05-06-2014 02:45 PM
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    Joe Belfiore is doing an 'Ask Me Anything' topic on Reddit right NOW. You can take part or read it here:

    [tip]http://www.reddit.com/r/windowsphone...ama/?limit=500[/tip]
    We'll try to keep the OP updated with questions and responses for your convenience.

    Let's use this thread for instant reactions from our fine community - Discuss!
    [Q] Thanks for doing an AMA.
    1.MS has done quite a good job in bringing apps to the platform but I feel like after the initial launch most of these apps are never being updated to match their iOS/ Android counterparts. Flickr, Trip Advisor haven’t had an update in years. Is MS doing anything about devs ‘ditching’ their apps after the initial launch?
    2.Apps that are owned by MS are lacking in features when compared to their other platform counterparts (Skype, Facebook). Every time i open the Skype app, I get a Resuming/Loading screen for 4-6seconds. What is MS doing to improve the quality of the existing apps ? Honestly, I’m getting tired of hearing the ‘wait for the update’ mantra. By the time Skype/Facebook apps get updated, their ios/android apps will be two steps ahead of the game and we have to wait another ~6mos to catch up with them and this cycle continues.
    3.You may not answer this but just asking, Is Facebook developing the next Facebook app for Windows Phone :)
    Thanks again for doing this. You guys did an awesome job with WP 8.1. Hope it continues.

    [A]There's no silver bullet here... Apps, like most things in software development, are a marathon, not a sprint. And I'm not claiming we've nailed it - as you point out, there is more work to do. Fundamentally, the ISVs who write these apps are making business decisions about how they can make the most money-- and as WP has grown, and as MS has invested time & money in the apps, and as the platform has gotten better/stronger... more and more apps have shown up.

    So -- sitting in 3rd place, it's tougher for us to get the apps-- but I do think that we've made great progress in the last couple of years. We're not resting on our laurels. We (and not just we.. I) are visiting ISVs, looking for ideas that can help them grow their volume and user engagement, providing them with funding and development help - and in some cases we are even using our own team/devs to write apps ourselves.

    You're seeing these results through both well-known apps SHOWING UP (instagram last year) as well as higher average user ratings per app on the store - we look at ALL sides of the issue. Right now we're MOSTLY focused on continuing to GET the key apps-- although lately with more of these present, we've shifted a bit towards improving the current ones.

    You mentioned Skype and FB -- on Skype, we have new version in development that our team (and me) have been using and it certainly helps with perf-- we'll keep going-- and on facebook, we've been working with FB on an update to that app too, targeted for the June timeframe - this update brings improvements to perf, having full-width photos in the newsfeed, and seeing photos & comments at the same time.
    [Q]Hey Joe! I am a huge proponent of Windows Phone and have used it since launch. Having said that, there are many issues that simply don't get addressed or are skirted entirely. Hopefully you see this and want to answer the tough questions.

    1.Why does the WP Team, and MS in general, seem reluctant to admit or even acknowledge the fact that Windows Phone, in terms of feature parity, is far behind Android and iOS? There are plenty of features that should be in WP that aren't there, for no particular reason. I've never seen you or MS address stuff like this.
    2.WP's history has been full of broken promises (no carrier interference of updates is a huge one, early upgrade program took a year, etc). Why? I get that WP is not exactly in a place to be making demands but, come on, over promising and under delivering is not the way to do things (Longhorn?)
    3.Why on Earth does MS treat it's own mobile OS as a second-class citizen while at the same time preaching that it's the third ecosystem? Android and iOS get Microsoft apps before Windows Phone and, when/if it does finally get them, they are abysmal (Skype and Remote Desktop, anyone?). Skype is still a disaster, no where near apps like iMessage and Hangouts, which I would LOVE to see it compare to. And let's not talk about Xbox Music. I understand the issue of API and OS limitations, and that 8.1 hasn't officially been released yet, but you are CREATING the very OS with said limitations...lets get them added or fixed.
    4.We seem to be on a feature backtrack with our updates. 8.0 lost radio, 8.1 killed music, Me integration, Photo Hub integration, and Windows Phone pales in comparison to our syncing options we had with Zune. What's the reason for this? Can we expect some of this stuff to come back? Zune syncing features alone would quiet a lot of the big complaints people have made.
    I am a huge fan of Windows Phone and will continue to use it. You and your team have done some amazing things with this OS and I'm excited to see where it goes. But the "shut up and ship" mantra needs to be backed up with some deliverables. The OS, and community in general, will continue to be looked down on and not taken seriously if things aren't sped up some. We started way behind and have made some big strides but we're always going to be behind if the pace isn't picked up a little bit. We've been stuck in a "just wait until <Mango, 8.0, 8.1, etc>" mentality for years, so when can we finally start saying "it's here?" These have been some pretty negative questions but, in all seriousness, Windows Phone is truly unique and your team has done some awesome stuff. But we can't lose our focus on catching up to iOS/Android and start playing on the same field. Also, you have any jobs over there?! I'd love to come help make Windows Phone amazing.

