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Video tour of the new Windows Phone 8.1 native calendar

The Windows Phone native calendar. Let’s not mince words, it was quite…basic. Limited views, restricted features – Microsoft practically forced third-party developers to make alternatives, such as Simple Calendar or Cal. But even those had OS limitations due to constrained APIs.

With Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft certainly gave the native calendar a much needed overhaul. We managed to miss it in our earlier coverage – not a shocker when you consider all the new changes – so we figured we would revisit this core OS feature and show you what’s new. Head past the break to catch our video!

Let us know if you think Microsoft has gone far enough with the changes. If not, what would you do to make it better (psst, Microsoft is listening)?

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Reader comments

Video tour of the new Windows Phone 8.1 native calendar

206 Comments

I do not understand the necessity of a file manager. As long as a phone can recognize all the file formats it can run, I don't have a need for a file manager.

Maybe,but how about something as simple as a file picker.its a goddamn mobile device and i am not going to carry another device around for simple file operations ,when this so called 'feature' is already available on other mobile OS.

iOS doesn't as it doesn't need it. Android has it as it's a mess and splats files every where so being able to delete is useful. What did you need to manage on windows phone? Everything is self contained and you can already delete photos or music via the phone. I'm at a loss as to what files people think they would be able to manage. 

What if you need to attach multiple docs to an e-mail,or maybe something you just downloaded onto your phone while on the go ??As i said i don`t need a file manager,all i need is something which would help me do such simple stuff.

There in WP file manager is must. We want to see and manage(delete,reneme,edit) each and every files inthe phone. Without file manager its not possible

U guys(not personally) are old age and thinking very slowly

@elmacho; I agree that a file manager system is required as I miss that feature in Windows Mobile where I could email multiple files in one email to multiple people all in 1 email. I believe a feature like this will eventually come with a OneDrive update but until then I fill like I'm being held back 5 yrs.

Anyway, i usually wait to get a laptop or pc to do this, but...

apps like youtube that let you download movies and music files cant be detected outside the app you used to download them with. So basically you are stuck using multiple apps for viewing media. Thats lame. File manage please

It's not a mess on Android. I used EZ xplorer for it on Android. Could put the files I copied to my phone anywhere I wanted them to go.

You guys must have unlimited storage on your phones. I often need to clean up files downloaded by different apps and some don't even have a delete function

Same here. But something like OneDrive but for local files would be nice I guess. Not something I NEED though. Especially since I already use OneDrive for exactly this.

A phone doesn't live in a vacuum. Need a file manager with VPN and FTP capabilities. Many are the times I'm roaming and someone needs a file from my computer at home or work. Mostly AutoCAD stuff or pdf's. Right now, I hotspot my tablet to get the job done but I shouldn't have to. I did it all in a snap with my old android phone.

There's a file picker, we know that, and for most people (like multiple email attachments) you don't need much more than that.

Nor do I. However, it is annoying that if I go to a site and click on an mp3, it plays, but I can't save it... If that functionality requires a file manager, then so be it.

I've spent a great deal of time looking for file manager hints at the SDK I downloaded last night. So far I haven't found anything regarding a file manager, sorry.

The File Manager tantrums are as bad as the Instagram ones were. WHY flood every thread? We get it...yiu want a file manager. Now how about talking about the subject af the actual post?

if users need access to the file system, they've failed.
not only is that a dangerous thing to do, its not something they should NEED to do. apps should be smart enough to know what files they own, what files they have access to and what files they can open. Apps that need users to choose between files should present those files in a way that makes sense for that app. there shouldn't be an app whose sole purpose is navigating/manipulating the file system (ie. a file manager).

I-says, your notion of what I need is shallow, limited, and obtuse. My phone is supposed to be part of an ecosystem not an isolated device. It's the only device I have with me at all times. No, hamburger flippers, teenagers, ditch diggers, and construction workers don't need a file manager. I manage an office, the rest of the enterprise world needs a file manager. You know enterprise? That segment of the market which is MS' cash cow? The same segment MS is trying hard to get WP into? We deal with files. A lot of files. We need access to those files anytime and everywhere. We need a file manager.

what files on your phone do you need to manage, and why? give me examples, because I don't believe for a second that a file manager is the best way to do what you need to do.

