Microsoft teases new Start Screen Innovation plans for Windows Phone in 2014
Windows Phone 8 came out last fall. October 29th to be exact. It came with some killer hardware between the Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC 8X. It also had a slew of handy new features within the OS itself. Its major change, something most consumers will never know or appreciate, was the change to the Windows NT kernel. The same kernel powering Windows 8. It’s been over 8 months since then, what does Microsoft have in store for Windows Phone going forward?
Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer, B. Kevin Turner, took the stage at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston today. He revealed some interesting tidbits throughout his time on stage, but the one you’re going to be most stoked about pertains to a specific slide he showed. Speaking about the company as a whole, he stated that while fiscal year 2013 was big for Microsoft, 2014 will be even bigger. Quick side note, Microsoft’s fiscal year starts on July 1st. So we’re now in FY14 for them.
The slide he shared showed off little hints and teases for the plans for the majority of Microsoft’s services and products for FY14. Windows 8, Skype, Windows Phone, Surface and more have some big plans coming.
- Low Cost
- Killer Hardware
- Skype Experience
- Start Screen Innovation
- Common App Platform With Windows
While low cost and killer hardware are fairly ambiguous and slightly obvious, it’s the other three bullet points that are interesting. Microsoft owns Skype, so you’d expect to have the best mobile Skype experience with Windows Phone right? That hasn’t exactly been the case, but it looks like we might be closer to that OS integration we’ve all been wanting. On competing platforms like Android and iOS you have a new ability to send video messages through Skype. You can’t do that on Windows Phone yet, some folks on the interwebs think that could be a future native experience not requiring a separate Skype app for Windows Phone. Integration into the Windows Phone OS like Apple’s iMessage could be a killer feature as Skype becomes the de facto messaging system across Microsoft’s platforms and products.
While the homepage on iOS has remained fundamentally the same since 2007, Microsoft might take a different approach with our Start screen on Windows Phone. Start Screen Innovation could suggest that Microsoft isn’t content staying complacent with the current (while still innovative) Start screen experience on Windows Phone. Windows Phone 8.1 could bring some fresh ideas to the live tiles we already know and love.
It was inevitable, Windows Phone and Windows have been on a collision path for quite some time. Consumers want larger phones and smaller tablets, but between Windows and Windows Phone what OS would power those devices that straddle the line between phone and mini tablet? It could be both. Windows Phone 8.1 looks to bring bridge the gap by introducing a common app platform with Windows. What this means could be open to many theories. Windows Phone apps could run on Windows without much work by developers or maybe we’ll have one unified store to rule them all like Android and iOS. What do you think Microsoft means by that?
We don't expect Windows Phone 'Blue' until early 2014. You should be getting the GDR2 update within the next month or so, followed by GDR3 later this fall.
Bulletin point time. Below are some other interesting highlights you might care about. Products like the Surface, Xbox One, and Skype all complement owning a Windows Phone. Figured you might be interested in changes coming to them within the year.
- Update to Surface RT
- New Accessories
- New Accessory colors
- Update to Surface Pro
- Large meetings
- Skype on Xbox
- Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone
- Enterprise Void in Cloud
- Cloud Calling
- Outlook.com/Office 365 Integration
- Xbox One
- Kinect for Xbox One
- Hardware & Accessories
- Entertainment Studios
- 1st &3rd party games
- Music Service Updates
For the Surface family of devices, an update to both the RT and Pro versions was obvious. But could Microsoft be doing more than just throwing in new processors for both variants? Remember how the Surface Pro has those connectors on the bottom? It’s possible we might see a battery dock of some sort.
What are you most stoked about above? Gives us your theories and thoughts on what some of these vague teases mean for the future of products you use on a daily bias.
Via: Reddit, Mary Jo Foley
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That's because it addresses the single biggest challenge for Windows Phone. App Store size.
It's understandable that this took some time. First they had to get it so that the WP experience could run on the Windows kernel. And that was a feat because they wanted to keep backwards compatibility with the WP7 apps. Now they are doing the work to extend the development tools and OS hooks so that the Windows 8 app model works on Windows Phone. AND they have to unify the app stores, which is not as easy as it might sound.