    [A]Hitting the first part of this first...As you folks know, MS' mobile strategy had a big reset back in 2009 when we changed our model for WP7. At the time, the iPhone had shipped with a new approach to mobile-- touch enabled, big screen, new functionality. To react to this we had to implement a new system -- a new UI, a whole bunch of apps we hadn't built ourselves (interestingly: the old "Windows Mobile" that MSFT shipped didn't even have a dialer-- it had to be built separately by each OEM!)... and there was a LOT of work to get the same set of features built.

    So... I'd say we've acknowledged plenty of times over the past few years that we've had features missing relative to iOS or Android. SOme of this was intentional decisions to be focused-- we did NOT focus on Enterprise/Corporate at first-- but then we did. I'd say with WP8.1 the feature gap is ALMOST completely closed. As mobile is much more mature now, it's less likely that ANY platform will have ALL the features of its competition -- and that's what makes one platform fit certain people better.

    Let's talk "broken promises" and "second-class citizen" treatment.
    We sure as heck try not to break promises. the thing that's tricky is WHAT YOU PROMISE.. and it's amazing how much the internet gives things a "life".

    Last summer we said we'd enable developers to get updates separately from the carrier-approval process. It took us longer than we would have liked to roll -- this out... but the reason for that was a combination of work we had to do to implement the program AND the fact that the updates we were shipping early in the year wouldn't have had as much value for existing phones. We knew we had BIGGER updates coming later-- the Update 3 last year not only had some solid features in it for everyone (rotation lock, driving mode, storage sense updates) but also carried Update 2 with it. BY THEN it really mattered to get it out. Plus we knew 8.1 was coming, so we wanted the system up and running.

    In this case I'd say it took us longer, but I wouldn't say it was a "broken promise" (though I can see how people felt that way for some months).
    [Q]How long do you think can Google continue not-developing official apps for Windows Phone? Surely you get in touch with them. Why they don't?

    [A]We think we’ve developed an awesome platform with Windows Phone, and definitely look forward to welcoming Google’s apps on it. We have these apps high on our "want list" so it's something we've invested in (ahem, YouTube) and are absolutely willing to continue investing in. Unfortunately, the apps are Google's and I can't say when they will act. Only our friends in Mountain View know timing.

    You should ping them! (often!)
    [Q]Hi Joe! Thank you very much for taking the time to host this AMA! My questions are:
    1.Of all the things, what do you think is the feature that can make someone choose Windows Phone over other platforms?
    2.Will Cortana ever come to Windows 8?
    3.Will Cortana ever be able to toggle actions (such as turning off Wi-Fi when you leave a place)?
    4.Why are games listed in the main app list in 8.1? Will this change in a future update?
    5.Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Thanks again for doing this AMA!

    [A]1.Right now, it's not ONE FEATURE. It's the way the whole system is designed and what it's about. We think WP is the MOST PERSONAL SMARTPHONE– and that’s a combo of features, starting with live tiles and now Cortana makes it even more personal. This is kind of a mantra for the team-- we're serious about this. We're balancing a unique, attractive visual appearance with letting the user customize it a ton. We really want your phone to feel like your "fingerprint" ... better than any other phone.
    2.Nothing specific to announce, but Cortana herself is always telling us she's a fan of PCs herself. :)
    3.You can turn wifi on/off by speaking in the developer preview now, but cool suggestion to do this automatically based on location.
    4.This was a close call for us –- this kind of situation happens a lot in design... I call it a "45/55 thing". In this case, we made the change (to the "55" :) because we found through usability testing quite clearly that NEW USERS to our platform sometimes had a hard time finding games.. so we chose to optimize for these new users. It’s reasonable to suggest having an option for this in the future... something we’ll explore.
    5.Star Wars. Sorry fribbley. :)
    [Q]Hi Joe! You are literally our hero-like figure for Windows Phone!!

