8 things that Microsoft needs to fix in Windows Phone 8 right now

With the release of BlackBerry 10 this week, Microsoft has even more fresh blood for competition in the smartphone business. While one could argue that it is still Android or iOS that Microsoft is up against, the picture painted for spring 2013 is one of stiff competition and a fight for the third spot.

Windows Phone 8 has made great strides in making Redmond’s mobile OS much better than its predecessor, most importantly with the new NT kernel which will allow Microsoft to grow the OS. Having said that, there is a lot of room for improvement and we’re not just talking about touch-up features either but core aspects that need to be addressed.

Below is a list of 8 things we think Microsoft needs to fix in order for Windows Phone to really take off. We’re confident Microsoft already knows about these and in fact may have solutions in the pipeline. At least that's the hope.

Before we start we should note that Microsoft is rumored to be revealing some new features coming to Windows Phone 8 next month in Barcelona.

Traditionally Microsoft has a rather large presence at the mobile-focused conference and their absence from CES in January sets up Microsoft to gain back some momentum in the press.  We’re not 100% sure Microsoft will divulge an updated OS but we’re anticipating.

Now on to the list...

#1 Notification Center

Android, iOS and especially BlackBerry 10 all have notification centers, allowing users to have a unified single area to check the status of various apps and services. On Windows Phone, Live Tiles were supposed to be that but in reality, it’s not that simple.  Whether it’s an optional blinking LED or making use of the left-area of the Start screen, Microsoft needs a simple and elegant solution here. Check out this great design concept from our forums

Rumor has it they wanted this for the release of Windows Phone 8 but simply ran out of time. Fair enough. But it better be there in the next update or it will continue to dog the platform. 


#2 Universal Search

Likewise, this feature was rumored to be coming in either Windows Phone 7.5 ‘Tango’ or Windows Phone 8, yet this function mysteriously never arrived. It seems simple enough: Hit the Bing search key to make inquiries on the web as well as within the device. Search email, SMS, within apps, documents, etc.

It’s not a radical idea and other competing OSs already have this on board. In fact, Windows 8 has a nifty search feature, allowing you to dynamically search through various apps. It’s way overdue on Windows Phone.


#3 Instagram

Yes, we hate writing about it as much as you probably loathe reading it, but the fact is until this hipster service is on Windows Phone, it will absolutely prevent people from switching. We’ve had random conversations with Best Buy and AT&T employees and even a waitress who’ve all said the same thing: until this popular photo sharing app is on Windows Phone, it will always be a deal-killer.

For the record, Microsoft and Nokia know how important this is and we don’t think it’s from lack of trying that it’s not there. But there’s more to this than just throwing money at the Facebook company and while we don’t know the details, we’re sure there are talks of some sort going on.

Regardless, it needs to be here yesterday.


#4 ‘X’ to Close Apps

This one is so simple and yet Microsoft has yet to do it. In the card view of multitasking apps, just give us an ‘X’ to tap out an app.

C’mon Microsoft, the paradigm already exists with multiple Tabs in Internet Explorer—just extend it to apps.  It’s simple to do and it will make many folks happy (even if it is arguably unnecessary).


#5 Better Xbox Gaming

We’ve been beating this horse for a while now (see our continuing series) but it does need to be mentioned again. Xbox gaming on Windows Phone since day one has been underwhelming.

Integration with Kinect? Never materialized. Synchronous game play with Xbox 360? Never happened. A centerpiece game like Halo to really pull people in? Nope, not yet.

It is embarrassing that Microsoft has not been able to fully leverage the Xbox 360 with Windows Phone in 2012 or 2013 and it needs to be fixed.

Just look at the video above of Microsoft’s Eric Rudder demonstrating the gaming potential between PC, Xbox and Windows Phone and the game ‘Indiana Jones’. We covered that story back in March 2010.—nearly three years ago--need we say more?


#6 Folders

Yup, here’s one that iOS and Android have given into and now have solutions for: folders. The idea being that some of us may have multiple media apps that we want grouped together, or a bunch of pins we want rounded up in a quick access folder. It’s a simple thing and becomes increasingly necessary as people add more apps, pins and tiles to their devices. Windows 8 makes use of “grouping” and Windows Phone needs to as well.


#7 Independent volume and profiles

Smartphones are called as much because they are supposed to be smart meaning we shouldn’t have to do certain tasks. Having our phones switch audio and notification profiles for home, work, movie theaters, etc. goes back to Windows Mobile and apps like PhoneAlarm. Why do they not exist on Windows Phone?

Likewise, let’s finally give users the ability to control the ringer volume independent of system/game volume, same with an easier way of going ‘silent’.

#8 Fix Xbox Music and Video

The whole three-screens-and-a-cloud vision only works if your media can truly transcend devices. Microsoft hit the reset button on their media services with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and while there are to be expected growing pains, they really need to get that system on track. With the amount of DRM errors for music and the inability to watch Xbox Videos on our phones, it’s a real hindrance.


Hope for 2013

So those are our Top Eight major things Microsoft needs to sort out. Is that an exhaustive list? Certainly not.

Other features like the ability to force-check app updates, fix YouTube (perhaps out of Microsoft’s hands), a more powerful email client or even making Windows 8 gestures and Tile functionality overlap with Windows Phone to give users the same experience are all up for grabs.

Like we said, we’re sure hoping that Microsoft addresses all or some of these in the near-term, specifically in Barcelona. We have a feeling that they are and for the platform’s sake, they better. BlackBerry is now breathing down our necks and Android and iOS are so far ahead in the market it’s borderline scary.

Microsoft has a solid foundation with Windows Phone 8. Let’s see them quickly build on it.



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treetownal says:

OTHER FOLDER - The Other folder needs a purge method.  It is literally swallowing my phone.  Up to 7.5 GB, and I have barely 1.5GB of apps, maps and media files.  I add 100 MB of files to the phone, storage capacity goes down by 100MB.  I delete them, storage capacity goes down by 10MB.  Everything creeps into Other.  
This is a huge problem. By far the biggest problem with the phone.  Hard reset isn't a viable solution.  There are hundreds of complaints on MS' message boards about this issue.  

paras chugh says:

GREAT ARTICLE !! could have added some others but the top 8 major things would be probably these....hope MS reads this

Sam Sabri says:

Head to the forums and add some things you'd like to see :)

fraddy says:

Thanks, there seems to be so many reason not to buy a MS smartphone - Android is getting better all the time, MS is... weird. The prices, the lack of functionality and debatable quality of hardware, e.g. poor battery life... WPhone for hundreds of bucks? No, thank you! There are better options.

Reeves says:

Some 7.5 apps still don't work for 8 months later (Spotify...hello?!?!). Angry Birds Star Wars is now TWO level updates behind iOS and Android. Games exist for WP8 and then disappear from the store.
It's great to chase big names in apps like Instagram.  But having a STABLE up-to-date app store is even more important because it keeps the tens of millions of users you already have happy.
And why is Windows RT getting apps that aren't being migrated over to WP8 and vice versa?
Raise your hands if you can buy/rent any sort videos from the native "Music+Videos" hub. Yep, you can't even browse videos. It says connect to your computer to add videos. Really? Xbox is the number one console yet none of its gaming properties are really leveraged for WP8. Skype is still sketchy. What good is it having all of these pieces if you can't put them together?

peter14f says:

screen orientation lock?

TofuDelight says:

These items are simple and straight forward but how long will it take MS to implement them? If past record is anything to go by, we'll probably get a bunch of other features no one has asked for or thought of before we get all these basic ones. That's MS' usual m.o.!!

Torch4x4 says:

Fix Volume now! I just missed a call...
But for the rest of fixes I understand the Windows Phone, curren notifications in tiles, no need for file/folder system (use skydrive for that), no need to close apps because you have resources to maintain apps open, WP has those and other proposed fixes with a different point of view...
The universal search including local and also your personal cloud (skydrive) will be better than the current independent search.
Instagram and other apps willbe great too, but I don't know if that depends on MS...

Fritzly says:

What about people who do not like SkyDrive? What about sensitive documents you do not want, you are not allowed, yes there are laws and regulations about it, to send to SkyDrive? What about working when you are for ten hours on a plane?
Skydrive is not the Holy Grail and there are a lot of people, me included who do want to have their documents right there without the need of more or less available, fast and reliable connections.
The bottom line is that there is not a solution that satisfy all, therefore a great OS has to be flexible to adjust and cover different needs.

Lilleverden says:

+1 I do agree on all parts, just do it Microsoft, love my Lumia 920, just make it better....but what about better Facebook app??

jwinch2 says:

You might try Facebook + Pro by FlooNetwork.  Its a pretty good FB app and does a good job of mimicking the desktop experience.  

rockycpa says:

Inabilty to play wav files from email is stopping many enterprises from implementing WP8 because of inablity to play office voicemal from email attachments.  Oddly my Samsung Focus S played them just fine.

The ability to play WAV files from email is very underrated, but hugely important for Microsoft if they want their phones to sell in the enterprise.  Most of the large companies I've worked for use WAV files for audio email attachments.
And no, converting then hearing them, or somehow getting your giant corporation's IT department to change their policies, are not realistic options.
Ironically, WAV isa Microsoft-owned audio format (rolls eyes), so go figure.

invisik says:

Agreed. It's a codec issue from what I understand. I had my cloud PBX reconfigured to send me MP3's instead of WAVs. The WAV's did play in 7.5 for many, but stopped working in 8.

evilrobot says:

Would like to see HID via bluetooth for gamepad support.

glassran says:

If you want Folders get an iPhone. I never thought my fellow WP8 enthusiasts were such complainers. Folders? We talking bout Folders now? Smh. Pick a side.

iPhone has a touch-screen too. How about we remove it on WP, and say "go buy an iPhone"?

