3 annoying problems that should be fixed on Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone is cool for many things. Fast and fluid user experience, unique tile-based interface, great Microsoft Office functionality, etc. But it also has many minuscule flaws which really shouldn’t even exist in the first place.

These are the three issues I found most annoying with the existing Windows Phones. Hopefully, these issues will be soon be fixed on the Windows Phone 8.

No centralised notification page

Android had a fantastic pull down notification menu from day one, and Apple subsequently devised a suspiciously similar system for iPhones. Windows Phones? Nada.

Sure, notifications were actually much more advanced than iOS at the time of Windows Phone 7′s launch. A bar appeared at the top of the screen whenever notifications come in and users can dismiss them easily with a swipe. On iOS, you still had to endure an in-your-face pop-up notification window which completely interrupted whatever you happened to be doing at that time.

But there’s no way of catching up on your missed notifications on Windows Phones. Most apps will have a ticker to tell you how many notifications you missed, but only if you happen to pin the app to your start screen.

I believe most Windows Phone users thought a centralised notification page was coming with Windows Phone 8, but there’s no indication that anything of that sort is happening. So if you happened to miss a notification when it arrived, and don’t have the app tile pinned, that notification just entered a black hole.

Primitive phone dialer

Most people use their phones for actually calling people, but Windows Phone’s dialer lacks several important dialing features.

For one, you can’t copy and paste numbers into the dialer. This isn’t too bad in a native app like Microsoft Office, as the numbers in a document are automatically formatted and you can just tap to call. But if you see a number in Internet Explorer, you’ll have to memorise it and manually dial it out to call.

There’s also no autocomplete in the dialer. I have several numbers which I call almost every day, such as my parents’, and I don’t want to have to dig into the People Hub to make these calls. I want to be able to just type out the first few numbers and make the call immediately!

Fortunately, as the saying goes, “there’s an app for that” – 7Dialer solves all of these problems. But such basic functionality should really be included in the OS from the get-go.

No separate media controls for ringer and media

In Windows Phone, you can’t turn down the volume of your media – whether music, video or games – without also turning down your phone’s ringer.  You also cannot turn down the ringer and also expect to enjoy music at full blast. I play games with the volume turned down, and many times I forget to turn the volume back up after I’m done, causing me to miss a few calls and texts.

Sounds like a small issue, but incredibly annoying!

Do you have any nagging issues with your Windows Phone? Share them in the comments section below!

Raymond Lau

Raymond Lau is currently pursuing a degree in Communications & New Media at NUS. He has a passion for all things digital, especially new media (as you can probably guess), and is currently conceptualising a top-secret start-up that might or might not involve sharks and lasers. He also writes for Techgoondu and PublicHouse.sg.

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  • Ryan Scanlan

    I have a Samsung Focus which is almost 2 years old now and I have to disagree with points 2 & 3.  You can call phone numbers from internet explorer.  Also, I almost never have to dial numbers to begin with.  Using Bing, you can search and call a lot of places you are looking for.  And there definitely are two different volume settings for rings and media.  Ring is from 1-10 and Media is from 1-30.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adas-Weber/622729281 Adas Weber

    There IS a central notification system – it’s in the ME tile.

    However, currently it’s restricted to social network notifcations. If Microsoft expanded this to include notifcations from all 3rd party apps, then this would be a perfectly good solution.

  • http://twitter.com/lxcid Stan Chang Khin Boon

    “On iOS, you still had to endure an in-your-face pop-up notification”

    This just show that you have no idea what’s going on in the iOS world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adas-Weber/622729281 Adas Weber

    Actually, until iOS 5 came out, it was crap!!! The author is correct.

  • http://twitter.com/lxcid Stan Chang Khin Boon

    iOS 5 was out like almost a year now and we are into iOS 6 soon.

    This article is written like in less than a day?

    If this is your argument, then I would say…

    Its like I can pick that Android have slow UI and I would have been more accurate as 86% of the Android users is still on 2.x.x, which is crap as iOS have hardware accelerated UI since day 1.
    http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html

    The article is written in such a way that it seems like its still pop-up notification as of the latest version and its like trying to compare iOS 4 to Windows Phone 8? A product that is not even out yet to a products that is outdated and phasing out? iOS 4 currently only holds less than 20% of the iOS ecosystem.

    Its like the author is cherry picking data to satisfy a hidden agenda.

  • mlewis

    I have a Samsung Focus (can’t wait to get a Windows 8 “Super-phone” as my contract is up for renewal!!!) I knew it would be unwise to get the Lumia 900, cause I knew WP8 would be based on the NT kernel.  Knowing that told me that more than likely it will require dual core to power it. So I held off and boy that was an excellent idea. I tried to tell others to do the same but they didn’t listen. Anyway back to my original point..  I agree with everything the author says. And I hope these minor annoyances are addressed in WP8.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adas-Weber/622729281 Adas Weber

    If you read the article carefully, you will note that he was talking in the past tense about something that was crap in iOS for years – which is 100% true. All he is saying is that when WP7 launched nearly 2 years ago, it had a nice non-intrusive notification system, unlike iOS which did interrupt what you were doing.

    I think you’re reading way too much into this!

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  • Steve Steven

    I agree totally – the volume problem in particular is ridiculous, why should adjusting media playback volume effect the ringer volume, which idiot thought that was a good idea. I listen to music late at night turned down low and then miss calls in the morning because the ringer volume is on 2! A fourth problem is having the choice of ONE web browser when we can have Firefox and Chrome on W8 PC’s by law… go figure.

  • charlie

    I’ll add my thoughts as well:

    - External dialer won’t solve a problem, cause every each does not have access to missed calls, only the system one does. So You end up having two dialers on the screen which is just stupid. Why having two things for same functions if You could use one?

    - Editing text is a pain when You need to delete a letter in the middle of a word. To put the cursor after a letter You need to hold down a finger so you cover almost the whole word. Actually You don’t know where You put it and again, You need to do it twice or three times before You succeed. Why doing sthg twice if You could briefly tap once?

    - You can’t answer the phone with one slide. You just slide and then You need to hit ‘pick up’. Why doing sthg twice if You can do it with one slide?

    - In my phone (lumia 625) I’m forced to use full resolution and can’t lower it.
    Photos that phones are made for, don’t need to be 5 or 10megapixels big. They can, but actually what for? Why MUST I use twice as much space then ?

    - Tiles update every 30min which means that every battery meter on the screen is useless.
    You can’t play with Your phone intesively for half an hour seeing there is 30% and suddenly You realize it’s not 30% but 5% or almost dead.

    -You’re forced to use Bing under the right button, so You end up having another browser on the screen, at least most people do so. Why having two browsers if You could use one?

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