Features I’d like in Windows Phone Blue

on August 22nd, 2013 by Matt | No Comments »

As far as the news is concerned, Windows Phone Blue (or 8.1) will be released sometime early next year. As far as I can tell, up to this point, Windows Phone development has been much slower than it should be. Because of this, I’ve decided to write up a list of features I’d like to see in Blue, regardless of whether others want them too. Apologies if a few are duplicates from Obvious Microsoft Product Flaws.

  • A consolidated notifications manager (notification center) – sometimes you don’t want a certain app pinned to your Start screen, but still want to know what you’ve missed
  • Orientation lock – while a few developers have already built this into their own apps, an orientation lock should be system-wide
  • Less Non-US limitations – a key feature here includes Podcast support in the Xbox Music app
  • Audio profiles, possibly even based on time/day – for example, I’d like my phone to automatically be on silent after midnight, until 6am
  • Ability to choose the maximum tile width on the Start screen – currently it’s limited to 4 ‘small’ tiles horizontally, but on a Lumia 920 with a large screen, I feel 5 would be better
  • Better Facebook Chat compatibility – in this case, it seems to be using Jabber/XMPP which means no group chat, image sending/recieving, and many messages (from both directions) are skipped/missing
  • Custom text message sound – existing ones are too quiet or just bad
  • Native Remote Desktop compatibility – this one speaks for itself
  • Wireless synchronization with either the Sync Tool (which is still horrible) or Xbox Music on Windows 8 (which is getting better)
  • Ability to customize the search button’s functionality – don’t limit it to opening Bing
  • Ability to stream the screen/ANY media via either USB or DLNA (or both) to other devices – regardless of that media’s DRM
  • Proper, detailed Skype integration – including adding/removing/editing contacts
  • Categorized, grouped or better organised settings pane – currently it’s the weirdest list of random options (brightness being further down than kid’s corner, which I’d never use)
  • A proper colour palette for use with accent colours – the choice of red I have on my phone is diminished by the colour options of the screen
  • Improved Microsoft TellMe functionality – something similar to this dream (currently it’s not even close to compete with Google Now or Siri)
  • Better contact/account management, editing, grouping – nicknames as default view, bulk editing, filtering, searching
  • Picture password – Windows 8 has it, and it’s great, so Windows Phone should too
  • App/Games list sorting/grouping/tagging/categories – favorites, most used, newly installed, ‘productivity,’ etc
  • Start screen folders – small square icons within a single tile that can be opened and viewed
  • Downloads page – sorting by file size, % progress, auto retry for failed downloads
  • Better ‘screenshot’ management and control – auto upload to SkyDrive, instant sharing capabilities
  • Improved notifications area in Me – refresh should be in the App Bar instead of on tab-and-hold, hiding certain notifications, limits of how many show and how frequently it checks for new ones, as well as grouping/filtering, like only showing Facebook notifications
  • Better IE development tools – ability to troubleshoot code issues, with a console and built in on-the-fly editor
  • File Manager – we need something to figure out locally what’s using all our space, and delete it directly without needing a cable and a PC
  • Improved external storage functionality, including storage of music, apps, and photos
  • Battery percentage on the status bar – kind of a must-have
  • Ability to disable haptic feedback on the main three buttons
  • VPN functionality
  • Backup application/game data along with everything else – mostly for game progress’ sake
  • Allow built-in apps to be updated via the Store, so that we don’t have to wait for major updates like this to get functionality updates
  • Manual ‘checking for app updates’ – sometimes a user has to go to the app’s page in the store to be told that there’s an update