What I need to see from Windows Phone 8.1

Okay Microsoft, you knew this was coming.  Much as I love your stuff, lately you have been screwing the pooch on just about everything.  Seriously, removing Windows XP Mode/MED-V from Windows 8?  That was one of the most useful features.  The XBox One debacle?  I don’t see how you could have done much to make it look worse at announcement. 

And then there’s Windows Phone.  You were leading the pack from Windows Mobile 4 to 6.5.  There simply wasn’t anything better.  And then you went all but silent… for years.  And then in 2010 you apparently realized you managed to fall to almost last place in the smart phone race and threw out a half-finished Windows Phone 7.  It didn’t have much bluetooth support, SMS sync was removed, and IT DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A CLIPBOARD.  Seriously, we made fun of iTards for that, and then you go and do it.

You’ve had three years now, and plenty of revisions to get a few things right, but all I see you doing is making half-assed additions of new hardware technologies and dropping useful features.  I have given you a really fair chance, but I’m tired of being stuck on technology three generations behind.  I went and looked at some of Samsung’s newer Galaxy phones and was beyond impressed by what they can do (hell, I was impressed with what the old ones can do that WP8 can’t touch).

So here is the deal.  The Galaxy Note 3 should be coming out some time in September.  I want to see a Windows Phone 8.1/9 that beats it, or I’m getting it instead.  You’ve screwed this up far too long, and I’m pretty much out of patience.  If it doesn’t have all the required features and most of the optional features following, you’re going to lose me.  One of your biggest fanboys.

Required features.  Without all of these, I will not get another Windows Phone device.  These are all things that other phones have had for some time (including WM6.5 for many of them).

  • Hardware keyboard.  These on screen keyboards are useless for more than a few characters.  I don’t care how sorry you feel for the UX guys that designed the AI.  Deal with it.
  • Bluetooth 4.0 and all common profiles.  You have audio and business card exchange.  That’s about it.  How do you not have profiles for PAN, SPP, and HID?  Really, no HID profiles.  What idiot made that call?  You will have to include profiles for PAN or LAP, SPP, HDP, MAP, and especially HID.
  • Internet connection sharing.  Don’t give me this “but the driver doesn’t support it!” BS like you did with my LG Quantum.  You can suck me for that one.
  • DLNA client.
  • SMS sync to skydrive or exchange.
  • Customizable notifications, especially for SMS.
  • Third party app access to critical data like email and sms.
  • Forcing apps into landscape mode when the keyboard is opened. 
  • Storing usernames and passwords in IE (and ignoring that every idiot web developer sets the autocomplete attribute off).

Optional features.  Even if it has the required features, it has to have enough of these to make me overlook the last five years of pure crap that’s come from windows mobile.

  • A map app that isn’t stupid.  Live maps integrated with the web version and shared waypoint lists.  Then you took it out.  That was an amazing feature.  Put it back, you idiots.  If you really want to make me happy, you will have the browser version, mobile version, metro version, and desktop version (which you better make) use Skydrive to store and share GPX or KML files.
  • Sync favorites and passwords with IE on the desktop and metro.  And you better make IE store passwords for ANY site I want. 
  • Changing default file associations for all files.
  • Rotating live tiles when the keyboard is open.  The start screen sucks like that.  ,

Get on the ball, or lose one of your best customers.

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