    As a long time WP user, I have just a few questions:
    1) Currently there's a fairly long time lag between announcing new phone/OS and having the product actually available to consumers, comparing to Apple and Samsung.In the case of Lumia Icon, everyone sort of knew it's there for 6 months before it became available, and still only to limited number of users, is this something that Microsoft will be able to improve on after the merger?
    2) The release schedule for Windows Phones is sort of unpredictable at the moment, and it's hard for users to make their purchasing decisions. We know 930 isn't coming to US anytime soon, and Icon is exclusive to Verizon for at least a couple more months. This means there's an almost 1-year gap for majority of the US users in terms of having a high-end Windows Phone with 8.1 (L1520 was last October).
    Is there something that U.S users can really look forward to (aka a general time range) for a new high-end device to replace models like 920 and 1020?
    Thanks again for doing this!

    [A]The time-lag thing is tricky. It depends on: - what LEAKS. (we can't prevent these, and they make people start looking for stuff that may be a ways off). - when we ANNOUNCE. We have to balance early announcements (better for ISVs to get apps ready on the new platform) against waiting to announce close to availability (more fun for end users because you hear about something and then, poof, it's ready to go. Also -- done right, this can help sales because people will hear excitement and then head to a store and find a phone ready to buy.)

    We are trying to strike this balance in a better way -- with WP8.1, the announce was aimed at devs and just days later we had the developer preview in everyones hands, so the MOST motivated users (and there are a LOT of you!) can get the software quickly. We expect to keep our pace of updates similar to what we did last year-- we are pretty proud that we shipped three software updates last year, and we're already working on some cool stuff that I know you'll like.

    on HARDWARE -- it's trickier. Up until now (welcome Nokia!) it was different companies doing this work, and they had to sync their schedules with ours. We do think that for first party phones, the acquisition will help with time to market... and you've seen us already announce new phones at the same time as announcing the software. I can't comment on any new phones that might be coming-- but of course Nokia and other partners have a bunch of stuff in progress. Last -- we're doing plenty to help HW partners get devices to market faster in general. At build, we showed some phone prototypes for India and China that partners took only a few months to get running.

    Overall, we feel like we have made some progress in getting to a higher velocity, but we know we have more we can do, and I think you will see us continue to acclerate where we can.
    [Q] Hi, Joe!, Thanks for the AMA, it's great to see Microsoft getting closer to its users.
    I have WP 8.1 and it's really cool. Still, it obviously has a few flaws that need fixing. For instance, Nokia headset's button isn't working, non-Cortana Bing search is just a site link, etc. Can we expect to have another major update before WP 8.1 goes public?
    I understand you can't share any accurate dates, but maybe you could give a rough estimation about when we can expect such an update.
    My other question is regarding Nokia. According to Elop, Nokia as a brand will die our in the long run. This makes me sad—Nokia is a somewhat legendary brand, with its uniqueness and style. What are your thoughts about this matter? Thanks!

    [A]Developer preview is NOT final.. there's client-side software fixes we're still making, when UPDATES go out to existing phones they will come with "BSP" (low-level phone firmware) updates from the OEMs... and the Services (cortana) are continuallyl getting improved. SO.. when you get an official update or buy a new phone, it'll be more polished than what you folks have now. In terms of timing... no specific dates to mention, and keep in mind that the software updates will vary by phone and carrier. Do keep in mind our history last year with updates to get a sense of how we think about this.

    In terms of the specific issues you hit -- the dev preview has gone very well from our POV, with hundreds of thousands of "devs" having downloaded it so far (smile), and we’ve been closely monitoring feedback on the platform, features like Cortana, action center, etc.

