I had a short meeting with Microsoft today about Office Mobile 2010 or, as it’s more commonly known, the Office hub. A few things have changed since I wrote the book, so let’s get to those first.
1. You can now pin a OneNote-based note–but not, curiously, a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document–to the Start screen. You do so as you do elsewhere in the system, by tapping and holding on the note you wish to pin; a pop-up menu will appear with one choice: Pin To Start. This functionality is not present in the pre-release version of Windows Phone OS I used to write the book.
2. Word, Excel, and OneNote now both work in landscape mode, as well as portrait mode. When I wrote the book, Word, Excel, and OneNote only worked in portrait mode, and PowerPoint only worked in landscape mode (that’s still the case).
A few things will be changing down the road. Microsoft agrees that SkyDrive integration is important and will be adding something akin to the current SharePoint support (which is quite nice). I’m confused why it’s not in there already.
I complained that it was not possible to pin the individual Office Mobile apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and SharePoint Workspace) to the Start screen. The current interface is document-focused, not app focused, I was told. But Microsoft will see how people feel about this and determine whether they will make it possible to pin individual apps in a future update. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t just do this.
Office Mobile 2010 will offer some nice integration with Microsoft’s hosted online services (BPOS, or Business Productivity Online Suite, which included hosted Exchange, SharePoint, and more) after those services are upgraded to the 2010 products. (They’re all currently on the 2007 server products.)
Finally, I was shown a bit of functionality I hadn’t thought to document in the book, but it’s pretty neat and I think I’ll write it up elsewhere later. Basically, you can use the new PowerPoint Broadcast feature in PowerPoint 2010 on Windows to make a presentation available to others remotely via email-based invitations. (They’re hosted by Microsoft on Windows Live, or enterprises can host them internally on SharePoint.) If you receive an email invitation on your Windows Phone, you can tap the phone number to listen to the presentation using the phone’s speaker phone. Then, tap the Back button to return to the email message and tap the URL for the broadcast. It will load in PowerPoint Mobile, so you can follow along using both the sound (through the phone) and the visuals (through PowerPoint). Naturally, this requires a carrier that can handle voice and data simultaneously. Like Microsoft’s premier launch partner, AT&T.