Client calls me at lunch and needs some supporting files for an AutoCAD drawing. I ftp into my work server, grab the files and email them. Easy peazy on an Android. Impossible on a WP.
I'm on the road, work calls me because they need a copy of our contract. The digitally signed pdf sitting on my phone because I also use my phone as a USB drive. From my Android, again it's easy peazy. My WP, it's impossible.
You can't seem to understand, we don't use our phones in isolation unto themselves. We expect them to interact with our information and manipulate it however we need to wherever it might be.

True. Sadly it seems that it is only possible to share files that are supported (pdf:s, office files etc.). They actually only would need to improve the Office app a little bit and it would be done.

So in both of those cases, it should be the responsibility of a file picker in the email app, not a file manager.
you're not managing the file, you're just attaching it.

rather than having an app whose sole purpose is to show you and allow you to manipulate files, you should be able to see the files you want within the app that consumes them (in this case the email app), so that it can present them in a way that makes sense for the context, and govern what you can and can't do to the file.

Note that I'm not claming that WP can do these things... I know its a shortcoming of WP, but I don't think that a file manager is the answer.

So, you're saying my email app should have the capabilities of FTP, VPN, access to all clouds and all types of files?

I can try to work with that. I have my doubts because I also expect that email app to handle calendar appointment linking and contacts. A little high in overhead for an app but I'll give it a shot. Where is this beast?

I already told you that it doesn't exist, just like the file manager doesn't exist. If they're going to solve the problem, I want them to solve the right problem. it annoys me that people say they want a file manager specifically, for tasks that have nothing to do with managing files.

the VPN app (or networking tab under settings) should handle the VPN connection.
The email app should handle finding files you can attach to email (including on the network).
the calendar app should handle apointments.
the contact app should handle contacts.

Ideally the apps should be able to talk to eachother, and be styled similar so that it is a seemless expierence when going between them, as though its a single app.

Its a lot to ask, but from the get go I was talking "in an ideal world"

Completely! Every single 8.1 "deep dive" video they've done has this problem regardless of white or black background.  There's something wrong with the lighting or resolution or focus (really narrowed it down haha).  I haven't tried viewing in anything but Chrome Brower but yeah, yesterday I had to go to theverge.com to get real look at the 8.1 in action.

Same here, Daniel's screen was basically a big white blob due to external lighting glare or something like that.

I was just thinking the same thing! It looks super awesome. It would be especially magnificent I'd it came in so many colors! I would get one of each.

You are right. Since MS changed their logo I am falling in love with this logo.... Very attractive logo they have design... I don't like that curved logo...

I'm very courius about the live tile. It's the same as WP8?

or there are more than one appointment?

maybe it's mentioned in the video but I had no time to watch it since I'm in office righ now ;)

I had the same thought. I need to know about the live tile as I usually have more than 1 appointment daily and it bugs me that it only displays the "current" appointment, this is the only reason I've opted for a 3rd party calendar... Do we get more info on the live tile? Or did they just ignore that aspect?

im hoping for the Tile to display more than one appointment displayed on single day on the Live Tile. I take small notes for planning ahead of time, I should be able to see a glance on the Live Tile...not assume there's an appt because there's "pinching arrows". Here's to hoping for 8.1!

I agree 100%.

I don't care if MS wants to have a crummy calendar, but stop hobbling the 3rd party calendars from accessing needed api's

Daniel,
Does the new calendar give you the option to set an end date for recurring appointments? That's the feature I need the most. Thanks! I should mention that I'm not in a position to turn the volume up, so I apologize if you say this in the video.

That's something I would like as well. Same for the Windows 8 Calendar, which is also stripped of some useful features from the web calendar.

Early versions of the Windows 8 calendar app didn't support a recurring end date but it has for some time now, before the release of 8.1 if I recall right.

I love the changes to the calendar... i think they are amazing!  I know some people were saying they miss the list view... maybe that could be another addition to the calendar view picker... day, week, month, year, list   idk..  but overall im very pleased!

