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8 things that Microsoft needs to fix in Windows Phone 8 right now

With the release of BlackBerry 10 this week, Microsoft has even more fresh blood for competition in the smartphone business. While one could argue that it is still Android or iOS that Microsoft is up against, the picture painted for spring 2013 is one of stiff competition and a fight for the third spot.

Windows Phone 8 has made great strides in making Redmond’s mobile OS much better than its predecessor, most importantly with the new NT kernel which will allow Microsoft to grow the OS. Having said that, there is a lot of room for improvement and we’re not just talking about touch-up features either but core aspects that need to be addressed.

Below is a list of 8 things we think Microsoft needs to fix in order for Windows Phone to really take off. We’re confident Microsoft already knows about these and in fact may have solutions in the pipeline. At least that's the hope.

Before we start we should note that Microsoft is rumored to be revealing some new features coming to Windows Phone 8 next month in Barcelona.

Traditionally Microsoft has a rather large presence at the mobile-focused conference and their absence from CES in January sets up Microsoft to gain back some momentum in the press.  We’re not 100% sure Microsoft will divulge an updated OS but we’re anticipating.

Now on to the list...

#1 Notification Center

Android, iOS and especially BlackBerry 10 all have notification centers, allowing users to have a unified single area to check the status of various apps and services. On Windows Phone, Live Tiles were supposed to be that but in reality, it’s not that simple.  Whether it’s an optional blinking LED or making use of the left-area of the Start screen, Microsoft needs a simple and elegant solution here. Check out this great design concept from our forums

Rumor has it they wanted this for the release of Windows Phone 8 but simply ran out of time. Fair enough. But it better be there in the next update or it will continue to dog the platform. 

 

#2 Universal Search

Likewise, this feature was rumored to be coming in either Windows Phone 7.5 ‘Tango’ or Windows Phone 8, yet this function mysteriously never arrived. It seems simple enough: Hit the Bing search key to make inquiries on the web as well as within the device. Search email, SMS, within apps, documents, etc.

It’s not a radical idea and other competing OSs already have this on board. In fact, Windows 8 has a nifty search feature, allowing you to dynamically search through various apps. It’s way overdue on Windows Phone.

 

#3 Instagram

Yes, we hate writing about it as much as you probably loathe reading it, but the fact is until this hipster service is on Windows Phone, it will absolutely prevent people from switching. We’ve had random conversations with Best Buy and AT&T employees and even a waitress who’ve all said the same thing: until this popular photo sharing app is on Windows Phone, it will always be a deal-killer.

For the record, Microsoft and Nokia know how important this is and we don’t think it’s from lack of trying that it’s not there. But there’s more to this than just throwing money at the Facebook company and while we don’t know the details, we’re sure there are talks of some sort going on.

Regardless, it needs to be here yesterday.

 

#4 ‘X’ to Close Apps

This one is so simple and yet Microsoft has yet to do it. In the card view of multitasking apps, just give us an ‘X’ to tap out an app.

C’mon Microsoft, the paradigm already exists with multiple Tabs in Internet Explorer—just extend it to apps.  It’s simple to do and it will make many folks happy (even if it is arguably unnecessary).

 

#5 Better Xbox Gaming

We’ve been beating this horse for a while now (see our continuing series) but it does need to be mentioned again. Xbox gaming on Windows Phone since day one has been underwhelming.

Integration with Kinect? Never materialized. Synchronous game play with Xbox 360? Never happened. A centerpiece game like Halo to really pull people in? Nope, not yet.

It is embarrassing that Microsoft has not been able to fully leverage the Xbox 360 with Windows Phone in 2012 or 2013 and it needs to be fixed.

Just look at the video above of Microsoft’s Eric Rudder demonstrating the gaming potential between PC, Xbox and Windows Phone and the game ‘Indiana Jones’. We covered that story back in March 2010.—nearly three years ago--need we say more?

 

#6 Folders

Yup, here’s one that iOS and Android have given into and now have solutions for: folders. The idea being that some of us may have multiple media apps that we want grouped together, or a bunch of pins we want rounded up in a quick access folder. It’s a simple thing and becomes increasingly necessary as people add more apps, pins and tiles to their devices. Windows 8 makes use of “grouping” and Windows Phone needs to as well.

 

#7 Independent volume and profiles

Smartphones are called as much because they are supposed to be smart meaning we shouldn’t have to do certain tasks. Having our phones switch audio and notification profiles for home, work, movie theaters, etc. goes back to Windows Mobile and apps like PhoneAlarm. Why do they not exist on Windows Phone?

Likewise, let’s finally give users the ability to control the ringer volume independent of system/game volume, same with an easier way of going ‘silent’.

#8 Fix Xbox Music and Video

The whole three-screens-and-a-cloud vision only works if your media can truly transcend devices. Microsoft hit the reset button on their media services with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and while there are to be expected growing pains, they really need to get that system on track. With the amount of DRM errors for music and the inability to watch Xbox Videos on our phones, it’s a real hindrance.

 

Hope for 2013

So those are our Top Eight major things Microsoft needs to sort out. Is that an exhaustive list? Certainly not.

Other features like the ability to force-check app updates, fix YouTube (perhaps out of Microsoft’s hands), a more powerful email client or even making Windows 8 gestures and Tile functionality overlap with Windows Phone to give users the same experience are all up for grabs.

Like we said, we’re sure hoping that Microsoft addresses all or some of these in the near-term, specifically in Barcelona. We have a feeling that they are and for the platform’s sake, they better. BlackBerry is now breathing down our necks and Android and iOS are so far ahead in the market it’s borderline scary.

Microsoft has a solid foundation with Windows Phone 8. Let’s see them quickly build on it.

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Reader comments

8 things that Microsoft needs to fix in Windows Phone 8 right now

694 Comments

I would go for a top 3 first notification centre as I tend to miss skype calks, Landscape support and folders. Surely these must be coming and more. Portico would be a start

HD videos? Can you comment?  LIke? Subscribe?

