feedback

When it comes to the brand ‘Windows Phone’ everyone has an opinion and everybody is also a self-appointed expert on marketing. Even here at Windows Phone Central, a lot of comments lean towards the idea that Microsoft's brand is baggage, a discussion that is amplified with the proposed purchase of Nokia and the future of the Lumia trademark. The reason for then negative perception most often proposed? Its deleterious association with Windows desktop, of course.

While by no means scientific, the search indexing site What Does the Internet Think? returns some interesting results when looking up ‘Windows Phone’ that may surprise some. The site, which uses a proprietary algorithm to measure popularity and perception of a search term, claims that ‘Windows Phone’, at least how it is being used on the internet, has 56.1% positive coverage. (The term ‘Lumia’, while not popular for search, does bring in an impressive 63.3% positive result).

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One of the trickiest things Nokia has had to cope with when bringing such a high end camera is the addition of advanced controls. For hobbyist and pro shooters, adjusting your white balance, ISO and other aspects are run of the mill. But not everyone who buys the Lumia 1020 will be at that level, so how do you ease them into those manual settings?

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That's right, folks. We're firing up an article on user review etiquette. Why, you ask? We've had numerous developers complain that consumers simply don't pay attention to information provided on the Windows Phone Store. This is prior to downloading trials or purchasing apps and they then leave negative feedback, which is viewable by the general public. We've noted this ourselves when browsing the catalogue.

Our own Jay Bennett has had this issue with the official Windows Phone Central app, so we figured we'd talk about how you can help make the review system less skewed for others to rely on, as well as improving the overall store experience for everyone (including developers). If you're one to quickly jump the gun and add a one-star review on apps and games then this resource is for you.

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It's common knowledge that the Microsoft Kin family of handsets suffered from a short life and quick death, with the hardware only being available for a matter of weeks. The poor devices never really saw the light of day when Microsoft's somewhat 'hip' mobile phones launched back in 2010.

Issues ranged from the hardware being too expensive to having too few apps and being slow and sluggish. Internal videos have now been published that show focus groups testing the Kin (using pre-production units that reportedly changed very little from the shipping product). It doesn't look good at all for the ill-fated devices.

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She's not wanting your features, gosh darn it.

News of Microsoft backtracking on offering consumers the opportunity to provide requests for features in Windows Phone 7.8 has been circling multiple sources today. This is due to a reply to a User Voice thread that apologises for misleading consumers through a previous reply, which turned out to be badly worded. 

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Custom Hubs & Accent colors for Windows Phone 8? Yes, please.

Earlier in the day we reported that Microsoft was going through the User Voice feedback system and signing off on feature requests from end users.

In short, if a feature is being positioned to be included in Windows Phone 8.x, it gets stamped with a generic “Planned” label from the site Admin for Windows Phone. It is then followed by a comment noting “Just a quick update to let the Windows Phone community know that this feature has been announced for Windows Phone 8”.

Indeed, many of the features such as Arabic language support, NFC and 720P displays have been publicly confirmed back at the June 20th Summit, making this forum cleanup standard practice.

But out of the 22 “Planned” suggestions, three stuck out...

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The Windows Phone 7.8 update may be more than just a pretty face

While all eyes are focused on Windows Phone 8, for many in our audience, the 7.8 update is just as important because due to contracts and the world recession, simply buying a new $500 phone is not an option this year.

We’ve repeated ad nauseam that the 7.8 update won’t come until well after Windows Phone 8 hits the streets. In fact, on our podcast we’ve put for the idea that 7.8 was a last minute decision by Microsoft.

That notion is now gaining ground as Microsoft is soliciting user feedback on what features they want most in the 7.8 update. That should tell you that 7.8 is far from complete at this point as they still haven’t locked in new features.

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As the title implies, we’re looking for your input on what is missing from Windows Phone 8.  Yes, it’s a somewhat of an odd question because as you know, Microsoft has not “officially” unveiled the entire consumer features of our waiting-in-the-wings OS. But you do know what we’ve shown you from the leaked SDK. Moreover, we know for a fact that some people back in Redmond want to know your thoughts on what you’ve seen so far—otherwise we wouldn’t be asking.

So consider this an unofficial-official survey of the largest Windows Phone community on the Internet...

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Customer feedback is always an important part of running a business and Nokia seems at the forefront of such practices—we routinely see them engage the audience for opinions, complaints and things they like via polls, direct interaction and more.

Nokia Conversations has just posted a massive survey for all Lumia owners with the overarching question of 'What do you do with your phone?' If you think that’s a broad question, you would be right which is why there are quite a few bubbles to fill in. In fact, this reminds us a bit of AT&T’s product surveys which they often send to people after a new phone purchase.

Seeing as we’re the largest Windows Phone site out there, Nokia has reached out to us (and by extension you) to help them collect some data—after all, the more info they get, the more accurate trends can be discerned for future product development.