The new calendar lets you go way into the future...AWESOME!

But seriously, I think the tile needs to change at this point to include options like number of events displayed, font type/size.  It's pretty boring and limited considering the options out there. 

I love almost every change here, but the one that drives me crazy is that they completely got rid of the Agenda view.  And could someone please rip off webOS' compressible day views already?

Me too. I like to display multiple calendars which together show a ton of items each day and more than can fit on the Day view. The only practical way to view them is with Agenda view which is what I use 95% of the time. C'mon Microsoft, adding features doesn't mean you have to strip out existing ones.

Definitely want the live tile to show multiple upcoming appointments (~4). Ideally I would choose to show the next appointment + time/location details on one side of the tile, with the flip side of the tile showing appts 2-5, for example.

Would be great if you can choose which calendars to show on the tile (which may be different to what is shown in the calendar app).

I actually prefer the idea of the calendar showing the text (although the current WP8 app only shows mock text, Lorem Ipsum, rather than the actual app't title).

Finally, to add files from OneDrive to appointments would be great...

"Definitely want the live tile to show multiple upcoming appointments (~4). Ideally I would choose to show the next appointment + time/location details on one side of the tile, with the flip side of the tile showing appts 2-5, for example."

Yes, this or something like it please.  Great idea.

Indeed, text in Month view and the ability to zoom in a specific day; the technology was developed by MS itself and we had it in WM. Plus we need to get Categories like in Outlook.

I don't think the month view has the text written really small currently. I think its some form of lorem ipsum or something.

It doesn't appear (at least from the demo yesterday) that the live tile shows more than one appointment either. what the hell. why can't they get that one figured out?

also, don't get why they changed the calender settings UI from toggle switches to checkboxes. weird.

Checkboxes is weird. Also it looks like we have have lost the nice zoom transition going between day and month. Little design reversions like that drive me nuts. When they first showed the zoom transition they made a huge deal of design details like that. Then, they drop them.

You are correct. The one thing I was really hoping for was actual text in the month view. Replacing the Lorem Ipsum filler text with little lines doesn't really help us any. Since our phones are now moving to 1080p resolution, this is completely feasible. Don't think people will be able to read the small text? Make it pinch-to-zoom. Problem solved. Worst case if Microsoft does this, the screen is too small/low-res, and the text isn't readible--which is essentially the same thing as having the lines there!

Its not mentioned in the video but when he backs out of the app you can briefly see the live tile and it looks like it still only shows one appointment. That would be very disappointing and surprising if that's the case.

Is it now finally possible to have more than one single, lonely, miserable appointment on the live tile? 'cause that rendered it pretty much useless...

All i need is a file picker and Cortana to be introduced asap outside US, provided the update is just as smooth on the mid and low end devices too..really hate the 'loading..','resuming..' thing

I gave been waiting from the beginning of windows phone 7 for there to be a "search" function in the calendar. at one point inhad all my family on windows phone, but because there was no search function a few have changed to iPhone. we use the calender a lot with our business, and the ability to be able to search it is vital!

Do you know if you could search the calendar with cortana?

HELL YES TO THAT IDEA. I fail to understand how that one simple concept is not included with the calendar. Actually, for the entire phone (see BlackBerry universal search. Start typing and eventually you're looking at for what you were searching, be it appointments, a song... You get the idea. That would be BB6. Pre-Windows Phone 7).

Dear god yes! Lack of corporate features compared to Blackberry has been my biggest bitch. Search calendar is as basic as it gets. IF you have it in Outlook and OWA there is no excuse for this.

I don't understand why people seem to think that the current calendar month view shows the text of the appointments. If you look closely, all that is there is various phrases in latin. They're just there to indicate what days you have appointments, and roughly how many. It's been this way since WP7.

Sort of OT: WPcentral produces some great-looking and informative videos. They look very professional (I know they are, but a lot of professional web-videos don't look it!).

I totally agree. Tasks was my prefer note as business user with Outlook and SharePoint connection to assigned tasks... Please Microsoft, Tasks are important!

