WPSauce http://www.wpsauce.com Just another WordPress site Sun, 12 May 2013 15:19:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Improving the native Windows Phone app experience with third party applicationshttp://www.wpsauce.com/2013/05/replace-native-windowsphone-apps-with-thirdparty-app.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/05/replace-native-windowsphone-apps-with-thirdparty-app.html#comments Sun, 12 May 2013 15:15:51 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4215 Couple of months ago, I called WP8 “strictly mediocre” and I am sticking with it. One particular thing that has annoyed me with the OS is the lack of updates to the existing applications. I have been using windows phone since the pre NoDo days so I have been through every update and the amount of feature additions to native apps like -  Phone, Calendar, Music,  etc have been disappointing. So instead of us waiting for Joe Belfiore to announce the next iteration of Windows Phone 8 (simultaneously crossing our fingers for updated native apps, orientation lock, notification center, etc in the process) with updated native applications - I have compiled a bunch of applications that Microsoft could take notes from for future iteration of the OS and at this moment, you can even replace or complement these application with existing native applications on your Windows Phone.

  • [highlight] CALENDAR [/highlight]

Unlike most of the native apps, Calendar is one of the most useful ones. However two critical features are missing:

  1. No weekly view. I cannot even imagine how Windows Phone team uses this application on daily basis but havent bothered to add a weekly view yet.
  2. WP8 and WP7.8 have large tiles now. So now you can have more information on both front of the tile and back of the tile. Best use case would have been appointments on calendar live tile but guess what – just one appointment on live tile per day. Outrageous? Indeed.

Chronos Calendar

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Chronos calendar has replaced the official calendar application on my home tile. Start up is a weekly view with single click to add appointment. You can hook up Microsoft and Google account to sync calendars locally. Region specific holiday support (limited yet growing) and most importantly, a live tile that shows all the appointments and successive appointments too making proper utilization of the big live tile.
Also what is commendable is the amount of customization available for the live tile. Love the attention to detail.

  • [highlight]ALARM[/highlight]

I am going to get a lot of flak for this but I just couldn’t resist. Well, let’s just say Alarm app does it’s job. Nothing fancy.

627.AM

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627.AM is an application that takes Alarm apps to the next level. As default – sets weekdays and weekend alarms separately. You can set alarm for every day at same time, modify individually and enable / disable accordingly in an absolute gorgeous UI that will make you fall in love with an Alarm application (which I didn’t think was possible). Not only that you get alarm notification on Live tile along with temperature and a To Do list. Couldn’t’ get better.

  • [highlight]PEOPLE’S HUB[/highlight]

I am a big fan of People’s Hub. It’s probably my favorite native app and I end up using it a lot. However there is one very important and supremely basic feature that is missing from it – search via numbers. You just cannot search your contacts by number. I am sure it doesn’t quite a few people but based on all the feedback I have received over the years both online and offline – it’s apparently a big issue.

Rap dialer

 

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Rap dialer not only fixes this issue but it does it with an outstanding UX application. You have to experience it yourself to see what I am talking about. Some great gesture support coupled with features like speed dial, contact share, group SMS, etc. This is one application that I sincerely hope Microsoft has taken a cue from and implemented some of the goodies in their next iteration of People Hub.

Also see: People Search

People Search is a Rap dialer like app that also backs up your settings so when you move from one device to another – you can restore from the cloud. Nifty.

  • [highlight]MUSIC [/highlight]

Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8 is pretty decent. Loads of fancy stuff including streaming but lo and behold – not the most basic thing in the world – a search button. You cannot input artist, song, album in a textbox because there isn’t any. It is frustrating.

Find My Music

 

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Appropriately named app, Find my music, lets you search songs in your library. It does a lot of things – select the search query and you can choose to play that song or the entire album. You can have your background and live tile as a collage of your music album artwork. Pretty cool. However the fact that you can do more than just search is what makes me use it.

Also see: Listen

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Listen breaks the metro UI mold and bring you something unique. Interesting UX couple with synchronized lyrics – It works as a great complement to the native music app for music lovers.

  • [highlight]IE10 BROWSER [/highlight]

IE10 mobile should be used to define the word “barebones” in dictionary. It renders everything better than IE9, no doubt but as far as UI goes – it is weak. There is no feature worth mentioning to be honest.

UC Browser

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UC Browser is one of the most popular applications in the marketplace with features like download manager, offline mode, visit as PC, incognito mode, speed dial and lot more make UC browser extremely feature rich and is the go to browser for a lot of users. Personally I am not a big of the UI – it is a bit cluttered but the features more than compensates for it. A right mix of IE10 UI and UC10 features would make a perfect web browser.

  • [highlight]SPEECH RECOGNITION [/highlight]

Let’s just put it this way: It’s no Siri. In fact, it doesn’t come close the voice assistant.

Maluuba

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Also see: Ask Ziggy

 

Both the application offer variety of voice commands and features to make up for the lack luster voice feature set on Windows Phone but then again, they are no Siri either! A proper native application update is required from Microsoft on this front.

  • [highlight]CALCULATOR [/highlight]

Calculator is perfect for basic calculations but what if you need to do something complex? To the marketplace, we sail.

Calculator3

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Calculator ^ 3 comes to the rescue. It has multiple modes – basic, scientific, programmer, currency and unit converter. Something for everyone out there.

 

Alright, that’s about it. There are several more applications that I would love to recommend but these are some of the essential applications that could either replace existing application or complement the existing ones. I don’t think I need to stress on the need for Windows Phone 8 native apps to be updated since it is so obvious and I have stated it before in detail but we are still waiting for any sort of clue for next iteration of Windows Phone to comment whether its being worked upon or not. Here is hoping Microsoft takes a cue from these applications and implement some of it in the next update. Hopefully we will see Joe Belfiore on stage of Nokia’s 14th May event making some significant announcement.

Did I miss any application? Let me know in the comments below.

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Lumia Storage Check beta updated – now store your offline map data on SD Card!http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/04/lumia-storage-check-beta-updated-store-offline-map-data-sd-card.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/04/lumia-storage-check-beta-updated-store-offline-map-data-sd-card.html#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 08:53:25 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4207 Nokia detailed their latest “should have been made by Microsoft in the first place” Lumia exclusive application – Storage Check. As the name suggest – Storage check gives you a visual look at storage management on your device. There are separate sections for applications, games and media. You can also take a look at how much space individual application is taking and most importantly – you can clear out temporary storage as well. Storage Check was made available on specific firmware last week but some users faced issues in the application while most didn’t get access to it. Nokia’s betalabs however has released an updated version of the application, now in beta stages, to be made available for download.

Complete change log here.

The most nifty addition to the list is that you can now store your offline maps in SD card. I am sure lot of you guys are struggling with the “Other Storage” issue or having trouble living with inbuilt storage (like me) – this feature will be extremely useful.

storagecheck-offlinemaps-sdcard

 

Next ideal step? Get applications to be stored on SD Card. If Gameloft and other publishers keeps releasing those 1GB+ games, there is going to be a lot of demand for it soon.

Get the application from BetaLabs and do check the minimum firmware requirement before you proceed.