    And since you mentioned this, it's a good opportunity to mention our uservoice site –windowsphone.uservoice.com. The team uses this site A TON to help structure and prioritize feedback on what customers want to see in the product. yes, I read it myself and I FREQUENTLY send links to people on the team when I need help winning an argument. One of my favorite stories from a previous release about how we use uservoice was how you can now configure the button in the browser addressbar to do what you want – e.g. favorites or tabs. Everyone who voted on that feature, THANK YOU for making your voice heard.
    [Q]Just going to quickly ask here, over the last 24h we've seen 4-5 threads regarding an official snapchat client since their big update this week. Is the Snapchat people someone you guys are talking with?

    [A] Yep, talking
    [Q} Hey Joe, how do you manage to have such awesome hair? Thanks!

    [A]Fortunately, it's not more than shampoo, conditioner, towel dry. Low maintenance. Well... except for this... http://i.imgur.com/QegcOvb.gif
    [Q] I've been a user of Zune Pass for more than 4 years now and each year it gets harder to support due to the switch over to Xbox Music. Are there any plans to give Xbox Music the love and support needed to bring it back to par to what Zune was capable of even before the advent of the Windows Phone 7? I really feel Zune/Xbox Music could be a strong point for the phone OS but as it sits now, it deters potential users. Thanks for your time to do this AMA.

    [A] Music is a good topic for this AMA.. lots of interest!

    There's a balancing act we're trying to effectively walk here... (1) we have a super-valuable audience of subscribers who've been with us since Zune, and who value subscription, etc... and at the same time (2) we're selling the significant volume of phones to people who are NOT Xbox Music (Zune) subscribers and (based on needing to pay a monthly fee) aren't likely to become subscribers. They use music "simply".

    SO ... we're trying to build an experience that runs cross device on your PC, your Xbox, your Phone-- in a service-oriented way (think: cloud collection)... but simultaneously work for the hordes of people who manually sync content using the shell or itunes. Getting both of these right has been challenging.

    We moved away from the PC Zune client in the interest of serving the broadest phone-buying audience in the way they already knew. We learned that many people who ALREADY USED itunes or the shell viewed learning a new Zune client as a "speedbump" in the way of getting going on a new phone. So, we changed the structure to appeal better to those people.

    The new experience in WP8.1 Dev Preview will get us to one system that works GREAT for "ordinary sideloaders" (it works with the Windows Shell) AND for people who use multiple devices and are more "cloud-oriented". it's re-architected to handle both of these well-- and in particular we're shipping it as an app on the phone and have committed to regular updates which will make a BIG difference over the next few months. You've seen one already and more are on the way.

    Upcoming in the app: you'll see perf improvements (we hear you!), better stability, UI improvements (some of you have been asking for a "swipe" to change tracks), etc. etc. Do take a "months" time view of this, as there's plenty of stuff in the pipeline.
    [Q]Hi! Are there any plan that WIndows team will bring ALL the basic apps to Windows Phone such as Alarm and Sound Recorder anytime soon?

    [A]We'll do more ourselves-- but while WE are always working on various apps, I would also encourage you to work with the /r/windowsphone subreddit because I know there are devs on here who are looking for ideas of what apps to build. We love seeing the community add-value here too!
    [Q] What is the most outlandish/futuristic idea you guys have ever wanted to implement, but technology is a limiting factor?

    [A]Well, speaking for what I PERSONALLY would most like us to implement... a small phone that will fit in my small pockets.. but that has HUGE screen size. Maybe like this... http://gifsoup.com/view/3168675/laia-hologram.html.
    [Q]HUGE fan, glad to have an AMA from you. I have a few.. fairly standard questions about Windows Phone 8.1 and possibly future changes.
    • Does your team realise the downside of limiting Cortana to the US for the beta? Primarily, right now everyone around the world who wants Cortana has tweaked their region settings and enabled Cortana. This means that Cortana is receiving English, non-US language data from the UK, Australia and India and storing it into the US data. Wouldn't it be better to release to all English countries NOW, to start building up those collections? Even now, Cortana understands my Australian accent just fine.
    • Why is the Settings screen still an unordered mess, in 8.1? I care more about Storage Sense than I do Kids Corner (which I do not have a use for, as a 19 year old). Categories and groups would be a good start, then an alphabetic list within that, and a "frequently used" at the top. The list will just keep getting longer, lets clean it up now! I'm sure this is planned further down the road, but it's a fairly simple thing to implement, so why not now?
    • Why is the local phone search via the Search button dependant on an internet connection? If I have mobile data and WiFi turned off, why can I not do a quick local file, setting or email search? It simply sits there trying to connect to something that doesn't exist. I find this very strange.
    • Why is the touch target for closing the action center so small? It's very easy to miss, and it should be a "aim roughly in the right direction and get it" sort of thing. Maybe an upwards swipe would suit too, from anywhere on the screen.
    • When will the Store search have any kind of filtering? If I want to find other apps by an author, rather than searching for their name I have to go to an app they've made and click the 'More by..' - or what if I want to see what "audiobook" apps have been updated/released within the past 7 days?
    • Why is there still no native DLNA functionality that works similarly to bluetooth media?
    • Why is there no compatibility mode for IE11 Mobile? https://mydesktop.rmit.edu.au/vpn/index.html is a perfect example of a page that is LITERALLY not functional on IE11 but works in compatibility mode on Windows 8.
    • What is the logic behind limiting the 8.1 Games hub for non-US users to not include ANY Xbox functionality? How soon can we see Xbox functionality expanding to other countries again? Ignore, fixed in a recent update.