You can use a third party app but those technically violate YouTube's TOS. That's why they're always breaking.

Yes!  This would be number one for me.  I am thinking about going back to Windows Phone 7 just because of this.  A lot of the podcasts and playlists I had in Zune are just not possible or very hard to do without Zune.

I'll never under stand why Microsoft didn't just rebrand the Zune client with some UI tweeks instead of the half-assed Windows Phone 8 client and Xbox Music.

Even better just add sync support for wp8 into the Xbox music app and obviously please improve the functionality of that app coz it never seems to work 100% for me and is slow :'(

this one is is coming, it's not going to be as cool as the zune one and for some weird reason the contacts are not going to be included but it will be out soon.

I do agree. The browser is good but needs work. Go to Best Buys site and try to use a drop down menu on a Lumia 920 or otherwise, it doesn't work. Other sites have the same problem. When you tap on a drop down menu it flashes and then disappears before you can make a selection.
Also, stronger html5 support, etc.

What? Just hit their name up top when you're messaging them and you'll be taken to their contact card. Hit call.

Microsoft has alot of potential in wp, it's just never been realised to it's best.
There are a couple of things if done right can be so amazing, things that the design of the OS was intended to do from the start.

In addition to everything Daniel mentioned in his article, i really really want the following:

#1 MS needs to use the messaging hub! BBM on BB10 runs circles around the wp messaging hub. And with the discontiuation of msn, what function does the hub have now anyway? FB Chat only? The hub is such a great idea if done right. MS should provide third party access to the hub for all major chat providers. Firstly PUT SKYPE CHAT IN THERE! having to open the skype app every time to reply to a message is rediculous, skype needs to be integrated to the messaging hub. Provide access to 3rd parties, whatsapp, kik, etc etc, should all be able to use the messaging hub, Dramatically increasing the usefulness of this feature, which is what it was intended to do. (This also applies to Windows 8)

#2 you should be able to easily switch between active chats in the messaging hub, swipping right/left in a chat currently does nothing, how usefull would it be, if those cycled between active chats!

#3 Skype needs to be baked into the people hub, i know this is planned, and was there previously, but they need to get this whole skpye thing right, and fast! Personally i hate the Skype client, on both desktop and wp, Live Messenger's interface is 10 times better. I understand the need to have a seperate app for easy updates, but geeze the client sucks. Much like xbox music, both windows 8 and wp8 clients suck, Zune was way better.

WP8 has so much potential, and i love using the platform even with the shortcommings listed by Daniel, Myself and Others here. So if microsoft were to get serious about this thing, and get everything right, it will be a truely brilliant platform.

Anyone know what im suppose to do when Live Messenger is gone? i rely heavily on this for pc and phone, having to rely on skype chat in it's current form is going to be a nightmare!

Yes!!!! When MS said wp8 was going to have Skype baked into the OS that's what I assumed, c'mon ms, you own Skype and don't own fb?! Surely something is amiss here, a major company that isn't owned by you in msg (not complaining about that but lack of Skype is annoying please fix!)

How about letting me see my battery % withough having to go through 3 layers of settings?  Or at least change the API to allow 3 party developers to have thier apps refresh in real time.

I actually bought SOME of the battery apps.. they say periodic check of battery usage will DRAIN the battery, so they might want to approach withi this carefully.. and that the OS limit the percentage showing only 99% tops. Strange, I know!

X button to close out apps.... Genius. I also agree with having some kind of notification center. Great suggestions. Hopefully M$ passes this article around the workplace

Love the article and I absolutely agree about the Xbox music and video problems (putting it lightly). I have an 8x, Surfact RT and Xbox and they do not play together easily. I'd just like to throw my streaming video from my phone or Surface onto my TV but Xbox doesn't seem to let me. If there's an easy way to do that, without plugging my device into my TV or Xbox,  please let me know. Fixing the ease of use for the three screens would be great.  My other issue is I don't see why I should be paying Microsoft $60 a year to buy content from them. Thank goodness the YouTube app works...for now.

God damn it, why do we still not have gapless audio playback? How much work could that possibly be?

I'm all in for folders, sound profiles and closing apps. Closing apps should be like windows 8, drag them down in card view.

COMPLETELY AGREE!!!!!!!!!
These are a summit of what we said  back in august!
We need VPN too and many more basic features (pictures lock screen, more IE10 UI improvements, custom sound for email and sms!!!!!!, connection toggle, backup of app data, etc etc)

Backup for sure, I did a  reset for my L710. It would be nice  when you log  back into  your phone , you would be presented with your app list and begin downloading/installing. I checked my app list with my account and it was incomplete and a mess.
Also i had too relink all my contacts, that was a mess too. So if they can make that experience better for anyone reseting there phone or maybe moving to a new WP, i would be very happy.  If all this changed with WP8 , thats news to me.  Then i guess it would be time for an upgrade.
 

It techincally works, it has some serious usablility issues. 
Try to fast forward to the 2:00:00 mark on a 3 hour mp3. It's a long time of pressing and holding. What makes it tough is ocassionally the UI loses focus of your hold event (often after 27 seconds of scrubbing forward) and scrubbing stops. Try to resume scrubbing with another "press-and-hold" but then WP interprets it as a skip event, fastforwarding to the next song. Oh is that frustrating.
If WP could "remember play back position" on my MP3s, the fastfowrading UI wouldn't be as big of an issue. My use case is I'll drive to work listening to a lecture. While I'm at work, I'll listen to other mp3s or streaming radio. After work, I want to resume the lection so it's time to fastfoward back to my spot on the lecture.
 
 

I really see the potential in Windows 8 / Windows Phone / Xbox, and if Microsoft doesn't make it into a very good ecosystem (by adding all the small, but important features which are currently missing), I will be VERY pissed off!

