I was reading a post over at wmpoweruser.com about making sure Windows Phone 8 is ‘feature competitive’ with Android and iPhone. This is definitely a good thing to hear, as there are some features that current Windows Phones do not possess that techno-obsessive spec-measurers use to beat people over the head against Windows Phones, especially in the Apple-obsessed, Apple-can-do-no-wrong-even-if-the-iPhone-sent-out-my-personal-data-to-strangers-regularly crowd. For this task, here are a sampling of the features that Windows Phone will need to include from both competitors:
-browser support for 16 tabs
-calendar support for pinch-to-zoom and a week view
-camera panorama support (add the Image composite editor software’s ability to stitch pictures to the phone)
-contact integration – Google contacts appear instantly online when signing in to Google. Windows Phone contacts are restricted to the phone. They need to instantly and completely appear within Windows on the desktop, and Windows Live online, with contact history, Zune Social history, and facebook/twitter histories.
-notification list enhancements, and the ability to turn on/off airplane mode, wifi, bluetooth by swiping down the signal strength section of the home screen.
-quick switching between multi-lingual keyboards and their dictionaries.
-sensor support for gyroscopes and barometers
-third party keyboards (this could work with MS Keyboard Creator to allow users to create their own keyboards for use in their apps)
-true-turn-by-turn directions in the map application
-video upload to Youtube / Picasa (for MS, video upload to SkyDrive from the camera app also, and ability to send a link to friends)
-voice / video chat over IP (for MS, through Skype integration in the phone, and making front-facing cameras mandatory)
–alternate routes on the Maps
-audiobook support – allow us to mark any collection of mp3s as an audiobook and synch it as such in its own category so that it doesn’t randomly show under music.
-birthday calendar – currently, birthdays can show up multiple times if you integrate contacts from several sources and they contain birthdays. The phone should know they’re the same person if the contacts are linked, and only show one birthday on the calendar
-calendars – multiple calendars on a phone. You can send other people your calendar so they can view it on their phones as well. Time zone assignment to an event. Tap+drag an event to reschedule it on a calendar
-calls from unknown numbers / not in contacts – show city name or area/county in addition to the number
-camera – pinch/spread to zoom in/out
-contacts – add family relations to contact cards
-custom keyboard shortcuts
-custom LED alerts
-custom ringtones for individual contacts (Windows Phone can go even farther by allowing custom ringtones for contacts’ calls, texts, and e-mails, and for contact groups as well)
-custom vibration alerts
-dictionary – built-in system-wide dictionary – tap+hold to get a word’s definition
-e-mail – create calendar events from dates in e-mails, map addresses from within e-mails
-enterprise security – remote wipe, device configuration, enforced security policies (MS here can simply add all the security once available on Windows Mobile phones)
-iCloud – synchronizes “iTunes, iBooks (books and progress), App Store, Photo, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Mail, Safari bookmarks and Reading List items, device settings, app data, iWork and backup data” – the Windows Phone Skydrive and the phone.live.com site should back the entire phone up, including text messages and sent mail history, and contact linkages so that if I buy a new phone, all my stuff appears on the new phone when I turn it on.
-iMessages – default iPhone-to-iPhone messages to save text counts – MS should add such a feature to their Phones, perhaps using Messenger.
-in-app purchasing API
-iTunes movies, TV Shows, music videos, audiobooks, iTunes U can be purchased over wifi (add ability to view Zune content you purchased over wifi and make purchases)
-Landscape mode on more applications (including the home screen and Zune)
-Maps street view (add Bing Streetside and Street Views, better if it could incorporate the gyroscope to view the map, similar to how the 3DS uses that in games to move around the 3D world), alternate routes, and true turn-by-turn instead of tap to read and tap to recalculate route.
-music – long names scroll when playing. Broadcast song information to the car stereo when connected over bluetooth. Play music to the car over bluetooth.
-musical instruments over wifi
-Newsstand – books, magazines, newspapers in one location. Zune should allow purchasing and viewing of newspaper subscriptions, magazine subscriptions, and books from the PC app and on-device.
-notification center – Apple blatantly copied from Android, but the idea itself is sound. MS could make this a swipe-down or a swipe-left to right to access a notification center with messages, weather, stocks in one place. Perhaps storing the one-button wifi/bluetooth on/off options as well.
–Panorama pictures (preferably without a hack)
-Social music network (Ping) – MS should add Zune Social to the Zune app with all the functionality that was present in the Zune HD, including sending songs, playlists, artists, albums to friends on Windows Phones with links to the marketplace, as well as sending TV Shows, music videos, and movies to friends.
-space usage of apps listed in one place
-photos – categorized by people, places, albums, and events
-playlists – show the song play-time, ability to create a playlist by individually selecting songs, remove songs from the active playlist by tap/hold, and name that playlist
-screenshot of the phone’s active screen
-screen lock is disabled when in dock and music is playing. MS can duplicate this when a phone is plugged in, display the Zune HD screensaver to prevent any screen burn-in concerns.
-search Wikipedia – built-in searching of Wikipedia. It may be helpful to add a wiki pivot to search results.
-Siri – voice assistant. MS can upgrade voice control and voice searching with Wolfram Alpha integration and the ability to search for facts (“how far is the earth from the sun?” should intelligently pull up the answer first, then the wiki entry. “what is Microsoft’s stock price?” should pull up the most recent stock price, then the app link to Stocks)
-Stocks app (with Live-Tile updates when price rises/falls), notes app built-in
-SVG image support
-text search on web pages – for some odd reason, this was removed in mango.
-turn-by-turn navigation built in (not via 3rd part apps, and no need to tap to recalculate your route)
-TV out support
-TV Show rentals – MS can improve by making all purchased video available for streaming from the Windows Phone. Netflix is already available, so streaming is not a problem.
-vcs and ics calendar attachment support
-video chat integration using front-facing camera, not via 3rd party app
-video – play 1080p content
-VPN support, Cisco IPsec VPN support
-web browser reader – show a more mobile-friendly version of a website, which is synchronized to the cloud for use in IE on the desktop or mobile phone. Use the ‘printer-friendly’ version of a web page to make this easier.
-Youtube – play 480p/720p over the air.
Other Features from MS programs on other phones
–Photosynth, which is available on iPhone, should be integrated into Windows Phone.
Other features Microsoft could add:
-on the Zune desktop software, if I click Social, and click on a friend, open a page with their contact history, facebook