I was hoping they would have changed the lorem ipsum in the month view to show the real text of the appointments / events. Instead they got rid of it completely. I am disappoint.

Me too! It can't be that the reason is that it is technology that MSFT can't do! Just put in partial (but real) appointment text.
 

Yes! The one thing I was really hoping for was actual text in the month view. Replacing the Lorem Ipsum filler text with little lines doesn't really help us any. Since our phones are now moving to 1080p resolution, this is completely feasible. Don't think people will be able to read the small text? Make it pinch-to-zoom. Problem solved. Worst case if Microsoft does this, the screen is too small/low-res, and the text isn't readible--which is essentially the same thing as having the lines there!

Please tell me that the new calendar will launch a preferred navigation application (Here Drive+, Waze, etc) when the location of meeting/appointment is entered as a street address. Having to edit an appointment so I can copy/paste the address into the mapping/navigation app is just a pain an sooo last decade.

WOW, I just read a comment above about BB6 and universal search and I also recall that if you added an address to your appointment, tapping it would launch BB maps. Like, OMG. What a concept!

It already does this for me, but it takes more clicking, since clicking the address opens the native map app, from which you can get directions, from which you can click navigate, from which you can choose which navigation app to launch it in.

Daniel mentioned the live tile is the same... that is a fail. I wish the live tile was more like the default Simple Calendar live tile where it shows 3 appointments with the meeting location. It was hard to see, but the day and week views should show the meeting locations as well. Business people are constantly jumping from one conference room to another and it is a pain having to drill down to see where to go next. Also, as mentioned above, though it wasn't shown, the agenda view is a must. It would also be good to have the agenda view on the lock screen.

What happened to agenda view? :( I use that almost exclusively and prefer it over the day view so will be sad if it vanishes.

The new week view is great though, and looks wonderful on that 1520.

I noticed the updated month view too, really nice to tap on a day and it displays the details below. Much more useful and a better use of the screen.

Dear god, finally!!! I absolutely despise the current calendar. It's always been one of THE most weak features in Windows Phone. Could never figure out why they would cripple something so simple yet so important to so many people.

Please don't make videos with the white background. It makes it nearly impossible to see anything on the screen.

That's what I'm more interested in. I like Simple Calendar, but to edit/delete appointments I have to use the native calendar. Would be nice to have an easier hook into the API for developers to allow that for their 3rd party apps.

Small point of correction, but at 1:06, the current calendar does not have the actual appointment written in really small text in month view, but random placeholder text.

Definitely need the ability to search for calendar events (how is this missing?) and to have a live tile which shows more than 1 event.

a good improvement. still, the look. ugh. too much contrast MSFT. The difference between a black pixel and white pixel is too harsh on the eyes. There is a reason graphic designers use other colors, just saying.

One of the hopes I have is additional duration options for SNOOZE.  This has always been a frustration.

There is no option to snooze the upcoming meeting reminder for 5 MINUTES BEFORE START like in Outlook.  You have a choice of 5 to 10 minutes.  It pretty much forces you to keep snoozing the nag every 5 or 10 minutes so you can see the reminder.  I would also hope for a 30 minute duration option so the reminder pops up when the meeting is to start.

Yes! OMG! I hate that. Snooze for 5 minutes or an hour? What? Snooze until five minutes or 15 minutes prior would be huge.

Where is the "To-do" section?  Will that be a separate app now or what?  I don't know about anyone else but I actually used that a lot.

My God Man, Chronos rules. I can see 4 appts. on one large tile. If only I had the ability to create a recurring appt.

I would love to see a Bi-weekly option or "every other tuesday" kind of thing! I'm a guitar teacher and deeply rely on my calendar but for my students that can only do Bi-weekly lessons, its tough to remember when to go and when not to!

This is what I would like to see. Plus relative date appointments, i.e. "fourth Friday of the month", like I could do on my old Blackberry. I would also like to set my own reminder times. I mean, going from 1 hour before and then jumping to 18 hours before is a bit much. How hard can it be to have a scroll wheel like for the dates and times?