"Ecosystem" is becoming one of the most over used, and misunderstood terms being thrown around recently.
Please name another OS who has a trully better, not kinda better, not a list of "oh they have this", but TRULY better than what MS has built so far.
And when you do, please make sure you put SkyDrive in there too.

Open a message and then tap the name at the top of the screen to bring up the senders info from the people hub and tap call.

How about a bedside mode, so you aren't awakened in the middle of the night from a notification.  

I think the multitasking should have had a way to close out apps since Mango gave that support.  Also why not more than 5 apps in multitasking?  I mean my Pre- can run 35 apps while overclocked to 1GHZ and switch as I want.  MetroRadio disappears from the list after a while and you need to restart it to change playlists.  Either throw the cards(as initially planned) or at least a massive X on them.  Save your battery.
Horizonatal lock should have been applied to the Quantum since day 1.  Pop out the keyboard and use the screen the RIGHT way like Android does.  Wtf right?
I want xbox gaming but I dont see it happening.  I see too much latency over even wifi to control your xbox and rely on the phone being perfect.  Its a good thought but I dont see practical.  I use it for netflix and videos using the now apparently fixed Smartglass and that works for me.
I would like Pandora...deal breaker for friends of mine, Hanging with friends(love it), Yahoo Messenger(not im+...sucks), and overall better skype...its rather lame and weak at times.

OTHER FOLDER - The Other folder needs a purge method.  It is literally swallowing my phone.  Up to 7.5 GB, and I have barely 1.5GB of apps, maps and media files.  I add 100 MB of files to the phone, storage capacity goes down by 100MB.  I delete them, storage capacity goes down by 10MB.  Everything creeps into Other.  
This is a huge problem. By far the biggest problem with the phone.  Hard reset isn't a viable solution.  There are hundreds of complaints on MS' message boards about this issue.  

GREAT ARTICLE !! could have added some others but the top 8 major things would be probably these....hope MS reads this

Thanks, there seems to be so many reason not to buy a MS smartphone - Android is getting better all the time, MS is... weird. The prices, the lack of functionality and debatable quality of hardware, e.g. poor battery life... WPhone for hundreds of bucks? No, thank you! There are better options.

#9: STOP ABANDONWARE
Some 7.5 apps still don't work for 8 months later (Spotify...hello?!?!). Angry Birds Star Wars is now TWO level updates behind iOS and Android. Games exist for WP8 and then disappear from the store.
It's great to chase big names in apps like Instagram.  But having a STABLE up-to-date app store is even more important because it keeps the tens of millions of users you already have happy.
And why is Windows RT getting apps that aren't being migrated over to WP8 and vice versa?
 
#10 YOU HAVE THE ECOSYSTEM, MICROSOFT. USE IT.
Raise your hands if you can buy/rent any sort videos from the native "Music+Videos" hub. Yep, you can't even browse videos. It says connect to your computer to add videos. Really? Xbox is the number one console yet none of its gaming properties are really leveraged for WP8. Skype is still sketchy. What good is it having all of these pieces if you can't put them together?

These items are simple and straight forward but how long will it take MS to implement them? If past record is anything to go by, we'll probably get a bunch of other features no one has asked for or thought of before we get all these basic ones. That's MS' usual m.o.!!

Fix Volume now! I just missed a call...
But for the rest of fixes I understand the Windows Phone, curren notifications in tiles, no need for file/folder system (use skydrive for that), no need to close apps because you have resources to maintain apps open, WP has those and other proposed fixes with a different point of view...
The universal search including local and also your personal cloud (skydrive) will be better than the current independent search.
Instagram and other apps willbe great too, but I don't know if that depends on MS...

What about people who do not like SkyDrive? What about sensitive documents you do not want, you are not allowed, yes there are laws and regulations about it, to send to SkyDrive? What about working when you are for ten hours on a plane?
Skydrive is not the Holy Grail and there are a lot of people, me included who do want to have their documents right there without the need of more or less available, fast and reliable connections.
The bottom line is that there is not a solution that satisfy all, therefore a great OS has to be flexible to adjust and cover different needs.

+1 I do agree on all parts, just do it Microsoft, love my Lumia 920, just make it better....but what about better Facebook app??

You might try Facebook + Pro by FlooNetwork.  Its a pretty good FB app and does a good job of mimicking the desktop experience.  
 
 

Inabilty to play wav files from email is stopping many enterprises from implementing WP8 because of inablity to play office voicemal from email attachments.  Oddly my Samsung Focus S played them just fine.

The ability to play WAV files from email is very underrated, but hugely important for Microsoft if they want their phones to sell in the enterprise.  Most of the large companies I've worked for use WAV files for audio email attachments.
And no, converting then hearing them, or somehow getting your giant corporation's IT department to change their policies, are not realistic options.
Ironically, WAV isa Microsoft-owned audio format (rolls eyes), so go figure.

Agreed. It's a codec issue from what I understand. I had my cloud PBX reconfigured to send me MP3's instead of WAVs. The WAV's did play in 7.5 for many, but stopped working in 8.

If you want Folders get an iPhone. I never thought my fellow WP8 enthusiasts were such complainers. Folders? We talking bout Folders now? Smh. Pick a side.

Calling them 'folders' carries a bit of a stigma. The point is people want options in grouping certain apps together. Whether it's a folder like just in iOS or extra space between sections like in Windows 8 is up to the Windows Phone Design Team. 

What some of you are forgetting is that Mindows MOBILE had folders along with many of the other "features" people love so much on iphones and androids. Windows PHONE is/was trying to get away from almost everything WM, despite the fact that the other OS's still copy it.

And that has always been WP biggest problem... They threw the baby together with the dirty water...
WM reached almost 50% of market share in its time still MS needed to get rid of it completely.
 
The functionalities and the flexibility of WM is still today unmatched by any current OS.

