A little more than a year ago, and a few days after picking up my first Windows Phone device, I published this article noting some features that I was already missing from Windows Mobile. With the anniversary of the US WP Launch quickly approaching, thought it would be a good time to review my punch list.

In no particular order:

Battery (percentage) Icon – Still waiting for this one, but at least the battery saver feature implemented with Mango makes it manageable. Although, having to navigate to Settings>System>Battery Saver to find the actual remaining battery percentage is no fun. Will call this one a draw.

Voice Commands – While TellMe and Bing Search made some big advances with WP, still missing simple commands like, ‘what’s my battery level” (see above), that btw were present in Windows Mobile. With the introduction of iOS5 and Siri, maybe we will finally get back what we lost, and a whole bunch more. Lose (for now), MS.

People Search – Assume this was one of the 500 new Mango features, but now I can type in the first couple letters of a company name, and choices for that name (and others) will be presented to me. Not so with the initial release. Thank you. Win, MS.

Character Count – I flubbed this one when i ass-u-me ed that character count was no longer present in WP. But those sly foxes at Microsoft suppress the count indicator till you get somewhere around 130+ characters. Nice. Win, MS

Monthly Calendar – Still don’t understand why anything shows on the calendar if you can’t zoom in, or read it. Glad I don’t use the calendar much. Then again, not as if Microsoft ever did anything stellar with their mobile calendar apps. Lose, MS. 

Where Oh Where Did All My Tasks Go – Microsoft gave this one a go by integrating Windows Live/Exchange ToDo’s with Mango, but without any reminder function or a way to display a ToDo on the Start screen. Well, that simple doesn’t work. Fortunately Mango also brought enhanced Live Tiles, and a third party app to bail out Microsoft. Clever To Do does what a task app should do, and more. Win (with help), Microsoft.

Picture Info – Still no way to find out anything about a photo (name, size, pixel density, date taken, resolution) from within the OS, but plenty of third party apps that came along to fill the void. The best of the bunch is Photo Info, by Cybermaak (0.99). It will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about any photo as well as pinpoint where the photo was shot. So another bailout. Win, Microsoft.

ScreenShot – A low priority for Microsoft, but important for people who try to review apps, I was really missing this feature. Had a short reprieve with a Homebrew app that kinda worked, but got deleted when I installed the Mango beta. Then the just yesterday, another Homebrew app that plays nicely with Mango came along. Finally. Thank the “Community” for this one Microsoft. Win, MS.

Got Help? – Not sure how relevant this is today, but a year ago when everyone (including me) was popping the most basic of questions, seemed like some kind of FAQ resident on the device, or linked to a site, would have been a good idea. The Microsoft Insider app is a good start, but with a fair number of new WP users expected to be new Smartphone users, some hand holding might not be a bad idea. Going to call this one a draw while I rethink it.

Not sure how I missed things like custom ringtones and cut and paste on this initial list (think there was already a rumor it was coming very soon, sort of). And issues like searching apps (dang, that list got long) or the way Live Tiles worked, or didn’t, would not come about for another couple of months.

So how did Microsoft do. Win-5, Lose-2, Draw-2. Not too shabby for the first year, but still plenty of work left to do. Time to get started on on new list. Still waiting for features? Discuss.


  1. You can’t go wrong with windows phone…
    Live tiles,metro apps,Xbox live,deep integration,SkyDrive,stable,smooth is,timely updates,simple,intuitive,Zune,36k apps in a year… Only with Windows phone..the future of windows pone is so bright.. Skype built in… What else u need??? MSFT tell me! Will match Siri… Jump in????!!!

  2. Pin Settings to your home to save a step?

    Yeah…I don’t use the monthly calendar. I stick with the agenda view.

    Hmm. I should go check out Clever To Do.

    I have to say that a year in, I’m very happy with WP. And hubby’s a convert. Now if I can just get the rest of the family onboard… :D

  3. I always use the monthly calendar to quickly jump to dates and add events. If there are existing events on the day itself, you can see there are some written words. Click to jump in for more information. Seems pretty clean and well implemented for me.
    I guess the only missing thing would be a week view. That will fit in nicely.