Sam Sabri says:

Calling them 'folders' carries a bit of a stigma. The point is people want options in grouping certain apps together. Whether it's a folder like just in iOS or extra space between sections like in Windows 8 is up to the Windows Phone Design Team. 

Sean Davison says:

What some of you are forgetting is that Mindows MOBILE had folders along with many of the other "features" people love so much on iphones and androids. Windows PHONE is/was trying to get away from almost everything WM, despite the fact that the other OS's still copy it.

Fritzly says:

And that has always been WP biggest problem... They threw the baby together with the dirty water...
WM reached almost 50% of market share in its time still MS needed to get rid of it completely.
The functionalities and the flexibility of WM is still today unmatched by any current OS.

schlubadub says:

"threw the baby together with the dirty water" dafuq??? The correct phrase is "threw the baby out with the bathwater" :P

chronomagnus says:

My Blackberry also had folders, Android has folders now too.
Lists like this get made because competing platforms have features that we don't have.  The iPhone's notifications were garbage until they ripped off toasts and a pull down down notification center from the competition.
Nothing wrong with taking what works from the other guys and implementing it on your own system, as long as you don't get sued.

skullbucket says:

Just group tiles on your start screen. I don't see any point to folders at all.

invisik says:

@skullbucket Exactly.  Customizing the tiles to your prefernce eliminates the need to folders and other traditional app "list management" methods.  If you go to the application list that frequently to start an app, it really should be on your home screen.

schlubadub says:

Because I don't want to pin 200 apps to my start screen!!!!

schlubadub says:

How about Custom Hubs? We have Games all grouped together in hubs... when you go into certain apps (i.e. Music) you can see all the Music related apps. Why can't I just have a hub with all of the related stuff in it? I hate having to pin all of my things to the start screen - but when I want to find certain apps I have to scratch my head and remember what they're called or hunt around in the huge app list.
I would settle for being able to add a category or tag to the apps in my app list. Then at a press of a button I can only show  the apps with that category or tag.

fraddy says:

These may be introduced in WM9 to which your shiny new devices will probably not be upgradeable... The camera button missing was the reason not to upgrade WM6.5 to WP7? Now some Win7+ Lumias will not have a dedicated camera button and will happily run WP7, right?

skullbucket says:

This doesn't even make sense at all. WP7 and 8 have dedicated camera buttons. WTH are you talking about?

Universal search and notification are on my list for sure. I'll second the hope for better things to come!

malik2k1 says:

Great article!  You've really hit the nail on the head with the little things Microsoft overlooked in creating a compelling mobile OS.  However, I feel there are a couple things that have to be addressed on top of everything else which I've listed below:
- Being a Lumia 920 owner myself, I do appreciate the uniqueness of WP but I find developers efforts on multiplatform releases to be severly lacking.  Where Halfbrick has released multiple updates to Fruit Ninja on iOS and Android over the years, we have yet to see any of the additional features or updates (barring 1) on our own platform.  Angry Birds Star Wars is on it's second round of updates and levels on iOS but hasn't been updated once on WP8.  Microsoft needs to take this situation more seriously as consumers will soon find a lack of value for the apps they download on this platform compared to others as we're not seeing the same additional content for our purchases.
- Although I do appreciate the importance of Xbox Gaming on WP8, I feel it's becoming more of a barrier for the platform as regular release games on iOS and Android don't seem to be making the transition over to the platform unless Microsoft or Nokia offer an incentive like "Xbox Gaming title" or published by Nokia title.  With development becoming more and more expensive, I don't blame developers for not taking a risk with the platform.  Why would they when Microsoft is failing to create a compelling environment for Developers to thrive in? I'm not sure if Microsoft has taken the same stance as they do with XBLA and charge developers a ridiculous sum of money to put out updates but they have to be proactive and change the archaic publishing process in place on WP8 for the platform to stand any chance in the future.  It doesn't look good either when apps published with the Xbox for Windows Phone banner end up with more bugs than regular "indie" apps do considering the xbox games go through a lengthier process.
Nonetheless, I love my Lumia 920 and WP8 but it's going to be a bumpy ride here on in if Blackberry does a better job in courting developers.
And with the general consumer in mind, I do belive Instagram launching on BB10 before WP8 could be the first nail in the coffin for the OS.

gevabar1 says:

They need this fast otherwise they are just playing catch up, while the do this ios and android are looking for new ideas

Montpbm says:

#10 How about that TellMe service, lets be honest WP is far behind other platforms with this.. I want that to be upgraded/updated.. I think that this is important also.

SiikAtivS says:

The ability to change SMS tones! For the love of whatever you believe in! Lol

dam s says:

What is the problem with the app in te backstak?
Is unnecessary close that app, they not use system resource.
In the start screen I have all the notifications that i need.
All the notifications of Facebook, calls, messages, Twitter, mails, ect..., are on Live Tiles in start screen, so why you need another page where this notifications are duplicated?

Jandieg says:

They use memory. Less memory available is more work for the OS, can slow down other apps and can contribute to decrease battery life.

dam s says:

The memory usage is very small and if the system require more memory the OS frees the ram from the apps in the backstack

Kieta says:

Agree on all changes. Come on Instagram!

wetworker says:

More customization. I also like the idea of saving different home screens. Xbox music. Give us the ability to add our own background art. Most of the music I listen to is not mainstream stuff so there is not art for them.

Vheissu says:

I'm still waiting for custom SMS tones

jfkn2001 says:

+1000000000000000 @Daniel. You said it. Windowsphone needs these "unnecessary" features to really take off. People just want to have it, even if it seems "unnecessary" for Microsoft.

fluidh2o says:

How about different tone options for SMS messages based upon who's sending the message. Feature phones have had this for years!!

tompntn says:

Rotation Lock. Please.

ny_yankees says:

 Better question is if Microsoft does offer these things in the next update, will Verizon the D-bag let us have it? Since its almost 3 months since Portico came out and yet we still don't have it

Portico came out 40 days ago, not 3 months.

Wait a minute! About #1. LiveTiles play the role of Notification Center

But they really don't. Like if you don't have a Live Tile pinned.

Ronnet says:

For me not having it pinned means I'm not interested in what the app has to tell me. I hated getting tons of notifications from apps I rarely use on Android. I like how you can pin the apps that matter to you and just have the rest on your phone for when you do need it. So my startscreen is my notification centre, app launcher, taskbar and favorite people list in one.
But I understand it doesnt work like that for everyone.  just hope you can disable the notification centre when they do add it.

If not to the side of the start screen Daniel.... Another place should be in the Me hub.... There is a notifications page... Its should JUST be expanded in functionality..and the live tile can flash part of the text like it does it or better...

Shiroi says:

Can I add a real PC syncing utility? Windows and Windows Phone seem to be too independent of each other, in my opinion.

Nakazul says:

The magic 8, spot on. I wish time was on our side...

BETTER GAMES AND MORE APPS THATS WHAT PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT ON ALL THE SITES im still happy with what there is but we could use more better apps n games

cedarlog says:

A big YES for every single feature suggested in this article
as for closing app at least they could give us the same option as windows 8 push the app down will close the app

AFuentesJr says:

Why in the hell can't I just press and hold a song title and choose from a drop down menu "add to playlist"...how hard is that? The current method is just plain ridiculous.

shoey5 says:

I'm surprised you guys left out the most important thing of all. Lower level access to the OS for developers. Almost everyone of these points could have been addressed in the interm by 3rd party app developers. Yes I realize it's a double edge sword but Microsoft needs to find a way to give developers more access while keeping things stable.

Programs like Notification Centers, Profiles, Folders, replacement SIPS like SWYPE are not possible on Windows Phone because developers don't have the access to implement them.

Wobjoi says:

Agreed. I started planning out and designing a profile app. Lets you define profiles by time, location and have settings for things like volume, screen brightness, Wifi, BT and a whole range of other settings. Unfortunately, the SDK does not allow access to the API's needed to make such an app, so I abandoned the project. We developers can make these things if we can get a better SDK with more API for use to program against.
Going from my old beloved Sony Ericcons to WP, I noticed a lot of missing features that I would be obvious inclusions into WP, such as the profiles settings to name just one. I love the platform and all my apps are exclusive to WP, but can't help but think their is so much untapped potential waiting to be unleased.

foxbat121 says:

Here is one hint to your Xbox games issue (from another angle) http://ventspace.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/directxxna-phase-out-continues/.
Bascially, XNA is dead (we knew WP8 no longer supports it). That means all existing WP7 games need to re-write to D3D games in WP8.

vlad0 says:

They also need to fix the calendar ..

Residing says:

^This!  This is HUGE!  I mean, Outlook for Office is the Gold Standard!  Why there aren't more options/customizations for the calendar in WP is beyond me...

lancguy says:

Wouldn't even need an x when viewing running ApS, just pull the image down to the bottom. Would bring some parity to W8

stefan x80 says:

Please! No Notification bullshit. It was the number one reason to switch from android.

