So I haven’t written anything of late about Windows Phone and Windows Phone 8 is literally around the corner, so let me rectify that right now.
Now in at least two days, Microsoft and Nokia will make the official debut of Windows Phone 8 in New York. Most likely they will be dual core and big screened; and also I’ll make a separate post today or tomorrow previewing that. Today I want to post a kind of wish list of features and changes I’d like to see in the next Windows Phone.
Now when Microsoft first showed Windows Phone 8 off, it only gave a small preview (which was aimed mostly at developers) and the only two real consumer features we saw were the new Start Screen and the Wallet app. Now honestly I wasn’t that impressed with the Start Screen (two many tiles looking chaotic), but it has grown on me somewhat. And from a leaked Software Developer Kit, or SDK, we’ve learned that Microsoft is adding new save features, abilities to get app notifications from the Lock Screen, and more color choices. Having said all that, these are some of the features I’d like to see.
I know a lot of people who really like the ability to have application Tiles that have the same color, me I could a give expletive. I miss the ability to have a background image on the phone. Also its my personal belief that allowing developers to match the user’s Tile color feeds complacency and enables some bad design behaviors. It doesn’t mean I hate it but I’d like to be able to alter the background, to me that’s my idea of personalization. Also if I have to just have Tile color choice, give me more of it then. And while I’m intrigued by the ability to mess with the Tile size, I would also like to Group them as you can in Windows 8 or better yet, let user create Hubs for applications. I feel that the Hubs and other inter-App dialogues are Windows Phones hidden strengths and Windows Phone 8 should push it. Another place where I’d like to see Microsoft improve on is the Lock Screen. Right know people are creating homebrew applications to add information features like weather and battery to the Lock Screen. And while I know Microsoft is adding the ability for applications to put information there, I think Microsoft should go further. My idea is to allow programs to push up a “Preview” of information to the Lock screen. E-mails, SMS messages, or anything can push information to the user without having to open an app.
Now I know Windows Phone head Joe Belafiore has said that the team was looking at adding this feature, but I think Windows Phone needs a Notification center. I think Notifications should be done sort of like in Android 4.1, where you can see and change any information pops up without running into an application. Personally since notifications in Windows Phone are called toasts, the Notification center should be called the Toaster (also in reference to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s thinking about Windows 8).
What can be said that hasn’t been said elsewhere? More applications, more top tier applications, Instagram, Flipboard, and ensuring the first tier parties update their programs regularly and with current features available on iOS and Android. On the Games front, I hope to see the Xbox group really push mobile gaming. Windows Phone is getting Direct X and is getting Havoc and Unity (game engines); so now is the time to make inroads. I’m hoping Microsoft brings a HALO related title to the phone just to show it could be done.
And that’s it. That’s all I want fro Windows Phone. Links to the images used below.