Me TileIf you have a Windows Phone undoubtedly you’ve heard that ding – there’s a new notification. Could be a text or it could be a notification. You get to your phone and just as you get close the backlight turns off so you turn it on and there’s no indication that anything happened. So now you know you just received a toast notification (you know, one of those guys that comes across the top) but once it goes away it’s gone…like gone. Could have been a number of apps that did it. Which one was it? Mystery meat…Maybe you just missed a notification about a Pageonce payment or maybe it was your invite to play Wheel of Wealth. Wrong – it was your turn to yell at flipping tiles and tell them to go flip themselves.

Windows Phones need a way to store your notification and make it simple and graphical. The other operating systems opt for a drop down method that you can swipe to view them. Microsoft has already shifted the use of the ‘Me’ tile (and Me card) as the place where notifications go but now those notifications are limited to Windows Live, Twitter and Facebook but not applications.  If I had to guess, I’d bet that toast notifications find their way there and unread notifications would be visible on the home screen just like the People tiles, but with apps (well look at the poorly done mockup to see what I’m talking about) and then one tap of the Me tile and notifications galore, which launches the app. And yes, these notifications also need to be present on the lock screen and if you want to use a simple graphical system like emails, texts and calls ahs now (so just drop the apps icon on the lock screen or something) that’s fine. I’m at the point at not asking for perfection since now I have nothing and something is better.

Now I don’t care if it gets done this way or another way but one thing is for certain – we need a solution and we need it asap because for all the niceties that the notifications bring to Windows Phones this is a huge Achilles heel.


  1. Maybe create a Toast / Notification tile altogether, when pressed it takes you to a similar notifications page like in our me tile. Each app will be listed that has a toast that went unaddressed.

  2. Thanks, I needed that article.
    Android gives a notification, holds it in the Notification bar. But no message light to blink, and it does not remind you there is a notification, like a text message, and I go home without picking up milk like she asked me to.
    I installed an app SMS Reminder, that will repeat a notification tone at an interval I set.
    The app is no longer in the market, so I sideload is from the developer web page.

  3. Something, anything would be better than what we have today. Mini-icons on the Lock Screen would be nice, but they could easily get washed out with user selected wallpaper. Don’t think I need to see the notification there. Just need a way to retrieve them after they dissapear from the screen.

    And I also don’t want to manage them, saving or selecting each to delete. Give me a way to see unread notifications (meaning I did not tap the screen when they first appeared) in timestamp order on a single page. Once I close the page, poof they are all gone. Don’t really care if the page is a pull down, swipe right on the Start Screen or something integrated into the Me tile.

  4. I like the idea of a notifications hub! You could pin it to your start screen or not. But start it and see what you have missed. Tapping on a notification would take you to the correct app.

    And while they are at it, I hope that they quickly get to the point where we can tap and hold an email and post it as a meeting or task.

  5. We had these capabilities a decade ago on Windows Mobile – Android ripped them off, not the other way around.
    I agree, the ephemeral nature of Toast Notifications is a weak point that needs addressing asap.
    As regards the use of flashing multicolor LEDs, again, these reached their zenith with WinMo. At one point I could tell who had sent me an email by the sequence of the color flashes. Very cool indeed. But these LED notification schemes went the way of the DoDo for tao reasons. The first was that originally the LEDs were in the phone to alert you that you were roaming. In the bad old days it was possible to walk around a city on foot for an hour and pass in and out of coverage from your Carrier several times. With roaming fees over a $/minute it was important to know whether you were roaming at all times. The second was very simply that the notification LEDs consume a lot of power. There was an excellent article on thus about 4 years ago that pointed out that if you had a good GSM connection but were not on a call the Notification LED was the #1 or 2 drain on the battery! Nowadays there are probably data connections that would be more power-hogging, but it seems like every Smartphone OS except WinPhone is being criticized for poor battery life, don’t look for the introduction of another power-hungry piece of hardware anytime soon. :-)

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