Tag Archives: Windows Phone

Windows 8.2 Feature List – My Suggestions

Whether you like it or not, the Modern Windows is here.  After a lackluster reception of Windows 8.0, the 8.1 update addressed many of our concerns — mainly around usability on non-touch devices.  However, this was simply a minor point release and there is a long ways to go until the modern Windows can reach the maturity of a product like Win7. Below are the items at the top of my list for Windows 8.2, 8.5, 9.0, Windows.Next or whatever you want to call it.

  1. A unified app store between Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox is a must. I know Microsoft is working behind the scenes to make this happen but this is huge to get developers on board on all platforms. If Microsoft can pull this off, conceivably, a developer can write one app to run across the phone, tablet, laptop, PC, and XboxOne.  Obviously, this is a difficult task but it is not impossible.
  2. Don’t forget about the desktop.  I’ve talked about it numerous times before, but companies like mine have invested countless dollars in training and traditional desktop programs. If we  could throw this investment away — which we can’t — just to start over with a new set of apps and more training most people in my position would evaluate other alternatives instead of simply rolling out a desktop-less version of Windows.  Look no further than my last post for my suggestions of how to evolve the desktop: ../windows-8-1-desktop-improvements/
  3. Find my device: This is one of those features that has been baked into WindowsPhone from the very start. It’s part of the OS, no app is required.  There are now similar offerings with the Find My iPhone and various Android apps. By going to Windowsphone.com you can login and lock, erase, ring (even if your phone is on silent), or geo-locate your device.  I was surprised that Win8.0 didn’t have this, even more surprised it wasn’t included with 8.1. So until this happens us corporate types will need to keep paying for third party services like Computrace.
  4. Bing Vision Services:  Again, this is core WindowsPhone functionality that needs to be baked into Windows.next.  This includes the music tagging services, bar code scanner, text translation, etc..
  5. Voice control.  The quality of speech recognition has improved immeasurably since the first release of WindowsPhone7.  So why isn’t it available in Windows 8.1 today?  Windows 8.1 still has the same antiquated voice services from Windows 2000 which requires that you train the PC to hear your voice. You have to know the syntax it expects and there are very little natural speech commands.  I realize that natural language queries require internet connectivity but what device isn’t connected these days? I hear that the “Cortana” service will take care of this requirement but we mayhave to until for a year or so.
  6. Live Tile organization.  The jump from Win8 to 8.1 provided significantly improved features to manage and arrange your app tiles.  This needs to keep moving forward with the next version. My suggestion would be collapsible tile groups.  Today you can name a group and reposition it relative to the other groups in a linear fashion. The ability to collapse these groups into a vertical band would be a huge improvement how space is managed. The argument against this idea is that it hides the live tiles. My response is “who cares?”  Let me manage my workspace how I want.
  7. Social Network Integration: There are two levels of integration here, and again, these are WindowsPhone features that should have been included with Windows from the beginning.
    1. In WP, the ease of which you can share a photo or other item to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn is often overlooked. It is really a great feature.  Don’t forget about Instagram.
    2. The WP PeopleHub is one of those simple, yet highly effective baked in features.  It combines all your local and social contacts into a unified list.  From here you can take action (post to Wall, tweet, call, send email, call on Skype, etc). There is a People App in Windows 8.1 but it doesn’t offer the same level of integration as the phone.
  8. Notification Center:  This one is tricky and could clutter up the clean UI. I realize that each tile is essentially its own notification center but there needs to be a central store.  I don’t think the iOS/Android swipe down method works best for Windows, but then again I don’t have an answer.  Perhaps, the notification center needs its own tile. Better yet, how about a notification charm or a flyout from the charm bar?
  9. Precision cursor control. Again, I must be spoiled from using WP8, but why doesn’t Win8.1 allow you to precisely place the cursor where you want without using arrow keys?
  10. App switching enhancements. Windows.Next needs a touch initiated modern version of Expose to find all your open apps.  The Alt-tab mini tiles along the left are not obvious enough.
  11. Streaming flexibility.  I find it baffling that after all this time I still have a hard time streaming from Win8.1 to my xbox 360, or from my phone to my tablet, etc…  Quit messing around with consortium and just make this work.
  12. Txt message syncing from my phone to tablet to xbox.
  13. A better Photo viewer app.  Ok, I know this is just an app, but it needs some work.  Today it is really a pain to view a large number of photos.  There is no easy way to switch back to thumbnail view and you can’t sort your favorites from the junk pile.  I miss the star rating system of the old Windows Live Photo Gallery tool.