We may not know all the details, such as what level of auto-availability accross WP and Windows 8/RT there will be out of the box (if any). It could be that developers will have to put in a bit of effort to make this happen in one direction or the other. Or it could be that only newer WP apps could choose to be written in the same technology stack as the current Windows 8/RT apps, while current WP8 apps would continue to work unmodified.
Even in the worst case, this is a huge win. That's because all the momentum we see in the Windows 8 Store can much more easily translate into WP apps. If much of the code for an app need not change, and the bulk of the work is just adapting the interface to work on a smaller screen, we should see alot of development houses say "sure why not" to a WP version. This is especially true because one of the coolest choices in the Windows 8 app development tools is to use HTML5 standards to build your app.
A smartwatch? ;)
I've been playing VS 2013 a bit and there's an example app out there for writing an app for both platforms, pretty cool stuff.
Yes, I know that there's the whole "you're in the minority," argument, but having it as an application as it is now (not saying the same application) gives people who want Skype the ability to get it, while avoiding bloating the OS with a forced integration of the service.
Start Screen innovation, this should mean more than just bigger size tiles found on Windows 8.1. My thoughts are going (and also one of my personal top requests) to Interactive Live Tiles.
Ex.: Scrolling left/right on a FB/Tweeter tile, you quickly move along your timeline posts without opening the App
The Music Tile displays music controls directly on the tile. Calendar Tile moves between days or the CNN/ESPN tiles scroll will move between the News Headlines or Scores from teams you follow etc. you got the idea.
As for the Music Controls, Android is putting them on the Notification Center, by offering really advance controls over your music, and your audio in general hopefully Windows Phone will, as well soon and of course for me there is not even a comparison with how WP currently is handling this situation and Android with the second one being better by far. Sorry but I disagree.
But why stop there? Why not make Windows Phone look more like Windows and vice versa. Right now they share a tile interface, big deal. Navigation, app design and the overall feel are stil too different. Im not saying Windows Phone should adopt Windows 8's multi-color and semi-depth UI. But instead both platforms should have options t customize them to the extend where they look and feel identical. Starting with the option to switch tile color from theme color to multi-color and vice versa on both platfoms.
Or they can allow user to customize every single tile's background color, then the start screen can be as colorful as rubik's cube, or MS logo
(sent from my Focus on 7.8)
Before I begin, in my opinion the Live Tiles along with the application list (swipe to the right) make up the start screen. They're the Start/Main Hub of Windows Phone... Just think of it like your People Hub where one page consists of people, the other represent's a feed of the latest news from your contacts, and so on. With the Windows Phone Start screen, I think of it like a Hub where one screen represents your favorite applications - with the added advantage of customizability and live tiles, etc. and the other screen represents a list of all applications.
So when I think of Start Screen Innovation... the following pop to mind immediately; - Notification Center to the left. (duh!) [with actionable notifications] - Grouped Tiles - Create a group and each app that you add to the group feeds to the Group's tile with updates, etc. So instead of having the 6-7 tiles of the different workout/exercise applications that I have on my Start screen, even though most of them don't have much live tile functionality to offer, I'd group them all into one Big Tile! Clicking on the Tile kinda brings up the folder/group onto the screen with tiles for each app listed in there. What this does is give a nifty way to group common apps together, secondly also save up on some possible clutter on the home screen. (I for one don't have some apps that I do regularly use on my Start Screen 'coz it's already filled up quite a bit) - Application List: Sorty By... A much needed addition if you ask me. Most of the time, I install numerous apps to test them out and I keep on installing without actually looking at the previously installed ones as I'd rather go through them all later. However, it happens every now and then that I forget about an application or two that I had installed and only come across it later down the line. Makes me wish that there was a way to sort applications by the date they were Installed On. - Start Screen background... Let's face it, if Windows 8 looks good with a colorful background on the Metro Start screen, I'm sure it'll do justice on the Windows Phone as well. I do have some more thoughts... But I think most of 'em are probably rubbish so I'll refrain from talking about 'em for now :)
The colored background though I see only working as solid colors. There isn't enough visibility to use an image. Plus I think it would detract from the ease of use.
