WP7 Windows Phone 7 Wish List

Nokia has recently released the Lumia 900 which is the WP7 flagship model at a great price. I had some time to play with it and overall the hardware looks and feels solid. However, I have a few complaints such as no memory card slot, no battery replacement, or the ability to change the Sim card without some sort of tool. On the software front, the OS has not changed much since I sold my Samsung Focus last year.

Windows Phone 7 has been in the market more than a year and has failed to steal the spotlight from Android and iPhone. To most power users, it still does not feel like a smart phone but more like an improvement from a feature phone. I am going to list several things I wish WP7 had but will probably not materialize until WP8 during the 2012 holiday season and very likely will never be on a Lumia 900.

  1. Microsoft is pushing the cloud everywhere and WP7 is not the exception. You got 20GB available in your SkyDrive. Therefore, they decided to drop support for memory card slots. If it is up to Microsoft you are pretty much stuck with whatever memory came with your phone. The Samsung Focus came with an option to install one but it required formatting the phone and you would never be able to take it out without having to reformat.  With Micro SD card prices constantly going down and increasing in size, it makes me sad that WP7 does not have this option.
  2. This one is probably more for Audiophiles but it is not possible to store music in Lossless formats on a WP7 phone. On my Zune HD, I was able to store WMA Lossless songs. However, WP7 devices will downconvert your music files to a WMA Lossy codec when trying to copy Lossless files to it. Again, this is probably a space concern. Maybe they don’t want you downloading big files from the cloud. iPhones let you use ALAC and Androids and Blackberries will even let you play FLAC files.
  3. I have several work and personal email accounts. WP7 does a great job of integrating your social accounts in one place (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter). However, you cannot read all your email accounts in one place. You have to navigate away from an email account to another one and so on. So you end up putting them all nearby in your live tiles and reading separate notifications for how many emails have not been read in each tile. You can only have 8 tiles at a time on the screen so it fills up quickly and there is a lot of scrolling up and down.
  4. No Bluetooth API available for developers. There are several features your developers can implement when they have access to Bluetooth on your device. It particularly annoys me that Endomondo is not able to pair my Bluetooth heart rate monitor to a WP7 device for this reason.
  5. It would be very nice to have a physical keyboard option. Even though iPhones have not had any issues with their phone taking a big chunk of the marketplace in the US, it would be nice to have another option  with physical keyboards other than Motorola Droids and Blackberries.
  6. Not having real multitasking gets annoying very quickly. I used to accidentally hit the back key while playing Angry Birds on my Samsung Focus which meant the app had to start over. You can play your MP3s in the background while doing other things but that’s about it. Messaging apps such as Kik, GroupMe, and WhatsApp suffer a lot from this. They feel buggy due to the lack of having a real process running the background pushing notification messages to the user. You cannot listen to Pandora while checking how far you are into your workout target and tweeting about it. Not only because there is no real multitasking but there is no Pandora for WP7.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Windows Phone 7 has great potential and it is easy to write apps for. But, it is time for that potential to show and move up to the big leagues. They need to bring their A-game to compete in this tough market. Windows Phone 8 needs to add features available in other platforms and more. In this day and age, they cannot release another OS without copy and past like they did with WP7.