"threw the baby together with the dirty water" dafuq??? The correct phrase is "threw the baby out with the bathwater" :P

My Blackberry also had folders, Android has folders now too.
Lists like this get made because competing platforms have features that we don't have.  The iPhone's notifications were garbage until they ripped off toasts and a pull down down notification center from the competition.
Nothing wrong with taking what works from the other guys and implementing it on your own system, as long as you don't get sued.

@skullbucket Exactly.  Customizing the tiles to your prefernce eliminates the need to folders and other traditional app "list management" methods.  If you go to the application list that frequently to start an app, it really should be on your home screen.
-m

How about Custom Hubs? We have Games all grouped together in hubs... when you go into certain apps (i.e. Music) you can see all the Music related apps. Why can't I just have a hub with all of the related stuff in it? I hate having to pin all of my things to the start screen - but when I want to find certain apps I have to scratch my head and remember what they're called or hunt around in the huge app list.
I would settle for being able to add a category or tag to the apps in my app list. Then at a press of a button I can only show  the apps with that category or tag.

These may be introduced in WM9 to which your shiny new devices will probably not be upgradeable... The camera button missing was the reason not to upgrade WM6.5 to WP7? Now some Win7+ Lumias will not have a dedicated camera button and will happily run WP7, right?

Great article!  You've really hit the nail on the head with the little things Microsoft overlooked in creating a compelling mobile OS.  However, I feel there are a couple things that have to be addressed on top of everything else which I've listed below:
 
- Being a Lumia 920 owner myself, I do appreciate the uniqueness of WP but I find developers efforts on multiplatform releases to be severly lacking.  Where Halfbrick has released multiple updates to Fruit Ninja on iOS and Android over the years, we have yet to see any of the additional features or updates (barring 1) on our own platform.  Angry Birds Star Wars is on it's second round of updates and levels on iOS but hasn't been updated once on WP8.  Microsoft needs to take this situation more seriously as consumers will soon find a lack of value for the apps they download on this platform compared to others as we're not seeing the same additional content for our purchases.
 
- Although I do appreciate the importance of Xbox Gaming on WP8, I feel it's becoming more of a barrier for the platform as regular release games on iOS and Android don't seem to be making the transition over to the platform unless Microsoft or Nokia offer an incentive like "Xbox Gaming title" or published by Nokia title.  With development becoming more and more expensive, I don't blame developers for not taking a risk with the platform.  Why would they when Microsoft is failing to create a compelling environment for Developers to thrive in? I'm not sure if Microsoft has taken the same stance as they do with XBLA and charge developers a ridiculous sum of money to put out updates but they have to be proactive and change the archaic publishing process in place on WP8 for the platform to stand any chance in the future.  It doesn't look good either when apps published with the Xbox for Windows Phone banner end up with more bugs than regular "indie" apps do considering the xbox games go through a lengthier process.
 
Nonetheless, I love my Lumia 920 and WP8 but it's going to be a bumpy ride here on in if Blackberry does a better job in courting developers.
 
And with the general consumer in mind, I do belive Instagram launching on BB10 before WP8 could be the first nail in the coffin for the OS.

They need this fast otherwise they are just playing catch up, while the do this ios and android are looking for new ideas

#10 How about that TellMe service, lets be honest WP is far behind other platforms with this.. I want that to be upgraded/updated.. I think that this is important also.

What is the problem with the app in te backstak?
Is unnecessary close that app, they not use system resource.
In the start screen I have all the notifications that i need.
All the notifications of Facebook, calls, messages, Twitter, mails, ect..., are on Live Tiles in start screen, so why you need another page where this notifications are duplicated?
 

They use memory. Less memory available is more work for the OS, can slow down other apps and can contribute to decrease battery life.

The memory usage is very small and if the system require more memory the OS frees the ram from the apps in the backstack

More customization. I also like the idea of saving different home screens. Xbox music. Give us the ability to add our own background art. Most of the music I listen to is not mainstream stuff so there is not art for them.

+1000000000000000 @Daniel. You said it. Windowsphone needs these "unnecessary" features to really take off. People just want to have it, even if it seems "unnecessary" for Microsoft.

How about different tone options for SMS messages based upon who's sending the message. Feature phones have had this for years!!

 Better question is if Microsoft does offer these things in the next update, will Verizon the D-bag let us have it? Since its almost 3 months since Portico came out and yet we still don't have it

For me not having it pinned means I'm not interested in what the app has to tell me. I hated getting tons of notifications from apps I rarely use on Android. I like how you can pin the apps that matter to you and just have the rest on your phone for when you do need it. So my startscreen is my notification centre, app launcher, taskbar and favorite people list in one.
 
But I understand it doesnt work like that for everyone.  just hope you can disable the notification centre when they do add it.

If not to the side of the start screen Daniel.... Another place should be in the Me hub.... There is a notifications page... Its should JUST be expanded in functionality..and the live tile can flash part of the text like it does it or better...

Can I add a real PC syncing utility? Windows and Windows Phone seem to be too independent of each other, in my opinion.

BETTER GAMES AND MORE APPS THATS WHAT PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT ON ALL THE SITES im still happy with what there is but we could use more better apps n games

A big YES for every single feature suggested in this article
as for closing app at least they could give us the same option as windows 8 push the app down will close the app

Why in the hell can't I just press and hold a song title and choose from a drop down menu "add to playlist"...how hard is that? The current method is just plain ridiculous.

I'm surprised you guys left out the most important thing of all. Lower level access to the OS for developers. Almost everyone of these points could have been addressed in the interm by 3rd party app developers. Yes I realize it's a double edge sword but Microsoft needs to find a way to give developers more access while keeping things stable.

Programs like Notification Centers, Profiles, Folders, replacement SIPS like SWYPE are not possible on Windows Phone because developers don't have the access to implement them.
 