    Other than the above mentioned points, I love love love Windows Phone 8.1 and can't wait to see whatever additions come with the upcoming firmware updates and tweaks.

    [A]Wow! Lots here to answer – I’m going fast, and will take a stab at a few of these
    1.Cortana in other countries: We’re definitely working to bring Cortana to other countries. She tells us she’d like to travel. We've already announced that when we launch V1 after Beta, we'll be in China and the UK as well as the US. We're also hoping to get other english-speaking countries (eg. Canada, Australia) out relatively quickly as well. The challenge in doing this is we want the Cortana experience to be EXCELLENT for everyone -– and this involves not ONLY delivering great voice recognition for all the different languages, but also making sure that we have a great regional experience with local content so she doesn’t feel like an American!
    In the meantime, we're thrilled that people are trying it out in other countries and we use that data to train the system. It's helpful to get accents and hear other queries, and we can detect WHERE these are coming from to help improve the experience later.

    1. SETTINGS SCREEN. Yeah, I agree this could be better -- it's something we intend to address in the future. For now, we’ve tried to organize it by the most frequently used setting. But we realize that's tricky because people are SO DIFFERENT in what they care most about. Action Center's configurable buttons helps with that-- and btw, we hear many of you asking for extra buttons (eg. cel on/off) in Action Center and I'm optimistic we'll be able to oblige... but no promises here.
    2.PHONE SEARCH WHILE OFFLINE: Although we do always put you in the ‘web’ pivot when you do a search, you can swipe over to see results from your phone – even when you are offline.
    3.DISMISSING ACTION CENTER: Hadn’t heard this issue below… as a tip, you can also hit the back button to close the action center.
    4.STORE SEARCH & OTHER: Good feedback.. we’re always thinking about new ways to make our apps more discoverable and generally add the things people are asking for most.
    [Q]Hi Mr joe...is there any plans for file managers on WP?

    [A]WOO HOO! SOMEONE ASKED THIS QUESTION!! I've been waiting! in fact, I've avoided tweeting on this very topic just for all you redditors. Seriously. In fact-- you GET A CORTANA T-SHIRT FOR ASKING!! :) (PM me your size and we'll get it to you.) *** YES *** We are doing a File Manager for WP8.1! I know a LOT of you are looking for this (thanks for the tweets, I've read them all). In fact, I've been running a build of it on two of my phones for the last week or so and it's getting to pretty good shape.

    Here's what it looks like: http://imgur.com/a/hvqGD#nRuOFXp

    We are expecting to get it into the store HOPEFULLY by the end of May.
    [Q] Hi Joe! Are there any "easter egg" on Win 8.1 that most people don't know?

    [A]Hmm.. easter eggs.. related to an AMA... maye you should ask Cortana if SHE'D ever do an AMA. Here's what she told me... http://imgur.com/2WpVGfm
    [Q] Look at the Zune hub. ONE app for music, video, radio, podcasts, audiobooks, store. On the PC: ONE app for music, video, podcasts, audiobooks, store, apps, synch. Now, several apps with far fewer features. I have sincerely stopped listening to music on the phone due to X-Box Music. Its matching makes me unable to trust that the song it says it's playing is really that song. Zune never did this.

