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App Folders to WP7? Not any time soon.

We've been tipped off about an interesting bit of polling going on at the monsmartphone.net (they're a lot like us, but French!) regarding something that all Windows users are all too familiar with.  Folders!

The question raised, "Would you like to be able to categorize your applications?", has caught some attention from their more organized readers. Users who've downloaded a lot of Apps were quick to remark that they don't like having to scroll so much to find the ones at the bottom of the pile.

Pinning the most frequently used apps to the Start Menu solves the problem easily but not at all if you're the kind of person to keep a lot of frequent contacts up there. Even more so if you're the type to collect applications - the Markteplace reached 7,000 apps not too long ago and like we said, there's no end in sight.  The reasoning is there for some users, certainly. Other users, like myself, don't see the need. Not yet anyway.

Monsmartphone.net's writer, Detsch, had apparently submitted this quandary to Microsoft and from what we've gathered from throwing their site through the make-it-english machine (No, not just google translate! I made a real-live French person read it to me in English!) was that Microsoft does not currently think that this functionality is a priority in the evolution of their OS.

Read more after the break.

Whether or not there was actual scientific research done to back it up or if any charts were involved is unclear but they claim that they average number of apps used by the average user just doesn't require such a poll-worthy, why-don't-we-have-this, functionality.  Interesting tidbits from the commentors brought up the option of it.  Reminds us a little of Microsoft's position on screen captures.

If folders were eventually included in an update they would prefer it as an option - not a mandate that they had to follow through with. Some presumptions also include folder use for contacts following the lines of Work contacts, Pals, Bowling Team, and things like that. This followed suit with sms and the Games Hub as well with sorted genres.

The most interesting concept of note was not if people would like folders or not but the ability to categorize their apps. Meaning, apps could be categorized and sorted but not necessarily by using folders.

What if they were sorted into specific hubs that opened an additional app listing? That piqued my interest and got me thinking of a better question. If we had the ability to sort or categorize or filter our apps - how would you like it done and how would it work with the Metro UI?

Source:Monsmartphone  Thanks goes out to Gilles for the tip!

