There’s a lot of noise over use of Windows Phones in corporate environments. That’s not what this is about though. Where I work we have lax corporate policies regarding our mobile devices and I don’t have any issues connecting and syncing through our exchange server. What I have more of a problem with are the simple things that I can’t do on my Windows Phone that make doing basic business tasks a chore, if not impossible. Let’s get to it:

  • There’s a default font for email. You can’t change that. So if I’m out of the office and sending an email from my phone it’s obvious since the font is something like Curly Cue 12
  • If I want to forward an email it’s an all or nothing affair. I can’t edit that email. If you’ve ever had a chain of emails you know how often you want to redact a few lines before circulating it. No deal without a copy and paste job to try to get around it.
  • You can’t email Adobes. OK you can forward an email with an Adobe attached to it but you can’t ‘reply all’ and attach an Adobe saved on your phone and you can’t start a new email and attach a locally saved Adobe. This hits a wall with the inability to alter text within emails as I just noted.
  • Attachments are a mess in general. The same ‘Adobe’ issue is present in Office files. If I want to attach a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file I can’t ‘reply all’ and attach it. If you hit the ‘attach’ button that means you’re sending a picture. The only option is to start a fresh email but you need to go into the Office hub and start with the file and share it from there. So you can’t attach two office files and you can’t just reply to a chain of emails so if there was a chain you need to copy the recipients, go to the Office hub and then start from there. It’s very unnecessary, messy and often insufficient
  • Want to jump onto your VPN and grab a file to view or email around? Yeah not happening. There are some apps that let you remote desktop but that’s not an ideal solution. VPN should be standard
  • This is only slightly on point but if you’re on a call and an email comes in, you get those three ‘dings’ with the third being the loudest and most annoying. Really, I’m trying to talk on the phone – no need to make me take my ear off the phone because an obnoxious incoming emails sound is constantly pinging me, a few seconds for each email
  • The inability to forward contact information or open and save vcards. We now have some third party apps to send contact information but this has to be native

Now these are all simple things and mostly revolve around attachments. When you hit that paperclip icon I still think you should then get a set of icons that indicate if you want to attach a photo, Office file, Adobe, video, etc. I get that pictures are the most used, but they are treated like they are the only thing you attach to emails.

I mean nothing will ever be perfect and we all have our own preferences. I tried to keep those out, like I never use ‘urgent’ since that’s set by the sender, not me and it’s always some jerk who thinks they’re important. But did I miss anything? Am I overplaying the issue? For me, these little nits add up and I really wish small teaks were made to address them sooner rather than later.

10 COMMENTS

  1. All good points. Especially one about pdf.
    As a student whose professors seem to be obsessed with pfd, i started thinking: why is a pdf reader not included in office suite? If it were, i’m sure working with them on wp would be at least a bit easier.

    Also, is there an alternative pdf reader for wp? one that would allow something like dropbox browsing if not skydrive?

  2. I think the email is just fine.. It,s a mobile email… Just use it as is… If u want to go all crazy and change formatting and add attachments, just go to a computer…

  3. It would be nice to have the ability to add attachments, meaning more than one, to a new or existing email. Hell, half the reason we have access to Office documents is to forward them in messages, not to read or edit them. At least that’s the case for me. Back in the WinMo days, it was painful to wait for mail to search your entire storage area for available attachments. But now that Office and TXT files are all located in one place, it should be a breeze to link to them.

    The current Adobe Reader is “less” functional than the reader we had with WinMo. That could use a refresh, along with providing the ability to attach PDF files. As noted, little nag issues but they do add up. I would add the inability to forward a contact card to your list.

  4. My two biggest problem with attachments is around inline attachments – where someone inserted a file into the e-mail itself – and attachments on meeting requests.
    With the inline attachment, the paper clip shows up in the Inbox to indicate that there’s an attached file, but there’s no way to actually access it.
    And if someone attached a file to a meeting request, the attachment isn’t accessible from the Calendar.
    Speaking of meeting requests, am I blind or is there no way to select “Remove from Calendar” when someone sends a meeting cancellation? The meeting will update to show as cancelled on the Calendar once the cancellation comes in, but, unless I go in and manually remove the meeting, I’ll still get a reminder for it.
    And reminders…I only want one. I hate getting a second reminder at the scheduled time.

  5. I agree all of these issues should be addressed. I have 6 votes left on the customer feedback site.

  6. @jimski: oh contact info. I forgot about that and just updated it.
    @Jon: With you on the reminders…I think the first reminder is ‘dismissed’ and all you did was dismiss the reminder, not the appointment itself so it comes back.

  7. This isn’t a business issue as such, but it is an pain… The alerts being either on or off, and not being able to set a schedule is a huge pain. During a work day I get hundreds of emails, come the evening and weekends I only get a handfull and many are important and need a response, but I don’t get alerts for them unless I am constantly changing the settings. Now I am checking my phone constantly – wasn’t WP meant to break that habit…

  8. My (now shorter) list:

    easier vibrate toggle
    smart dialing
    file manager
    battery meter as %
    take screenshots natively
    Remove default calendar reminder
    sync podcast playback data between Zune and phone
    MS Points for app purchases
    owner info on lock screen
    sound/sync profiles

  9. @Patrick Kortendick: damn 100% on smart dialing
    I would love the lockscreen to give more info too – like if I have 3 emails maybe show the name of the sender and subject line or something…
    but not a deal killer. Not being able to attach an Adobe- that’s big to me. I use Adobes a lot and I can’t circulate them from my phone.

  10. DavidK: on contact info, 3rd party apps can still only access phone numbers and email addresses. No street addresses or any other fields, so they still have a bit more to do.

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