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.