What if you can explicitly state what apps can show notifications?
Like when you install the app WP asks you "Do you want this app to notify you of certain events?"

jmshub says:

I, for one, agree. Live Tiles makes the whole OS a notification center. I feel like it cheapens the OS to have a notification center floating off on one side of the screen.
#2 Univseral search would be areal boon. Typing in the name of a movie, and having the IMDb app launch to the desired movie would be fantastic. Or typing the name of an app into the search bar and having it work more reliably that it works now.
Instaram is still missing, but I don't care. While the app gap in WP is largely whitewash by ios/android fanboys, there are a few big ones that are still not here. Instagram needs to be here for other people. Intuit failing to develop any of their apps like the online banking apps for many banks, Intuit Square control, Turbo tax or more. And, they advertise. Having them say "available on iphone, android and Windows Phone" on television can't hurt.

cannon#WP says:

Notification center is needed for apps not pinned to the home screen or apps that only throw toast alerts but don't update the live tile (hello CNN Breaking News alert).

theavrgjoe says:

One thing I wish would have been mentioned was how there is a lack of options in the calendar. Some of us would like the ability to schedule an appointment bi-weekly or the same day of the week (for example the first Wednesday) every month, just to name a few options.

Residing says:

I totally agree.  And I'd add to that the ability to add a file, as well as multiple files if needed, to an emal, instead of having to hit 'share' on the file you want to send.

ade333 says:

XBox music has to be the #1 priority because it applies to Windows 8 too.

swanny78 says:

Agree XBox Music should be priority #1, infact it should be #2 #3 and #4.  Its an absolute shambles and this needs to be fixed across the ecosystem:
1. Cant play music on my phone due to media rights
2. Cloud Sync between PC and Phone is poor, duplicate albums, names etc. looks a messl, cant tell whats local and whats in the cloud.  Critical if you are on a data plan
3, No true traditional sync between phone and PC as was in Zune.  How Do I download xbox music pass tracks on my phone they copy to my PC... Seems you cant !!!
3. xBOX music Library not as large as Zune....Do a search for AC\DC on both programs and see which returns the most albums....yes Zune by far.,  Xbox music only has 1 stage album.

They essentially held themselves back a release cycle by prioritizing the Windows kernel. I don't disagree with the decision, but it definitely had an impact on people facing features (pff). I think this list nails what we need to compete.There are definitely subtle refinements that also hold up a lot of people... the dictionary is an issue, the Facebook app (MS internal) is an issue, CalDav, CardDav, IMAP IDLE. More than anything, they still have a image issue. Seeing how the media treated the BB launch made me realize how far in the hole MS is when it comes to image and brand.

gerbir21 says:

Office... Please add ability to copy/paste cells in Excel. How Windows Mobile 6.5 had this and WP7.x/8 doesn't bothers me.

The only thing Microsoft needs to do, is implement the "left swipe" from w8 , that will reveal opened apps, universal search, and notification center, accessible from from anywhere on the phone.

If not bring all of w8 gestures.
Wp8, seems like they can support gestures, based on the fact that the "whole" area where the capacitive buttons are, is touch sensitive. Wp7 was not.

I usually play Rocket Riot, controlling the characters inside of the capacitive area.

Shobiz says:

Hold up!! You can't watch Zune Videos on the phone?

iamoniwaban says:

I would like a option to view "trial" vs "paid/full" version apps and games. I am a developer, I have a win7 phone and a win8 phone. Between the two, I have installed well over 300apps and have 100+installed at any given time. I install a trial app/game to check it out,sometimes later means months from now. It would be very nice to filter without,starting the app/game to see. And no, the purchase history via the online marketplace is not the solution, scrolling 20 items at a time, clicking next with over 300 installed items, takes a very long time.

ArcticUK says:

A decent music app, gapless playback, configurable volume ability and VPN are my biggies.

larspassic says:

This list contains things that Microsoft needs to add to WP8 to make it on track with the competition. In order to go beyond the competition and really stand out, they would have to add even more must-have features. It would take a company with hundreds of millions of dollars and industry-leading resources to pull that off. -_-

teoami says:

You mean a company like Microsoft?

senbobaggins says:

Turn by turn navigation!?? And appropriate Skype integration, which is way overdue. For a massive company like MS, development teams should be quicker with getting these out

teoami says:

VPN, for the love of God, I need VPN!

humboldt1 says:

Good read and 100% agreed

wpoblation says:

How about improving the Native WP8 calendar so that the Month view diplays viewable text and the pinned tile is capable of showing more than one appointment? Those can't be too difficult for MSFT's army of developers, right? Unless its patented.

dootndo2 says:

There is an app notification center on the lock screen of your phone.  It allows you to add 5 apps of your choice.  If you have more than 5 apps that you need notifications for, go to the main screen and look at the tiles.  The tiles alone provide this functionality.  I'm unclear on this one.
If you think that Instagram should be there, start a Windows Phone 8 Dev project.  There are like 20 FB apps.  There's no reason that an app that is in demand couldn't be done 3rd party.  Maybe I'll do it.  $.99, here we come!
Folders is an old/outdated concept.  If you install enough apps on your phone, you will recieve the same interface that you have in Contacts.  The apps will be grouped by alpha, then you can click on the letter to go direct.  Why not pin those items to the main screen as mini tiles in a row (for a group).  I think these are design elements that are part of the new UI design.  You can pin Contacts, Apps, Playlists, etc. to your tile screen.
As far as closing apps, they are put into suspended mode and consume very little resources unless they are designated to run in the background.  You can block apps from running in the bathroom.  Apps in suspend mode will stay open for 14 days before they are recycled.
I do think that the volume profile is an issue.
Keep up the great work.

"If you think that Instagram should be there, start a Windows Phone 8 Dev project.  There are like 20 FB apps.  There's no reason that an app that is in demand couldn't be done 3rd party.  Maybe I'll do it.  $.99, here we come!"

You can't and it's been tried. Instagram doesn't allow 3rd party access to its services. That's why there are no clones. 

rsuter says:

5 lock screen apps is pathetic, two are for phone and messaging, one for mail, so only two left (but i have another mail, whatsapp, skype and fb..!)

schlubadub says:

"Folders is an old/outdated concept.  If you install enough apps on your phone, you will recieve the same interface that you have in Contacts.  The apps will be grouped by alpha, then you can click on the letter to go direct."
I have a lot of apps that I use infrequently (e.g. translator apps), therefore I don't want them pinned to my start screen and barely remember the name of them. Some are better at different things than others (i.e. text-text, text-speech, speech-speech) so I have a few different ones available. I just want a way of grouping them without having them clog up my start screen for my important stuff.

SchueyF1 says:

Yes, yes and yes to all of these things.

San Mor says:


Some missing features that have to be improved, not esquçam of WP 7.8


T9 dialer, same as Nokia Belle, without having to open your calendar and look for Contact


Improvements In Contacts patterns with numbers


Improvements and Merge Duplicate Contacts


Call Blocker and Blacklist, if Microsoft wants to conquer the corporate world, this feature is essential, indeed a businessman wants to have full control of your calls and not let unknown numbers annoying people and causing troubles.


Screen Lock option to disable it is very annoying everytime you put your finger up, and could use the scheme that the Blackberry is very good.


Improved Push Notifications


Email to dark theme


Adoption of lights for arrivals torpedo emails as in Nokia N8 and Blackberry


The main Central Notifications Swype, Call Blocker, and t9 Dialer, the app RapDialer


Remembering this is not only for Windows Phone for Windows 7.8 but that did not have any update, it is just a Windows Phone "7.5.1" and nothing else!

Jandieg says:

3 things are bugging me in WP8:
1. Shell speed (UI speed). Scrolling is not as fast as on WP7. Pressing Start or Back buttons react slower than on WP7. Indeed iPhone IS faster on this matter (it wasn't against WP7, yes against WP8). Note: not referring to 3rd party apps launch, that is fast, shell/native is slow.
2. Reminders should NOT popup while keyboard is up(writing).
3. Reminders should NOT be there when you press the camera button. It's annoying trying to capture a moment and you have the naggy reminder popup on top of the camera.

bjd223 says:

What phone do you have? My 920's UI is faster than my buddys 822.

dootndo2 says:

^^^ wow.  RTE took much liberty in fixing my post.  Oh well.

San Mor says:

Some missing features that have to be improved, and do not forget the WP 7.8

chasesunny says:

Wow, I can suddenly see all the shortcomings...... and somehow am missing my old Blackberry lol.....
But this is a great great list. Take note MS.. and please dont tell the big bosses, or it wont get done!!!!

stimshady says:


chasesunny says:

This was supposed to be top 8... u bought top 21.. 