    [A]Let's talk Radio first... FM Radio wasn't in the initial launch of 8.0 because it wasn't finished when we made the base-level OS change to the Windows NT core... so it came in the first update. From your POV as a WP7.5 user, it "disappeared" (yes) and then came back. From our POV, we swapped out the kernel and didn't finish this part of the work for a few months. This aspect is one of the tougher parts about software development, we sometimes have to make tradeoffs in terms of features and time as a result of technical change that has benefits that are WAY less visible to users.

    Let’s take the social integration in 8.1 as another good example of tradeoffs that some of you don't see without an explanation. When we had facebook and other SNs deeply integrated into the OS code, it was very challenging (and we got a LOT of feedback from customers about this) on two counts (1) because we were missing a number of desired features –- like being able to "Like" a photo and (2) because it limited our ability to do great international support for the key social networks around the world. As you've seen on other questions here, when we end up doing something that doesn’t work worldwide, that causes users pain too. There’s an old phrase that’s been used at Microsoft for a long time about how creating big software projects is like ordering pizza for a million people.. and there’s a lot of truth to that.

    So after a few releases of getting feedback that people LOVE the UX being integrated but are frustrated by the limitations… we decided to go with the app-powered model for social integration in 8.1. This approach empowers the individual services as well as individual devs. Now new social networks can be added at ANY TIME via an app update, and thus a lot of people around the world will get a feature they've missed entirely. Furthermore, by linking to the app, we have a mechanism for "deep users" to get access to "deeper features" in a nice, natural way.

    I’m not saying we got it perfect out of the gate – but there are real advantages to the app-powered model in the long run. Besides what I mentioned above, it will get better over time as the apps get updated. For example I mentioned in another reply that we’re working with facebook on an update to the fb app that improves perf, and that’s in turn going to make the social integration experience better. We’re working with others developers on this too. I would encourage ALL developers to look at this integration as an opportunity – and work with us together to make it better. Give us feedback, write integrated apps, use integrated apps, give developers feedback, etc etc etc. Let’s make it happen together.

    On PHOTO HUB ... we changed the design because we got actual telemetry data on what people ACTUALLY CLICKED. By far, the most clicks when people opened Photo Hub were to go to the camera roll -- and only .5% of clicks were to a 3rd party app. The re-design in WP8.1 addresses this, putting the FREQUENT task right up front and making the other tasks generally available but in a different place. Here's a screenshot of the usage data from the WP7.5 pictures hub so you can see firsthand:http://i.imgur.com/wD5bFeD.jpg
    [Q]Hello Joe, I would like to know. How are you working with other division (office, onedrive, xbox team and so on) on their hub/application on Windows Phone?

    [A]We spend a TON of time with people from other divisions. i have regular 1-1 meetings with my counterparts in Office, Skype, Xbox. Our teams have a standing process at every milestone for jointly reviewing our work, and we use each others products deeply.

    The environment at Microsoft has been great for us to get better and better at this.. and although we sure have room to improve, it's a place that I think has become a strength.
    [Q]Windows Phone is so awesome, but the carriers in Canada make it hard to be a fan here. Rogers tried to talk me out of buying my 920 and made it really hard to get it off contract. Will Microsoft please start selling Lumia Windows Phones unlocked on their online store? Apple and Google both give us this option. Microsoft needs to step up their game here. I have a co-worker right now who wants a 1520 and can't get it here. I'll be looking to replace my 920 soon as well. Thanks and keep up the awesome work!

    [A]Let's take this in parts:
    Carrier Exclusive phones...in the US and Canada, the carriers value having exclusive phones because they are reasonably looking for any angle to get people to sign up for a long term contract. They are really selling contracts, and their method is to attract with a phone that they promote aggressively. As part of this model, they expect to and DO spend a LOT of money on marketing. When their business works this way, it's very hard for a hw maker to NOT participate because you'd be competing against the money that the carriers themselves would spend on marketing and against the work they'd do to sell other phones against yours in their stores.

