So as some people in Malaysia waits ever so impatiently for the local arrival of Windows Phone 7 to our shores. I took the crazy route and got a LG Optimus 7 from Singapore.
Now that I have been able to play with an actual Windows Phone 7 device for a while now I felt that there’s something that all everyone who is thinking of getting a Window Phone 7 when it becomes available here in Malaysia should know before they start setting up their phones. What I’m talking about is the extremely tricky concern of..
The Primary Windows Live ID which you’ll tie to your phone.
When you first turn on your phone it’ll ask you for a Windows Live ID, you can choose to skip the procedure and use the phone normally, but trying to access the marketplace or any other online service that’s tied to Windows Live and the phone will ask you for it again.
The PRIMARY Windows Live ID is used by the phone in the following ways.
- It is the Windows Live ID where it’ll sync contacts, calendars and email from.
- It is the Windows Live ID whose SkyDrive will be used when you use the phone’s online services, ie. Uploading images to SkyDrive, Synching OneNote Mobile to Skydrive, etc. etc.
- Is is the Windows Live ID which when they access http://windowsphone.live.com will be able to access the functions such as find my phone, remote wipe, remote lock and remote ring.
- It is the Windows Live ID whose XBOX Live Gamertag will be pulled from
- It is the Windows Live ID where Marketplace purchases and access be logged to.
The final point is of VERY high importance. If you don’t know yet, Marketplace is what Microsoft calls the AppStore for Windows Phone 7. If you’re still unfamiliar with the AppStore term. Then Marketplace is your one stop application download repository for Windows Phone 7. When you buy an app in the Marketplace it’s ownership is logged to the Primary Windows Live ID for purpose of DRM management. The Primary Windows Live ID also determines the COUNTRY which you are in and hence the application which are available for purchase by the account.
In short, the Country which will be tied to your Primary Windows Live ID account determines the following
- What kind of apps you can see in the Marketplace
- What kind of media you can buy in the Marketplace
- What kind of payment options you can use in the Marketplace
When you first access the Marketplace app, and the system detects that no country record has been attached to the Primary Windows Live ID it will ask you to choose the country which your are from (if you’ve previously used your Primary Windows Live ID for XBOX Live or Zune, the country which was selected on those services will be used)
Problem number one :- MALAYSIA IS NOT CURRENTLY IN THE LIST
Throughout all official Microsoft Malaysia communication regarding Windows Phone 7, the statement “Marketplace and XBOX Live will not be available at launch in Malaysia” is constantly thrown out. And this is what they mean by such a statement, Malaysia is not listed as a supported country yet.
So, as a user anxious to get apps for their spanking new phone which they’ve just bought. The user will most likely just choose some other reasonably valid option such as Singapore, or United States.
There leads us to problem number two :- AFAIK THERE’S NO WAY OF CHANGING THE COUNTRY TIED TO YOUR ACCOUNT
As far as I know, there’s no way of changing the associated country of your Windows Live ID account. Once you set it to say… US, you can’t change it. The biggest problem this presents is when you try to BUY stuff. It’s pretty much impossible to associate a Malaysian Credit Card to a US Windows Live ID account, so you will not be able to buy anything from Marketplace.
For those of your familiar with using multiple iTunes accounts on your iOS devices, or multiple accounts on the XBOX 360 here comes problem number three :- YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR PRIMARY WINDOWS LIVE ID ONCE IT’S ENTERED.
From the MOMENT you hit the LOGIN button when you’re asked for your Primary Windows Live ID it is LOCKED to the phone. You will NOT be able to change it WITHOUT A HARD RESET. So no swapping accounts like on other devices will be possible.
There is one lucky break in all this :- ANYTHING THAT CARRIES A PRICE OF 0 CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM THE MARKETPLACE WITHOUT ANY PAYMENT INFO REQUIRED.
If you’re familiar with the iOS app store, you’ll know that you HAVE to have some form of credit card information in order to make an iTunes account and start buying stuff even if its free. The lucky break that we have for Windows Phone’s Marketplace is that anything that costs 0 be it because the app is FREE or because we decided to download the TRIAL version can be downloaded without any payment information attached to our account. And this is how we in Malaysia will be able to at least partially enjoy the Windows Phone Marketplace before we get official support here.
In summary let’s recap
- A single PRIMARY Windows Live ID is needed to unlock the full potential of your Windows Phone 7 device
- Malaysia is NOT in the support country list for Windows Marketplace.
- There DOESN’T SEEM to be a way to change the associated country of the account after it is set the first time.
- You MIGHT NOT be able to add a payment method to accounts of other countries
- The Primary Windows Live ID CANNOT BE EASILY CHANGED once it is entered on the Windows Phone 7 device.
- Anything that carries a price of 0 on download can be downloaded from the Marketplace without any payment info attached to your account.
I hope this helps explains the implications of your Primary Windows Live ID and problems when any of you in Malaysia gets a Windows Phone 7 before we get official Marketplace support.
For those of you who have read the article but don’t understand what you should do if you get a Windows Phone 7 before Malaysia gets it’s offiical Marketplace support, here is what I recommend.
This will only help IF THE WINDOWS LIVE ID YOU ARE GOING TO USE HASN’T ALREADY BEEN USED IN XBOX LIVE OR ZUNE. (I’m not sure if Games For Windows Live counts or not)
- When you get your Windows Phone 7 device, create a NEW Windows Live ID and use that as your Primary Windows Live ID on the phone. Treat this NEW Windows Live ID as a DISCARDABLE account, so try not to get too attached to it.
- If you have another Windows Live ID which you’ve been using all this while where all your Contacts, Calendars and Emails are, add it to the phone so that the contents can be accessed. This will become your Secondary Live ID.
- Whenever you want to create a new contact or new calendar appointment remember to create it in the Secondary Live ID’s account, remember that we’re treating the Primary as a discardable account.
- Access Marketplace and tie the Primary account to wherever you’d like so that you can at least download free apps for use on your phone.
- WHEN Malaysia gets OFFICIAL Marketplace support, that is when you hard reset your phone, associate with your more permanent Windows Live ID, and start buying apps properly.
ps. These steps are just my suggestion, there’s no guarantee that they’ll always work if MS decides to fiddle with the dials or anything, so don’t come crying to me if it stops working.
This post is part of My Windows Phone 7 User FAQ, check it out if you haven’t already done so.
There’s a short follow up to this issue with regards to the Zune Application.