I'll say this again on notification center... The live tile concept is somewhat a conflict... So... In the ME hub there is a page for notification and the Me live tile flashes notification... Granted the functionality there isn't as desired... Its just need to be enahaced... So the live tile for Me should display better messages or icons of notifications for you to dive into...not just FB..... Regular txt messages should not be there... The live tile is fine... But for everything else(fb, twit, linkin,etc)... That's the natural spot to place it

albertleao says:

Custom text notifications

jasqid says:

Fix Xbox music and video should be the first thing in the list before folders and anything else. The only reason I am hanging on to my xbm sub is because of the 10 drm free sings per month. And that's by a thread now.

nMIK-3 says:

Great points and article Daniel. All of them are in my list of mandatory improvements as well, hoping to get added in the next major release of WP.
Also they need to cure many WP8 “child deceases” that are all over the OS. Example the SMS/MMS Delivery Reports are there but they are working like they did in the 1990s, you are actually getting a separate message back with the delivery report.  There is no option to choose default apps to open specific files and web links, Outlook cannot send full size pictures as they automatically gets downscale and many more similar small problems I call “child deceases” .

todoplaya says:

Interesting article. It would be interesting to dig down and see what are some of the main drivers for why someone chooses a phone. Is it the design? Familiarity? Features? Your friends etc?
When it comes to features the geeks tend to rule the discussion because for better or worse they are obsessed with gadgets and know them inside and out way more than the average consumer, I saw the amount of ire that was created over the discussion of windows 7 being updated to windows 8 and now just a few months later that is all but forgotten.
I would say the biggest thing that has been holding back windows phone 7/8 is unfamiliarity. It just looks so different from the other operating systems, it had very little visibility and your average consumer knew nothing about it. Now with windows 8 out there which is selling 20 million + per month suddenly a lot more people understand the concept and are more likely to give it a try, add to this increased marketing and it seems like it's on the rise.
It will be good to see these features fixed but more importantly I want to see them continue to push the boundaries and add things that people haven't thought of. Kids corner is a good example of this and the game skulls of shogun is a great example of something you can only currently do on windows phone. These kind of features are way more likely to sway a customer than having an x to close an app.

AskaLangly says:

No one mentioned being able to customize notification tones?

Geerboy says:

Has been mentioned about 30 times....but agreed

Appmek says:

Definitely those 8. Two other embarrassments of WP7/8 that effectively keep me from recommending this OS: the video player and the calendar. Horrible, just horrible.

Cerif27 says:

Love the calendar actually.

Cerif27 says:

7,8,5 all totally legitimate. The rest is opinion I don't happen to agree with. As for 5 I have more games on this thing than I know what to do with!

Yannie Boy says:

I know it's something small, but customizable notification sounds.

Raesu says:

I've got one more urgent than any of those. Enable wp8 to listen to .WAVs sent from IP phone systems, my 800 did this fine!

Zutopia says:

Great article! I agree with most of these with the exception of Instagram. I personally don't use this service and don't really get what's so big about it enough to include in your top 8. But then again, that could just be pure ignorance on my part. For me personally, I would choose XBM for the number 1 spot. To own both a WP8 and a Surface RT and NOT sufficiently be able to synch libraries between the two is completely ludicrous! Not to mention all of the other issues listed on a different thread...and crappy UI to boot. If Microsoft will not address this or at least give some kind timeline when it will be fixed, I will likely cancel my subscription and switch to the new Nokia music service, provided that it has addressed all of these simple capabilities.

cannon#WP says:

As Daniel stated, Instagram is such a huge service that the fact that WP7/8 (and to an extension now BBX) loses out on potential customers because we don't have it. My wife, who actually really likes the interface on WP won't switch from her iPhone because there's no IG and there are thousands more who would agree with her.

Alex Spams says:

1 - Path
2 - a button to cancel a text field (for example at the opposite of the past button).
3 - podcast: I need a real app to manage my podcasts
4 - allow to do more than one action with NFC

J88NY R says:

Not fussed by #6 or #7. The rest should be worked on.
To add to #3 also, Photosynth, games that were annouced at launch like Temple Run and work to get more top apps.
Final addition, allow SD cards to have apps installed to them, I have quite a few pissed off friends with 820s, who have run out of space because of apps, you only have to download a couple maps and a few offline radios for Nokia music and you have no space left. That or make it a minimum spec to have 16gb.

Dmoola says:

Agreed with all those that said VPN.  My company was just reviewing the phone yesterday and no VPN is a deal killer for us as I am sure it is for many corporations.

Sean Davison says:

Things like this are written solely to get the cry babys to do what they do best... log on and cry incessantly. But none the less;
1. F*ck NO! At least not in the way you have it mocked up. WP does not need another screen to scroll to. If some of you will wipe the bitch tears away for a few seconds you will see that "NOTIFICATIONS" is in the "Me" tile. Just simple add all notifications. Done.
You are are flipin' idiot if you saw that BB garbage and think MS should do *that*.

2. I agree with that.

3. This makes me HATE the mobile device world to no end. So an entire OS is being held hostage by one incredibly shitty app? That's how frail and fragile it all is? No, that's how ignorant the average smartphone user is.
But instead of holding MS to this one I have a feeling that others are to blame. I know it seems far fetched, but any app maker with an sense should want their app in as many hands as possible no matter how successful it may be on one, am I right? With MS wanting and inviting developers and in some cases tossing loot at them I think someone should look at who might be on the other side throwing loot at developers to keep them AWAY from MS.
There I said it.

4. I agree. Just makes sense.
5. I'm kinda so-so on this. I see where you're coming from, but I'm just not that much of a cry baby.
6. No! Again, too many of you like clutter. If it can be done in the same "HUB" form then maybe, but what for? You don't need to scroll for ever through multiple screens to find apps. Finding apps in WP is far easier than any other so why is this needed? Wait... have we all forgotten that hubs were used in WP before that weak-ass BB crap was introduced?
7. I agree.
8. I agree.

People really need to take a step back, and stop letting "new releases" from other OS's motivate you to cry. Some of the things people want is the crap they see in other OS's and they simply won't work within WP8 the ways you want them. Folders for instance... there's really not much need IMO because finding apps is EASY and FAST.
Even though it's not in this article, the crying about "apps, apps, apps... we need google apps!" Come on. So many apps are rendered unnecessary in WP because of the features built in. I mean, when instagram comes to WP what will be the excuse? I see the want for google apps, but not the need because for the most part they offer NOTHING that WP/Bing doesn't already do better, except for youtube. But Metrotube is better IMO.
I understand wanting MS to offer the best, and I do feel they need to be better about focusing on WP especially when it comes to offering MS apps to other OS's before their own (hello, Photosynth?!) but too many people cry over the lack of perfection here, but are willing to accept absolute trash from others.

cannon#WP says:

You say this post is for crybabies yet you agree with over half of the list. In fact, you sound more like a crybaby because you're so vehemetly against 1, 3 and 6. You realize that you won't be forced to use those functionalities if they happen to get implemented right? And that getting Instagram on WP would bring thousands of new customers right?

Read the forum post. It is explained there why notifications are NOT in the Me tile.

i agree with most of the suggestions, except for folders. I think that would destroy the "glance-and-go" philosophy of the OS. Apps should not be buried in folders and with the smaller tiles it is definitely is possible to group apps by category.

cannon#WP says:

I disagree, I think the whole thing should be choice. If you don't want to use folders than don't, but someone like me would love to use folders, especially with apps that don't have live tiles (hello ESPN ScoreCenter). There's no glance and go but I still want it on my home screen.

schlubadub says:

What about apps you only use once a month? e.g. translators, fitness, photo tweaking etc. I don't need notifications for any of them and don't want them clogging up my start screen.

I usually avoid asking this question but the hell with it, I feel lucky today? What the hell is so damn special about Instagram? I have quite a few friends that I share pictures with and like taking a look at their's but do I really need a special app for it. Guess I'm just confused.
I prefer music, gaming and nfc sharing capabilities over the rest of the items listed in the article.

TonyDedrick says:

Why does it have to be anything special? Maybe people just like to use the app/service. 

Sean Davison says:

I've been asking and trying to figure the whole instagram thing out myself. I really hate to think the lack of it can hold people from an entire OS.

MonteJ says:

Daniel, I was "amen-ing" your your article like I was at a southern revival meeting. It really is customer demand that brings change and articles like this are necessary to focus the voice of the users. Can you hear us Microsoft?

RaRa85 says:

Amen.lol But so true.

The email for Instagram (for those of you who want it) is support@instagram.com

Kei Square says:

their biggest issue .. is the "other storage" can't be clear... check your phone storage.. check other... 

treetownal says:

Agreed. Other is about to make my phone useless. I have 1.5GB of apps and media. Other at 7.5GB. Other may cause me to leave WP. They need to fix other, allowing you to purge it. Fast. That's not a preference issue, the OS is worthless if you can't clear your other folder.

dabs1710 says:

Where do u guys chk the storage distribution?