  4. Ed: Agreed
    Marti: Settings is on my Start screen, but at the bottom of my 48 tiles, so lots of thumb exercise to get there.
    Ben: Got it. But it still bothers me that I have to go to another screen to see if I have one or two events on the same day. Maybe a date could enlarge with a short tap to show you details, another tap would reduce it again. Tap and hold would take you to day view, for editing, adding or whatever.

  5. The os? not much, but we need more Apps I just Got the iphone 4s for my sis and it has apps that I want like hulu plus, dev wont make apps for Wp7 because there arent a lot of people using it, but its hard to tell people to get wp7 when its missing certain apps that I know they use/want that wp7 doesnt have

  6. Not so sure I want to be talking to my phone for commands. Seems silly in public, at the office or even in the car if someone is with me. Voice commands definately not on my must have list.

  7. I don’t get the mothly calendar point..

    You can “zoom”, just tap the day you want to view. those ineligible pixels are there just so that you can see, at a glance, are there any appointments or not. which is nice.

  8. What do you mean about the to-dos not having a reminder function? They do and they also show-up on the start sceen calendar tile if you set a deadline.
    You can also (since day 1) have a to-do list in a oneNote tile pinned to your screen.

  9. NLM: Agreed, that voice to a degree, is a novelty. But there are some practical uses, like setting a reminder while on the move for example. Still don’t understand why Microsoft removed some functionality with WP. Sort of like one step forward, one step back.
    Markiz: I hear ya. Still seems odd that I have to open another screen to view the contents of something. Maybe colored squares, to match my calendar colors, telling me what kind of appointments I have that day. A green one. Ah, that’s just a holiday notice. But pink, that is a birthday. Just seems like the get in, get out and on with your life is off a bit with the calendar.
    Thommck: Didn’t know that. Thought I tried it with Mango beta and got no love, but I will give it another try today. And while I use One Note extensively, its not really an ideal task list, with start/due dates, reminders, past due reminders and repetitive tasks. But ok I you are managing a simple project.

  10. I COMPLETELY agree with the desire to be able to pinch and zoom on the Calendar. I live’n’die by that calendar and would LOVE to be able to naturally just zoom and flick around in there!

    Yes, I CAN touch/click a date, but more often than not, I’m doing a “fuzzy” day search…”hhhmmm I want a wing night with da boyz, should we go Thurs, Fri or Sat? what do I have sched those nights?” Things like that are only natural with pinch’n’zoom capabilities. Clicking on one day, navigate to that day, look around, back button, find the next day, click into it, rinse and repeat? No, I don’t bother anymore, I wait until I get to Outlook on a 21″ LCD (NOT nice IMHO!).

  11. I think features geared towards someone who uses Outlook to it’s fullest and has for a long time, are vital to a Microsoft device, and could give it an advantage over the competition. Thank you for pointing out that company names are now included in the search of letters as you type them, but c’mon why do we still not have the option of Contacts organized by Company? And what about Categories? I like to color code certain things by category in Outlook, why can’t I see it this way on my phone’s calendar? And still no way to change the default 15 minute reminder for new calendar appointments??

    So many people use Windows and Outlook at work every day, Microsoft is really missing the boat by not better bridging that gap to Windows Phone and offering something their competition can’t.

  12. Ok Thommck, gave the ToDo a try. First off, ToDos are not available through the Windows Live desktop application. so you need to open the web app to create a new ToDo. Not a biggie as I create and update all my Tasks/ToDos on my phone. But no ToDo view on my Start or Lock screen. Maybe that’s because Windows Phone only shows the next event and I happen to have a meeting (appointment) set for tomorrow. So the only way I know if I have tasks due, as in more than one, is to open the Calendar and check Agenda view, or set alarms for every ToDo. While I am glad that ToDo’s have more functionality than I was aware of, think I will be sticking with Clever To Do.

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