I'd just be happy if:
1) We get a decent Skype integration, easy to use as FaceTime, which automatically uses your Microsoft ID, so there's no "creating an account" or "signing up" ... unless you WANT to use a different ID (i.e. you already have one).
2) Notification center.
3) Ability to close apps by 'swiping down' just like in Win 8
4) Full Xbox Video implementation (rent on Xbox, continue watching on phone)
5) Ability to easily create and edit playlists on the phone itself
6) Ability to have different sorts on the all-apps screen. Either by drop-down, or by continuing to swipe right (alpha order, MRU order, date-of-install order, by category, etc.)
7) Ability to 'deep link' any setting to the home screen. I shouldn't have to download an applet to let me pin things like "airplane mode" to the home screen
8) Better Skydrive integration... I should be able to browse my devices connected via my Microsoft Account, just like I an on the website (the Win8/RT Skydrive app needs this feature too)
9) Syncing of settings (including IE favorites) just like in WIn8.1 (including tabs)
10) Elimination of tile update limitations... allow tiles to update every minutes if they require no network resources, for example... and there's some bizarre limit on the total number of live tiles that are allowed to update, and once you pass it, some live tiles stop updating and there's no indications of what's wrong, or any ability to fix it... live tiles are great, but make them work predictably and reliably!
11) No-brainer: Integrate all the great Nokia apps into WP8.1 natively
Just a quick mention on swiping down to close apps: If we get an X to close apps in GDR3, well, MS is dumber tan I thought. I would assume they would implement swipe-down in 8.1 though, considering they claim to care about consistency.
Funny thing is, now that iOS 7 closes apps by swiping UP, I guarantee iOS users a few months from now will mention how WP "copied" iOS and changed the swipe to close direction. Sad but true, just give it 1year...
Now these are the real problems. Not removing the start button. C'mon Microsoft.
Customer satisfaction has to be high with apple. It's the only way for them to convince themselves they don't keep overpaying for products and never getting anything new and major.
How some could be confused by the back button is beyond me. Cell Phones has had back/return buttons for quite some time. How is it confusing to have a feature that you've always used? Personally I almost never use the home button on my WP7. I very rarely use the home button because I don't really have a reason to constantly go back to the home screen. If anything they need to add a back button tablets and Windows 8. Personally that was always one of the things I hated about my iPad until I discovered you could double-tap the home button.
I agree that WP shouldn't lose the back button. I use it every day. I wish that it supported a longer history. I do hit the search button accidentally a lot, so that could go, in my opinion.
I have an iPad (first gen) and I sorely miss a back button, especially when clicking on a link in a email, which takes me to the browser. I have to go back to the home screen to open email again to get back to where I was. Frustrating. I use the iPad mostly for an e-reader these days.
I hope there's some updates to the calendar coming too. Why they're missing search in the calendar is beyond my understanding.
I don't buy the back button removal. Not that I don't think it very likely that they'll remove both that and the search button at some point, but right now the removal will break apps which isn't something you do in a point release. WP9, sure, but not WP8.1.
Even then, though, Microsoft would have to have a plan for this removal. They can't go through another WP7 to WP8 type transition. What makes more sense is to let developers slowly transition to the new "universal binaries", where you won't have back button support (W8 doesn't have a back button). When most have made that transition, then you can drop the button from WP.
Right now, I don't think most pundits understand what it means to have "universal binaries". The issue isn't the screen size, nor is it some technical thing about code portability. The issue is that, for better or worse, the UI concepts are different between WP and WP8. On WP you have a back button, an application bar and certain other behaviors that are expected. On W8 you have no back button, you use edge gestures and other such differences. Those may sound minor, but they really aren't. You'll have to pick a single set of behaviors, likely W8 behaviors, and stick with it. Are WP users ready to rely on edge gestures for everything they do? Even if they are, there's a LOT of existing WP applications that will then stick out very badly amongst the newer applications. If we're truly going to have universal binaries then WP users had better be prepared for a difficult transition period. And like losing the back button, that doesn't sound like something you'd do in a point release.
