noticed my purchases only go down to 12/16 now. Oh well.
Anyway, I have had issues before with Trials that got stuck on the update screen. My solution was either to go ahead and make the purchase or uninstall/reinstall the app as a trial. But you obviously have some data stored in this particular app, so that’s not a good option. Maybe Ryan or someone else has a suggestion. I do wish they would get Marketplace straightened out though. It is becoming a pain.
Gary, I have a Focus as well. I suspect that the Marketplace will not allow updates when it is in the Trial version. Both a friend and I have experienced this. I have downloaded my own app as a Trial to verify the functionality and double check a few things, I am waiting for an update that I posted last night to be approved by Microsoft – I will verify this issue with this forum. However, I believe the Trial will not update, it just closes or ignores the command to update. This is a Marketplace flaw – hopefully they will fix it, because many of the updates that I have made to the app significantly improve the user experience (in my humble opinion).
I can confirm trial apps will not update, at least on the Focus anyway, even though it will display the available updates. It just bypass the update process when you try to update a trial app.
@Ryan Lee: Glad I could help. Yes, I have been playing with the new version. While I sort of like the default theme, I have been playing with some solid backgrounds; black, gray, deep red, etc. Good to have choices. Thanks.
@adp: Thanks for the clarification. I couln’t remember if I ever was able to update a trial. Probably not, but when you are playing with so many apps it gets confusing. As many trials are simply ad based or limit entries, Microsoft should definitely permit updates to fully evaluate the application, or use it forever with ad support. A dumb move.
Purchased one yesterday for 0.99 (no trial) that won’t even open. Left a “beware” review but still nothing from the dev. Hope it gets corrected.