 


 

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Hulu Plus Coming to Windows Phonehttp://www.wpsauce.com/2013/04/hulu-coming-windows-phone.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/04/hulu-coming-windows-phone.html#comments Sun, 14 Apr 2013 12:23:19 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4204 One of Windows Phone major complaints by consumers is the lack of applications that are found on Android and iOS. While Windows Phone has been criticized for its application delay, things are changing. Developers are coming and creating apps for Windows Phone that are prominent mainstays on Apple’s iOS platform and on Android’s platform like Temple Run and Chaos Rings. Now it’s time to add Hulu Plus to that list.

When asked about a Windows Phone app, Hulu gave a lot more than the usual teasing of application response that has been seen from other prominent developers:

Thanks for writing in with your interest in using Hulu Plus on your Windows Phone. We get a lot of requests for this platform, and we’ve been working on making it available for some time. In fact, the app should be released in the near future.

As soon as we’ve announced upcoming support for a device, we’ll be sure to post it on our Hulu Plus devices page (www.hulu.com/plus/devices). I’m sorry that Windows Phone 8 platforms are currently unsupported, but If you have an other questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Thanks,
Duncan R.

And another major app comes to Windows Phone. So, what does everyone think?

via: reddit

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Confessions of a Former Fanboy [Editorial]http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/03/confessions.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/03/confessions.html#comments Sun, 31 Mar 2013 16:53:35 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4189 Looking at my watch and pacing around my room on a Friday afternoon was a theme my family and friends were accustomed to seeing. It’s one of my ritualistic habits; that meant I was waiting for a new smartphone to arrive – and it wasn’t there yet! Who would expect a reviewer to get excited about another one coming in the mail? Shocking as it is, I am always excited to review a new smartphone. It broadens my perspective on mobile products and helps me form a well-balanced opinion. 

At the time, I was a Windows phone zealot who fastiduously clung to my Dell Venue Pro as if it was God’s gift to humans. It was my job to preach that gospel to people far and wide. I turned around a lot of my family, my friends, and casual readers on a few notable sites and informed others of the great Windows Phone. And yet, the delivery that made me enter my habitual pacing wasn’t a Windows Phone, but an Android phone. An unwritten rule among Windows Phone users online is this: use Windows Phone and nothing else. Here I was, committing a potential act of heresy to my readers, my colleagues, and even Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer. Did it mean I was turning in my Windows Phone card?

As much as my die hard evangelical side reviled any mention of Android, I couldn’t help admitting I was excited. It was not too long ago that I was an Android user on older Windows Mobile device. During my time with Android, I was more impressed with the speed of Android compared to the relatively clunky Windows Mobile OS that I was so used to. The fascination with Android even led me to port MIUI for a very brief time for the HTC HD2 in anticipation for the Windows Phone 7 launch in America. Despite my fascination using the other side, my Android experiences were lackluster to say the least. Beyond the speed, I couldn’t find the appeal of an Android device and wondered how it became mainstream. In my mind, there was no reason that Windows Mobile couldn’t fulfil the niche in spite of its many shortcomings and slowness. Still, there were a variety of changes to Android that intrigued me because it took the world by storm. Additionally, the release of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) at the time almost forced me into taking a look at Android one more time to see the big fuss.

Did it mean I was turning in my Windows Phone card

The excitement and trepidation ended as I received my package – the HTC One S. Like a child opening up a Christmas present, I furiously opened my new addiction in its svelte packaging revealing a relatively small device. I began to remember my HTC HD2 which also had a 4.3 inch screen. My first though after inspecting the size was “isn’t it supposed to be bigger?” Of course, I had to admit the behemoth 4.3 inch devices that were considered bricks months ago was slimmed down to such a small form factor. The design was simply HTC as I held it in my hand. The cold emanating from the device melted with the warmth of my hands like a very snug glove. It felt good. Not too big, but not too small. It was just right.

As I turned on the device, I was greeted with an extremely bright display with color saturation fitting of an AMOLED display. As the HTC One faded, I knew that my return to Android began. Surprisingly, the familiar nuances and details of Android remained the same: several screens that a user can pivot to access information and applications, notification drop down at the top of the screen, app drawer at the bottom with the commonly used apps, and so on. Yet with familiarity came a panoply of tweaks like the connection between google apps, host of user settings and information, a beefier browser, and of course the new HTC Sense. To many users, the bane of Android lies in customization from hardware vendors for many different reasons. However, I am a stalwart of the HTC Sense experience because it is a very professional customization that adds great differentiation to Android that’s needed.

A major difference when comparing Android to Windows Phone is the app experience. For many Windows Phone users, major apps on other platforms are not there. To the fervent Windows Phone user, the app problem isn’t a problem at all. What is the need of a fluid Facebook app or Instagram if there is a metro specific knock off? Coming from an app starved ecosystem to a larger ecosystem is like day and night to me. For once, I was able to search for an app one day and find exactly what I was looking for! The striking contrast between the two ecosystems made me realize that apps do matter. As much as some argue the importance of the app ecosystem, apps play a major role in defining the user experience whether we like it or not.

For once, I was able to search for an app and find exactly what I was looking for

As time passed with the HTC One S, I realized there were a lot of reasons why to like Android. However the unmistakable aspects that made an android an android were prevalent. To me, it was as if the year was 2007 and I was using Windows Mobile. Trusty? Sure. Slow? In many cases, it was painfully slow. At the time of using the htc one S, project butter was officially announced and I was very eager to test it in hopes of a smoother user experience. However the project was just focused on the nexus line of devices. Unfortunately I had to wait for a smoother and hopefully a lag free experience from an official source.

The wait for a lag free Android experience was complicated. Truthfully I could have flashed a custom rom immediately to test Project Butter. However I refrained from doing any custom rom unlocking for a variety of different reasons. I wanted to use the device in the eyes of an average consumer and not a power user. Such an experience in America meant being at the mercy of carriers hoping that the phone you just bought a few months ago was not discontinued and would be updated to the latest and greatest. Undoubtedly, my frustration grew for the general and somewhat bloated Android user experience. It reminded me that at a point in history, consumers were complacent on a slow user experience. Sadly, for the very good camera and svelte package, the lag and slow downs were insurmountable. The glitter and shine of the HTC One  S wore off and I felt jilted.

The love affair I had for the HTC One S was gone. Eventually, I found myself investing more time in finding an iPhone due to the increasing lag from Android as an operating system. From the context of the American consumer, I felt the iPhone may have offered a very easy set up while providing a very strong application ecosystem. For the minor faults I found with the htc one S in the camera department, the issues would be magically resolved if I switched to an iPhone and its “superior” smartphone experience. Or so I thought.

The love affair I had for the HTC One S was gone

Thinking back to the myriad of emotions waiting in anticipation of the HTC One S, the anticipation was absent for the iPhone. I had no emotional highs or fears when I received the iPhone 4s. In some respects, the apathy was due to the iPhone itself. In my eyes, the iPhone was a safe horse like vanilla ice cream. There wasn’t a huge change in hardware in spite of the touted retina display and the external design aesthetic announced to the world with the iPhone 4. Turning on the iPhone lacked oomph in comparison to the HTC One S. The general graphical user interface was drab and almost an old hat. What I saw was what I got – a grid of relatively static icons. In all fairness, the icons were pretty and photo realistic as the icons lacked any visible pixels thanks to the 326 ppi punch offered by the retina display.