24 Comments
  • I want to create and design my own HUB for things on my phone. Folders are last gen tech HUBs are the future
  • I'm with you on this, and I think the hubs are why MS doesn't have or plan to have folders in the future. Key apps you download and install like media ones can just link to the music+video hub for example, like how games all go into the games hub etc.Making a custom hub for things you can but in there, like say a Work contacts Hub, or something of that sort, would be the best way for MS to handle this, folders break the UI idea imo.
  • I agree that this isn't a problem right now, but it's definitely going to become one in the next 8-12 months.SteveyAyo's suggestion is spot on, if we have the Office hub and Games hub it makes perfect sense to be able to make our own hubs which contain Utilities, or Media etc. Folders on their own wouldn't make sense with the Metro UI
  • Dude, a Hub is a folder.
  • That is what I was thinking ,,, but afraid to say it.Whatever ya call it, some sort of hierarchy is needed. Especially because of oddly-named apps (example: ArkWords ... intuitively, I want to find it under D for Dictionary, but to find it, I need to remember what it is called by NAME - it would be easier to find in a hub/folder called REFERENCE)I do not collect lots of apps ... and I see the need.
  • The only reason I could see this being useful is for email. I wish I could have a "Mail" or "Outlook" hub which would contain the tiles of all of my 5 email accounts. This would be MUCH better than having 5 different mail tiles pinned to Start...
  • This is a popular feature request that's known by the team.
  • Yeah! All my email accounts are scattered in my apps list because of alphasorting ... AND congesting my Start screen (I have five) ... a hub on Start would be cool ...
  • At this stage of the game, management of apps/tiles isn't really a big concern. Even with 7000 apps in the marketplace and the ability to tile content to the home screen, I can't imagine a large group people having so many tiles on their home screen that they really need to have folders. The home screen is for quick access to the things you use the most. If you have that many tiles that you need folders to dump more tiles in, then maybe you're holding it wrong.
  • Isn't there a limit to the number of LIVE tiles you can have on Start?And LIMIT OR NOT, isn't it true that apps on Start with LIVE tiles consume data allotment JUST BECAUSE they are pinned to Start (eg, weatherbug will eat kb just to keep the live tile live, even if I don't access the app itself).This can be an issue for throttled data users on 200mB accounts. In such cases, if I could set up hubs/folders on my APPS page, I could more easily access these apps without having to put them on my start screen - and reserve the start screen for live tile apps that I don't mind keeping live all the time.
  • I don't even care about that if they just give us system-wide search. Then I might actually use the search button. Why organize things if you can just punch the search button and the first three letters of the app.
  • I agree with a universal search but some apps don't have the most memorable name. So if you don't use a particular app frequently, you may find that you want to open a certain app but can't recall what it is called.
  • I like the hub idea, SteveyAyo. But I think it would be even easier to allow you to pin your apps into custom categories that you simply swipe to using MetroUI. You really only have a two-screen pivot which the home screen and the apps sit on--why not have a three or four or five screen pivot instead where you can pin key contacts, key apps, etc. I still want them all accessible through the hubs, but having to use a third party speed dialer that is disconnected from my contacts is stupid when I could simply swipe to the right and get to, say, my top 10.
  • The utility of grouping apps together in categories is needed. Using folders as the actual implementation is questionable as I think a lot of people have problems with them. From not remembering where they put things to not being able to move things to folders (I kid you not).----This is how I'd deal with it:Maybe some top level categories in the app screen (those word "tabs" or whatever they're called) where you can swipe left and right to see apps they've installed in those categories. The categories could correspond with the marketspace top level "genres" (ignore sub-genres; don't make it too complicated). Make the existing apps list contain just the WP7 vital apps (e.g. settings) and everything else becomes the most recently used 20 or so (think Win Vista+ start menu).What we end up then is that the recently used apps are on a shortlist and everything else is automatically categorized.Bonus points: Make the search hardware button allow you to search for an app by name in the app screens as opposed to taking you to Bing.Bonus bonus points: If the app is pinned to your start screen it's ok to remove it from the underlying app lists. Unpinning the app puts it back in the appropriate lists.
  • I agree with SteveyAyo - folders are the wrong way to think about it however, being able to create hub full of the applications you want is a no brainer and I can't imagine it would be hard to implement. While I do agree with MS that for the average user the number of apps they really use all the time is small, simply relying on that to justify not giving users what they want is just tone-deaf-dumb. The screenshots thing is interesting because it is also so shortsighted - whenever I see side-by-side comparisons of apps on different platforms the wp7 version often has the best UI but it always *looks* the worst because the reviewer is forced to take pictures of the screen. Terrible job by MS - they are making their platform look bad.They are not in a position (anymore) to get away with dictating to users what the user supposedly wants so I'd rely less on scientific logic for everything and more on dialog with real users.
  • you should just swipe again to get to a list of most recently used, or whatever other category you can think of
  • I can live without folders, but please at least give me the People hub like alpha lookup tool. And I assume it's not yet possible, but give developers the ability to create a Favorite Apps app/hub that I can link my 10-20 most used to, just like a Favorite people app. Would keep the Start screen from getting cluttered.
  • I would love to see some type of system deployed to organize those apps. My app list is growing fast and would like to organize them. Pinning them to the start screen is not the answer, this just creates a long list of apps on your start screen. The whole point of having apps is to use them and that means they must be accessible. I am already getting tired of the excessive scrolling. I personally miss the old file system of Winmo for all my files. My wifes Iphone4 with folders to organize her apps seems so easy to access and very tidy. I hope Microsoft kicks it in gear.
  • I have to say that when it comes to power and usefulness at work, my HTC Surround (WP7) cannot beat my HTC Fuze (Winmo 6.1) with a laundry list of 3rd party apps. On the flip side, my old Fuze was never as fun as the Surround. Hmmm, toy vs. tool. Common Microsoft, loosen up so developers can make some "real" business apps. I can't stand the calendar for example, so basic. No tasks, really? Maps/navigation??? Very basic and I suspect other developers are not allowed to create a good navigation app. I miss Copilot and such on Winmo. I have to say that e-mail is great though. Search, search, search is horrible. Not as Bing search but as universal search. Cripes, I cannot even search my notes in contacts to find contacts based on their info in notes!!! Sorry, just had to vent. I do think WP7 is a great OS with tons of potential but it does need ALOT of work to catch up the the pack or even their old OS.
  • Folders would be nice, but even a second, custom list of apps accessible in the same way as the full app list (think one swipe for the custom list, and a second to get over to the full one) would be super useful. That would be in keeping with the overall Metro design language, but would allow easier access to apps that don't really benefit from a live tile, such as the calculator.
  • I just want a look up like in the People hub, let me click # then choose a letter and give me apps that start with that letter, that works for me.
  • Why not just turn the Apps list to an Apps Hub where the different horizontal sections are categories that can be customized by users??
  • There need to be some type of folders! Scrolling down 50 apps isn't a good way to handle things. We already have a type of folder, with the Games tile. All the games are places are placed in this "folder". You can call it what you want, but it's pretty much operation like a folder.
  • We need folders, Microsoft.. Too many apps to download, then it leaves us customers unhappy because we have to scroll all the way down for my Yelp! App. Come on!