Agreed. I started planning out and designing a profile app. Lets you define profiles by time, location and have settings for things like volume, screen brightness, Wifi, BT and a whole range of other settings. Unfortunately, the SDK does not allow access to the API's needed to make such an app, so I abandoned the project. We developers can make these things if we can get a better SDK with more API for use to program against.
Going from my old beloved Sony Ericcons to WP, I noticed a lot of missing features that I would be obvious inclusions into WP, such as the profiles settings to name just one. I love the platform and all my apps are exclusive to WP, but can't help but think their is so much untapped potential waiting to be unleased.

^This!  This is HUGE!  I mean, Outlook for Office is the Gold Standard!  Why there aren't more options/customizations for the calendar in WP is beyond me...

Wouldn't even need an x when viewing running ApS, just pull the image down to the bottom. Would bring some parity to W8

What if you can explicitly state what apps can show notifications?
Like when you install the app WP asks you "Do you want this app to notify you of certain events?"

I, for one, agree. Live Tiles makes the whole OS a notification center. I feel like it cheapens the OS to have a notification center floating off on one side of the screen.
 
#2 Univseral search would be areal boon. Typing in the name of a movie, and having the IMDb app launch to the desired movie would be fantastic. Or typing the name of an app into the search bar and having it work more reliably that it works now.
 
Instaram is still missing, but I don't care. While the app gap in WP is largely whitewash by ios/android fanboys, there are a few big ones that are still not here. Instagram needs to be here for other people. Intuit failing to develop any of their apps like the online banking apps for many banks, Intuit Square control, Turbo tax or more. And, they advertise. Having them say "available on iphone, android and Windows Phone" on television can't hurt.

Notification center is needed for apps not pinned to the home screen or apps that only throw toast alerts but don't update the live tile (hello CNN Breaking News alert).

One thing I wish would have been mentioned was how there is a lack of options in the calendar. Some of us would like the ability to schedule an appointment bi-weekly or the same day of the week (for example the first Wednesday) every month, just to name a few options.

I totally agree.  And I'd add to that the ability to add a file, as well as multiple files if needed, to an emal, instead of having to hit 'share' on the file you want to send.

Agree XBox Music should be priority #1, infact it should be #2 #3 and #4.  Its an absolute shambles and this needs to be fixed across the ecosystem:
1. Cant play music on my phone due to media rights
2. Cloud Sync between PC and Phone is poor, duplicate albums, names etc. looks a messl, cant tell whats local and whats in the cloud.  Critical if you are on a data plan
3, No true traditional sync between phone and PC as was in Zune.  How Do I download xbox music pass tracks on my phone they copy to my PC... Seems you cant !!!
3. xBOX music Library not as large as Zune....Do a search for AC\DC on both programs and see which returns the most albums....yes Zune by far.,  Xbox music only has 1 stage album.

They essentially held themselves back a release cycle by prioritizing the Windows kernel. I don't disagree with the decision, but it definitely had an impact on people facing features (pff). I think this list nails what we need to compete.There are definitely subtle refinements that also hold up a lot of people... the dictionary is an issue, the Facebook app (MS internal) is an issue, CalDav, CardDav, IMAP IDLE. More than anything, they still have a image issue. Seeing how the media treated the BB launch made me realize how far in the hole MS is when it comes to image and brand.

Office... Please add ability to copy/paste cells in Excel. How Windows Mobile 6.5 had this and WP7.x/8 doesn't bothers me.

The only thing Microsoft needs to do, is implement the "left swipe" from w8 , that will reveal opened apps, universal search, and notification center, accessible from from anywhere on the phone.

If not bring all of w8 gestures.
Wp8, seems like they can support gestures, based on the fact that the "whole" area where the capacitive buttons are, is touch sensitive. Wp7 was not.

I usually play Rocket Riot, controlling the characters inside of the capacitive area.

I would like a option to view "trial" vs "paid/full" version apps and games. I am a developer, I have a win7 phone and a win8 phone. Between the two, I have installed well over 300apps and have 100+installed at any given time. I install a trial app/game to check it out,sometimes later means months from now. It would be very nice to filter without,starting the app/game to see. And no, the purchase history via the online marketplace is not the solution, scrolling 20 items at a time, clicking next with over 300 installed items, takes a very long time.

This list contains things that Microsoft needs to add to WP8 to make it on track with the competition. In order to go beyond the competition and really stand out, they would have to add even more must-have features. It would take a company with hundreds of millions of dollars and industry-leading resources to pull that off. -_-

Turn by turn navigation!?? And appropriate Skype integration, which is way overdue. For a massive company like MS, development teams should be quicker with getting these out

How about improving the Native WP8 calendar so that the Month view diplays viewable text and the pinned tile is capable of showing more than one appointment? Those can't be too difficult for MSFT's army of developers, right? Unless its patented.

There is an app notification center on the lock screen of your phone.  It allows you to add 5 apps of your choice.  If you have more than 5 apps that you need notifications for, go to the main screen and look at the tiles.  The tiles alone provide this functionality.  I'm unclear on this one.
If you think that Instagram should be there, start a Windows Phone 8 Dev project.  There are like 20 FB apps.  There's no reason that an app that is in demand couldn't be done 3rd party.  Maybe I'll do it.  $.99, here we come!
Folders is an old/outdated concept.  If you install enough apps on your phone, you will recieve the same interface that you have in Contacts.  The apps will be grouped by alpha, then you can click on the letter to go direct.  Why not pin those items to the main screen as mini tiles in a row (for a group).  I think these are design elements that are part of the new UI design.  You can pin Contacts, Apps, Playlists, etc. to your tile screen.
As far as closing apps, they are put into suspended mode and consume very little resources unless they are designated to run in the background.  You can block apps from running in the bathroom.  Apps in suspend mode will stay open for 14 days before they are recycled.
 
I do think that the volume profile is an issue.
 
Keep up the great work.
 
dootndo2
 

"If you think that Instagram should be there, start a Windows Phone 8 Dev project.  There are like 20 FB apps.  There's no reason that an app that is in demand couldn't be done 3rd party.  Maybe I'll do it.  $.99, here we come!"