Visually, in all of its faults, I suppose the vanilla ice cream that was the iPhone had its sprinkles which I slowly started to appreciate. One of the “sprinkles” was am extremely robust application ecosystem that even my new job supported. In addition to that, there was almost a sense of an in crowd like status when using an iPhone. For many (myself included), it felt as if I found myself at the considered king of the smartphone war – the iPhone. As expected, general use of the device wasn’t too bad. The performance was snappy in most applications and the general use experience wasn’t bad. The iPhone did what it was told. If I needed to use siri to get some directions, I could. If I needed to play chaos rings, I could. If I needed to check my mail, it could. And yet with the iPhone doing all of the tasks I threw at it, there was a problem. It wasn’t intuitive.

One thing I have to give android and Windows Phone an immense amount of credit for is its intuitive ability in the user interface. I didn’t have to drill into an application to get things done. The information was right in front of my face. The frequent tasks I performed could be saved and both operating systems took an extra intuitive step to plan aspects of the day around my previous patterns. I didn’t get that intuition with the IPhone and unfortunately it is a huge Achilles heel in the iPhone general design and user interface. To make things so painstakingly simple, as much as it makes life easier for the consumer, it also makes the general experience detrimental. Slowly, the vanilla ice cream that is the iPhone was extremely stale in comparison to even the HTC HD7.

Slowly, the vanilla ice cream that is the iPhone was extremely stale in comparison to even the HTC HD7

Subsequently, I found myself ditching the iPhone for a variety of reasons. The games and application selection were better than Android, however, I realized I missed some aspects of Android that made me want to go back to trying out different devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note, LG Nexus 4, and the HTC One X. Throughout the time of hopping back and forth between Android devices, it became apparently clear that manufacturers almost determine the experience you have on a phone. The customizations that the online community at large dislike allow for a different experience meeting various styles and methods. Frankly, I dance back between the HTC One X and the Galaxy Note II (depending on my eyes) in spite of the variance in user experience. Yet, throughout my phone switches, I never wanted to go back to a Windows Phone – not yet anyway.

The decision to stay away from Windows Phone during the time was one that seemed like the best choice given the circumstance. Months back, Microsoft evangelized Windows Phone 8 in bits and pieces and sadly, not enough intrigue was generated. My stalwart Windows Phone devices began to collect dust in waiting for the newest and greatest from Microsoft while the world of mobile technology continued to push the envelope. I began to realize that the several blogs and editorials of Microsoft being a day late and a dollar short were extremely accurate. And it was a sobering truth that I saw right before my very eyes and the breadth of experience I had with different mobile operating systems and devices.

Much to Microsoft’s credit, the company is placed in a difficult position. On the one hand, technology at large is moving in a pace that none of us predicted merely ten years ago. With Microsoft’s size, it is almost an expectation that Microsoft should be at the forefront of any technological advances due to its large user base and resources. Yet innovation seems to come later for Microsoft. Perhaps that “later” is to ensure that the experience is not bleeding edge and prone to bugs and issues through general use. Maybe Microsoft is using the tried and true method of frequent testing with quality assurance checks before ultimately releasing a product to the masses.

Much to Microsoft’s credit, the company is placed in a difficult position

Even after realizing Microsoft’s position of quality assurance and releasing a product that works well for the masses and not the geeks, I couldn’t help but be frustrated with the current Windows Phone. It always seemed like I had to wait for features that virtually every mobile phone platform (even J2ME phones) had for ages. Yet looking at Windows Phones, features were not there. To complicate issues, it seems that Microsoft’s main goal is to have a unique, yet unified software experience. Any fragmentation that is to be had is to be at the application and hardware level. Thinking of Microsoft Windows Phone in this case, I realized that Microsoft’s current stance on mobile, while stymied given the onslaught of Android devices, is good for the purposes of beta testing. Because let’s be real. Every now and again, we feel like we are beta testing Microsoft products versus actually having fun with them. And it was with that notion that I needed to be a beta tester for Microsoft again.

Much like Android, Microsoft had multiple Windows Phone 8 devices to drool over from a design perspective. The designs of the “flagship” Windows Phones were without question, the best I have seen. It isn’t because the devices added new hardware, but the devices looked different. Even for a moment, a person will glance at the unique exit of industrial color and design for colorful hardware. No matter which phone I chose, I knew it would run about the same in terms of general operating system function. However, the choice became which OS maximized my productivity and enhanced my love of the shutterbug. The choice came clear and I used the Nokia Lumia 920 as my first Windows Phone device.

Switching from devices ad nauseum was an old hat for me. And much like the iPhone, the Galaxy Note (both versions), and a myriad of other devices, I was somewhat apathetic when turning on the Lumia 920. While I returned to Windows Phone home, the newest iteration of hardware and software had to prove itself. Naturally, I expected features that I saw from Android and iOS ecosystems. To my dismay, core functions compared to the other big operating system players were woefully absent on Windows Phone. Lacking core features (like an easier and unified way to see notifications, deeper customization of my home screen, lacking a truly robust application ecosystem) were the object of extreme frustration leading to an even more difficult learning curve. I truly did take one step forward in interface design and took two steps back in several other ways. I was back in 2010 with a Windows Phone.

Microsoft had multiple Windows Phone 8 devices to drool over from a design perspective

Of course, this isn’t to say that there are several aspects of the Lumia 920 I did enjoy. Unlike the HTC 8x, I found that Nokia related exclusives did make a better experience in terms of the Windows Phone application ecosystem. For all its bulk the Lumia 920 had, I found it somewhat smaller compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note I/II and it began to fit like a glove. Much like the Dell Venue Pro of old, the Lumia 920 was a unique topic starter with many intrigued with how the device worked and how it cooperated with the new Windows 8 (more on that later).

Yet, I still found myself disappointed overall with the Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8. While there were several improvements, there are several missteps that make me wonder about the Lumia in general. There is no true competitive reason for the average consumer to really purchase a Windows Phone. Thinking back to a conversation I had years ago about Windows Phone, I regaled of tales of Windows Phone being the only device to pair with Xbox live games and have a truly superior Office Mobile experience. Unfortunately, both statements are not accurate. We are in 2013, and the Xbox Live still doesn’t have the robust compatibility with the Xbox. Microsoft Office on Windows Phone is only useful for 15 minute edits of an established document, but not clearly as robust as other mobile office applications seen on other platforms (or even Windows Mobile).

And yet, even more of an insult, is the lack of interconnectedness in terms of ecosystems. Why can’t a Wndows Phone communicate with a Windows 8 PC in terms of sending a text message via a tablet or a computer or even make phone calls? Why can’t Microsoft devices have the unique ability to continue playing a game on an Xbox 360 and a Windows Phone like the Wii-U? Where is the incentive with pushing the envelope in terms of giving Windows Phone features that the general population would love? Ultimately, why is Windows Phone a disappointment when compared to other platforms?

