My 2014 wishlist – Windows Phone Edition

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Last year we all wrote up our hopes and dreams for the year to come, I wrote about Windows Phone as it’s something I’m fond of and the other guys will all just want to write about Android. So here we go, here is what I would like to happen in the Windows Phone world in 2014.

If first you’re interested in last year’s wishlist it’s here.

Microsoft to attract more manufacturers to the OS

With the purchase of Nokia, Windows Phone stepped onto a slippery surface, a surface that’s also slightly sloped. Windows Phone is in danger of becoming a one horse race manufacturer wise. HTC, Samsung, ZTE and Huawei are all yet to reveal any next generation devices leaving only Nokia to reap the rewards, further cementing it’s position as the number one Windows Phone manufacturer. Without other manufacturers I feel the OS and the devices would be a bit dull, a bit like iOS almost.

Nokia to release a 5″ high spec device to rival the other OS’s flagships

With the announcement of the Nokia Lumia 1520 I feel they went a bit too far, yes a bigger device has been needed for a while now, but at six inches they’ve alienated quite a few potential customers. If the new flagship had been the rumoured Lumia 929 or even just a smaller 1520 Nokia would have positioned themselves in a better spot to compete with the other OS’s. No doubt a smaller device will come, but I doubt that it will be in the first few months of 2014, by which time the world will be eyeing up the latest Android devices from Samsung and HTC.

HTC to release a Windows Phone version of the “One”

HTC need to think of something to help them survive, 2013 saw them release some really good Android devices, that just didn’t really succeed. Apart from one that is, the HTC One was in my opinion one of the best products of 2013, combining an amazing design, great hardware and great software. It just wasn’t as popular as the Galaxy S4. If HTC are to keep releasing Windows Phone devices surely they’d want something quick and easy to get to market, surely installing Windows Phone on an existing device would save a lot of time and money on R&D compared to a new device. Yes releasing a device from 2013 would be risky but the spec would still be comparable to anything Nokia release in the next six months.

Taking this wish to the extreme, one could argue that if they also released the HTC One Mini and the HTC One Max as well running Windows Phone they’d also see some success. Especially as they’ve already got a small range of apps to offer their customers, such as that lovely clock tile.

Samsung to release Windows Phone versions of the Galaxy S4 and Note 3

Samsung when they released the Ativ S, basically just released the Galaxy S3 but running Windows Phone. Personally I feel that with the advent of the GDR3 update, that Windows Phone is ready for the Windows Phone versions of the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3. Yes I included the Note 3, large oversized phones are here to stay and Samsung couldn’t go wrong with a version of the Note 3, especially if they priced it quite a bit cheaper than the Lumia 1520. Samsung have a range of their own software already and it wouldn’t take much effort to make some stylus based note taking apps and maybe a stylus based photo editor.

Microsoft to join Windows Phone and Windows RT

Windows RT is a mess at the moment, I’ve had a Microsoft Surface RT since it launched in the UK and every time I use it it frustrates me, partly because of the hunt for Metro style apps in the app store and partly because of the untapped potential.

In the worlds of Android and iOS, phones and tablets happily co-exist. In the Windows Phone world they are totally separate. Some developers make apps for both platforms and even some of them have managed to make their apps sync between platforms, but it’s still far from ideal.

With the appearance of 8″ Windows 8 based tablets things are rather confusing for the consumer. Recently I’ve had to help and explain to several friends the difference between the super cheap non touchscreen Windows 8 laptops, the medium priced touchscreen variants, the hybrid detachable Windows 8 laptops, the fancy expensive Windows 8 tablets, the two new Surface tablets, smaller 8″ tablets from the likes of Dell and Acer and most recently the gloriously coloured Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet. Each and every one being slightly different. If the smaller tablets and the RT tablets just basically ran a tablet version of Windows Phone things would make a whole lot more sense.

Windows 8 is partly to blame, Microsoft wanted it to do everything possible and to a certain extent it does. But Windows RT was required to make cheaper tablets, but when you can get a touchscreen laptop running normal Windows 8 for less money Windows RT seems even more pointless.

Microsoft to keep up the drive to attract developers

The last couple of months we’ve seen no end of big name apps appear on the Windows Phone Store, things like Instagram and Vine to name the two most famous. It’s good to see, but you wonder quite how much Microsoft had to pay to get these apps. Maybe they didn’t pay, maybe I’m just being overly cynical.

Microsoft to fix the last few annoying “bugs” in Windows Phone

I’ve been using Windows Phone for a good few years now and a few things really annoy me, things that have been around since Windows Phone 7 and things that I’ve seen implemented on other mobile OS’s. I just hope next year they finally fix these bugs/features.

  • Once and for all Microsoft need to fix the music playing volume bug. Whereby you finish listening to music and yet it retains the details of the song in the volume drop down until you reboot or use an app to clear it.
  • Allow customisation of individual tiles, or allow theming, or wallpapers spread across the tiles, or transparent tiles or just more choices for backgrounds and tile colours. I’m getting sick of having to resort to black and pink based themes some days.
  • Make sharing between apps more open to developers at a system level, not something they have to manually add themselves. Currently it is so hit and miss as to which apps have a share option and even which apps are on the share list.
  • This one isn’t a long term problem it’s just a little niggle. Once the Nokia buyout is done Microsoft REALLY need to open up the Lumia exclusive apps to other manufacturers. When Nokia were a separate entity it made sense but as the hardware of the OS developer it’s insane. Obviously the apps to work with Nokia specific hardware it would make sense to exclude everyone, but things like Nokia Camera REALLY should be available to everyone now. This move would also encourage other manufacturers to join the one horse race.
  • Enable app purchase history within the store on your device. Reminding you of purchases from years ago.
  • Enable a way of checking for app updates within the store for apps installed on your device. Rather than waiting for a random amount of time to be told of them.
  • Tidy up the store. If you currently search for something like “Facebook” or “YouTube” you get hundreds of fake apps that will no doubt harvest your contacts details and subscribe you to no end of unsavory newsletters. Quite how these apps were approved is another question.
  • Try as they might Microsoft just can’t get rid of the “resuming” screen which appears now and again if an app gets a little stuck in the Windows Phone multi-tasking system.

So all in all not a huge amount for Microsoft to fix in the next few months, who knows if anything will get fixed. We can only but wait, come back this time next year to see how it all went. One last thing though would you add anything to the list? And before you say it Nokia won’t ever release a device running Android.

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