Windows Phone 7, Day 17: Taking and Sharing Pictures with WP7
Nine times out of ten that I use my smartphone as a camera, it's with the specific intent of sharing the picture. I might want to send it as a text message to someone, or post it on Facebook. While other mobile platforms (I'm looking at you, iOS) let me text-message or email a photo while viewing the pictures I have taken, Microsoft offers many more options for sharing directly from the camera and pictures tools.
For starters, in the Pictures + Camera settings, I've enabled the option to automatically upload the pictures I take to SkyDrive. I like that I have an automatic backup of the photos, and that even if I lose or destroy my "Mango" smartphone, my memorable moments will still be preserved. Apparently, though, video clips are not automatically uploaded to SkyDrive.
When I review the pictures I've taken, I can open the options to do things like auto-fix the image, delete it, set it as my smartphone wallpaper, or add it to my favorites. The top two options on the list, though, are "share…" and "share on Facebook".
Sharing on Facebook is self-explanatory. I can tag people in the picture, add a caption, and upload the image. The uploaded image is shared with my "Friends" by default rather than posted to "Public", so if I want subscribers to see the image I'll have to go to Facebook and change to be shared with "Public".
The "share…" button seems to have a variety of options, but there aren’t really as many as it appears. The choices are Messaging, Facebook, SkyDrive, and email. But, "Mango" lists each email account separately, and I currently have my primary email, my Gmail, and my Office365 accounts set up, so all three show up as options. I assume--or at least hope--that other options like Twitter will show up here as "Mango" is finalized and additional social networks are integrated.
For video clips, the options are limited to deleting the clip, sharing it on Facebook, or the more diverse "share…" list. There is no auto-fix, or save as wallpaper option.
As I mentioned, I'd like to see even more integration with social networking and other services, such as Flickr and Picasa, for sharing pictures.
But, the most obvious thing missing on my Samsung Focus is a front-facing camera. Facebook is integrated with Skype, and Microsoft is in the process of closing the deal to acquire Skype. It only makes sense that I should be able to conduct a Skype video chat from my "Mango" smartphone.
This is one area where hardware diversity is a double-edged sword. That issue will be addressed by some models of "Mango" smartphone. The Samsung Focus S--the full "Mango" evolution of this Samsung Focus I am using--does come equipped with a front-facing camera. However, many Windows Phone 7 models--like the Samsung Focus I am currently using--will be upgraded to "Mango" but still won't have the front-facing camera hardware. So, shop carefully.
Overall, I like the camera functions in Windows Phone 7. I didn't bother getting into megapixels, or really comparing and contrasting the quality of the pictures themselves. That is partially because it is a function of the hardware that varies from smartphone to smartphone, and partially because I am not a professional photographer. The simplicity of taking and sharing pictures is more important to me than how many megapixels the hardware is capable of.