Much of my criticisms here are not too different. If anyone has read any of my twitter diatribes or peeked at a discussion I’ve had with other bloggers regarding Windows Phone, many would realize the disappointment I have with Windows Phone. And it isn’t because I hate Microsoft. It isn’t because I’ve been paid by Apple, HTC or insert OEM here. It is because I do like Microsoft. I actually like Microsoft a lot actually. And it honestly pains me as a user of Microsoft products to see Microsoft squander opportunities time after time when all Microsoft readers and users realize more can be done to make a compelling operating system with features no one else has. Yet, that hasn’t happened. Evolution has happened with Windows Phone, but not the revolution Microsoft sorely needs.

many would realize the disappointment I have with Windows Phone

The thoughts of how Microsoft’s questionable choices in the mobile arena biased my experience with the Lumia 920 in many ways. I felt that Windows Phone 8 was another opportunity for Microsoft to make a grand statement to its detractors that it is not only in it to win it, but has realistic steps to achieve that goal. Yet, even as the thoughts began to hit me as I used the Lumia 920, I had other thoughts too. The keyboard, while not the greatest, isn’t as awful as the stock Android keyboard and the interface is beautiful. I found myself inching close to the Lumia 920 more often than I realized. For all of the quirks, the missed opportunities, the Lumia 920 was not a bad device, but it wasn’t a fantastic device either. Still, I could see why zealots fight so hard for Windows Phone. Someone has to.

When my time ended with the Lumia 920, I began to recollect many of my experiences throughout the year. I realize that there are several key aspects to the needs of the average consumer and how that connects to the smartphone wars. I still wholly believe that this is a battle of converting dumb phone users who still have a huge following worldwide. Yet I also realize that smartphones are innovative in a variety of different ways. Depending on the first smartphone device a user owns, that choice can determine the purchase of future devices for a very long time. And rightfully so! American contracts are tied down to two years, and it is an ample time for a user to get an intimate feel of a device. Even devices they loathe. Consumers give a device a good fight if there is a reason to give one.

I also noticed that timing is key in whether an end user will enjoy their experience. Typically, I have found that understanding general operations of a smartphone can take between two weeks and a month. Most users who are accustomed to smartphones fall in the two week category for learning general smartphone operations while new users will take as much as two months to learn the general uses of their device. The time frame is critical to whether a smartphone will work or whether it will not work. In many ways, if a user finds features that connect to their personal, social, and professional lives, they will sacrifice battery life and even speed of device. As long as the device works for them.

Having a device that just works is an area where Microsoft has failed. And a lot. No one has to be reminded of Windows Mobile failure, but Microsoft has also failed in Windows Phone. By providing a stymied and inflexible platform for two years, Microsoft could not capitalize on creating a new base of users in large because it was such a drastic change from both Microsoft’s Windows operating system and from the flexibility of Windows Mobile. I fear that Microsoft is making a similar mistake (and has done so already in the American market). Microsoft needs features that don’t match the competition, Microsoft needs features that the competition wants to have.

I have found that in my time with several different mobile operating systems, there are several different key features that each platform can attest to having. The key features are aspects that should be touted because it does make a difference to the eyes of the average consumer. Frankly, I enjoyed the ability to theme to my heart’s content with Android and customize deficiencies in the operating system by just going to the Google Play store. I also loved the robust application selection in the Apple store and the photo performance of the iPhone. I loved the cohesion and elegant design of Modern UI and Windows Phone as well despite my contempt of Microsoft’s decision in mobility.

If there was any such a goal in writing my experiences, it is that the mobile climate changes constantly. While users cling to their preferred operating system by choice, the general belief that a competitor’s operating system is inferior with only limited use of the operating system. And I believe the fastidious clinging of such values gives rise to being a fanboy. In the greater scheme, fanboys do have their place. But isn’t it time to change that?

Why not get out of your comfort zone if you have the chance to do so? Not only does it enhance your general understanding of other mobile operating system, but it makes you more critical of your operating system. The ability to use different operating systems also makes you realize the needs of others in your daily life. You spend less time tearing down another operating system and staying informed to see how your operating system compares to the competition.

In this long year, I can say fully that I am no longer a Windows Phone fanboy. I am a smartphone user.

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Gaana.com Windows Phone app now availablehttp://www.wpsauce.com/2013/03/gaana-com-windows-phone-app.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/03/gaana-com-windows-phone-app.html#comments Tue, 19 Mar 2013 05:55:29 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4177 Quick heads up. It’s been a long wait but Gaana.com has finally released a Windows Phone app. Gaana.com is a good mix of Grooveshark like UI and Spotify like music subscription service (more details on upcoming premium service Gaana+ service here). Competitor services like Dhingana and Saavn don’t have a Windows Phone application as of now (however the services are offering their mobiles apps on iOS, Android and even the Nokia S40 devices – of course).

Gaana.com application was published live in the Windows Phone at Tech Ed 2013 in Bangalore today by Satyan Gajwani, CEO of Times Internet. The application is available for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 devices. Playlists, radio, favorites, proper Metro UI application – nothing to dislike about this application except one  tiny bit – live tile. Not a big fan of the logo either on the homescreen. I’d highly recommend you try it out.

The application is being currently indexed in the marketplace so hit this link and push the application to your device remotely to get the application immediately.

 

 

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[Editorial] Thoughts on Nokia’s mid range Windows Phone 8 device strategy and why it’s great for the companyhttp://www.wpsauce.com/2013/03/editorial-thoughts-nokias-mid-range-windows-phone-8-device-strategy-great-company.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/03/editorial-thoughts-nokias-mid-range-windows-phone-8-device-strategy-great-company.html#comments Tue, 05 Mar 2013 16:12:30 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4167 For the first time, I flew to Barcelona last month to attend the Mobile World Congress. I saw the Elop keynote live and got a hands on experience with the newly announced Lumia 720 and Lumia 520. We met people from Nokia who were in charge of creating the newly announced Lumia devices and we got a lot of insight on their thought process and their vision for future. From my experience at the congress and back here in India, I believe Nokia is doing a lot of things right in the mid range segment. In this editorial I have summed up my views on Nokia’s aggressive mid range strategy for Windows Phone 8, please note that I am referring to the Indian market mostly so there’s a huge possibility that your definition of mid and low range phone may differ from mine.

Tl;dr: Nokia has the best mid range line up in ages and if this doesn’t sell, nothing else will.

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At MWC, there were hoards of devices on display – mostly android. Even the mobile case company booths there rarely had any accessories for Windows Phone devices. There was no Windows Phone booth, shockingly. My favorite booth there was undoubtedly the Nokia booth – it felt like a party at all times. It still puzzles me why Microsoft became a platinum sponsor for the event but didn’t even care to put in one single booth. They could have given out goodies, had smoked by windows phone challenge but no – they didn’t bother. Oh well, you know I am not a big fan of whatever Microsoft is doing right now. So let’s avoid Microsoft in this piece and focus on what Nokia is doing.

After going through tons of devices and talking to mobile geeks and average consumer at the Congress, I personally sense a saturation point coming in at the higher end. What more can you add to a device? 100 unutilized core chipsets? Flexible 3D displays? Shape shifting structures? Unicorns? For me, the spec race, the processor race and the megapixel race that was once created by all the OEMs is slowly being rendered irrelevant. Let’s take a look at the HTC One launch, they created more jargons in one launch then they have sold HTC One + devices in India. Soon, the new iOS, Android KLP and next iteration of WP will be announced in the market and people will pick their ecosystem first and then devices. This is exactly why Microsoft needs to blow everyone away with it’s next iteration of WP. Even if Nokia builds the best phone in the world, it will get beaten by a device that’s inferior but runs Temple Run and Instagram.