Jason Law says:

how about random reboot bug? why MS take so long to fix this problem?

hwangeruk says:

1# YES LED (can't constantly keep pressing the power button) Even BB has LED <obvious>
2# - dont care about search
3# - dont care about instagram.
4# - maybe, not a high priority for me
5# - dont care about games, some might
6# - dont care about folders (neither does Metro) its regual apps pinned, everything else archived
7# - YES to independent volume AND PROFILES ... AND DO NOT DISTRUB!!! (no email pings in the night, but emergency calls get through)
8# - dont care

Joey Bowles says:

I like your list, but have some comments:
1. WP already has a notification center.  It's called the "ME TILE."  It shows when you missed a call, got a new txt, some replied on Facebook, etc..  I use extensively.  I'm not saying it cannot be improved, because it actually needs a ton of work to be called a real notification center.  For one thing, it needs to be opened up to other applications. However, I don't think WP needs another menu or pull down or some other feature to clutter it up.  The ME TILE just needs to be fixed and extended.
3. Instagram. not much commentary needed here other than there is already an app in the works for BB10.  Really??
4. I've screamed for app "closing" forever.  Joe Belifore even commented on my blog about how it is not needed. As much as I like Joe, I disagree.  Even if closing the app does nothing phone-wise, it at least give the user a psychological closure.  This is a WINDOWS phone and Microsoft invented the X for WINDOWS -- they should use it!!  Of course, with Win8 now, that brings up a disjoint experience.  Win8 uses the pull down method to close an app.
6. Folders.  Again, I don't want an iOS/Android folder rip off.  WP8 is unique and beautiful.  The folders or app organization needs to match.  I don't have an idea in mind really, but maybe there could be a 3rd screen with "app groups" that can be organized and named similar to Windows 8.  You can obviously pin an app group to your home page.
8. Xbox music. Mena brother.  I have actually resorted to Nokia music for free streaming.  It's a better experience than Xbox.
Now for items you missed:
9.  Media streaming.  I have a WP8, a Surface, Win7 pro touchscreen laptop, xbox, and various other devices.  Why can't I stream media from my phone to the Xbox?  Why can't I stream from my phone to the surface?  Why can't I stream from the surface to my Xbox?
10. Built-in camera features. I know there is an app or a lens for practically everything, but honestly, I think the WP7.5 features were better than WP8.  For example: In 7.5 you could set default settings for contrast, saturation, and sharpness. I'm one of those goobers who like a little saturation boost in my photos.  You can't do this in wp8. There also needs be a pano and hdr-esque feature built-in.  Also, and this could just be my Nokia 920, why can't I sport meter?  I could spot meter in my various 7.5 phones.

FUS3360 says:

I agree.. Fixing these issues should quiet many haters and complainers alike..

Coan says:

for me, VPN support, something not mentioned above unless I missed a comment
and mentioned by many others, custom sms tones (can tie into #7 really). 
Great list though, I think VPN support just needs to be there to try and snag more business users and further muscle BB out (which is a terrible thing to say as a Canadian, but I do love my WP).

bjd223 says:

Not sure if anyone mentioned this but you can close/remove apps from the "running list" by double tapping the back button. By running list I mean the multitasking app list you get when you hold back. I agree though it should be easier. Maybe like windows 8 where you drag the window down

cannon#WP says:

What kills me about these issues is that most of these items on this list (I count 5) were implemented in WinMo, whether natively or by 3rd parties. It seems like MS was so caught up in distancing themselves from WinMo that they barely took any of the ideas that were implemented there and they still haven't put back a lot of stuff. Meanwhile Google basically copied WinMo, made it open source, improved it and took the world by storm. I know Windows Mobile is probably a forbidden phrase in the halls of Redmond, but they really need to take a look at the past to help improve their future.
BTW, I agree with everything on the list, especially notification center. At this point, I'll stick with WP7.8 until they can iron out all of these growning pains.

mcm_ham says:

What I'd like is an option to treat 3G like WiFi where when the phone is in standby it switches to 2G and when I unlock the phone it reconnects to 3G.

Currently I'm doing this manually and this makes a dramatic difference in battery life where all other battery saving tips only made a slight or unnoticable difference. For example on my Lumia 800 if I don't use the phone at all at the end of the day it has 30% battery left where if it was left on 2G at the end of the day it has 70% battery left.

If you agree visit this to vote:

Geerboy says:

Love the OS but here would be my update dream list:
1.) Skype integration into normal text app
2.) get in the game on voice search...MS is WAY behind
3.) something is wrong with rooms...fix it...cause this is BY far the most innovating feature I use personally..but messaging is delayed (others see this?)
4.) mail apps ability to automatically convert email with pictures to SkyDrive link like in W8...with just one click
5.) dialpad searches to contact feature (used to do it back in the day)
6.) either tie drive more into the OS or get a good navigation app that is tied into EVERYTHING its very patchy now
7.) and I'll mention it again just stress how far behind they are...take a page out of google now's book....get on it..best voice engine I've ever experienced (however I love my phone..just feedback)
8.) oh...and why on earth can't I insert my cursor anywhere in a given word...very annoying
9.) I know how I CAN accomplish it...but fix the browser back feature when resuming a browsing session...i don't use the app switcher much
10.) parent and sub parent tiles? What you think...i have found that this would be an awesome form of folders that somebody else mentioned above....find a unique way to implement it visually and I think they would have gold with this
11.) zoom feature on month view of calendar!
12.) symbols use just by long pressing keyboard buttons...more I want to see them similar to android...i understand it might visually detract but needed and in valuable
13.) you are windows...why can't I have a network center to see basic things on my network...that would be cool...i mean all I have is MS gear...i dunno maybe not
14.) let me change the darn notification alerts to whatever I want...its my phone remember?

Like I said...I LOVE MY PHONE AND OS this is just a wish list...i would never leave the platform as I see it right now...they did a killer job....just feedback

cannon#WP says:

For your #8, if you tap and hold inside a textbox, a cursor will appear and you can place it anywhere.

iamoniwaban says:

Hold down on the word for a few seconds, and you can place the curser anywhere

Icthiodrak says:

I agree with the bulk of your list (though I could care less about folders).  One of the biggest ones for me would be a real backup solution.  I would love to be able to sign into my account on a new phone and have it automatically sync all of my messages, setting, apps, saved games, etc.
Windows 8 does this to an extent so it doesn't seem that it would be difficult to do for phones as well.

Sean Davison says:

You serious? Not sure about saved games, but have you looked at this??


Icthiodrak says:

That is what I get for posting without researching it first.  I am still stuck on 7.8.
I didn't see anything about start screen tiles or saved games.  So maybe I should just change my request to include those two things. ;)

You should be hired by Microsoft. Exactly what I was thinking. they need to implement this ASAP!

Burasuteru says:

E-mail that post to Microsoft, right away!

lubbalots says:

Much needed stuff. Now how do we get these 8 points across to MS? Or are they already working on them?

frugo says:

Ok people, calm down. Do not add to this list and as long as we will get these within 3-4 months it will be perfect. Steve Balmer has to shut up about money and start doing. These 8 are key for me to stay with the platform, but I'll wait a bit more.

ReverendSlim says:

Rather than an X to close apps, I would love it if when I brought up the running programs, I could swipe down to close them (like you do in Windows 8)...  however, I would also like to be able to swipe UP to lock individual programs running in the background so I can leave priority programs running even if I'm app-switching.  Can't tell you how helpful this would be when using GPS while bouncing in and out of other apps.

iamoniwaban says:

GPS apps like Nokia drive while in navigate mode, will continue to run in background.

ej1024 says:


ricardios says:

With BB10 out this lights a fire on Microsoft to get these features on windows phone. I'm pushing for universal search and the X to close apps

SaucePolicy says:

I would put wasted "Other" storage high on that list. It's preventing people from buying apps. If people don't buy apps, developers won't develop. If developers won't develop, people won't buy Windows Phones. It's a downward spiral. If "Other" cleared itself like it's supposed to, this wouldn't be an issue.

treetownal says:

Other is a gigantic error in the OS.  Many of those items on the list are convenience things, the other storage issue is a plague on the OS.  MS needs to address it.  People are going to leave WP8 over the other folder if a fix doesn't happen.  

Hillybill says:

I think that wp8 needs a File Explorer

texantony says:

I sure would like to have a "PRINT" option on my phone. I miss that from my iPhone.

Geerboy says:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes... I cannot believe I forgot this one

helsten2 says:

Sorry, I am not very intelligent, but this is my list:
1. Fix random freeze and reboot
2. Fix random freeze and reboot
3. Fix random freeze and reboot
4. Fix random freeze and reboot
5. Fix random freeze and reboot
6. Fix random freeze and reboot
7. Fix random freeze and reboot
8. Fix random freeze and reboot
THEN, you start adding the "nice-to-haves" ...

Nitaino says:

Or better yet to be able to close an app in card view by swapping the card down like WP8/RT :-) booyah!

RaRa85 says:

And also to have Windows Phone's hottest and best phone not tied down to one carrier! Its the best phone period and people shouldn't be forced to go to AT&T(as I plan to do) to enjoy it especially in light of the whole phone unlocking laws.

Lx23 says:

I'm also getting feed up with this OS and MS. Each time I use my Xbox I feel like the Xbox division is not even part of Microsoft. They get most of their things right. I will keep using my L800 until the end of the year. If by thn MS hasn't fixed everything Daniel mentioned I'm out. I'm going to start working soon and I do not have money to spend on products that don't do what they should do. There's less and less reasons to buy a Windows Phone.

iamoniwaban says:

Xbox division? What does this have to do with the topic? The Xbox consol is a "client" to the services that MS provide. What are they doing right that the rest of MS isn't?