That's great for the new calendars features. I think some things ae still missing on it like being able to customize all notifications tones for distinct calendars, as for now we can only enable or disable 'em. On the other hand, it'd be great to have, Files management app; brightness adjustment via slider also reaching the real lowest brightness as in bat. saver mode; some other little features like a restart option.

I would like to still see the option to add email html text as a calendar note. This was a standard feature since outlook 2003. With a simple drag and drop one could post an email as a calendar appointment where the email text would be rendered as a note within the calendar appointment. A real time saver a real convenient!

What I need: The simple ability to set an end date to recurring appointments. I can't believe such a basic function is missing.

I use Simple Calendar all the time, but the fact that it doesn't display Private Appointments properly is a bummer. I have to keep the in built calendar tile as well nearby for this reason and for editing appointments.

Cal looks great, but does not work well with my work calendar for some reason (Works fine for my personal ones though). Also, it is missing things such as Meeting Locaiton and Meeting Attendees.

The Calendar is such an important app for most professionals. After converting from using iPhones, it's such a struggle. :\

Yep, I've used Chronos for years now. It is very good, but it's just sad that the company like Microsoft can't put such a basic function as week numbers to the built-in calendar. Don't they just understand what it is used for or are they just stupid in the US?

Looks like a nice upgrade. I guess calendar apps don't need to do THAt much stuff for them to be useful.

Looks like I'll keep using VsysCalendar 365. The month view in this update is still largely useless for me. Even Chronos month view is annoying becaue it doesn't display even partial info of the appointments on the days. Why should I have to tap a day to get a snap shot of when appointments are due?

Wow. Never seen VsysCalendar 365. What do you NOT like about it. Chronos is my mainstay but I'll be forced to give this a look. Don't suppose you can search appointments, can you?

To change months you have to swipe off the edge of the screen. If you don't it just changes the selected date as fast as your finger moves. It is really strange. If I want to select a data I'll tap it, not swipe. When adding/viewing an appointment it only displays a portion of the info, to see more a detail button has to be selected. I would rather only the week of dates containing the one the appointment is in remain visible and have all the detail available in a vertically scrollable window. Maybe it is an OS limitation but it sure would make the app more useable to me. Yes, searching appointments is available with several filtering options. It is a great app. I just wish it had a few UI changes. It is the only one I have found that displays a full month with the first part of the appointments visible. Sometimes that is all I need to see which is why I like it. For the most part it sounds like it has most of what people are wanting.

Maybe its just you, or me, or the hundreds of users commenting on this forum but if I were king of MS I think I would create a group within the Win phone software division devoted to one thing; the Calendar. It might be the single most used app across all platforms but from all appearances, Windows made it an after thought. "Shit, we forgot the calendar. Don't we have some interns sitting around on their thumbs? Get them to come up with something and tell 'em don't get too fancy or take all damned day. We're on a schedule here."

Automate conference call dialer properties when selecting an appointment out of the calendar with conference ID and leader PIN. If you weren't able to fully automate this process, it could at least recognize that you are dialing into a conference call and enter information that it thinks may be a conference ID or leader PIN and walk you through a wizard to populate automated dialer properties. Cortana could work really well for this and could use a similar interface where it recognizes a physical address with 3rd party navigation hooks.

Still Way too limited. And the 1,020 dollar question is: can third party Apps have full access to Exchange Calendars yet?

Thanks Daniel for the update on calendar. When setting an appointment on the phone, can you pick timezones yet? I travel for work and not being able to set timezones for appointments for times when I will be on the road is pretty annoying. Sure I could convert the time myself but I shouldnt have to. As it is now, I have to set my flights and trip appointments in Outlook 2013 so that the times display properly on my phone when it automatically adjusts during my travel. Outlook gives this option while the phone always assumes local time zone.

Actually what would be ideal is if I tag a date range to be in New York City, when I make appointments before my trip with clients within that date range, I would like to be able to set the time and have the phone already know I mean Eastern Time Zone. Living in Pacific TZ, I never speak with clients in terms of PT. I always use their local TZ. The appointment should still show the time based on the time zone I am currently in but when I arrive in NY, my times should then show in local time.