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However there’s a different story in the low and mid range market. Most of the people who buy low – mid range phones don’t care about the specifications. They don’t care if their screen has a retina display or some fancy image technology or why Ultrapixels is better Megapixel. Good example would be the processor core race or even the RAM race in PC industry. There was a time when everybody rushed in to double the cores of their PCs, double their RAMs, not anymore. We have reached a saturation point – well not all of us need 16 GB RAM, do we? Just like 99.9% of the people don’t require a quad core mobile to play Angry Birds.  None of my friends know how many cores they have in their laptops these days. They just need a laptop that is durable, runs their applications and has proper support from the manufacturer. The spec race is going out of hands unfortunately, now there’s a screen size race going on but did you notice how most of the innovation takes place at high end? 45k Rupees is now slowly becoming a standard for high end phones in India. iPhone 5,  HTC One, new Blackberry Z10 – this is a 10k hike in what the high end standard was just a month ago. This space is accessible to a very few people – low and mid range is where OEMs capture market and dominate. So why don’t we see a lot of innovation in the mid range? Worth a thought.

Let’s take a look back at Lumia 510 and 610 launch. Both the devices were launched after the disappointing launch of flagship Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 (and of course, Lumia 900 which not more than 2 people bought in India). Lumia 800 was extremely costly when it first came out, Lumia 710 wasn’t even close to mid range at first. But the moment they dropped the price – 710 picked up. Nokia knew they needed something at low- mid range because that is where Nokia has ruled the market in the past. They had their core low end market covered with Asha but the mid range market was nonexistent. This gave birth to Windows Phone Tango. Microsoft changed it’s minimum requirement specs for Nokia and allowed low RAM running devices. Nokia released 610, followed by 510 and these devices eventually became the devices  that saved the company and showed some respectable sales number in their quarterly report sheets. There was no way Nokia could have survived with just high end phones because there was no proper ecosystem to back it up since even Windows Phone was at it’s infancy and majority wasn’t taking so much risk with their money.

Mid range devices are the most exciting segment right now. Unlike before, not only does one need a proper build quality at this price but now they need specifications to  back it up too. Lumia 510 and 610 looked decent but they were pretty much limited by their specs and the OS. The mid range consumer requires two major things:

1)      Applications like Facebook, WhatsApp, etc to just work flawlessly

2)      A good looking phone that lasts them long

Mid range device segment is ruled by students here in india. It’s perfect for them and their (or their parent’s) wallets.  They are connected online at all times – they are on social media channels all times, they need to send and receive mails, they need to play games, share files and that’s about it. Lumia 510, which I reviewed some time back, is one of the best mid range devices in the market today. Costing less than 10,000 rupees (some might put it in the low range phone category) and running WP7 which has most of the applications that an average consumer demands – it works great. However basic things like lack of proper Bluetooth support (Tango is still being rolled out unfortunately), low specs, no micro sd card support  – became a massive hurdle in its unimaginable potential success.

People who buy low-mid end devices tend to do a lot of research and get influenced by reviews and feedback from various commentaries on internet – blogs, social media, forums, etc and WP7 isn’t really popular among reviewers and forums, so people tend to see negative side of things more often than you see the positives. Couple this with the retail scene where the guy at the store will shove an Android into your face and tell people that “Windows  7 phone has virus, no Bluetooth and will never be updated” obviously it’s going to drift away any potential customers eventhough the Nokia products are far superior.

The most obvious way to combat the first gen problem: Make a device that get rids of all the complaints, push it out to the consumers and market it the way it’s meant to be. But that’s easier said than done. As I mentioned before, there’s very little  innovation (of any major significance) in the mid range segment. This is where Nokia is really stepping up their game. Even in the low end range, they are innovating with their new tech (SLAM – connects with the nearest device via Bluetooth – gives it an NFC like feel) and on the software front on mid range devices – Nokia Music, Nokia mapping suite, Nokia camera applications and lot more. On hardware front they are bringing in NFC, great design and colorful, good locking and well spec’d smartphones to an audience that has no option but the plastic phones running touchwiz – completely bland and boring. Nokia is finally bringing  a complete package to the market. They are filling a certain void, probably most of the consumers aren’t even aware of this void but as time passes it will be more obvious to a large audience. Nokia is putting in incredible amount of effort where other OEMs are just resizing and modifying their flagships to fit your pocket. Samsung and Nokia have different approach for this segment – Samsung floods market with similar looking devices while Nokia offers variety of devices. There’s no doubt Samsung is dominating but we know how mobile market works – the crown goes from head to head in matter of months.

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At MWC, I got a chance to get a hands on experience of both Lumia 520 and 720 and I have to say, I am extremely impressed. Especially Lumia 720 – it’s an incredible phone for it’s price point.

Lumia 520 : Lumia 520 is the successor to Lumia 510. It has 8 GB storage + micro SD support, 4 inch WVGA display, dual core Snapdragon processor, 512 MB RAM,  runs Windows Phone 8.  This phone will cost nearly the same as Lumia 510 (slightly higher would be my guess) but the specs alone speaks volumes. It is a true successor to Lumia 510 in every way. When WP8 specs came out, nobody thought that Nokia would actually bring such a device to such low price point and this is an incredible technical achievement. I don’t think any phone comes close to the package it offers – great looking device, nokia branded – durable, WP8 ecosystem, great specs and most importantly very affordable no compromise device.  They have absolutely nailed this device for it’s price point.

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Lumia 620: Won’t say much about Lumia 620, check out the reviews here.

Lumia 720 : 4.3 inch WVGA display, dual core snapdragon processor, Wireless charging support, same battery as Lumia 920, Car Zeiss optics, incredible wide lens FFC performance, unibody design, 512 MB Ram and runs on Windows Phone 8. It will be priced between Lumia 620 and Lumia 820. Lumia 720 has to be my favorite Lumia phone in the entire line up, it’s a perfect value for money device. Feels great in hand, amazing front facing camera improvements and a fantastic curved display (like the lumia 800).

What we should remember is that we can all sit here and discuss tiny little details about why Nokia is still going with dual cores and not quad cores and why there is no rotation lock on WP8 but most of the consumers don’t care – they just need a phone that is affordable and works. This is how Nokia phones used to be. Lumia WP7 mid range line up was all about compromises – both on hardware and on software. But they have learned from their mistakes and with Microsoft have created a compelling device that is going to make a mark in the markets with their Windows Phone 8 line up.

You don’t see a lot of device manufacturers innovating at low and mid range. If you go into the market, you’ll be flooded with cheap plastic-y devices running Android – there is no option and there is no effort to make something different since everyone wants an Android. However I feel there’s a change now, people are buying Lumia WP8 devices because they know that it works perfectly for their use case. Nokia is innovating at an incredible pace both on hardware and software front. The only thing stopping them to make a significant impact among the influencers and mid – high end folks is Microsoft’s pace of development and Nokia’s failure to drastically change the retail scene . There’s no doubt that Microsoft is slowing Nokia’s pace of development –  for eg there’s no camera UI to properly utilize the pureview glory and the most obvious one – slow iteration process that has made a lot of people, including me, very upset. The retail problem is something that even Nokia acknowledges and it’s been a problem with Windows Phone devices since day one but the situation is improving but I don’t see it drastically improve in the near future because this is something that takes extraordinary demand or marketing genius which Nokia hasn’t produced yet.