Robinsonmac says:

They need to have an option to save email on server.  Especially if they want to sell to business.  Right now if I delete an email from my phone it is gone forever....

iamoniwaban says:

Emails saved option? The email service depends on the account type ( exchange, pop ) and are a network service standard. If you delete an email from an exchange account, it will delete from the server. The only way is to use a pop account and set it there. But pop pulls data, and isn't as,powerful as such services as exchange. I AM do work for a IT service company and currently Win phone provides the best solution other then BB which has BB enterprise which is a very costly service. Win8 phone has an advantage because 90% of organizations have exchange and there is no additional costs. With the new "company" features like apps, MS with the newly partnership With Samsung will flud the enterprise market.

cbrines says:

Um, custom notifications, push notifications have never worked right, VPN, screen rotation lock....

flawless73 says:

How did you forget that we need a better back up system something like android

ScubaDog says:

1. Lame idea.  Hated the LED on my Windows Mobile devices, my wife hates it on her iPhone.  Live Tiles tell the story of outstanding notifications better than a central point.  I can instantly look at my Start screen to see exactly which kinds of outstanding notifications I have and quickly get right to ones I feel are important.
2. Search works where I need it to work--in context.
3. Instagram is not used by anyone I know.  Those that DID use it now consider it tired.  Stop whining about an app.
4. Requiring an "x" to exit apps is old-school and makes developers lazy.  WP manages memory and developers should be writing apps that properly work within that concept. The need to close apps is for the intellectually lame.
5. While a few aspects of the XBox gaming carry over, it still is largely a separate animal.  If they are bragging on it's integration, it really does need to be integrated.
6. Folders is another holdover that's fast becoming unnecessary.  I use folders less and less on Windows 8 as I find the Metro side to support what I need without the desktop side.  And if someone really HAS to play with folders, you can do so via the Windows Phone app.  Outside of that, people simply need to quit hanging on to the old concepts.
7. What is so flipping difficult about muting the phone or changing volumes?  I have yet to run into a need for volume profiles.  If you vibrate mode you can still listen to music at whatever volume you want or you can set the volume to zero for complete silence.  I've never thought twice about this.  Easy stuff.
8. Agree that XBox Music & Videos is a work in progress.  I'm not concerned about it BECAUSE both Windows 8 and the XBox Music cloud is still in flux.  Better to quit whining about this until they settle on exactly how their cloud will work and then get both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 to talk the same language.

SaucePolicy says:

Not everyone keeps their phone unlocked on the start screen 24/7. Why pick up your phone and unlock it when we could just glance at the notification LED. Even on my old dumb phone, I didn't have to press the unlock button to see if I had a missed call or text.

SaucePolicy says:

Also, volume 0 is not complete silence. Try it yourself and see. Play a song through headphones and lower volume to zero...you can still hear the song. Same without headphones. But this may be a hardware problem with my phone. (8X)

iamoniwaban says:

I thought I was the only one who sees the win phone as a new and improved way of doing things.Not many know this, but there is already a "notification" center. The "me" hub. The service model of the Win phone notification/live tile service is solid other then 1 scenario. I receive notifications from apps that don't have functional live tiles or I don't have it pinned. So if I happen to see a notification and it disappears before I click it, there is no way of knowing what app notified me. Perhaps not a notification center like Droid or iphone, but maybe a user can set priorities to apps and they can be viewed via the "Me" Hub. This solution will actually make the me hub/notifications area have a purpose ;)

Sean Davison says:

Thank you! Now, ScubaDog friggin' gets it!

mjfadaway says:

These are complaints I hear from regular people, and when I say regular I mean people who buy phones because of "cool" factor. They want Instagram of course, Pinterest, a REAL Facebook app developed by Facebook, and an update to the real Twitter app.

Sean Davison says:

I understand people's need for branding, like having apps built by the actual people who provide the service and all. But did facebook build their apps for the other OS's? If not why should that be done on MS?

I kinda feel you on the twitter front, but Rowi is probably the best mobile twitter option I've ever used, much like Metrotube (IMO) is better than the youtube app on the SG2.

jwinch2 says:

I agree with the list overall, but I would have thought that the errors with the desktop app for WP8 would have been something which made the list.  Syncing media between the desktop and the phone is an unmitigated disaster.  The app crashes all the time mid-sync, shows files on the phone which have already been deleted, loads three or four versions of the same song onto the phone for no apparent reason, etc.  In short, it sucks out loud and with conviction.  The XBox music app, is almost as bad.  

SaucePolicy says:

They could at least give us folders for IE favorites.

Icharbezol says:

2, 5, 7 & 8. The rest aren't necessary for me and especially not 3 but if it helps bring others onboard, sure throw in Instagram.

ur2sweet says:

I completely agree with this article.

Although all are needed in WP8, I suspect much of these improvements won't be seen until WP9 or whatever it'll be called.
The only thing likely to come in an 8.5 update, is some new 'service' or other, that probably doesn't work properly and yet again a promise of the 'hot' app du-jour that's supposedly on its way in the coming months.
I fear that, if Blackberry is on it's A-game, any success they have this year with BB10 will be a final nail in the Windows Phone viability coffin.  There may be room for three major mobile sotware platforms, barely, but there sure as heck isn't room for FOUR.

mrdeezus says:

everything here i am in total agreement on and I would add that they need to have any new must have app that comes out day and adte as the other platforms. Xbox music, lmao, what MS should do is take zune, add thier new drm and call it Xbox music. there is som much wrong with it, newcomers might not see it, but old Zuners like me do, they need to overhaul it. But if they must keep the current app here are some suggestions:
1-Bring back the heart for favorites
2-Bring back the related tab
3-When you click on an album remove the stupid white box that pops up in middle of screen and add another column to the right, that way we could still see the screen.
4-add multiple track selection for purchases and again move that to a column to right instead of big stupid white box in center of screen.
5-Allow for the choosing of colored backgrounds instead of the dull brownish grey one.
6- Have a set up program to walk people through settings for the cloud and sync so people can understand why the app is downloading shit...

iamoniwaban says:

Most of your issues are via the surface and "PC" Xbox music app. All the features you want back still exist on the phone version.

spyderzWPC says:

Custom notification sounds...come on fix this.

mango.lover says:

Agree with all of them except for 6. That's the purpose of the resizable tiles.

Shane says:

It's all about the apps.....

Sean Davison says:

... and to hell with the OS it's self?

someone needs to do an article highlighting the apps that aren't necessary, whether available or not, because the OS does it. Things like search, finding music, note taking, cloud services, etc.

JJohnson1701 says:

I have a list of stuff they need to add in the next version, mostly from comments on the old Backstage site when the phone first launched that they still haven't added, and stuff present in Android/iPhone already: http://wp.me/p1fLW2-4v
I would like to see a notification center like iPhone has on the start screen.  On iPhone you can slide to unlock on a specific text message to go exactly to that text, or slide to unlock on a facebook comment/like to go specifically to that comment or like in the Facebook app.  That's the kind of integration I want to see on the lock screen.  My idea is simple: pull down on the lock screen to see messages in a pivot style like in the Music+Videos app shows albums, artists, and songs.  Tap and swipe up or down to unlock to that specific message.  Same functionality, different implementation.
Better backup - restore my home screen configuration of tiles (size and location), all apps I downloaded, game saves, documents, songs, texts, e-mails, etc. From the cloud.  This is currently not possible.
Replace the horrid X-Box Music, X-Box Video, and Windows Phone apps with the Zune app on Windows 8.  Just rebrand it and add the ability to synch to Windows Phone 8, and add the auto-playlists from Windows Media Player and the advanced metadata tag editor from the Windows XP version of Windows Media Player, and it's almost perfect (I would add back the social tab and show TV shows as shows subdivided into season instead of only as individual episodes, but that's beside the point).
Facebook integration - add share functionality, enhance check-ins with pictures with captions, check-ins with friends, and posting articles to Facebook should allow me to choose the picture to show in Facebook online (windows 8 already does this.  Test this out by posting the same article from your phone and from within Internet Explorer.  In IE you can choose the picture, but from the phone it looks pretty bare and not very good).
Music+Videos - compare how music is displayed vs. how it was in Zune HD.  The Zune HD was more content-rich, whereas now the M+V is gray and dull.  Zune HD had mini-album art all over, artist pictures, song sharing is pretty paltry in comparison to the Zune HD Facebook app which had album art and a link into the Zune Marketplace.  There should be a way to share songs, albums, artists, and playlists from within the Music+Videos app to Facebook so friends can download those shared items on their phones.  Playlist creation on the phone is utterly horrible and needs to be reformatted in its entirety.  I can't stress this enough.
Contacts should have a media pivot so that you can see what the old Zune Social saw - recent artists, top artists, favorites, etc.  You could comment on artists, like, share playlists, etc.  That was a great music discovery tool, and you should definitely add it back in to the next patch release.
For an in-phone notification center (the Me Tile serves this function already so I don't see why so many people keep clamoring for a new one), I'd say swipe from the left to get it, a five-day forecast, and pivots for each app that is allowed toast notifications that actually have unread notifications.  you can swipe to dismiss the notification or click on 'dismiss all' at the bottom of the screen.  Swipe down from top to turn off the ringer, airplane mode, and turn off wifi and bluetooth.
Settings - you should be able to pin individual settings to the start menu, and the settings menu should be alphabetized because it's sadly difficult to find things in the haphazard order they're in.
Skype - utterly worthless.  Try calling an iPhone on Verizon that has Skype from a T-Mobile Windows phone, where both phones have full service.  I can't describe how many dropped calls I've had.  Windows Live Messenger is so much better and reliable.  Video calling needs to be as seamless and work as reliably as Facetime does.
Those are a few of the things that need to be added to Windows Phone, but you can see my longer list at wordpress.  Some are cosmetic changes, others are real functionality that will enhance Windows Phone beyond the competition. 

Sean Davison says:

I'm not gonna address your entire post, but have you checked this out yet? Or did you know this existed??


Ticomfreak says:

I definitely don't agree w/ 4 and 7

dula714 says:

I would like to close apps like in Windows 8, drag from top to bottom.

