In a day where Windows Mobile isn’t the cool kid anymore, there’s an opportunity to start thinking about how you would change things up. Let’s start from the ground up, considering everything fair game for improvement or replacement.
There is much that can be asked for in a mobile phone these days, but I have put together a list of features that I would like to see on the next Windows Phone.
1) Speed. This device has to be fast. Fast to start programs. Fast to surf the web. Fast to get a GPS signal. I want the most responsive phone ever. I don’t want to have to sit through “Spinning Simon.” (If you have a Windows Mobile phone, you know what I’m talking about.)
2) Multi-touch This is, without question, one of the coolest features of the iPhone, and a new standard in feature-set requirements for a phone. It HAS to have this. (I’m actually surprised Android doesn’t.)
3) Intuitive Silverlight interface I’d really like to see us leverage Silverlight technology for the OS. Not only would it help SL to gain prominence, but it also lends a world of application interface possibilities. Menus are a thing of the past. Let’s get creative AND functional.
4) Design Nearly every device Microsoft has released has been criticized of being “ugly.” Think of the first Xbox, or the first Zune. I think that a phone has to be stylish AND functional to succeed in today’s market. Nobody wants to carry an ugly device. It’s as much an accessory as a belt or shoes anymore.
5) Voice-recognition and speech-to-text For EVERYTHING. Give me the ability to use my phone, and every feature of it, without touching it. Make it a native part of the OS. Let it read me emails while I drive. Let it take dictation for an email while I’m playing video games.
6) Openness and extensibility This is one of the biggest weaknesses of the iPhone, in my opinion. It is a very closed OS, with plenty of hurdles to climb in order to get your applications available to the public. If someone creates a Flash plugin for the device, so be it. Why should we limit what someone can do with their device? Let’s empower, not handicap people. Apps written by competitors like Apple, Adobe, and Google should run as well as an app written by Microsoft.
7) Technologically advanced Why are we still making phones with a 1 megapixel camera? The HTC HD has a 5MP camera, with auto-focus. And it’s thin! Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 80+ GB hard drive, MicroSD slot, mini-USB charger, strong battery life, GPS, and speakerphone. Don’t be proprietary for ANYTHING. Let me use any charger, any accessory.
8) DRM compatibility Why isn’t DRM transportable? Why can’t I play my songs from iTunes on a Windows phone? Why can’t I play songs from the Zune marketplace on an iPod? Let’s find a way to authenticate any device against some DRM web services, and let me play my music anywhere. At the very least, let me play songs I bought from Microsoft (Zune marketplace) on my phone running a Microsoft OS (Windows Mobile).
9) Social interaction Make the phone capable of location-awareness. Let me find other users in my vicinity, and interact with them through games, apps, and messaging. Let me find my friends, and let my friends find me.
10) No device generation gaps Like the Zune, I want to know that when new software features are released for these devices, my v1 device will also receive those benefits. There should never be an older, less functional device. Build it with the hardware it will need, and then just start piling on the software to make it shine.