The back button is so much more useful than they're making it out to be! I don't use it to navigate "away from" an app (usually). I use it within apps to get back to the parent screen of the one I'm viewing. Go into the marketplace and tap on an app. Now try getting back to the main store screen without the back button. I sure don't see a way. Sure MS will update all their apps to have consistent software back buttons, but I'd rather not rely on every third party to do the same. Whenever I move my hand all the way up to the top left corner of my ipad screen to use the software back button, I think how nice it is to have a hardware button on my phone that's always in the same place and always does the same thing. :(
I have had WP since it first came out with the samsung focus. And I have used my girlfriends android phone and I have to say Microsoft got the back button right. The android back button only goes back within the app. I like not having to bring up the multitasking screen to switch back to the app i was just using from the home screen.
Post on the suggestion site to keep the Back button: http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/sugg...
The back button could be confusing to some. Is it going to take me to the previous webpage or to the previous app or to the previous settings page.
I think the back button could be done away with if they have better multi-tasking and app switching. What if you were having to switch between 3 or 4 or more apps? Whether it be a double tap of the Windows button or whatever other way to bring up the switching screen, then showing the list of running apps with the ability to switch to, or close an app would be nice. It does seem to copy iOS but there is a lot of copying going on today.
Also, the capacitive buttons are a problem. It is extremely annoying, and really easy, to hit one by mistake.
Universal binaries and the screen size overlap to 10 inch clearly points to the merging of WP and Windows RT. Yet not quite sure where this leaves the metro interface / app situation on 10+ inch screens.
That said, one can expect WP and Surface RT / Surface 2 to get the same OS. Suppose WP will replace RT to keep full app compatibility. Then it allows Microsoft time to works towards full API compatibility across the Metro environment.
Anybody has other thoughts?
I almost never use the start/home button on my windows phone. Almost never.
I use the search button (on purpose) more often, in fact. And I only rarely use that button.
I must hit the back button a hundred times a day in using the device.
I cannot imagine why they'd even consider getting rid of it.
getting rid of the back button would be worse than getting rid of the start button in windows 8. i've been accustomed to the back button on windows phones and hate how there isn't one on my ipad. I could care less about the start button in windows 8, already used it it not being there.
Removing the back button is stupid. Windows has bigger problems to solve than removing a button. Do I now as a dev need to place a back button manually on my screens? That takes away from the limited available real estate I already have. You don't take away the handbrakes of a car because most people only use the Park setting. If they don't know what the back button does, then people are more illiterate than I thought. fixing the search button needs to take higher priority. RT devices are usually bigger than 8 inch, so they don't miss the dedicated back button on the hardware. taking away the back button, is like taking away the backspace key on a keyboard. Try typing without that Microsoft before pulling such a chickensh!t move.
The back button is one of the best features...holding it down for a few seconds lets you see all the open screens and move back to it. This is a true multitasking feater, great with LastPass where you can move back and forth to easily copy/paste the information. Put in my vote for keeping it, or at least the features thal allow access to all open programs
I hope some of this isn't true, I like the back button but the other improvements are welcome. Will be interesting to see how 8.1 rolls out. GDR2 has been non-existent for ATT users. When the new Lumia's launch in NOV how long will it take to get Blue? They need to own this piece, I want to upgrade as soon as the update ships from MS.
I agree that WP8 development (or WP in general) has been slow. However, with some not having GDR2, GDR3 close to being released to carriers, WP8.1 (blue) early next year and the Enterprise pack soon after, I think Microsoft has been working on improving WP. We just need to wait to see how things turn out in the next 6 to 9 months.