    We understand this creates a dilemma for end-users... you want to buy a phone but it's not on the carrier you're already signed up with. Well, that's precisely the effect the carriers are trying to create, they want you to switch. :)

    In the higher-volume ecosystems, you have seen this dynamic change... iPhones and Samsung phones are typically the same device across carriers. I expect as WP usage grows and along with that as broader end-user demand begins to ALREADY EXIST in the market, the need for carriers to spend money educating people will diminish and the phones are likely to be more broadly available.

    SO .. in the meantime... try expansys.com or zones.com to buy unlocked phones. :)
    [Q]Hi Mr. Belfiore,
    Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. I switched to windows phone because I thought Microsoft was the only one who looked at the mobile smartphone space and said, “these touchscreen devices are interacted with in different ways and should get an updated GUI specifically made for that”. This is in stark contrast to iOS and Android which strangely resemble windows 3.1. Now for the questions:

    1.The way windows phone currently “multitasks” is inelegant and quite frankly, bad. (apologies if my terminology is not 100% accurate) My main complaint with it stems from the fact that is incapable of realizing apps are tombstoned and instead re-launches them. This leads to things like 3 or 4 instances of the same messaging conversation being tombstoned (which pushes out other apps). Or other things like opening here maps, returning to the homescreen, clicking on here maps and waiting for the app to completely reload from scratch. This makes no sense. Are there any plans to change this? Even an option like “Apps launch to their open state” would be a great improvement. (baconit is the only app that has this as an option.)
    2.Why does every new version of your OS remove features that work? The classic example of this is the music player from wp7 -> 8 but even in the 8.1 update you changed the cursor behavior from something that was slowish and worked great to something that is fast and works only ok. Why not add the new cursor functionality AND leave in the hold cursor for the extra precision? Are there plans to add the old cursor functionality back in?
    3.Why do first party apps have ads? Apple would never, ever do this. If you are trying to create value for your ecosystem, creating apps that generate revenue for you at the annoyance of your users is pretty short sighted. Can you imagine the original solitaire and minesweeper featuring ads? These apps also heat up my phone and drain the battery. Any plans to remove ads from first party apps?
    4.Is a feature like Open with… coming to WP8?
    5.Entering groups currently features live tiles that aren’t easily read and thus return a poor user experience. Is a feature like Tile view, list view, thumbnail view coming to WP8?
    6.Why is cortana completely useless without location turned on? Surely she doesn’t need to know my location to set an alarm or play music. Are you using the selling of my location metadata to fund the cortana servers?
    7.Why is Bing maps still secretly included on the phone? Very bad user experience to use one map program (here) 90% of the time and then other times have another mapping system with a UI I am not used to randomly pop up. Any plans to make the mapping experience consistent, or at least dictated by the user?

    Thanks for your time. I typed this up very quickly so apologies for grammar mistakes.

    [A]Lot of good stuff here-- I'm just gonna grab a couple:
    Multitasking. This is the classic "balance-striking" design challenge. What we've tried to do here is (1) make sure that REGULAR USERS (think: less sophisticated, don't tweak their phones that much) get GREAT AND PREDICTABLE BATTERY LIFE while (2) Apps can do powerful things for everyone (and especially for power users).

    The biggest killer of battery life is typically an app that's got some kind of runaway process. usually this would be a bug if it happens-- and it could happen in any app. Thus to accomplish (1), you restrict apps to "runaway" and try to do as much on their behalf as you can.

    Now, with that as background, know that we've GREATLY EXPANDED the multitasking features in apps with every release, and we'll continue to do that. As app developers are doing more stuff and as we learn about the gaps in our system, we try to enhance. I can appreciate you folks-- generally power users-- hitting the limits of this approach and asking for more.. and we hear you.

    On your TOMBSTONING question-- honestly I can't answer that myself, but I'll pass it on. When we switched the activation model, we chose to make the APP decide so the APP could be sure to effectively manage its own activation. Our intent is that users get apps with "instant resume", but this is a case where we have to trust the ISV to get things right-- kind of like the general topic above.

    One other Q: "Why is cortana completely useless without location turned on?"
    It comes down to this: we want to provide a COMPLETE EXPERIENCE for Cortana, and we want that complete experience to be PREDICTABLY present and not vary too much. If you hear about something she does, we want it to be true on YOUR PHONE, in YOUR COUNTRY.

