The guys over at WPSauce.com have published a pretty interesting article about the honest shortcomings of WP8; and what features/things need to be added/fixed for it to be taken seriously; and honestly I agree with every item on that list (plus a few of my own). Here’re a couple of points they made; but be sure to check out the full list over HERE:
Lack of Notification Center: I remember during Mango release, I was constantly on twitter chatting with MS devs and asking them for a notification center and they gave the standard reply that you will still get if you ask the Redmond folks “Live tile IS the notification center – you get all the updates and information / notification on your homescreen”. Fair enough but am I supposed to sit blankly at the screen every second of the day or wait 30 minutes for a tile to be updated or better yet wait for a push notification to come and decide to pick between a sip of coffee or clicking on the notification before it goes to a never to be discovered black hole? The answer is simple: Get us a notification center immediately. This is 2013 and the supposed no.3 mobile ecosystem doesn’t have a notification center boggles me and there are reports suggesting that Microsoft is working on one so hopefully we’ll see it soon. What is intriguing to me is how Microsoft will bring notification center into the UX. Right now, w/o the notification center – just like wp7 – I am not paying for push notification applications and my WhatsApp and Facebook application is sorta useless when I get a lot of notifications so it’s kinda pointless at this moment. What about apps on pinned on screen? What about notifications for those apps? Yeah, no two thoughts on need of Notification Center hopefully.
Me Tile: Me Tile was probably last updated when Windows 95 was released. Not really but I don’t even understand why there’s this amazing utility is sitting on my homescreen that I use all the time isn’t being updated to it’s full potential. I am a heavy twitter user and there’s no auto “Reply to all” for tweets (this should be by default btw and would be done in matter of minutes but who cares, right?) which means I have to go to a twitter client and do it. This destroys the purpose of the Me tile twitter integration mechanism. Another thing that I would love is auto complete and of course, a favorite button on the application which is probably the least time consuming task and if you think it doesn’t matter – then let me tell you, it’s the small things that matter and this statement will become even more important when Google and Apple release their new OS this year. There’s no escape but to make both large level and small level changes. Second problem with Me tile is the lack of friend tagging during check in. So basic but not implemented. I have to open the Facebook app for it which is great but then again – half baked and mostly useless. I know Me tile is for glancing at notifications but it should do more than just that. It has incredible potential, it’s fast and I would love to see MS upgrade it in next version.
The upgrade:- So I upgraded from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 last week and the upgrade was pretty good as expected but there was one critical problem : my installed apps. Just like every other OS all your app purchases and installed apps are linked to your account so when you switch devices you can fetch your applications and use on your new device – as simple as that. Windows Phone does that too but with a little twist that made me give up using this feature. WP8 doesn’t allow you (still) to download and install all the applications at once so instead you have to go to every single one of them and click on the download button on the website. Extremely frustrating and I didn’t bother with it after some time. This needs to be fixed.
The elusive search button: Okay, this is where my fellow rabid MS and WP fanboys are going to rip me apart but let me be honest about it. Bing sucks. It’s decent for media queries but it’s just bad when compared to Google results. Microsoft should offer a choice to bind search key to a search engine of user’s choice. I know it’s a bad Bing business decision but I am confident it will be a great decision from consumer point of view and consequently for WP. Search button could be a bit more useful, it’s a big darn button on your phone, right? I know some of you have been asking for it since ages but a lot of people apparently like Bing so giving users an option shouldn’t be a bad thing. Search button can also be used for universal search (long press search button for universal search?) which is another BIG feature missing from Windows Phone 8.
But while we’re on the subject here are a couple more of items that I think Microsoft dropped the ball on:
1- Voice dictation, where is it? Ever other OS (including the newly launched BB10) has it; why don’t we? Android has gone a step further and given us offline dictation; while all we have is the the option to dictate text messages (which BTW cuts off halfway through every sentence).
2- A proper music player- one of the idiotic changes in WP8 from WP7 is the music player for some reason now it decides NOT to remember your player preference (mainly to shuffle playlists); meaning every-time I have to select shuffle when i start a new playlist, it’s 2013; why isn’t there a :set as default”
4- A true voice assistant- let’s face it, Microsoft tell me is a JOKE; it’s nothing in the league of Siri; and I blame MSFT. Why not buy Ask ziggy and implement into the system like any normal person would.
3-A new Killer feature- It hurts me to say this but WP no longer has a killer feature, Android has Google Now, amongst some other cool OEM customization Apple has Apps and reliability. WP had the “the people hub” as an awesome feature; but it’s no longer unique, BB have done the same except made it look a million times nicer (and more functional). Instead of adding something killer in WP8 it seems the engineers spent their time fine tuning some stuff no-one has ever used (and probably won’t)- rather than finding a way to make it cool again,