You can't and it's been tried. Instagram doesn't allow 3rd party access to its services. That's why there are no clones. 

5 lock screen apps is pathetic, two are for phone and messaging, one for mail, so only two left (but i have another mail, whatsapp, skype and fb..!)

"Folders is an old/outdated concept.  If you install enough apps on your phone, you will recieve the same interface that you have in Contacts.  The apps will be grouped by alpha, then you can click on the letter to go direct."
I have a lot of apps that I use infrequently (e.g. translator apps), therefore I don't want them pinned to my start screen and barely remember the name of them. Some are better at different things than others (i.e. text-text, text-speech, speech-speech) so I have a few different ones available. I just want a way of grouping them without having them clog up my start screen for my important stuff.

 

Some missing features that have to be improved, not esquçam of WP 7.8

 

T9 dialer, same as Nokia Belle, without having to open your calendar and look for Contact

 

Improvements In Contacts patterns with numbers

 

Improvements and Merge Duplicate Contacts

 

Call Blocker and Blacklist, if Microsoft wants to conquer the corporate world, this feature is essential, indeed a businessman wants to have full control of your calls and not let unknown numbers annoying people and causing troubles.

 

Screen Lock option to disable it is very annoying everytime you put your finger up, and could use the scheme that the Blackberry is very good.

 

Improved Push Notifications

 

Email to dark theme

 

Adoption of lights for arrivals torpedo emails as in Nokia N8 and Blackberry

 

The main Central Notifications Swype, Call Blocker, and t9 Dialer, the app RapDialer

 

Remembering this is not only for Windows Phone for Windows 7.8 but that did not have any update, it is just a Windows Phone "7.5.1" and nothing else!

3 things are bugging me in WP8:
1. Shell speed (UI speed). Scrolling is not as fast as on WP7. Pressing Start or Back buttons react slower than on WP7. Indeed iPhone IS faster on this matter (it wasn't against WP7, yes against WP8). Note: not referring to 3rd party apps launch, that is fast, shell/native is slow.
2. Reminders should NOT popup while keyboard is up(writing).
3. Reminders should NOT be there when you press the camera button. It's annoying trying to capture a moment and you have the naggy reminder popup on top of the camera.

Wow, I can suddenly see all the shortcomings...... and somehow am missing my old Blackberry lol.....
But this is a great great list. Take note MS.. and please dont tell the big bosses, or it wont get done!!!!

GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
GAPLESS PLAYBACK
...please.
 

I'll say this again on notification center... The live tile concept is somewhat a conflict... So... In the ME hub there is a page for notification and the Me live tile flashes notification... Granted the functionality there isn't as desired... Its just need to be enahaced... So the live tile for Me should display better messages or icons of notifications for you to dive into...not just FB..... Regular txt messages should not be there... The live tile is fine... But for everything else(fb, twit, linkin,etc)... That's the natural spot to place it

Fix Xbox music and video should be the first thing in the list before folders and anything else. The only reason I am hanging on to my xbm sub is because of the 10 drm free sings per month. And that's by a thread now.

Great points and article Daniel. All of them are in my list of mandatory improvements as well, hoping to get added in the next major release of WP.
Also they need to cure many WP8 “child deceases” that are all over the OS. Example the SMS/MMS Delivery Reports are there but they are working like they did in the 1990s, you are actually getting a separate message back with the delivery report.  There is no option to choose default apps to open specific files and web links, Outlook cannot send full size pictures as they automatically gets downscale and many more similar small problems I call “child deceases” .

Interesting article. It would be interesting to dig down and see what are some of the main drivers for why someone chooses a phone. Is it the design? Familiarity? Features? Your friends etc?
When it comes to features the geeks tend to rule the discussion because for better or worse they are obsessed with gadgets and know them inside and out way more than the average consumer, I saw the amount of ire that was created over the discussion of windows 7 being updated to windows 8 and now just a few months later that is all but forgotten.
I would say the biggest thing that has been holding back windows phone 7/8 is unfamiliarity. It just looks so different from the other operating systems, it had very little visibility and your average consumer knew nothing about it. Now with windows 8 out there which is selling 20 million + per month suddenly a lot more people understand the concept and are more likely to give it a try, add to this increased marketing and it seems like it's on the rise.
It will be good to see these features fixed but more importantly I want to see them continue to push the boundaries and add things that people haven't thought of. Kids corner is a good example of this and the game skulls of shogun is a great example of something you can only currently do on windows phone. These kind of features are way more likely to sway a customer than having an x to close an app.

Definitely those 8. Two other embarrassments of WP7/8 that effectively keep me from recommending this OS: the video player and the calendar. Horrible, just horrible.

7,8,5 all totally legitimate. The rest is opinion I don't happen to agree with. As for 5 I have more games on this thing than I know what to do with!

I've got one more urgent than any of those. Enable wp8 to listen to .WAVs sent from IP phone systems, my 800 did this fine!

Great article! I agree with most of these with the exception of Instagram. I personally don't use this service and don't really get what's so big about it enough to include in your top 8. But then again, that could just be pure ignorance on my part. For me personally, I would choose XBM for the number 1 spot. To own both a WP8 and a Surface RT and NOT sufficiently be able to synch libraries between the two is completely ludicrous! Not to mention all of the other issues listed on a different thread...and crappy UI to boot. If Microsoft will not address this or at least give some kind timeline when it will be fixed, I will likely cancel my subscription and switch to the new Nokia music service, provided that it has addressed all of these simple capabilities.

As Daniel stated, Instagram is such a huge service that the fact that WP7/8 (and to an extension now BBX) loses out on potential customers because we don't have it. My wife, who actually really likes the interface on WP won't switch from her iPhone because there's no IG and there are thousands more who would agree with her.