So take the 5 minutes to head over to Nokia Conversations and  help fill out that survey—in the end, you’re just helping yourself. (And don’t forget to take our poll on front-facing cameras!).

Nokia Conversations - What do YOU do with your phone? [poll]

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What is a Windows Phone VIP?

Very Important People. That is what VIP means to everyone, but what is a Windows Phone VIP Ambassador?

Microsoft created a training website called Expertzone, where Retail Sales Professionals could log in and take training courses on selling Microsoft products. In 2010, Microsoft created the Windows Phone VIP program and BIll Bush was at the helm building a new Windows Phone community. The program has grown to over 13,000 VIP's and nearly 100 Windows Phone Ambassadors.

Retail sales professionals can join  this exclusive site to get first hand knowledge, special events, contests, and fellow windows phone users to bond with. With a small amount of users of Windows Phone, there was an even smaller amount of sales associates that actually knew anything about the OS. With the Expertzone site, new employee's train to learn about  key features and talk to real windows phone users for advice on problems they were having, how to demo properly, and enter some really cool exclusive contests. The whole point of the program is to reward those individuals who really love windows phones by giving them more knowledge, exclusive meetups, rewards like t-shirts, pins, and phones. Their community is growing strong and keeps growing.

Microsoft is now upgrading the program to Windows Phone Advisors, where a current WP VIP's can refer other associates who want to become an Advisor.

The role of a Windows Phone Advisor is being the go-to guy/girl for Windows Phone at their work. They are the "experts" because of their knowledge and have gone above and beyond to represent Windows Phone. They also train their fellow sales associates on windows phone and customers.  

This program is something special because they are getting dedicated, passionate fans of Windows Phones who sell them excited about Windows Phone. Knowing you belong to a larger community where you can talk to about the various devices and have the other people completely understand what you are talking about is a great feeling.

Microsoft understands they are the low-man on the totem pole,and this program gives them an amazing opportunity to get direct feedback from the people who sell their phones. They get insight to what customers are saying, what they like, don't like, have trouble with, etc... and they have time to react to their thoughts. Maybe that is why Windows Phone 8 might be taking longer, they are listening and changing things for the better!

If you sell phones, go check out Expertzone, and join the VIP Advisor program! Help spread the Windows Phone love!

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The Windows Phone team are asking developers for their thoughts on the entire process of creating and updating apps / titles on the platform. A developer survey is available for participants to provide feedback and / or complaints to bring positive changes for the community. 

Questions cover satisfaction, comparing development process with competitor platforms, as well as rating Microsoft services and products available to developers. As well selecting options, participants are able to provide a number of suggestions as to how the team can improve the development process.

So, how satisfied are you?

via: Cliff Simpkins

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We got word from some Nokia folks that if you make apps for Windows Phone, you'll want to take a short moment to fill out a nice little developer survey that's evaluating the smartphone ecosystem i.e. dev interest in making apps for various platforms.

This is one of those surveys from Strategy Analytics that will end up in a report showing how much devs love or hate their OS and more specifically, registering interest (or disinterest) in Windows Phone directly. That translates into "We need you to fill this out otherwise Windows Phone gets a bad rap, ya dig?".

According to the survey's front page:

"The following questions will help us and key players in the apps ecosystem understand the current thinking of mobile app developers. This information will only be used in aggregate to present a picture of how developers feel about the apps market today and its future.

Developers that complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win either a BlackBerry PlayBook, iPad or Kindle Fire. The drawing will be held in early May. Developers that refer others to this survey will receieve (sic) additional entries into the drawing.

Please note that all individual responses will be kept confidential and results will be presented in aggregate. The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes. Thank you for your time."

That sounds like a pretty fair request and we think as developers, you'll want to register your experience with these folks. If so, just head here, grab a cuppa joe and get started here:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/803120/Nok

Original Flowchart image via Shutterstock

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Windows Phone Folders concept

As we reported a few days ago, Nokia was asking for feedback on the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 via a user survey. Those who participated even qualified for a $50 Amazon gift-card for their trouble.

While user surveys are nothing new (and AT&T has done them in the past) one interesting question was noticed by reader Jonathan W regarding folders: "I would like to be able to arrange apps into folders on the apps screen" was asked with a rating system ranging from "Disagree strongly" to "Agree strongly".

That's an interesting item to raise in a survey only because Windows Phone does not have a folder system at all for apps on the Start screen. There is, however, a homebrew folder solution which works very well by Windows Phone Hacker and we know users in the past have asked for such a system (especially with all the apps we now have).

Is Nokia watching the homebrew community? They would be silly to ignore it. Are folders on the table for a Windows Phone OS update? Possibly. We know that Nokia can modify the Start screen and aspects of the UI much deeper than other OEMs.

So far, Nokia have not exercised that option but with the proof-of-concept homebrew folders working out, they could easily (and more elegantly) instantiate such a concept in the OS, should they choose to do so. Alternatively, they could also lean on Microsoft for such a feature for everyone including competing OEMs, much like the 4G LTE experience.

