Skip to main content

Capturing screenshots in Windows Phone 7's future?

We will be the first to raise our hands in support of Windows Phone 7 having the ability to capture screenshots. Not only does it make reviewing applications a lot easier, it gives you the ability to share images from your Windows Phone screen with others. There are alternatives such as capturing a screenshot through the desktop emulator or taking a picture of the screen with a camera. But not everyone has access to the applications XAP file and video screens aren't the easiest thing in the world to photograph.

Microsoft's Director of Mobile Communications, Aaron Woodman, was asked if screen capture abilities was on the short list of features to be added to Windows Phone 7. His answer,

"I have never sat in a user group--and I sit in a lot of user groups, a lot of retail groups--I've never heard an end user go 'why can't I take a screenshot of that?'"

Just in case Mr. Woodman reads this post, let me be the first. Why can't I take a screenshot with my Windows Phone?  Microsoft gave the KIN the ability to snap a shot of the screen and Windows Mobile had the ability. So why not Windows Phone 7?

Woodman points out there could be copyright issues with allowing users to capture screenshots.

"The reality is, we have a DRM requirement for our marketplace, which makes things like HDMI and those types of things out, more difficult. We've made a choice to have a more protected set of content on the phone and available to consumers, so we do have restrictions within that."

While Microsoft's desire to protect copyrights is appreciated, not every use of a screen capture will result in such a violation. I just don't see an outbreak of copyright violations occurring if Microsoft gives us the ability to capture screen shots.

Even with Microsoft's reservations, restrictions could be put in place to protect certain protected material such as movies played on your Windows Phone. Woodman does give those longing for a screen capture utility a ray of hope in saying that such a feature could end up in a future build of Windows Phone 7. 

Unfortunately for now, we'll just have to learn to live without a screen capture utility on our Windows Phones.

Source: CNET

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

13 Comments
  • If MS blocked screen capturing in Zune, Marketplace that should be fine. They can still protect the DRM content. Also any future api that access video content from Zune can have the block attached.
  • I've been whining about this every time I write about an app on WP7. Isn't it odd that iOS has had this forever and they are supposedly the control freaks?
  • iOS has also been out a lot longer. I don't believe the first version of iOS had screen capturing
  • Firstly, if Microsoft wants to catch up any time at all with Windows Phone, they need to implementing the majority of the simple features such as this right from the off, even the ones it took iOS a while to add. Must work faster to gain a foothold in the market share.
    In this instance I think it's not to do with an inability to add the feature, it seems they're just unwilling for whatever reasons. They're deluded if they believe it's not something that few will need.
  • User groups don't ask for it because they haven't benefited from it. They don't know what they're missing. You know how many screenshots I've posted to FB or whatever from my iPhone showing high scores, FB app screens, silly auto-correct, etc.?
  • Its pretty surprising that they refer to copyright restrictions... but again I can't imagine that the ability to take a screenshot doesn't already exist in the OS and end users just don't have access to it. Internall they must have had the need to take some screenshots from time to time without using the emulator.As a developer this would be very handy but I would imagine the biggest users would be bloggers and the like that constantly need to take screenshots of 3rd party apps... I can easily get my screenshots in the emulator.
  • the copyright issue is seriously the biggest cop out i've ever seen. so what, to stop me of taking screenshots of video games i play on my pc? or screen shots of netflix movies that i pause. or screen shots of hulu tv shows, or screen shots of bluray or dvd movies that are playing? lame excuse.
  • WP7 has many other things to prioritise right now, not this. Give them a break.Its nice to have a bullet point over a rival OS but its not life and death like the myriad other bullet points WP7 is missing.I'll take a more improved web browser equipped with full flash support over screenshot any day.
  • Microsoft's response to a legitimate query was to talk about "copyright issues". If priority of features was really the issue, Microsoft could simply have stated as such instead of the lame response they gave.
  • woodman got his head stuck up his ass! i wonder if his usergroup = board of director meeting and vp discussion group.do you know how easy it would make my life if I can take a screenshot of Maps and send it as an email attachment? Right now, I have to send the other person a link or have her look for it herself and you know what she is gonna use? google map instead of bing map.fu*k you woodman, give me screenshot, i'm sick of having to find alternative to your faulty decision making.
  • There things that they don't think of in these yours groups. They assume what the average user would use, not what would be useful. That is were Android has it's advantage. Microsoft is trying to do what they always do, trying to make it a closed system. But the only way for the Windows Phone to gain market share is to be open to people in WP community who want use their phone like Apple, or a Android phone. Allot of the phone hacking is for norm things that you should be able to do, like change the color of your screen/titles. I have read 5 articles on this already, it should been a standard option. We have been able do it Windows, for years. You can custioize your themes, wallpapers, and color schemes, so why not on your phone. They need update their phones, and the OS to stay in the fight. They need to add Multitasking, and that rumored big update needs to be real.
  • I like the OS a lot but the missing features are starting to add up. Depends on what this update does and when the next one is. for me they already waited to long for this update MS is starting to worry me. we may get two updates this year. who knows but come this summer If we don't see a few updates to address things I'm not so sure I'm going to stick with them. after doing so for two years while everyone blew past MS the waiting game is growing rather thin
  • Screenshot is a pretty integral feature for me. It's generally the quickest and best way to save comments, hilarious text messages, maps, QR codes... the list goes on. It's a simple feature, I hope MS includes it in Mango or the next update.