1 - Path
2 - a button to cancel a text field (for example at the opposite of the past button).
3 - podcast: I need a real app to manage my podcasts
4 - allow to do more than one action with NFC

Not fussed by #6 or #7. The rest should be worked on.
To add to #3 also, Photosynth, games that were annouced at launch like Temple Run and work to get more top apps.
Final addition, allow SD cards to have apps installed to them, I have quite a few pissed off friends with 820s, who have run out of space because of apps, you only have to download a couple maps and a few offline radios for Nokia music and you have no space left. That or make it a minimum spec to have 16gb.

Agreed with all those that said VPN.  My company was just reviewing the phone yesterday and no VPN is a deal killer for us as I am sure it is for many corporations.

Things like this are written solely to get the cry babys to do what they do best... log on and cry incessantly. But none the less;
1. F*ck NO! At least not in the way you have it mocked up. WP does not need another screen to scroll to. If some of you will wipe the bitch tears away for a few seconds you will see that "NOTIFICATIONS" is in the "Me" tile. Just simple add all notifications. Done.
You are are flipin' idiot if you saw that BB garbage and think MS should do *that*.

2. I agree with that.

3. This makes me HATE the mobile device world to no end. So an entire OS is being held hostage by one incredibly shitty app? That's how frail and fragile it all is? No, that's how ignorant the average smartphone user is.
But instead of holding MS to this one I have a feeling that others are to blame. I know it seems far fetched, but any app maker with an sense should want their app in as many hands as possible no matter how successful it may be on one, am I right? With MS wanting and inviting developers and in some cases tossing loot at them I think someone should look at who might be on the other side throwing loot at developers to keep them AWAY from MS.
There I said it.

4. I agree. Just makes sense.
5. I'm kinda so-so on this. I see where you're coming from, but I'm just not that much of a cry baby.
6. No! Again, too many of you like clutter. If it can be done in the same "HUB" form then maybe, but what for? You don't need to scroll for ever through multiple screens to find apps. Finding apps in WP is far easier than any other so why is this needed? Wait... have we all forgotten that hubs were used in WP before that weak-ass BB crap was introduced?
7. I agree.
8. I agree.

People really need to take a step back, and stop letting "new releases" from other OS's motivate you to cry. Some of the things people want is the crap they see in other OS's and they simply won't work within WP8 the ways you want them. Folders for instance... there's really not much need IMO because finding apps is EASY and FAST.
Even though it's not in this article, the crying about "apps, apps, apps... we need google apps!" Come on. So many apps are rendered unnecessary in WP because of the features built in. I mean, when instagram comes to WP what will be the excuse? I see the want for google apps, but not the need because for the most part they offer NOTHING that WP/Bing doesn't already do better, except for youtube. But Metrotube is better IMO.
I understand wanting MS to offer the best, and I do feel they need to be better about focusing on WP especially when it comes to offering MS apps to other OS's before their own (hello, Photosynth?!) but too many people cry over the lack of perfection here, but are willing to accept absolute trash from others.
 

You say this post is for crybabies yet you agree with over half of the list. In fact, you sound more like a crybaby because you're so vehemetly against 1, 3 and 6. You realize that you won't be forced to use those functionalities if they happen to get implemented right? And that getting Instagram on WP would bring thousands of new customers right?
 
Wierdo

i agree with most of the suggestions, except for folders. I think that would destroy the "glance-and-go" philosophy of the OS. Apps should not be buried in folders and with the smaller tiles it is definitely is possible to group apps by category.

I disagree, I think the whole thing should be choice. If you don't want to use folders than don't, but someone like me would love to use folders, especially with apps that don't have live tiles (hello ESPN ScoreCenter). There's no glance and go but I still want it on my home screen.

What about apps you only use once a month? e.g. translators, fitness, photo tweaking etc. I don't need notifications for any of them and don't want them clogging up my start screen.

I usually avoid asking this question but the hell with it, I feel lucky today? What the hell is so damn special about Instagram? I have quite a few friends that I share pictures with and like taking a look at their's but do I really need a special app for it. Guess I'm just confused.
I prefer music, gaming and nfc sharing capabilities over the rest of the items listed in the article.

I've been asking and trying to figure the whole instagram thing out myself. I really hate to think the lack of it can hold people from an entire OS.

Daniel, I was "amen-ing" your your article like I was at a southern revival meeting. It really is customer demand that brings change and articles like this are necessary to focus the voice of the users. Can you hear us Microsoft?

Agreed. Other is about to make my phone useless. I have 1.5GB of apps and media. Other at 7.5GB. Other may cause me to leave WP. They need to fix other, allowing you to purge it. Fast. That's not a preference issue, the OS is worthless if you can't clear your other folder.

1# YES LED (can't constantly keep pressing the power button) Even BB has LED <obvious>
2# - dont care about search
3# - dont care about instagram.
4# - maybe, not a high priority for me
5# - dont care about games, some might
6# - dont care about folders (neither does Metro) its regual apps pinned, everything else archived
7# - YES to independent volume AND PROFILES ... AND DO NOT DISTRUB!!! (no email pings in the night, but emergency calls get through)
8# - dont care
9# CUSTOMISED TONES FOR EMAIL ETC!!!

I like your list, but have some comments:
1. WP already has a notification center.  It's called the "ME TILE."  It shows when you missed a call, got a new txt, some replied on Facebook, etc..  I use extensively.  I'm not saying it cannot be improved, because it actually needs a ton of work to be called a real notification center.  For one thing, it needs to be opened up to other applications. However, I don't think WP needs another menu or pull down or some other feature to clutter it up.  The ME TILE just needs to be fixed and extended.
3. Instagram. not much commentary needed here other than there is already an app in the works for BB10.  Really??
4. I've screamed for app "closing" forever.  Joe Belifore even commented on my blog about how it is not needed. As much as I like Joe, I disagree.  Even if closing the app does nothing phone-wise, it at least give the user a psychological closure.  This is a WINDOWS phone and Microsoft invented the X for WINDOWS -- they should use it!!  Of course, with Win8 now, that brings up a disjoint experience.  Win8 uses the pull down method to close an app.
 
