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Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide 0.1

Here's the first (very, very rough) release of Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide. This document is a mess, by design: I've taken the latest version of the Windows Phone 8 Field Guide, chopped it up and left notes to myself to accommodate new and changed material. Only the first chapter, Before You Start, is "complete." The rest of it is a work in progress that doesn't reflect what you'll see in the latest version of Windows Phone.

I'm leaving this version of the document as-is rather than split off the chapter by itself for a few reasons, but mostly because I think some people may find it interesting. I continue to modify the TOC (table of contents) as I go, which is normal, and if you're really paying attention, you may notice a few changes since yesterday's post. (For example, the Podcasts chapter is now Podcasts + Radio.) There will be more changes. (Maybe Skype should just be its own chapter. Probably.)

In the future, I'll likely just provide standalone chapter downloads as required. It's just that Before You Start—which used to be called Getting Started and also included material that is now in the next chapter, Your New or Updated Phone—was so short and straightforward that it didn't seem necessary this time around.

It's unlikely that I'll work this through from front to back, and like the first edition I expect to jump around as the mood demands. The Cortana stuff—currently part of a chapter, but something that most likely will be split into its own chapter—will come later in the game, because I feel like this is something we all need more experience with. Some chapters will need to be completely reworked. Some (Office + OneNote), not so much.

The TOC has been removed for now. It's too early.

Until I get the paywall set up, I'll make these early releases public. Later, you will need to pay for the book to follow along. It will be cheap ($2), with a variable scale like Windows 8.1 Field Guide. I assume by this point everyone gets this is something I will follow through on and complete.

More soon.

Download Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide 0.1 in PDF

Download Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide 0.1 in MOBI

Download Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide 0.1 in ePub


Rough initial TOC for "Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide"

Following up on my previous introductory post, here's a rundown of the new TOC (table of contents) for "Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide." In addition to creating a few new chapters, I've also split out some chapters into two or more chapters (Music, Videos and Podcasts has become three separate chapters, for example). So now there will be about 23 chapters, compared to 17 in the previous edition.

Some chapters have been renamed (Store becomes Store + Apps, for example, and Photos becomes Photos + Camera, among others). There is a new chapter for Personalize Your Phone (previously part of a chapter but expanded) and a new Phone Maintenance chapter that will cover the Sense apps and some other stuff. I've also removed the chapter numbers to keep the book consistent with the wider "Field Guide" style guide.

Here's the new chapter listing...

Getting Started

The Windows Phone User Experience

Personalize Your Phone

Store + Apps

Cortana + Search


Phone + Skype

Messaging + Skype

Maps + Location


Internet Explorer

Office + OneNote

Photos + Camera






Phone Maintenance



PC Integration


Introducing "Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide"

Note: This post was cross-posted to the SuperSite for Windows. --Paul

My next book will be "Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide," an update to "Windows Phone 8 Field Guide." Unlike the original book, which was a gift to the Windows Phone community, this new book will be paid, and created and sold in a manner similar to "Windows 8.1 Field Guide." That is, it will be very inexpensive and updated frequently as I write it.

Here's the awesome new cover design, again by Martin McClean:

I've not done a lot of actual new writing yet, but in investigating what needs to be changed between the previous book and the new edition, it seems like it should be a fairly straightforward update. (Which makes sense since Windows Phone 8.1 is a fairly straightforward update to Windows Phone 8.) These things never go exactly as planned, obviously. But I'm hoping this can be finished by the end of the summer.

Some of the big content additions will include:

Cortana. Obviously. I'll be updating the Search chapter (and renaming it to the Cortana + Search) to address Cortana.

Action Center. Windows Phone 8.1's new notification center is a big deal. I'm not sure yet if the bulk of this content goes in the Store or Windows Phone User Experience chapter, but suspect both will be updated to accommodate this feature in some way.

Sense apps. Battery Saver, Wi-Fi Sense, Data Sense and Storage Sense all need to be in there, and storage is an issue I didn't cover adequately in the first book, so this may require a new chapter or whatever.

Camera + Photos. There's a new Camera app and of course the Photos hub is completely different now. I will cover Nokia Camera as well, since 80+ percent of Windows Phones have this app.

Calendar. The Calendar app has been updated significantly so that chapter will need to be updated.

Messaging + Skype. Messaging has been changed a lot (for the worse) and now Skype is a standard part of the OS. So the Messaging chapter will become Messaging + Skype.

Social networking integration. The way you integrate Facebook, Twitter and other social networks has changed a lot, so that will require some work. Possibly a new chapter plus new info throughout the book as needed (sharing photos, etc.), and of course the People chapter.

Maps. There are some changes to this app, but the bigger deal is that 80+ percent of Windows Phones have Nokia Maps. So I'll look at adding that (again, I had meant to do that for a WP8 book update).

Windows Phone Store. Big changes to the Store, so big changes to that chapter.

There are a ton of smaller changes (from a content in the book perspective) too, like the Word Flow keyboard's new shape typing functionality, custom volume settings, soft button (Start, Back, Search) support and so on.

Additionally, I'll be updating the book to better match the evolving "Field Guide" style, as I did with "Windows 8.1 Field Guide." So I'll be removing the chapter numbers, updating the document style, removing/editing unnecessarily long parts, and so on.

And of course I'm thinking about new content areas. Android/iPhone switcher how-to's, and the like.