 

 

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Lumia 620 up for Preorder on Flipkart for Rupees 15199, available in second week of March in Indiahttp://www.wpsauce.com/2013/03/lumia-620-preorder-flipkart-rupees-15199-week-march-india.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/03/lumia-620-preorder-flipkart-rupees-15199-week-march-india.html#comments Fri, 01 Mar 2013 18:55:48 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4162 I just came back from Mobile World Congress and got my hands on recently announced Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 and I can tell you that Nokia has absolutely nailed their WP8 device lineup. Lumia 720 is probably my favorite of the lumia series. Coming first to the market however is Lumia 620 which is probably the best phone in the market right now at it’s price range and yes the pricing for pre order on Flipkart has finally been revealed.

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Lumia 620 is available for pre order at Rupees 15,199 and will be available in second week of March (which means really soon) in multiple colors. You also get a free 16 GB memory card for free on pre order (it supports upto 64 GB).

Lumia 620 has been available since last month in majority of the locations except India and as we previously reported - there was most certainly a delay in launch of these devices in India. However, Nokia seems to have locked in on the pricing finally and we will see these devices for selling under 15k Rupees at various retail stores really soon which undoubtedly is an incredibly interesting price point since the low – mid range handsets rule the Indian markets and this time around Nokia finally has something that is not only good looking but well built and has impressive specs. I personally know a lot of people who have been waiting for this device, so I am extremely optimistic of it’s success in this market.

The only thing that I could ask Nokia India to do is push this device more aggressively on digital and offline mediums than any other phone they have launched. I believe this is their most important phone launch in India since Lumia 510 and this could just be the phone that could change their fortunes in this market. A lot of marketing is what this phone requires and deserves. We’ll be reviewing this neat little device really soon and we will discuss about Nokia’s line up of low-mid range devices in upcoming posts. Stay tuned.

Source: Flipkart

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Unsurprisingly, Lumia 620 launch delayed in India to first week of Marchhttp://www.wpsauce.com/2013/02/unsurprisingly-lumia-620-launch-delayed-india-week-march.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/02/unsurprisingly-lumia-620-launch-delayed-india-week-march.html#comments Mon, 18 Feb 2013 11:23:47 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4156 Nokia India is at it again. First Lumia 920 and 820 launch delay and now the widely anticipated Lumia 620 launch has been delayed, according to Nokia spokersperson. Lumia 620 was supposed to launch in the first week of February for under 15,000 Rupees but now the launch has been delayed to the first week of March. Sources at  IBNLive suggests the pricing on the phone will be less than 20k rupees. There could be number of reasons for this price bump, one major reason being: Demand. Under 15k segment is a huge market and this is the first time in years that Nokia has such an incrediblly powerful phone at this price and the best part is that it’s running Windows Phone 8. The reviews of this phone are great and the early pricing indication by Nokia calling it a phone priced between Lumia 710 and 510 making it the most exciting phone in it’s range has naturally resulted in an incredible demand for this phone. This month, one of India’s largest mobile phone company Micromax released a powerful Android phone in same price range and shockingly – it is selling 25 units per minute. Just sit back and comprehend the whole situation. Not a very well established brand, like Nokia, Micromax is selling 25 units per minute of a phone running stock android Jellybean that has an iPS panel 5 inch display, quad core, etc. It’s high on power and it’s being sold like hotcakes – mobile making done right. If Nokia could sell as many Lumias as Micromax sold Canvas HD – it would be a huge boost to the company but it’s been delayed here in India for some reason.

Lumia 620 is a phone that deserves to sell well but how long can one wait for a Lumia 620 and not get excited by a phone that everyone else is buying? Nokia needs to launch 620 immediately and stick with it’s previous pricing if it wants Lumia 620 to succeed in India. I cannot stress enough how important 620 is for India. Just like Lumia 510/610 saved WP7 scene for Nokia – 620 can do it better and do it alone.

Just a quick heads as a lot of people are waiting for this device, will be interesting to see how many give up waiting for it.

via @vasudevg

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Why Windows Phone 8 is strictly mediocre and why Microsoft should be worried.http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/02/windows-phone-8-strictly-mediocre-microsoft-worried.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/02/windows-phone-8-strictly-mediocre-microsoft-worried.html#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 16:13:55 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4140 windows-phone-8-start

I have been on Windows Phone for nearly 2 years now. I still have my 2010 WP7 HTC Mozart. What brought me to this shiny new ecosystem was the UI – simple and fluid – it was clearly distinct and I made the switch from iOS and never looked back. However, I am starting to look more closely at  more than one ecosystem now  because WP8 isn’t even half as good as I’d expected it to be. Before you read this further – I want you to keep in mind that I am someone who uses this device at a level different from your average smartphone user so they probably don’t care about most of the annoyances. Personally, I have seen people who just need Facebook and WhatsApp and they are done with their smartphone decision. Yep, that wouldn’t be me - as a “hardcore” smartphone users – I need all the new apps, new features, timely updates, good support and the list goes on.

If we rewind the whole Windows Phone story to the early days, as someone who has been part of all updates from minor to major – I wanna take you through my experiences. Pre NoDo era was mostly fun and as far as I remember only Microsoft employees and handful of hardcore MS fanboys and Metro lovers actually bought the device. It was incredibly low on features (in fact it didn’t even have copy and paste and boy it was a hard decision justifying the update) but everyone was excited about a new operating system and then we had the NoDo update of course and the world moved on. What I think was the critical success point in whatever you make out of the Windows Phone 7 story was how Microsoft did the Mango update. Mango was why Windows Phone 7 caught the attention of the globe. It was absolutely a major update and that was the point where I knew this ecosystem will be here to stay. Everything was perfect – you had incredible Mango apps in work, SDK was ready and the best part? Developers got early access to the brand new Operating system and dev evangelism touched it’s peak, as we all know, post Mango. Then of course, we had Tango and then finally Windows Phone 8 announcement. Windows Phone 8 announcement was incredibly exciting since we knew how the current OS experience was restricted by hardware and hardware by the kernel so WP8 was the right thing to do. However, expectations were high since Google and Apple were iterating very quickly and Microsoft had a huge task of kernel shift and new SDK and a lot of incredibly important things. WP8 launch was pretty bad from developer point of view, only few developers actually got the SDK before launch and we had a lot of broken promises (like the so called “enthusiast program”).