 

Whatever did they do with copy/paste appointments like I had with Windows Mobile back in the day? I would use that ALL THE TIME if they supported it.
It's that and the crummy live tile and the inability to see anything useful in the month view that has me bummed.
At least two of those three are fixed by third party apps (which bring their own headaches due to the limited APIs available for use).

I hug my Red 920 every night and give thanks to Santa-Jesus. So sorry for your loss. I suppose you did the "Find my phone" thing.

It would be hugely helpful to be able to display the To Do list on the live tile.... Maybe have appointments on one side an To Dos on the flip.

looks promising! 8.0's calendar needed the added 'basic' features. I'm glad it's coming. As I mentioned above though, hopefully multiple appointments are displayed on a single day...instead of the "pinching arrows".

No week numbers? Probably not as its US developed. Luckily we have Chronos. Best live tile all categories. If just the month view could compress to one week...

Hey Daniel, on the current WP8 calendar it does not actually have "real" details in the month view. It is Lorem Ipsum buddy.

The biggest issue for me is that all appointments (except recurring) disappear after 2-3 weeks from the calendar on the phone, no matter which 3rd party app you use. I don't really care what the calendar looks like as long as I can look back more than 2-3 weeks to find appointments and notes attached... Is that going to be fixed ?

Huge issue - switched to IOS because of this.

Also, can create calendar events from email in IOS.

 

Where has todos gone in the Calender? If Cortana is the substitute for This when Will there Be a dedicated todo list like in IOS?

My only problem with the calendars is the reminders. If I have an appointment 2 hours drive away, the options of a reminder 1 hour or 18hours before don't do me any good. Let me enter numbers for days, hours,minutes for the reminder time.

Very cool. Nice work Microsoft. One thing that I would like to see addressed if possible. If I choose the dark background for the general phone layout, there are some applications that look better in a different format that I would like to have control over. For instance, I do like the dark layout for the start screen, but I like the light background for the calendar. That is the next customizing control that I would like to have at my finger tips but great job with the calendar. I really like it a lot.

But did they add useful recurring events such as 1st Wednesday of the month or every other Saturday? The current calendar recurring events leave so much to be desired.

My old Palm phone and PIM had a much better calendar program. It appears that the MS programmers/project managers don't know much about real life event scheduling. Duh!!! 

Even the 3rd party apps are limited on recurring events. Having to add 1st Monday appointments by hand is tedious. What are calendar programs for if not to make scheduling your life simpler???  So sad... :^(  

Just a note... previously the calendar did not have the actual text of the apointment in the month view. If you look closely it just showed lorem ipsum (or similar) text instead.
Not sure why it didn't (and wont) show the actual text. its kind of small to be readable... but it couldn't hurt. especially with 1080p displays and miracast.

Can we have the option to change the time increments to "on the half hour" or " quarter hour" rather than having to paw through all 60 minutes please?

I hope WP8.1 supports .ICS files so I can automagically send calender appointments from my outlook to my calender without third party apps.

The new calendar looks great. Does it have the option to change what day the week starts on? I'm a shift worker with a varied roster each week and rely heavily on the calendar app to keep track of my roster. The only thing is my place of employment has the working week start on Saturday and not Monday so the current calendar configuration gets a little confusing at times. I'm sure I'm not the only one who needs the ability to choose which day the week starts on. Last time I looked at the settings of the calendar app I'm Windows 8.1 it didn't have this feature either which is soooooo disappointing.

Any improvement to the reoccurring appointment capabilities? Not being able to set or edit and end date for reoccurring appointments is just sad. No problem for a Palm Pilot or an old Windows Mobile device, but beyond the capability of Windows Phone?

Well, from what I read above I don't understand how MS wants to compete. If MS had just one guy working on the Calendar, I'm sure that in such a time span they must have produced something much better and feature full than what we are getting. What a shame and another lost opportunity. At least if they opened APIs so that others could fill the needs of users. :-/

New calendar app looks good, but what about tasks managment? Talking about WP 8.1 novelties, is there any novelty about Office Mobile?

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