Shane says:

Yes, found myself doing that after having worked on my surface.  Just felt natural to swipe from the top down to close the app.

JJohnson1701 says:

One other thing:  fix search.  Have the search button be context sensitive so that in Mail, I press the actual search button to search my mail.  In my text messaging app, I press search to search the text messages I have.  In Netflix, I press the search button to search movies and tv shows within netflix.  The only time I could possibly want to go to Bing search is from the start screen, and maybe if I long-press the Search button.  Otherwise, 90% of the time I want to search within the app and the search button on my phone is useless.  That is a big frustration.  That and having to put up with capacitive buttons.  I despise capacitive buttons.  I can't stop accidentally pressing them, and no one else can either.  I show friends a picture, and they always accidentally touch a button and wonder what happened - that doesn't present a good image to them of the phone.

iamoniwaban says:

This is how the very first version of win7 phone worked. After about,1 month they released an update that removed that.

Sean Davison says:

I do kinda agree with the need to have search be in-device, but E-mail has a search feature already. Why is that not good enough?

Mattyh95 says:

What would be awesome is gestures in things like the web browser, swiping from the left to go back a page and on the right to go forward..?

I think a swipe gesture like in windows 8 would be pretty cool to close apps.

Big Supes says:

Ringer profiles - tap to scroll through all profiles, as well as being able to create customisable profiles.
Rotation lock.
Decent EXCLUSIVE Xbox Live titles for a limited time period. 
Xbox Music app developed ideally to be an improvement to Zune - not worse.
Me tile needs to log 'toasts' or somehow deal with the problem another way... preferably without an additional notification center.  
Couldn't really care less about folders, but each to their own.


JJohnson1701 says:

One more thing: add the smart dialer feature back from Windows Mobile.  If I start dialing 326, start smart-searching for all phone numbers containing 326 and people's names I could mean, like Daniel, Dan, and so on.  This saves time dialing and is present in other smartphones and dumb-phones.
And another thing: allow the dialer to be pinned to the start menu so I can just tap and start dialing.  Ninety percent of the time I don't need to see my call history first.  Then, split the call history to incoming, outgoing, and missed calls, and add the duration of the calls.  Not a big request but incredibly helpful.

browryan says:

How about a better calendar app? I want to see a week view and at least some info on the month view! And no, I don't want to use a crappy 3rd party app for this.

No folders!!! Groups, like Windows 8, fine, but folders don't really jive with the UX model.

Also, instead of an X to close an app, how about swiping up or down like on web os or even win8. It's easier than having to hit a little X.

sketchy9 says:

I'm sorry but your #8 should be #1, by a mile. The Xbox Music situation is horrible-- the phone essentially cannot be used to play music. That needs to be addressed before anything else.

JeffeMaximus says:

And the fact that microsoft doesn't even the see the "platforms" as the same.  The Solitare collection on Windows 8 is awesome with the daily challenges and stuff, sure it's not for everyone, but why shouldn't I be able to do a daily challenge on my phone and my surface.  The new hold em game that was announced is the same way.  You are asking companies to work on your phone platform but you all don't.  Sigh, lead by example.  Unify the application experience across the WP8 and W8 and show everyone what the dream looks like.  Heck, you could even make the solitare game available on the XBox.  That would put it on all 3 screens, I've heard that somewhere before....
The idea isn't to be like iOS or Android, it's to be BETTER!
I don't agree with all 8, but this is a REALLY good list, and would love to see a MS person respond.  I know it won't happen, but Ben the phone guy, someone who is an evangalist, please give WP central some feedback to let your faithfull know you are listening.

Kooosh says:

How about contextual search results in Bing? I'm not asking for a personal assistant, but I'd like Bing to be able to answer my simple questions with the answer rather than a bunch of links. Bing does this in a desktop browser, so why doesn't it do it on the phone where it would be even more useful? Even the Google Search app does this in Windows Phone.
This is a major oversight, and even more imporant to me than a few of your must fixes. Good article.  

bbennett40 says:

#7 is really the only item on the list I would want added. Just IMHO. :)

jhoff80 says:

I don't actually agree with most of these.
What they REALLY need to do, is connect Windows Phone 8 to Windows 8 and Windows RT better.  Just some examples off the top of my head that there is no reason to not do.  My web passwords that are synced in Windows 8 and Windows RT need to sync to the phone.  Text messages should show in the tablet/PC messaging app (a la webOS), and I should be able to tap on a phone number on the tablet and have it dial on the phone.  Game saves (other than Skulls of the Shogun) need to be synced between devices.  If I set up an email account on my tablet, it should also show up on my phone, without having to re-set it up a second time.
The list goes on and on.  Right now, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 are two entirely separate products that pull from the same pool of data (ie, Google Reader apps both pull from Google Reader, my email is connected separately on each device to the same EAS server, my devices are both separately connected to Skydrive), but what really needs to happen is that Microsoft needs the devices to feel cohesive, like each is an extension of the other.  That would allow Windows Phone 8 to grow symbiotically as sales of Windows 8 products ramp up over the next few years.  Instead, there's little incentive for a user to be entirely in the Microsoft ecosystem.

rodneyej says:

Speaking of FOLDERS... If this does materialize it would be nice to have a option to be able to lock a folder down with a pin or password.. I have some private files on my phone from time to time, and it would be nice to be able to hide them within a pin protected hub, or folder.. Wait a minute,,,, that's a good idea! How about a pin protected hub?? We got kids corner, now we need our own pin protected corner.. This could be accessible from the "ME" Hub.

CrimsonTear says:

You missed the rotation lock, IMO.

Michael Duda says:

The key improvements I need:
- Improved WiFI support for corporate environment
- VPN Support
- Backup functionality
- Seamless cloud integration (favorite sharing phone - computer)

Sean Davison says:

I keep spamming this link now, but backup already exists. What more do you need it to do? I mean besides save Game achievement info and stuff like that.


RN50 says:

Agree folder would be great but i would like it on the app list side instead of the main screen where i can pin app i use regularly.

Volume button needs fixing asap as i hate having to change my ringer volume

I am not sure folds is necessary especially you can access like media type app from the music and video hud. And phone app from the picture apps. I mean it is really an automatic process that actually on the developer which could be a double edge sword.

Sean Davison says:

Not to mention that searching for and finding apps is easy and fast on WP.

I have talked to a couple who had windows phone, and they went back to Iphone just because of app like Pandora, instangram. I am big advocate of windows phone just because the phone has a level of functional that is far superior than what IOs and Android offers, but app is seriously a problem. There only so much a OS. App is important and Microsoft needs to spend some money to get the big names on Windows phone when WP is far easier to develop for then IOs and Android.

What I would like is that the OS recognizes when we have two versions of the same app in the memory,.i rather not have four message cards open at the same time!!
And also improve on the small things..music and video experience should be top notch and,half the battle is won!!

hungdizzle says:

Apply the picture gesture unlock feature found in Windows 8. This would be a cool password feature for WP8.
There should definitely be option to Create FOLDERS by combining tiles by drag + drop.
The left side screen should be the NOTIFICATION CENTER. Center is the HOME SCREEN (LIVE TILES). Right Screen is the APPS LIST.
Even if it would mess with the minimalistic looks. They should still allow the user to change the WALLPAPER behind the tiles.
Remove/CLOSE APPS by swiping down on the screen thumbnail on the MultiTask view. Should be able to hold down on the page in that view to SAVE as SCREENSHOT, or SHARE via email/text.

DontHate707 says:

good start to actually catch up with the competiton 

toph36 says:

I can't argue with any of the suggestions in the article or in the comments.  The ‘X’ to Close Apps seems like it would be an easy one.  I wouldn't mind folders.  I do like how all the Games are under a single tile, which is like a folder, and is not restricted to 12 apps limit like in iOS.  They could also let you group your apps list by category to make then easier to find.  The Maps and the Drive apps definitely to work better (or at all) with the People Hub.  How about having "Favorites" within the Phone app for the numbers you dial the most.  I wish we didn't have to go into the People Hub to make a call every time.  Even with missed calls listed in the Phone app, when you click on one you go to the contact in the hub instead of just dialing the number.

mythos13 says:

Great article Daniel and lots of great suggestions in the comment.
Another big problem is trying to buy apps in the web-based marketplace. What a screwy process that is. It almost always fails and the link it sends to install from email goes to my desktop most of the time--aarg. I miss of lot of apps this from not remembering to seek them out in the phone marketplace later. The Zune desktop was way better for buying apps.

helios_ says:

I don't think folders would suit WP. Would they really be any more functional than just panning right?
My list:
Customizable alerts
Independant volumes (or just a multiplier I can set, e.g. headphones are 0.5x the volume of speakers)
Global mute (games make noise in silent mode)
Option to read text messages aloud over headphones automatically

Sean Davison says:

"Option to read text messages aloud over headphones automatically"
Doesn't that already exist...??

schlubadub says:

Haha yep! Since Win 7.0

PittaMan says:

#5 Exists already in Skulls of the Shogun

Villain says:

awesome article... fix those things as well as removiing txt toast from scrolling across the lock screen and I myself will be beyond happy with my WP8 device

lebeau32 says:

100% agree with all of these.  I have converted more than a few, and even though must like their phones I get app questions, and movie streaming questions (all the time), with instagram being the number 1 "why is this not on Windows Phone?"

ncharlt says:

Nice post - agree with all.