I am going to illustrate a few problems I have with the current version of Windows Phone 8 and  right below and remember this coming up from someone who has used WP consistently and extensively for nearly 2 years:

  • Lack of Notification Center: I remember during Mango release, I was constantly on twitter chatting with MS devs and asking them for a notification center and they gave the standard reply that you will still get if you ask the Redmond folks “Live tile IS the notification center – you get all the updates and information / notification on your homescreen”. Fair enough but am I supposed to sit blankly at the screen every second of the day or wait 30 minutes for a tile to be updated or better yet wait for a push notification to come and decide to pick between a sip of coffee or clicking on the notification before it goes to a never to be discovered black hole? The answer is simple: Get us a notification center immediately. This is 2013 and the supposed no.3 mobile ecosystem doesn’t have a notification center boggles me and there are reports suggesting that Microsoft is working on one so hopefully we’ll see it soon. What is intriguing to me is how Microsoft will bring notification center into the UX. Right now, w/o the notification center – just like wp7 – I am not paying for push notification applications and my WhatsApp and Facebook application becomes useless when I get a lot of notifications so it’s kinda pointless to have at this moment. What about apps not pinned on screen? What about notifications for those apps? Yeah, no two thoughts on need of Notification Center hopefully.
  • Me Tile: Me Tile was probably last updated when Windows 95 was released. Not really but I don’t even understand why there’s this amazing utility is sitting on my homescreen  that I use all the time isn’t being updated to it’s full potential. I am a heavy twitter user and there’s no auto “Reply to all” for tweets (this should be by default btw and would be done in matter of minutes but who cares, right?) which means I have to go to a twitter client and do it. This destroys the purpose of the Me tile twitter integration mechanism. Another thing that I would love is auto complete and of course, a favorite button on the application which is probably the least time consuming task and if you think it doesn’t matter – then let me tell you, it’s the small things that matter and this statement will become even more important when Google and Apple release their new OS this year. There’s no escape but to make both large level and small level changes. Second problem with Me tile is the lack of friend tagging during check in. So basic but not implemented. I have to open the Facebook app for it which is great but then again – half baked and mostly useless. I know Me tile is for glancing at notifications but it should do more than just that. It has incredible potential, it’s fast and I would love to see MS upgrade it in next version.
  • The upgrade:- So I upgraded from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 last week and the upgrade was pretty good as expected but there was one critical problem : my installed apps. Just like every other OS all your app purchases and installed apps are linked to your account so when you switch devices you can fetch your applications and use on your new device – as simple as that. Windows Phone does that too but with a little twist that made me give up using this feature. WP8 doesn’t allow you (still) to download and install all the applications at once so instead you have to go to every single one of them and click on the download button on the website. Extremely frustrating and I didn’t bother with it after some time. This needs to be fixed.
  • The elusive search button: Okay, this is where my fellow rabid MS and WP fanboys are going to rip me apart but let me be honest about it. Bing sucks. It’s decent for media queries but it’s just bad when compared to Google results. Microsoft should offer a choice to bind search key to a search engine of user’s choice. I know it’s a bad Bing business decision but I am confident it will be a great decision from consumer point of view and consequently for WP. Search button could be a bit more useful, it’s a big darn button on your phone, right? I know some of you have been asking for it since ages but a lot of people apparently like Bing so giving users an option shouldn’t be a bad thing. Search button can also be used for universal search (long press search button for universal search?)  which is another BIG feature missing from Windows Phone 8.
  • Lack of volume profiles: Lack of independent tone selection for stuff like calls, messages and Bluetooth headsets and lack of volume/sound profiles just boggles my mind. I remember using them in good old Symbian phones but I don’t understand what’s stopping Microsoft from doing it. The fact that we don’t have custom tone options for contacts is just infuriating. This reminds me of one thing that annoys me everyday – I have vibrate ON in settings along with a ringtone most of the time, now when I am in a class or at a meeting – I need to make it silent and WP8 offers a silent mode but it still has vibration and now you need to switch vibrate off and switch it ON again when you need it. Minor annoyance I know but sometimes you need a bit of peace of mind.
  • The pseudo Windows 8 -  Windows Phone 8 relationship: When WP8 was coming out, we were excited about all the amazing possibilities of synchronization among the two platforms. Now that both platforms are out and available for months – I think W8 has done an incredible job at gestures and WP8 has done nothing to improve WP7 gestures. I love the app closing gesture on W8 and would love to see it on WP8 but most importantly, what I’d like Microsoft to do is to implement the app switching gesture on Windows 8 to WP8 (left to right swipe from edge to switch between apps) – this is very cool and incredible easy to do (Ubuntu OS even has it!). A Charms bar would be a hard to do WP8 considering screen size but app switching and closing gesture would make the experience consistent and it would be refreshing for the consumers. What’s also funny is that there’s no sync between IE10 desktop and IE10 mobile – not even a “open in IE10 mobile” option in IE10. This is incredibly useful but Microsoft isn’t too bothered with it. There are so many possibilities of sync with W8 – control music and movie apps natively and lots more – but I don’t see MS doing anything about it. A broken promise, IMO. Lack of WinJS on WP8 SDK bothers me way more than I can explain it to you.
  • Rotation lock – Why, Microsoft. WHY. How long do we have to wait for this? What’s stopping Microsoft from adding rotation lock  to Windows Phone? They did succumb to pressure of screenshot but not rotation lock which is something that users expect to be there when they pick up a smartphone. Ridiculous to expect all developers to implement rotation lock on their app.
  • Fix Multi tasking: A simple suggestion: Don’t make developers write extra line of code for fast app resume, just bundle the code when the dev compiles it. Every single wp8 app should have it. Makes the OS feel inconsistent.
  • Store – WP8 store is great but right now I don’t know which apps are WP7 and Wp8 apps unless I open them. There should be a dedicated WP8 only marketplace category and that should NOT be hard to add for Microsoft. It will make the experience for new users a lot better.
  • Always visible status bar – This annoys me because this isn’t something Microsoft is responsible for completely, majority of the developers choose to remove it and you have to get out of the app to check date, time and battery. So instead of giving options to developers – just remove the option and make it visible at all times. Better  – make it visible and tap to hide instead of tap to show. Don’t see how current way of showing it works for anyone.
  • Gapless Audio playback – I don’t think I need to explain this. Just do it, Microsoft.
  • FM radio – I live in a third world country and we are definitely NOT in the kind of place where everyone can afford to stream their music online for a monthly fees with their 3G networks on all the time. No. I do not know what prompted Microsoft to FM radio but whatever did is absolutely the worst possible idea. What do you listen to in case of emergency? Xbox music?
  • Make features available to wider audience – There’s something called Xbox Music on my Windows Phone – fancy, right? Wrong. Xbox Music doesn’t work in India and many other countries and it’s been 3 months since launch and there’s no launch in site. Same thing happened with the Bing audio detection feature in Windows Phone 7. Xbox Music is extremely important, especially for HTC and Samsung users who not only are excluded from Nokia Music access but they also do not have services like Spotify on Windows Phone 8.
  • Making a call is still time consuming:   Just make “RapDialer” the default  application experience on Windows Phone 8. I know MS hasn’t prioritized a lot of things so just buy the company / dev team who made it and make it default. Not asking too much now, am I?
  • Fix the calendar: Not exactly sure what changes Microsoft has made to WP8 calendar coming from WP7 but I don’t see any. There’s still no weekly view! One thing I do not understand is why I cannot see more than one event/appointment on the wide tile. It’s a wide tile now, show us more information!
  • Settings page: If somebody can explain to me the logic behind the ordering of the items in settings page, a free WP goodie for you. I am serious. Make it alphabetical or rearrange it dynamically based on usage pattern. Right now, important stuff are at bottom and everything is mixed up.
  • Lose the password on Kids Corner: I love the concept of Kids Corner (corrected!)  but I hate the name. I’d love a Guest Corner instead – A Kids Corner without a password. The password defeats the purpose of a separate homescreen.
  • Homescreen sync/backup: Creating a perfect homescreen is an art, isn’t it? I am spending a lot of time tweaking my homescreen on both wp8 and w8 and would appreciate a homescreen synchronization between multiple devices or backup of your homscreen so you can switch between different layouts immediately.
  • Select All – There’s no way to select all messages ( I stand corrected, thank you noroom – pretty crazy how I didn’t see this one – was expecting select all on the app bar icon) and emails and delete them at once and this is something that is so basic it’s hard to comprehend why it’s still not there. It’s there for music and they just need to do a tiny bit of work to add it to application bar, simple – right? It’s already there for music so don’t see why it isn’t in email and messages.
  • Revamp Podcast support in Windows Phone 8: Bundle “PODCASTS!” app with all Windows Phone 8 devices or make a similar app. That is how you make Podcasting work.
  • IE10: IE10 is amazing. I use it a lot on desktop and loving the performance on Windows Phone 8 so far. However, the UI isn’t good enough. There’s no forward button on IE10 and no speed dial like feature which every single browser has it now and even Opera Mini had it for years now. This reminds me of a simple request : Open marketplace to more browsers Microsoft - help Opera develop Mini for Windows Phone 8.
  • Allow apps and attachments to be installed on SD Card: My friend bought a HTC 8S recently and he is genuinely frustrated. Games + apps + map data and less than 3GB of usable space – you are in for trouble and I can see Nokia doing a 4GB phone soon and it would suck to see 510 issue (it didn’t even have SD card support to make matters worse)  happening all over again.
  • A better Zune alternative: I am using the Windows Phone App Preview 3 right now to sync playlists and yes I know it’s a preview build but it’s extremely basic. Had issues syncing playlists multiple times but it went through in the end. If you want to just transfer stuff – just use the good old file system method – this app experience is not good enough. Another issue which puzzled me was the lack of Xbox Music playlist sync ability. I have been told Xbox music playlists are synced to cloud and they automatically appear in the app on your phone (it didn’t work for me but it did for many) but it still streams your stuff via whatever connection you are on – it doesn’t download em all at once immediately which is puzzling but not surprising, if you went through the whole upgrade process from wp7 to wp8.
  • VPN: Businesses need VPN. You cannot call it an enterprise smartphone without VPN support.
  • Remember Xbox Live?:  When Windows Phone came out, I was personally very excited about the potential future of XBL on WP and future iterations. When WP8 came out, I was even more excited. Now the devices have power and potential via the software for some cross platform action – where are the games taking advantage of it? Why isn’t MS flooding marketplace with XBL games? I remember seeing more XBL games during mango launch than I remember post WP8 launch. MS needs to realize Xbox is BIG and they cannot just take a break and stop releasing games. Now if Quad Core WP8 devices rumored this year, I am sincerely hoping for cross platform action.