So lot's to do. I'll try to post a first version of the manuscript soon. This one will be a bit different since in some cases I can just update the entire book whereas in others—like Calendar, Messaging + Skyep and some others—I'll want to make iterative new chapter updates too. But overall, it should work much like the previous book.

For now, you'll be able to find new book updates at the Windows Phone Book web site. But I'm going to integrate my separate book sites into a single site this summer, most likely to be called Field Guide Books. (It currently resolves to the Windows 8.1 Field Guide web site.)

Oh, and "Windows Phone 8 Field Guide" will of course still be free. It's not going away.

More soon. But if you have any topics you need covered in this book, please let me know.


Windows Phone 8 Field Guide Version 1.07

Here's a long-overdue and possibly final update to Paul Thurrott's Windows Phone 8, which has been renamed to Windows Phone 8 Field Guide to make it consistent with my other recent books, Windows 8.1 Field Guide and Xbox Music Field Guide. This is a fairly major update, but only from a formatting perspective.

I don't want to get too bogged down in the details of this, mostly because it's so boring. But the short version is that I did a lousy formatting job on the original version of this book, something that I cleaned up for the subsequent titles mentioned above. I'd been meaning to clean it up for a long time, but it's so tedious to do so, so I put it off.

However, Windows Phone 8.1 is coming. And I want to base the next edition of this book, Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide, on this initial version. And that cleanup job has to happen sometime.

At first, I figured I'd just use the cleaned up version for v2 (8.1). But in working my way through this over the past week, I realized I could at least pop out a final update for the original book. This might be it.

Now, you may recall that I originally intended to update this book with information about Nokia Maps and Drive+, and possibly some other content. (I did provide updates for Windows Phone 8 Update 2 and Update 3.) But I also started work on Windows 8.1 Field Guide, which was of course a major effort. So that stuff will need to wait for the 8.1 book, sorry.

I'll be posting more about Windows 8.1 Field Guide when Microsoft announces the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview next week. For now, here is a cleaned up version of the Windows Phone 8 book for you to enjoy. And there are some major changes, formatting-wise.

First, all of the headings are now correct and in line with the other books.

Second, I've resized every single full-screen screenshot from 3-inches horizontally to 2-inches. This is a big deal because, when you think about it, these shots are all portrait-oriented and very tall. So the savings are incredible. The book went from 655 pages to 536 pages. It's much more manageable.

Also here's a fun fact: This book is almost exactly the same length (word count wise) as Windows 8.1 Field Guide. That latter book comes in at 104,454 words (currently), whereas this Windows Phone book is 104,324 words. That's crazy close.

Feedback is always appreciated. But it's time to turn my attention to the next release.

Download Paul Thurrott's Windows Phone 8 1.07 (536 pages) PDF | MOBI | EPUB

Note: Remember, MOBI format works on Kindle and ePub works on Nook.


Paul Thurrott's Windows Phone 8 Version 1.05

Here's a long-overdue update to Paul Thurrott's Windows Phone 8, plus an update to what's happening with the book. I have a few more updates planned for the days ahead.

You may recall that I had written about updating the book for the Nokia HERE navigation apps. I'm still working on that, though sporadically, and it's fallen well behind my original goal of September. Complicating matters, it's pretty clear I need to cover Nokia Pro Cam in the book as well, and perhaps other Nokia camera apps, so I need to reconsider how that kind of content can be integrated into the book.

To date, I've been working on a "Maps and Location 0.3" document in which I planned to replace the existing chapter with one that covers the Nokia apps instead of Bing Maps. (I figured I could move the Bing Maps text into an appendix or something.) But I'm not sure about that.

Structurally, and regardless of where I place new material, it's pretty clear that I need to move to table of contents like that used by Windows 8.1 Book in which there are no chapter numbers. Separately but related, I also need to spend the time and effort to reformat the headings in the book so that it's cleaner and can be submitted to Kindle and Nook. So I'll begin work on that soon as well.

With regards to today's update, the 1.05 version of the book adds information related to the new generation of Windows Phone 8 devices with 1080p screens. This thankfully doesn't change things too much, so 1.05 is a minor update.

That said, I will soon deliver a 1.6 update that includes information about the broader Update 3 (formerly GDR3) for Windows Phone 8, which is included on the Lumia 1520 and other new and coming Windows Phone 8 handsets, and will soon be provided to users of previous Windows Phone 8 handsets too. (Enthusiasts and developers can get Update 3 now if interested. Check out my article Windows Phone 8 Update 3: Update Your Handset Today! for more information.)

1.6 will be a bigger update and will likely require me to re-generate the table of contents. But I hope to have that out within the week.

No promises, but my rough plan is to update/clean up the TOC after that and then think about publishing this version of Paul Thurrott's Windows Phone 8 to Kindle and Nook. After that, I'll integrate the Nokia HERE and Pro Camera information (somehow) and then update everything (including Kindle and Nook).

Unrelated to Paul Thurrott's Windows Phone 8, I'll also be providing an update to Paul Thurrott's Xbox Music soon as well. And of course work continues on Windows 8.1 Book. Lots going on.

More soon. Feedback is always appreciated.

Download Paul Thurrott's Windows Phone 8 1.05 (655 pages)

SkyDrive: PDF | MOBI | EPUB

Dropbox: PDF | MOBI | EPUB

Google Drive: PDF | MOBI | EPUB

Note: Remember, MOBI format works on Kindle and ePub works on Nook.