This one's really more of a wishful thinking than anything else. Perhaps Microsoft can figure out a way to blend images onto the Tiles themselves... Tiles such as Phone, Messages, Email, Whatsapp, Marketplace, and other apps that use icons rather than full blown images on their tiles would blend somehow with a bakground...
(Just thinking out loud... :)
Credit where credit is due, but the same goes for critique. Stop getting mad at people for posting truth. Skype is crap at the moment, no point in denying it, makes you look silly
If MS pull this off, and come up with compelling pricing structure where you can bulk buy an appp to have it available on all your devices or cheaper an pay per install. They could really leap ahead of the whole number of apps which keep being brought up. Quality over quantity is what we want.
Second: Windows Phone: Support for 1080p resolutions and quad core processing with more Ram and larger storage like a 64GB or 128Gb option on Nokia Lumia phones. Plus the addition of micro SD or nano SD cards that can boost storage more. With phones and surface potential to be a central media powerhouse, it does not make sense to cripple them with no expansion or low storage. Having devices that all can share from your movies music and cloud storage to stream all your favorite media would be awesome. The 1080p screans that rival the latest Samsung Galaxy and HTC One would offer movie screen quality viewing of netflix or even the ability to push that image to your big screen TV. More accessories for these phones such as what Apple does with iphone. You can go online and buy FishEye or Panorama lenses that fit iphones as well as tripods and telephoto lenses or zoom lenses that increase optical zoom. Nokia should really consider a tripod for the Lumia 1020 as well as some additional lense system for insane optical zoom mixed with digital zoom to give camcorder quality zooming for videos thus eliminating a need to ever buy a camcorder. :)
Third: Skype and Messenger combined into one and part accessible cross platform to the groups people app etc. so you can setup family groups and skype with your kids almost instantly or group skype where you are in with multiple people and see them all in a brady bunch type tile. lol
Fourth: Cloud storage on SkyDrive. For people who invest in Windows platforms and get a Windows phone, surface, xbox one etc., they should for each device they have get added bonus space on Skydrive. This way someone who used a Surface for work, Windows Phone for his device, Has XBOX One as his media center at home, can not only use them in conjunction with each other seemlessly, but also get the benefit of more storage out on Skydrive to house music, photos, video, documents form work etc. without having to pay for that space. A type of reward for your business plan. This could follow into other areas as well such as awarding a credit in Music store, or a credit towards microsoft products in the Windows Store to offer a boost to those and give incentives to start using those services and move away from other services they may have used before such as iTunes etc.
Microsoft is doing the best they can to get developers to write for the Windows Store. We can only help improve that by showing our interest and buying the devices. The more potential business they see and a growing popularity will serve to proove they should not discount potential customers.
My Last tweek would be to improve on voice recognition. Apple has Siri. Siri is really not all that great. Someone knocked Microsoft's solution for not being cross platform or limited. They stated they asked it to do somethign and it brought up a web search whenever it couldnt understand what someone wanted. So... I tested this with Siri. Siri did the same thing. ha ha. But i digress. We need a true cross platform assistant. I am reminded of an old Simpsons show with Ultra House 3000. Marge changed the house assistants personality to Pierce Brosnan as 007. I would like to see a serious improvement to voice assistants to be more like a customizable AI assistant, where you can pick from voices and give it a name to respond to, that can not only recignize what you want it to do but have control over the system enough to perform any task including access to third party apps access and allow you complete hands free control by voice over the system. Think of Scotty from Star Trek, who always put his leg up on a chair and said; "Computer"... and told it what to do. Maybe some voice overs of (Hot Chick, Hal 9000, Star Trek 60's computer voice, and why not... Pierce Brosnan as 007. lol)