 

..and that’s about it. These are the major and few minor (not all of them are listed here) features that have troubled me for a long time now. Honestly speaking, Upgrading from WP7 to WP8 felt like a minor upgrade. I am sure this WP8 will be amazing for someone who is fascinated by the UI and simplicity or is buying a smart phone for the first time but iOS and Android hardcore users who are addicted to applications and features / customization (droid) aren’t going to be too happy with it. Windows Phone 8 is a neat little Operating System but not even close to what I had in mind for WP8. Probably I set my expectations too high or MS didn’t deliver what we asked for.

Windows Phone 8 launch has been very good in nearly every single place. One big reason is Nokia. Their Lumia 920 has caught everyone’s eye and the only thing that bothers people about the device (no, not the weight..) is the Operating System. This is something I have observed from a lot of reviews. However, Windows Phone 8 seems perfect for most usecases. I do not disagree with that and probably most of the people don’t even care with my list. They have very limited uses with their phones, why would they want a Notification center? What for? Valid questions but we are looking at a bigger picture here. Sailfish, Ubuntu, Tizen and Blackberry 10 are few Operating Systems that are going to come really hard to Windows Phone very very soon. iOS and Android are going to get a major update. Imagine if Ive’s next iOS is just as “magical” as his devices are, iOS is going to take another leap and I have no doubt in my mind that Google will continue their success on the next version of Android. No.1 and 2 are realistically impossible for WP to get to at this point, this year atleast, but what about number 3? I think Microsoft is happy with number 3. They aren’t iterating quickly. WP8 was launched in October and we still have no signs of any major update – too much to ask for new updates in  3 months? I don’t think so. Microsoft needs to be on cutting edge of things if they want to jump to the top of  the podium. Now with increasing competition from OSs mentioned above – thing are looking tough for Windows Phone in my opinion. That number 3 spot is a scary place to be. The application story hasn’t changed much. Still a lot of top publishers chose to ignore WP8 just like WP7 eventhough WP8 is selling way better than WP7. What could be the reason? Why isn’t there a Spotify, Path, Flipboard, Instagram, Vine, Temple Run, Twitch, etc on Windows Phone 8? Surely Microsoft has the power and money to convince the developers but even then developers aren’t bothered. This is a shocking state of affairs and something I am used to now on Windows Phone, sadly. We have some absolutely fantastic third party apps like Baconit, Metrotube, Mehdoh, Weatherflow, 4th and Mayor, etc. We need more of these – what’s the killer WP8 app? I don’t think there is one. Microsoft should be worried. Belfiore needs to come out on February 25th with Stephen Elop and tell us about he future roadmap of windows phone 8 at MWC on February 25th this month. Microsoft needs to push the boundaries here. They have a great product. Great OEM products. Everything is set. Now they need to get in all the needs and demands of current users and then match up with future OS updates or better yet, innovate and get 2 steps ahead of other operating systems. The future for Windows Phone is great if Microsoft takes a bit more effort to communicate on the demands and needs of users and convert that demands and needs into a final consumer feature quickly. Windows Phone 8.5, I am counting on you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to watch Twitch.tv streams on Windows Phonehttp://www.wpsauce.com/2013/01/watch-twitch-tv-streams-windows-phone.html http://www.wpsauce.com/2013/01/watch-twitch-tv-streams-windows-phone.html#comments Sat, 19 Jan 2013 18:30:47 +0000 http://www.wpsauce.com/?p=4131 Not only do I love gaming but I also love watching other people play live. Twitch.tv is my go to website for game related live stream – fantastic community – excellent streams and most importantly, it’s free. There’s one big problem though, Twitch.tv offers video streams in flash so there’s no way to watch the stream on mobile unless there’s a mobile application for it. Unfortunately for the users, Twitch doesn’t really care about Twitch app for Windows Phone. I sort of got tired of waiting for one and then finally gave up hope altogether.

Yesterday, I found this amazing application called FlashVide​o+TubeMusi​c, which added Twitch.tv stream support very recently. What it will do is scan the webpage and stream the video directly to your device. It works incredibly well and I recommend you buy this application for the amazing number of websites it supports besides Twitch. There’s one problem though, there’s no comment with video which I’d love to see but then again, I don’t think it’s possible to do that for third party developer. Hit the download link below for some Twitch.tv love because I don’t see it coming for WP8 anytime soon.

 

 FlashVide​o+TubeMusi​c for Windows Phone download link

 

Quick tip for the interested folks. More WP8 tips coming really soon, I finally have a Windows Phone 8 unit :)

p.s – it’s the HTC 8X

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