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What’s Not to Like About WP – Not Much

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.