Windows Phone 8.1 is an update that is massively polarizing. On the one hand, it has brought some much needed change into the OS and has dragged it well into maturity, on the other hand, it has removed some much loved features like the Media hub, Pictures panorama etc. In other words, there’s no denying that Microsoft needs a new no holds barred update which improves the OS without removing much. On that note, here are four things that I think Microsoft could do well to add from competing OSes in Windows Phone 10;
- The BlackBerry Hub(BB10) – For an OS which has had hubs for a long time, one would think that Microsoft would follow up on it’s initial concept. Unfortunately , it was BlackBerry who took this to the next logical step. The hub in BB 10 is where all your notifications and messages live. That is, whatsapp, Viber, Skype, BBM etc. all have their inboxes linked to the hub. Microsoft can implement this by expanding the messaging hub to include all messaging apps like the games hub of before and allowing messaging apps much deeper integration into the OS, like Skype does currently.
- A Notification Centre that’s not so basic (Android and iOS) – Windows Phone’s notification centre is admittedly basic. It simply gathers toast notifications sent by apps and does not provide expandable previews or anything more than the fragments of the toast you’ve already seen if you were looking at your phone. For example, a text toast may read “James says : Hi, let’s go down to the…” While this may be acceptable if this was the first notification centre ever, it is not. Microsoft has had several implementations to crib from (Sense, Touchwiz, HTC) and admittedly ran out of time when WP8 shipped. If they didn’t have at least the basics down when they ran out of time, what then were they doing? To improve the current notification centre they could add interactivity and actionability(if Panos Panay and Pierce can make up lapability…) to the items in the Action Centre and make it as useful as the old Me Tile’s interactive notifications.
- Perfect Smoothness (iOS) : I don’t know how iOS does it and I don’t want to know. We, the users, don’t need to sweat the small stuff. Microsoft should speed up the OS so it works without lag on the lowest spec device they have (Snapdragon 200, 720p). No more resuming screens, no blank tiles, nothing. A perfectly smooth UI that stays out of your way without driving you nuts.
- Good music experience (Windows Phone 7/iOS) – Nothing else needs to be said(There are probably millions of words used anyway), even the most blatant Microsoft Fanboy should realise there is a problem when reading the latest reviews. http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/music/d2b6a184-da39-4c9a-9e0a-8b589b03dec0