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8 Window Phone 8.1 Preview Improvement Ideas

Preview for Developers

Windows Phone 8.1 Preview is awesome, and we’re excited that the full version is almost here for everyone.

There are some features in this preview, however, that could use some special additions. Here are some of my ideas for what would have been cool to include in the 8.1 preview:

1. Add a “create group” option from a text message group.

Where it says “x recipients,” you should be able to tap and hold it to create a group, or open it, view the list of recipients, and have small text at the bottom for an option to “create a group” with those recipients. It would be nice for creating Rooms as well.

2. In Bing image search, include a link to the page result when you tap an image.

Right now, it only provides you with a link to the image itself, not the page on which it appears.

3. Toggle Bing image of the day for Cortana.

cortana bing screenshot

Cortana is incredible, but one small price you do pay for using the personal AI is the removal of the Bing picture of the day on the search screen. While disabling Cortana does bring the Bing image of the day back, there should also be an option to toggle its view, maybe via an icon next to the music icon at the top. Cortana and the Bing image of the day should be simultaneous.

4. Let Zune work with Xbox Music

This is perhaps the most likely candidate for the “wishful thinking” award, only because, as we all know, Zune is a dead product. If Microsoft can’t just take the Zune software and rebrand it to Xbox Music, at least maybe they could allow the Xbox Music and Windows Phone syncing apps to work with Zune, like it does iTunes.

5. Preface voice commands with “Cortana, …” to orient her responses to be more discussion-oriented

This would be an easy way for Cortana to prioritize non-serious answers (i.e. answering “Bill Gates” to “who’s your daddy?”) over more practical ones. This way, when you ask questions like “Cortana, what is the meaning to life,” she could more easily differentiate a command from just a Bing search.

6. Send email as an Outlook.com alias

Outlook.com’s option to create alias’ to your account is an awesome feature, but it can’t be utilized in Windows Phone’s default mail client. Make this an option!

7. Remove events from Facebook on your calendar

In pre-Windows Phone 8.1, removing Facebook calendar items was easy. Just a setting, and a tap of a “decline” option was all it took. Now, when it opens the Facebook event via the app and you tap decline, the event doesn’t go away immediately. This can be frustrating when you get irrelevant calendar items from Facebook on your glance screen and Calendar live tile. Why not have a tap and hold option for Facebook events to individually “hide” an event? That would be nice.

8. Permit “triple-wide” tiles

Because you now have the option to add a third row of columns on any Windows Phone 8.1 preview device, why not unlock the ability to pin triple-wide tiles on the start screen? This could be useful for displaying more email content, calendar appointments, or Cortana information.

These are just some of my ideas of what should have been included in the 8.1 preview. What are some of yours? Share them in the comments below.