We'll certainly be watching Nokia closely to see what they do with this survey information. Oh and Nokia, yes, folders are a very good option and we'd like to see native support for such a feature in Windows Phone..

Thanks, Jonathan, for the image; Windows Phone Folder concept by WPCentral member Sebastien "ArtSooby" Bruneau

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Windows Phone Dashboard Beta [Developers]

As a developer I value feedback very highly. Every morning I habitually check for new reviews on my apps to see if there are any suggestions or complaints. I have a big whiteboard with a list of to-do's for each of my apps, and I add their feedback onto that. If you have anything in the Windows Phone Marketplace, I suggest you do the same, or find something similar that works for you - because there is no better way to not make money than to ignore the very people that should be paying you.

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Microsoft's Suggestion Box Windows Phone app

Microsoft has released an app for Windows Phone to complement the suggestion website that's up and running where visitors can submit and/or rate suggestions for the platform. Users are able to login with the website credentials (sign up should you not already have an account - can be achieved within the app), and are then able to contribute to the feedback queue while on the go.

Some highlighted features of the app include:

  • This app connects your Windows Phone to the Windows Phone Suggestion Box forum (http://windowsphone.uservoice.com)
  • Suggest new capabilities and features
  • Browse current suggestions (sortable by top ideas, hot ideas and new ideas)
  • Comment on submitted suggestions
  • Add up to three votes to suggestions

The Suggestion Box app can be downloaded from the Marketplace for free. 

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Robert Cringely at InfoWorld, a technology magazine, has published a superb article that shines Windows Phone in positive light - much like what we saw over at USA Today. Using the HTC Radar (our review) for a couple of weeks, Cringely has gained an insight into what Microsoft has up its sleeve to tackle Apple and Google. 

"Yes, it's true. For the last two weeks, I've been been playing around with an HTC Radar 4G running "Mango" (aka Windows Phone 7.5), and I have to say that -- despite every molecule of my being screaming in protest -- I am favorably impressed."

Of course, when talking about the Metro UI, live tiles are brought up and are the main focus on some platform praise with information being displayed at glance without loading apps.

"As for the software, the Metro interface is exceedingly nimble and easily customized; I love how it shows me how many new emails, calls, and messages I've gotten at a glance. I like how my calendar is on the home page and it shows me my next appointment automatically. I like how I can flip through the status updates and tweets from my peeps without having to load a separate, often buggy, application."

It's a really insightful read, especially should you be interested in purchasing a Windows Phone. Head on over to InfoWorld to read the article.

Source: InfoWorld

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While the HTC Titan and Samsung Focus S are both proving to be fairly popular in the U.S., we've heard analysts down Nokia for Lumia 800 sales and the manufacturer bouncing back with positive statements. MyNokiaBlog have compiled some feedback (published at Nokia Connections) from carriers and retailers in Europe, which all show positive signs on how well the Lumia 800 is selling. Nokia (and Microsoft) have the daunting task to help train sales staff in stores to push out Windows Phone handsets and is needed after reports we've received from those who reside in the U.S., Europe and (more recently) Australia. We're going to leave this to the employees at UK carriers and retailers to explain how things are going.

Joe Moody, Orange:

"This phone is the best phone out there by far. I have managed to switch 15 customers within a week to pre order the Lumia, I love the device so much I can’t wait to get one when I’m due a new phone, the customers that are interested in apple iPhones or galaxy s 2 I manage to persuade some to go for a Lumia."

Ian McLaren, Carphone Warehouse:

"The Lumia is flying off the shelves, especially from one who has really taken the training on board and pitching them to everyone. The main things that are selling the phone are the design, superb screen and the way the social networks are integrated into the phone OS so don’t need to keep switching apps and all the messages are compiled into one thread.

From a standing start, Nokia have really grabbed people’s attention with the Lumia and the advertising is starting to pay off as people are coming in and asking about the handset, and asking to upgrade to it."

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For better or worse, AT&T was and still is the "premier partner" for Microsoft and Windows Phone. As a result, they seem to be interested in how the experience is going for those of us who fork over money to them. We've been seeing reports of this survey going around starting tonight (even Jeff Wilcox got one) and we just finished ours up a few minutes ago.

The survey took about 15 minutes and was surprisingly detailed and lengthy. Based off of the phone you bought, it asked for feedback on why you bought that phone, your favorite features, order of importance on design, complaints, etc. It also inquired about your knowledge of other Windows Phones e.g. for my Titan survey it asked if I knew about the Focus S and Focus Flash and asked why I did not get that phone instead (hah! If they only knew).

Overall the survey should give AT&T some useful feedback on these devices and hopefully steer them towards more important features in the future. There is a chance to win a $100 electronic "gift card" which is not exactly enticing, but what the heck.

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