However, none would drive me away from WP8 but the ones below most certainly will if not sorted by mid-year:

A proper inbuilt podcast solution outside the US.
WiDi/Miracast - preferably including OS level DLNA.
Bluetooth 4.0/low energy to allow use of modern peripherals (e.g. Pebble smartwstch)
Repeating missed call/sms reminders.
Mapping that includes good traffic, rotating map for walking, usable satellite view and useful inbuilt transit info - all of these are hopeless in my area :(
Enforced resume without reload from tile or back button for all apps.
Office hub to work with older .doc .xls files.
Option to download anything on 3G - some have unlimited data.
Quick access to radio and other settings - similar to a notification centre.
Proper one-shot, full-phone image-based backup facility.
Internet time sync - auto useless on most UK carriers or, at the very least, the ability to set the click accurately (inc seconds, not just hours and minutes).

In addition, the following need to be fixed now:

Battery issues
Bluetooth fiasco with many car systems


dbgman says:

Need to add custom tones for SMS, email

My must have list:
Agreed on:
o Granular volume control
o Folders (so call them groups or whatever, but if I have a bunch of related apps I want to collect them together)
o I would definitely add:
o Custom sounds for SMS (I *NEED* a loud one to wake me when I am on call!)
o Better saving of attachments
o Proper handling of complex phone numbers (for dialing conference lines etc.)
o Get Skype working/baked in properly
o Release features, not just fixes, between major releases
Lastly, there are features on the iPhone/Android that may seem frivilous or unnecessary to some on this forum, but WP *MUST* cater to the masses, and if those missing "frivolous" features are causing people to not choose WP then that is a problem.  Yes, to the serious techies and purist on here it may be nausiating to talk about custom SMS or folders, but if that is causing people to not buy the phone in notable numbers, then you need to suck it up for the success of the platform, it's simple business.

Xaphoon148 says:

Agree on most paragraphs, but would also like; info about pictures, like date/time ++ the app Picture info covers most after the update, but should be native as it was in WM. (properties)
Smart dialer also, missing it from WM.
Making folders for pictures, moving pictures, renaming pictures and folders...
Really like wp8 and going to stay, but don't sit back MS. You got to keep it coming, and do not be late for class...
You listening Joe B. ?
Not doing your job if you're not paying attention to WPcentral and it's readers...

Sean Davison says:

Unless there's something I'm completely missing here, I think everything you mentioned related to pictures already exists. Especially if you use SkyDrive.

Xaphoon148 says:

Maybe on SkyDrive, but the date shown there is the date of upload, not when the pictures was taken.
Can't find it anywhere on the phone, details about when I took the picture.
A simple thing like that should be available on the phone. Don't like to upload and turn on my PC just to find out when I took a picture. And can't find a reasonable way to edit folders from my phone. At least not on cellular data. Would like to add and edit pictures and it's folders locally on my phone, not on SkyDrive. Could do this on old wm6.5, so why not on modern wp8 ?????

lonbraj says:

I want a Notification Center so bad because Microsoft will be forced to fix this ridiculous push notification system that never worked.

NUGAmaan says:

#1 Don't agree. This hype about notifications is nonsense. How about everyone convert to "Live Tiles" instead. If you don't think live tiles are more simple than a notification that you actually have to open, slide up or down, or whatever other than just look at your phone, then I don't know what will satisfy you. And, come on, a led light blinking, whats that, nothing but a light, keep that off my phone, don't need it.

#2 Why, every phone does not have to be the same. Plus, searching all over the phone is pointless if your already in the field you need to search in. Windows Phone 8 does very well.

#3 REALLY... OMG, who cares about intagram other than children and people that have a lifestyle which may need that quick pic type option. Other than that, it want be long before something else comes alone and trumps "Instagram", can I say Myspace, who really uses that today... I can't wait until "Instagram" plays out, such a FAD APP. Worry about longevity APPS, PLEASE. LOL.

#4 OH YES, Please DO...LOL.. Agree.

#5 Ditto #4..LOL

#6 NOPE, not needed, I can just group my APPs where ever. However, you can also search, use the jump list, never had any thought about needing a flolder, Windows phone just works well without it.

#7 WHAT!!!! That really bothers people... No comment,... OH, LOL, that was one...



katakulli says:

you forgot one thing: WP desperately needs more marketshare. it could be, that you don't like a notification center and instagram etc. but the majority of the people do like it. and thats the point. i tell you what: microsoft is probably thinking the same way you do, and thats the reason why WP grows that slow. they need to do the things people like most. just put a option to enable/disable notification center and everyone is happy. i do love WP, but i also want to use instagram or flipboard or any other app which my friend next to me uses also. With WP7, the developers excuse was that native code was not possible and porting an app was way too difficult, but WP8 does support native code, but the same developers has lost interest long ago, they don't give a fu** about WP. Microsoft should wake up and see the world from other perspective and realize that not everything, which they like and decide, is good for its business.
it couldnt be that difficult to make a GODDAMN rotation lock setting (!), just giving an example! 2013 is the last chance for WP, with its current build i really don't see anything good in future.

Sean Davison says:

Oh you don't see anything good in their future?, *gasp* Well, I guess it's a good thing you don't work for MS.
Please understand that app developers are responsible for apps. When it comes to big names like whack-ass instagram and things like that there are legal ramifications to just building an app with THEIR names on it unless they provide the means (api) to do it, like facebook and twitter.
What's holding instagram back? who knows, but it's not MS nor any "difficulties" developing for WP.

I'd move #5 to #1.  The cross platform ability was the single strongest thing going for windows phone.  Though with smartglass I'm suspecting that Microsoft is abandoning that as an "exclusive" idea.  Even then they really need to push out some games or better music/video content to smartglass as it stands now it's only real use is to compesate for Netflix's terrible UI on the xbox.
Yes to #8 I seriously hope they fired someone over that screw up.  I'm really miffed that I've never seen them acknoledge that, that never should have happened.  Personally at this point I've stoppped buying xbox videos and I'm diliginatly breaking the DRM off the videos I do have so I never have to be beholden to it again.

CobaltDragon says:

I think vpn trumps one of those (not sure which, maybe app closing) especially if they want to compete for business use

jarail says:

With the exception of Instagram, these are all pain points for me. Good on you guys for building pressure and visibility on these issues..

skullbucket says:

How about a drag able scroll bar for exceptionally long pages like this damn comments page. It took me about 36 swipes to get to the bottom, and the whole time that little grey chunk of scroll bar was just moving down the side of the screen mocking me. And at least the music hub is not as horrific as the music app on windows 8. I mean it doesn't even give you a breakdown of an artists songs by album when you tap on an artist, just a list of all the songs you have with no sorting options and no album name. It seems like the devs working on win 8 and the ones on WP8 weren't allowed to speak to each other. Win 8 succeeds at some features that WP8 fails at and vice versa, it hardly feels like a unified experience.

Xaphoon148 says:

... And choose jump to last...

skullbucket says:

Ya, cuz every dev adds that. I was using this page as an example of a long page. And is there a jump to middle? No there isn't.

Xaphoon148 says:

They should have...

Purge_GT says:

#6 I disagree with - it messes with the function and the form. I'd rather they allow "grouping" and heading, like W8. 

sanien says:

Great suggestions but knowing MS right they will disappoint! I wonder how they could possibly fuck things up this bad? These thing should have been ready from day 1! Stuff like this is the reason WP marketshare is going so slow.

Don't need an X to close the app. Use Windows 8 and drag it down to close it. That's my suggestion

BuddhaLite says:

It needs the ability to add different notifications for other alerts.  The sound are either 1)very generic and sound very similar 2)waaay too long to use as a notification.

Xaphoon148 says:

MOST important!!!!!!!!
Fix random freeze and rebooting.
I'm one of the lucky ones with a working 920, but this is the WORST possible advertising, having people writing everywhere about malfunctioning phones.
Should be at top of the list and the ONLY thing of interest and focus until it's resolved.

SaucePolicy says:

Maybe he means scrubbing. FF and REW was good enough when cassettes came out but I think MS can do better.

HalM says:

I desperately want to love Win Phone 8.  I bought a Focus the first day Win Phone 7 was released.  But the lack of "profiles" -native or 3rd party- drove me to Android within 3 months. 
Seriously, the lack of profiles makes me long for WM 6.5.
I just ordered a Nokia 620 and I'll swim in the pool again.  Hope things get better quick.

dalydose says:

#8 should be #1. XBox music is driving me crazy.

+100 trillion!!!

I still don't see the need for a notification center when the lock screen does that and is customizable! Everything else is on point!

Dt967 says:

Surprisingly enough I don't want folders because everything is sorted in alphabetical order already :L

PEdgeworth says:

I created an account for the first time just to say how excellent I thought this post was.  These are EXACTLY the top 8 things that need sorting out asap in WP8!.  Great post!

boozydad says:

My wife has the 920 and I can't believe there is no "select all" copy to clipboard option. I am also dumbfounded that the clipboard contents are emptied when the screen powers off... wow. 

dtriono says:

Maybe I'm the only one... I've been travelling back and forth and Setting-Date & Time-Set Automatiocally didn't work. It misses a time zone, where it should be GMT+9 it showed GMT+8... I know maybe "just set it manually" etc but IOS used to have this no sweat. And I love my black L920, so...