Wednesday is a big day for Windows Phone fans, or at least it probably will be. Microsoft’s presentation should cover the latest iterations of Windows 10 and we hear there might be a fair amount of phone talk in there. Back in October, Mr. Lein, Mr. Fisher and I hashed out ten things we wanted to see from Windows 10. Well, since none of those have come to fruition just yet, we wanted to revisit that list and see what’s important now that we all have new calendars. There’s a ton of them, so we’ll be brief with each point.
Keep the “phone”
Some rumors have suggested that Microsoft might drop the “Phone” part of “Windows Phone 10”. We recognize why this is a logical move – a unified platform should have a unified name – but at the same time, we’re not so sure this is a great move. Windows 10 on a Desktop and Windows 10 on a phone are going to be different, no matter how you shake it. Server, desktop, Xbox, and tablet should all be pretty darn similar, but phone; we’re not buying it (no pun intended). This is a minor point, but needed to be said.
Keep the phones
Windows 10 needs to roll out to every Windows Phone currently running Windows 8.1. Leaving former flagships behind is a fail of massive proportions. Especially since it was done once already. Every Lumia 920, 520, 820, etc. should all have the same opportunity as the new hardware. To be fair, Microsoft already has committed to this.
Windows desperately needs more input options. The stock keyboard is great, and the Swype feature is nice, but voice input needs to be everywhere. Any time a keyboard pops up, there should be an option for voice. Voice input should also recognize punctuation dictation. “Hey readers exclamation point Windows Phone is the best in the world period don’t you agree question mark”
Also stylus. Back in the days of PocketPC, stylus input was excellent. There is no reason why it couldn’t be again. One of the best parts about the Surface Pro 3 is the stylus, and if an interface is to be built with mouse and keyboard in mind, a stylus is a natural extension.
This is an opportunity for Microsoft because everyone sucks at this right now. Adam Lein wrote a great pieceon this last fall and I’d like to sum up part of the article. Voice interruption should sync with calendar and other contextual awareness – location, speed, etc. and when it’s configured to do so (during quiet time, while at the office, or while driving respectively) it should say, “Excuse me, Adam” and then allow the user to say “Go ahead” or “Come back in ten minutes” or whatever. Then when it receives the proper phrase, it can say “You have a text message from Anton D. Nagy. Would you like me to read it?”
Cloud-based SMS. Messages appear on every device. Period. There’s really not much more that we can say about this. Every device should get every SMS your phone receives, so you can get it anywhere, even on new devices. Your text history should be there. Texting is how we’re communicating these days.
Clean up your own house
HealthVault (or Microsoft Health or just one of them) needs to be consolidated into one global platform. It should be the same on every device, so the workout you just completed with your Kinect should show up and supplement the 30 minute bike ride you did earlier in the day with your phone. One health platform instead of the various services available all over the place.
Also, Microsoft Office. Microsoft office is the flagship product that should be paving the way for Windows Users. Microsoft Office should be as good or even better on Windows offerings than it is on iPad and Android. Right now it simply isn’t and that’s giving up the fight before the opening salvo.
Kill the resume screen. Honestly, nothing should ever have to resume. Ok, maybe it has to resume, but there’s no reason it should be announced with trumpets. Nothing resumes, Microsoft from now on.
Landscape mode should be supported on every Windows Phone going forward forever. If tablets can have it, phones should too. Maybe a phone user who is using landscape is missing the point, but it’s our point to miss.
Live tiles that are live
Live tiles need to be truly live. They should be actionable and refreshable. They should tell you what you want to know, when you want to know it, and you should be able to act on what they tell you right there. If you get a text, you should be able to reply right from the tile. Same with emails. If you get a Facebook comment, you should be able to like it.
You also should never have to wait for a tile to update. If you want to know the score of the Blackhawks game (actually, lately, you probably don’t) you shouldn’t have to wait for the tile to refresh to find out Crawford let in another easy one.
Right now, there is zero advantage to using Windows phone in conjunction with other Microsoft platforms. iPhone has continuity. Microsoft has had an opportunity to use its corporate and private PC leverage and apply it to smartphones and has failed thus far to take advantage of that leverage. Making them look the same isn’t good enough. Phones, tablets, desktops, and everything else all need to work together and help each other function optimally.
Advance the platform
Finally, Microsoft should continue to do what they did with the Denim update. The camera features alonemakes Windows Phone a premium platform, and those features are only available on Windows Phone. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Jaime Rivera put together a nice video highlighting all the new camera features of the Demin update. They are pretty flipping cool, if I say so myself.
Overall, Microsoft needs to advance the platform. A lot of the features we discuss here will eliminate a lot of pain points that Michael, Adam, and I have encountered. These pain points make it hard to use the platform that we love to use. I think eliminating half of these would be enough to bring me back to the platform from which I recently wandered.
What about you? Did we touch on any goodies here that you’ll need? Have some thoughts of your own? Post them down below and let’s see if Microsoft is listening on Wednesday at 9:00 PT.