All the current phones are more alike than not in my view. And, since the basic concept of "cell" phone hasn't changed all that much , maybe its time for a truly new concept and product that manifests that concept. How much longer do we have to carry around a large rectangle with a fixed screen size, regardless of the task or game activity, for example? I'd like to see one of the vendors break away from the boring box. It seems to me that MS is well positioned to do that and maybe even come up with a truly modern OS and hardware. But, I guess if they decide to play who's got the apps and back button blues we will be stuck with what we have to put up with now. Devices that are alike and open no new ways to communicate, create, and interact.
Color me OCD, but I hate leaving applications open and hate that the only way to close them is to keep clicking the back button a seemingly arbitrary number of times with inconsistent results per application.
But if there were an ability to close the application, like is rumored, then I may view the back button as a nice "option" ... but I still think it would be confusing due to the inconsistency ... I think it ought to either be limited to the current application or only work to switch to other applications in the back stack.And perhaps with a proper close feature, the back button should not actually close out the application but just navigate back?
Oh dear, sound like "bring back the start button" wars all over again. Maybe Stardock will release an app...
No mention about the bugs in WP8:
- other storage
- music duplicated
- battery issues...
So wait, GDR3 is going to allow me to close apps from the task manager, which I get to by hitting the back button and 8.1 is going to remove that back button?? Am I missing something? Maybe just one button and double tap for task switcher, (because that is intuitive) and long hold for Bing/Voice Search. That way iOS users won't have to learn too much when migrating, or vice versa.
I too would miss the back button but would welcome a better way to close apps besides having to hit the back button numerous times. Anyway, if GDR3 doesn't fix the duplicate photo/song problem with the SD card storage I am done with WP (e.g., Lumia 822) and off to Android. It amazes me how they can't get something so simple right on these phones, which makes the photo and music functionality useless.
I'm buying into the Microsoft ecosystem and I'm liking WP better now that I found Cube for credit card processing. All I want to say to Microsoft is "STEP ON THE GAS GUYS, TIMES WASTING AND YOU FALLING FARTHER BEHIND EVERY DAY". So hurry up and give me a larger phone and 8.1 that will comingle with Windows RT.
I use the back button so all I ask it that if they remove it give a way to do something similar another easy way.
Microsoft seems to not understand that just because a feature isn't broadly used by all of their users, that it doesn't mean that it should be taken away. Sure, there may be a lot of people who don't use the Back button, but I'd be willing to bet that those who do use it love it and would be upset by its removal. Being able to click on a web page link in an email, knowing that you can get back to the email with a single button press is huge for a lot of people. And they would be more upset by the removal of the Back button than any feelings going the other way (people who are glad that a button they don't use goes away). They seem to miss the fact that their biggest supporters... their biggest cheerleaders... their biggest unpaid sales force... are the ones that like these kinds of things and are most upset when they go away. As a percentage of overall users, they may be a small number. But they are the ones that get excited by cool new features. They are the ones that tell their friends about the products they love. They very often are the ones making buying decisions for family, friends, or even their companies. So, boy does Microsoft ever shoot themselves in the foot when they pull these stunts.
The removal of the Start menu from Windows 8 is another example. Sure the metrics might say that it wasn't used much. But for the people that use it, they really love it. And MS sure has gotten an earful from them. And nobody else cared one way or the other. So they tick off their supporters without winning additional support from anyone else. Really smart.
In many cases it makes far more sense to listen to that minority and keep them happy than to make a change that nobody else even notices. Usage metrics aren't everything.
With Windows being unified, the battle is on between whether to add phone features to Windows RT and have RT be the new Windows Phone operating system. Or having the Windows Phone RT OS eventually replace Windows RT. Only one can really survive. A waste of resources to support two separate OS's for ARM. The likely winner is most likely Windows RT because its code base is closer to Windows 8.
The disappearance of the back button in a future version of Windows Phone lends further evidence to Windows RT winning out eventually. The back button is not a feature of Windows 8 or Windows RT. But the back button is key to how apps interact on Windows Phone. It would make far more sense for RT to be the tablet/phone OS as it can share apps with Windows 8. Windows Phone is too different from Windows 8. If you go with Windows Phone as an OS, it means you have to maintain two operating systems which doesn't fit the unification goal.
