Skip navigation

Mailbag: Windows Phone 7.5

In the wake of last week's surprisingly successful release of Windows Phone 7.5, I've received a ton of email about the release with many questions and tidbits of advice. Here's some of the best Windows Phone 7.5 email I've received in the past week.

Where are the new phones? Which carriers? When?

Many, many people have asked variants of the following questions:

Is there a date when the new phones will go on sale?

Which phones will be available on [my wireless carrier]?

Will Nokia Windows Phone be available on [my wireless carrier]?


Microsoft and its wireless carrier and hardware partners have not revealed any release dates, sorry. When they do, rest assured I'll report on it immediately. Nokia is holding a major event, Nokia World, at the end of October, so one should logically expect announcements at that time. I will be covering that event live but remotely.

How to "force" the Windows Phone 7.5 update

Many, many readers have sent me links to posts on other sites that describe how to "force" the update to Windows Phone 7.5.

These instructions are not new and were certainly not discovered by the blogs that are posting the instructions. In fact, hobbyists performed similar actions to force previous Windows Phone updates several months ago.

While I understood (and was vocal about) the frustration over the lack of timely updates earlier in the year, that's not the case now. And I'm not going to write about this further because there's no need: Unlike with previous Windows Phone software updates, Windows Phone 7.5 is heading out to users in a very timely fashion. There's simply no reason to force an update. Everywhere will have this new version within a few weeks, and most of the people I know personally with Windows Phones already have.

Switching to Windows Phone 7.5 ... And What's Your Favorite Phone?

Stephen C. asks:

I'm currently an iPhone 3GS user and would love it if there was a simple way for me to buy a Windows Phone from AT&T and just swap my SIM card into it so I can try it. Is it as simple as swapping the SIM back and forth between the iPhone and the Windows Phone?

Yes, you can pop out your iPhone 3GS SIM and use it in a Windows Phone. It will work fine. (In fact, I've been doing this since July 2010.)

Note that the iPhone 4 uses a smaller "micro-SIM," so you'd need an adapter to use it in a Windows Phone handset or other smart phone.

Which is your favorite Windows Phone on the AT&T network?

I like the Samsung Focus, personally. That's what I use right now. That said, new devices are coming...

Which Windows Phone 7.5 device?

Anthony G. asks:

I'm ready to jump ship from iOS.  Is it worth it to wait until Nokia's phones come out or should I go with the Samsung Focus S or HTC Titan?

I've not seen any of the 7.5 phones personally yet--I was in Colorado for work the week I would have had my hands-on briefing--but I would absolutely wait to see what the Nokia phones are like, and from which carriers they will be available from, before deciding.

Windows Phone 7.5 and custom ringtones

Jeff G. writes:

This site has a nice guide for creating custom ringtones that work on Windows Phone 7.5. The key is changing the genre of the sound file to "ringtone" in the Zune PC software.

Nice, thanks.

For a sound file to work as a ringtone with Windows Phone 7.5, it must be in an unprotected WMA or MP3 format, less than 40 seconds long, and less than 1 megabyte in size. Zune Pass Music will not work.

Note that you can assign a custom ringtone to an individual contact too.

Using SD memory expansion with Windows Phone 7.5

Christopher H. asks:

I have yet to hear about expandable storage on Windows Phone 7.5: Which phones support it? Could you provide an update on this please?

Microsoft doesn't officially support this and I don't believe that's changed with Mango, sorry.

For those of you not following this contentious issue, I wrote about this several times on my Windows Phone Secrets blog. First, there was Windows Phone 7 and removable storage in October 2010, then Microsoft article, Windows Phone 7 Secure Digital card limitations, doesn’t answer the question in November 2010, and finally, AT&T apparently selling "certified" SD cards for Windows Phone now in April.

Windows Phone 7.5 and device encryption

Joe P. asks:

I've researched this and am I correct that WP7 Mango has no device encryption? Do you know why Microsoft is not including this necessary feature?

It's true that Windows Phone does not have device (or removable memory) encryption. I'm not sure I could answer the "why" bit.

Windows Phone 7.5 task manager?

Anthony G. asks:

I have a question about multitasking in Windows Phone 7.5. How do you close the card from multitasking view?

You can't. Windows Phone will auto-close apps as memory is needed. I think there is a diagnostic "task manager"-type tool internally at Microsoft, and perhaps something like that on the marketplace, but nothing built-in.

(To get to the screen in question by holding down the Back button on any Windows Phone handset.)

Update: Jose C. tells me there is a way to close an app and in testing this method, it does appear to work: Tap and hold the Back button. Then, select the app you want to close by tapping it. Then, tap the Back button again. 
This will take the app out of the list and out of memory (closes app). Nice, thanks!

Gmail on Windows Phone 7.5

Jeff J. asks:

I use Gmail. I'm liking all the reviews of Windows Phones 7.5, but haven't seen a good review showing what we will have to give up over the Android platform (if anything).

The only major thing is the lack of a dedicated "Archive" button on menu item, as Archive is a Gmail-specific function (and one I happen to use regularly).  To accomplish "Archive," you need to select the message (or messages), tap the Move button and then select Gmail, All Mail from the folder list. So it's two taps instead of one on a native Gmail client such as on Android.

Obviously, other Gmail-specific features--like "Starred" emails--aren't supported, but only Archive is a (small) daily irritant for me.

iPhone 5 vs. Windows Phone 7.5

Dean T. writes:

Without knowing all the iPhone 5 has to offer, do you feel that Windows Phone is or will soon be superior to the iPhone?

Unless there are new software pieces Apple has never revealed, we already know what's in iOS 5. And Windows Phone 7.5 is already superior to that. What's needed to beat the iPhone is excellent hardware, and I suspect Nokia will accomplish that. Stay tuned.

Zune Music Pass quality?

L Ward asks:

Now that Zune Pass is coming to Canada, what will audio quality be?

Zune Pass Music is 192 Kbps WMA for downloads. I'm not sure what the streaming quality is.

Using Zune Pass on a Mac or iOS device

Rene G. asks:

Is there any way to get Zune Pass to download or stream to an iPhone, iPad or Mac?

On a Mac, you can use the web client, which is OK but not great. But I'm not aware of a way to stream Zune Pass content to an iOS device, sorry.

New version of Windows Phone Secrets?

David S. asks:

Are you going to release an update to your Windows Phone book?

Not for Windows Phone 7.5. But my expectation is that excitement around Windows 8 will drive sales of Windows Phone going forward, and of course I'll keep covering my favorite mobile platform here on the blog. So perhaps for Windows Phone 8.

How to tell which revision Samsung Focus you have

John G. asks:

I have a Samsung Focus.  I go to the About screen and I do not see in there anywhere a "ver 1.3" or a "1.4" at all. I even went into diagnostics mode and I don't see it. Am I missing something?

Open the back, remove the battery, and look at the white sticker. It will say, among other things, the revision number. Mine reads REV-1.3.

The issue here, in case you're curious, is that there are various revisions of the Samsung Focus, and while most of them get software updates in a timely fashion, those based on the revision 1.4 firmware are notably dodgy and require extra time.

And of course...


Jason J. asks:

This video gives me the impression that "Tango" is an application for Mango that enables the front facing camera to support a built in Video chat.

That Tango is a [cross platform] mobile app, not the next version of Windows Phone.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.