6. Folders.  Again, I don't want an iOS/Android folder rip off.  WP8 is unique and beautiful.  The folders or app organization needs to match.  I don't have an idea in mind really, but maybe there could be a 3rd screen with "app groups" that can be organized and named similar to Windows 8.  You can obviously pin an app group to your home page.
8. Xbox music. Mena brother.  I have actually resorted to Nokia music for free streaming.  It's a better experience than Xbox.
Now for items you missed:
9.  Media streaming.  I have a WP8, a Surface, Win7 pro touchscreen laptop, xbox, and various other devices.  Why can't I stream media from my phone to the Xbox?  Why can't I stream from my phone to the surface?  Why can't I stream from the surface to my Xbox?
10. Built-in camera features. I know there is an app or a lens for practically everything, but honestly, I think the WP7.5 features were better than WP8.  For example: In 7.5 you could set default settings for contrast, saturation, and sharpness. I'm one of those goobers who like a little saturation boost in my photos.  You can't do this in wp8. There also needs be a pano and hdr-esque feature built-in.  Also, and this could just be my Nokia 920, why can't I sport meter?  I could spot meter in my various 7.5 phones.
 

for me, VPN support, something not mentioned above unless I missed a comment
 
and mentioned by many others, custom sms tones (can tie into #7 really). 
 
Great list though, I think VPN support just needs to be there to try and snag more business users and further muscle BB out (which is a terrible thing to say as a Canadian, but I do love my WP).

Not sure if anyone mentioned this but you can close/remove apps from the "running list" by double tapping the back button. By running list I mean the multitasking app list you get when you hold back. I agree though it should be easier. Maybe like windows 8 where you drag the window down

What kills me about these issues is that most of these items on this list (I count 5) were implemented in WinMo, whether natively or by 3rd parties. It seems like MS was so caught up in distancing themselves from WinMo that they barely took any of the ideas that were implemented there and they still haven't put back a lot of stuff. Meanwhile Google basically copied WinMo, made it open source, improved it and took the world by storm. I know Windows Mobile is probably a forbidden phrase in the halls of Redmond, but they really need to take a look at the past to help improve their future.
 
BTW, I agree with everything on the list, especially notification center. At this point, I'll stick with WP7.8 until they can iron out all of these growning pains.

What I'd like is an option to treat 3G like WiFi where when the phone is in standby it switches to 2G and when I unlock the phone it reconnects to 3G.

Currently I'm doing this manually and this makes a dramatic difference in battery life where all other battery saving tips only made a slight or unnoticable difference. For example on my Lumia 800 if I don't use the phone at all at the end of the day it has 30% battery left where if it was left on 2G at the end of the day it has 70% battery left.

If you agree visit this to vote:
http://goo.gl/rZ5aY

Love the OS but here would be my update dream list:
1.) Skype integration into normal text app
2.) get in the game on voice search...MS is WAY behind
3.) something is wrong with rooms...fix it...cause this is BY far the most innovating feature I use personally..but messaging is delayed (others see this?)
4.) mail apps ability to automatically convert email with pictures to SkyDrive link like in W8...with just one click
5.) dialpad searches to contact feature (used to do it back in the day)
6.) either tie drive more into the OS or get a good navigation app that is tied into EVERYTHING its very patchy now
7.) and I'll mention it again just stress how far behind they are...take a page out of google now's book....get on it..best voice engine I've ever experienced (however I love my phone..just feedback)
8.) oh...and why on earth can't I insert my cursor anywhere in a given word...very annoying
9.) I know how I CAN accomplish it...but fix the browser back feature when resuming a browsing session...i don't use the app switcher much
10.) parent and sub parent tiles? What you think...i have found that this would be an awesome form of folders that somebody else mentioned above....find a unique way to implement it visually and I think they would have gold with this
11.) zoom feature on month view of calendar!
12.) symbols use just by long pressing keyboard buttons...more I want to see them similar to android...i understand it might visually detract but needed and in valuable
13.) you are windows...why can't I have a network center to see basic things on my network...that would be cool...i mean all I have is MS gear...i dunno maybe not
14.) let me change the darn notification alerts to whatever I want...its my phone remember?

Like I said...I LOVE MY PHONE AND OS this is just a wish list...i would never leave the platform as I see it right now...they did a killer job....just feedback

I agree with the bulk of your list (though I could care less about folders).  One of the biggest ones for me would be a real backup solution.  I would love to be able to sign into my account on a new phone and have it automatically sync all of my messages, setting, apps, saved games, etc.
Windows 8 does this to an extent so it doesn't seem that it would be difficult to do for phones as well.

That is what I get for posting without researching it first.  I am still stuck on 7.8.
I didn't see anything about start screen tiles or saved games.  So maybe I should just change my request to include those two things. ;)

Ok people, calm down. Do not add to this list and as long as we will get these within 3-4 months it will be perfect. Steve Balmer has to shut up about money and start doing. These 8 are key for me to stay with the platform, but I'll wait a bit more.

Rather than an X to close apps, I would love it if when I brought up the running programs, I could swipe down to close them (like you do in Windows 8)...  however, I would also like to be able to swipe UP to lock individual programs running in the background so I can leave priority programs running even if I'm app-switching.  Can't tell you how helpful this would be when using GPS while bouncing in and out of other apps.

With BB10 out this lights a fire on Microsoft to get these features on windows phone. I'm pushing for universal search and the X to close apps

I would put wasted "Other" storage high on that list. It's preventing people from buying apps. If people don't buy apps, developers won't develop. If developers won't develop, people won't buy Windows Phones. It's a downward spiral. If "Other" cleared itself like it's supposed to, this wouldn't be an issue.

Other is a gigantic error in the OS.  Many of those items on the list are convenience things, the other storage issue is a plague on the OS.  MS needs to address it.  People are going to leave WP8 over the other folder if a fix doesn't happen.  

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