My 2012 Wish List for Windows Phone

System settings

  1. Allow on-demand backup and restore: Today, Zune desktop software provides a way to back up the phone but it only gets triggered when there is a phone update. There is no way to run a manual backup. Hence, there is no way to restore the phone to a state other than the one that it was in when the last phone update was applied. A manual, on-demand backup command will help in restoring a phone to a more recent version in situations like getting a replacement phone or having unexplainable crashes/slowdowns.
  2. Auto update settings/apps: Windows Phone Mango introduced the web marketplace with a purchase history screen which made it very easy to reinstall all purchased (free or otherwise) apps directly from the web. While this is a great step forward from earlier, it is still extremely painful if you have to reset your phone or if you buy a new phone. You still have to go through the setup and configurations (wallpaper, sleep settings, lock settings, pinned tiles, etc.) and install each app manually. It would be great if Windows Phone could save apps, app settings and system configuration/settings so I could simply restore them on a new device. Game developers should also be forced to maintain game progress in the cloud, so that I don’t lose my game progress if I reset my phone or buy a new phone. Some games do it today, but it should be mandatory, in order to support a true cloud restore.
  3. Eliminate the Zune desktop requirement: While Windows Phone supported wireless sync from day one, I find it a bit annoying and limiting that in order to transfer pictures and videos to and from the PC, I still have to go through Zune. PCs have in-built image capture utilities which can trigger photo management program of choice where more advanced settings like rotation, folder naming, etc. can be applied. Instead, I am stuck with whatever functionality Zune desktop supports (not much) in transferring pictures and videos from the phone to the PC. I understand that Zune is needed for delivery of phone updates, and I am fine with Zune being used for music management, but for pictures and videos, I would like to avoid using Zune. This would also make it easy to offload pictures on a Zune-less PC, for example, when travelling.
  4. Multiple pages for Start Screen: One of the most wonderful features of Windows Phone is the Live Tile functionality. With Mango, we also saw the introduction of multiple Live Tiles for each app. As a result, it is not unusual to have a ton of tiles pinned to the Start Screen. It has got to a point that I have to scroll a lot to go through the various apps I have pinned to the Start Screen. It would be nice if there were app groups or screens, perhaps as separate pivots, so I don’t have to scroll too much vertically. This feature would also be in line with the Windows Phone’s glance and gomessage because all the information would be above the foldor just below.

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Romit Mehta

Romit writes about mobile news and gadgets, and is currently a Windows Phone owner (Nokia Lumia 920). Find him on twitter @TheRomit. Personal site is