If WinRT and WP are to merge then the "back" behavior must be unified as well. I can see how swiping from the left (as someone already mentioned) could replace the back button and swiping from the top all the way to the button would work on WP as it does currently on Win8/RT.
Multitasking, on the other hand is handled badly on Win8/RT (swipe in from the left and back out), very often I end up with a snapped view but maybe that's just me. I'd prefer if I just had to tap and hold the Windows button, which would then show the "taskbar" to the left. Of course, I'd then tap an app and swipe left to close that app.
I'm aware that holding the Windows button on WP starts voice recognition, but frankly, I only use that once in a blue moon and it would make more sense to move that feature to the search button instead.
if Windows RT became the default ARM OS, you wouldn't have to worry about a snapped view happening with the motion you describe. Remember, the snapping depends on the available resolution. If you don't have the resolution, you are locked out of snapping. So if the resolution is 1080x1920 for example on a phone, that doesn't meet the 1366x768 requirement necessary for snapping.
Remove the back button ?????
"The Back button just doesn't make sense, I was told"
Are these the same "users" that told us we don't need the Start button on Windows anymore? Removing the back button will result in the "Start Button" issue being re-imagined on Windows Phone just with the Back button instead.
Still copying apple when their nemesis is android...with its back button. Let WP run android apps. They're just Java. Give it away for free.
I am a Windows Phone fan, and also an IPhone fan and an Android fan - I also develop software for all of the platforms, and specialise in UX (user experience).
All 3 platforms are great, but the glaring ommissions in the WP platform make it the least useable - and those issues are:
1) No Notification Centre - CRITICAL
2) Low information density with Metro UX Language (making apps less useful) - CRITICAL
3) Low level of cutomise-ability of the UI - IMPORTANT
4) Confusing back-button behaviour (Back button in Android is great - so needs to be fixed rather than removed) - IMPORTANT
5) Quality of Apps (Windows phone development community has a lower-level of competance compared to other platforms - on average) - IMPORTANT
6) Better developer monetization - to bring in more of the highly skilled development commmunity - CRITICAL
I think Microsoft need to put a rocket up their own backsides and get this stuff done PLUS MORE if they genuinely want to attract and keep Windows Phone fans
The "Back" button, for me, is the #1 used feature of WP. Keep it, it's better than the Live for only 10 days Tiles.
Also, when will we uncover the great mystery of the painfully slow progress of WP... ?
We should be on GDR8 by now... Keep adding features every month...
No more back button, yay! I hate this button on my WP7 phone, it's inconsistent in what it does and annoys me to no end in the browser.
I too second the opinion of keeping the back button. It's in the perfect position, and is extremely useful in situations where I would quickly navigate to another app (like a notification), and want to quickly move back to the app without bringing up the multitasking interface. It's also useful when I accidentally hit the Start or search button.
Taking out the back button and the "backstack" feature IMO is a mistake, trying to duplicate Cupertino's way of things is undoing the differentiations thatthe Windows Phone platform has brought to the smartphone market. Also, I think comparing the low-end Nokia 520 and 521 to slow performing netbooks is a flawed analogy. They are great performing phones that find their place with cost-concious users that dont need all the bells and whistles of the 900 and 1000 series Nokia phones. Thanks for the great articles and net casts Paul!
This could be very interesting.
People wont pay for expensive tablets, but they sign up for contracts to get expensive phones. Simple cashflow based marketing for those without $600 lying around spare.
If Windows based devices are presented as phone first and marketed through phone carriers (1 in every 5 stores everywhere it seems), what better way to sell Windows services to the masses?
I like the back, home, and search buttons. I just wish Bing would autotype before it switches to ie. The back button is great for closing and switching between apps, much more efficient than the apple method. If it ever gains in popularity it wouldn't be a problem, people will figure it out and be thankful for it. PLEASE don't go to holding home, holding the apps, then pressing x. The ios 7 method isn't bad.
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