    Cortana builds rich inferences by rationalizing across lots of different signals and content that you give her permission to access. For instance, by having access to your location, within a few days Cortana figures out where you live and where you work and starts giving you commute inferences based on when you leave to go to work or come home from work. Without location a bunch of the important end-to-end scenarios wouldn't work or key questions couldn't be answered-- eg. what’s the traffic like to home/work, remind me when I get at a location to do something, show me great Caribbean restaurants in Seattle, etc.

    Our current view is that without location Cortana would "feel limited" and we don’t want to create a fragmented experience where some things will work and some things won’t depending on whether you give us access to location. Part of this is that she's entirely new and we want her to develop a GREAT reputation, compared favorably to the competition. Over time, we might make her more flexible so that we can accomplish BREADTH.. but right now the focus is on consistent quality.

    ONE MORE THING -- today we are announcing CORTANA.USERVOICE.COM where we're eagerly waiting to hear more feedback on what you'd like us to teach Cortana in the future.
    [Q]Thanks for doing an AMA.
    1.MS has done quite a good job in bringing apps to the platform but I feel like after the initial launch most of these apps are never being updated to match their iOS/ Android counterparts. Flickr, Trip Advisor haven’t had an update in years. Is MS doing anything about devs ‘ditching’ their apps after the initial launch ?
    2.Apps that are owned by MS are lacking in features when compared to their other platform counterparts (Skype, Facebook). Every time i open the Skype app, I get a Resuming/Loading screen for 4-6seconds. What is MS doing to improve the quality of the existing apps ? Honestly, I’m getting tired of hearing the ‘wait for the update’ mantra. By the time Skype/Facebook apps get updated, their ios/android apps will be two steps ahead of the game and we have to wait another ~6mos to catch up with them and this cycle continues.
    3.You may not answer this but just asking, Is Facebook developing the next Facebook app for Windows Phone :)
    Thanks again for doing this. You guys did an awesome job with WP 8.1. Hope it continues.

    [A]I mentioned in another thread that there's a Skype update for WP8.1 under development right now, and one of the things they've focused on is exactly this kind of perf. I think it's the case that this include fast-resume, but I'm not certain of this.

    In general-- this is the kind of thing that the ISVs are adding and you're going to see this improve as developers update their apps. Keep in mind that the ISVs typically target their work towards the installed base-- so often the NEWEST platforms get taken-advantage-of a little bit slowly as there aren't as many users just yet.
    [Q]Does it pain you every time Hawaii 5-0 breaks a Windows Phone on the show?
    But on a more related question, how can Windows Phone be faster? I hate to envy iPhone owners with their near instantaneous app opening/resume times. The transitions and loading makes it seem slower even though it probably isn't by that much.

    [A]Actually, no, especially in cases like this: http://www.windowscentral.com/police...one-his-pocket Our hats off to all who Protect and Serve.

    Now... on your question about performance... there are a couple of things at play:
    1) The MAIN thing that will affect this perception is whether the apps you use have implemented "Fast Resume". This was a new thing in WP8 (I think -- can't remember if that was the release we added it in) and an ISV has to "flag" their app to support it. This might involve testing and in a few apps it involves more work than just testing. SO ... ping the ISVs if you're feeling that apps come up slow. MOST PEOPLE don't say this.

    2) A lot of people ask about TRANSITIONS and they assume the transitions "add time" to getting to the app. We've worked hard to make that NOT THE CASE. What we've done is made the transitions happen "while the app is loading" so they give you something to see that fills the time but does NOT slow it down. (OK, maybe a tiny, imperceptible bit.) We would NOT NOT NOT gratuitously make millions of people wait longer to show a turnstile.. we show you the turnstile while you'd be waiting anyway.
    Last edited by Muessig; 05-02-2014 at 02:14 PM.
    05-02-2014 12:27 PM
  2. Ezhik's Avatar
    Is it really a wise idea to bury discussion of multiple new announcements in one thread?
    05-02-2014 01:55 PM
  3. Akhilesh Bhambhani's Avatar
    What changes are expected in new polished version on wp8.1?
    We're only talking about bug fixes right?
    05-02-2014 02:03 PM
  4. Muessig's Avatar
    What changes are expected in new polished version on wp8.1?We're only talking about bug fixes right?
    This is what Joe said:

    Developer preview is NOT final.. there's client-side software fixes we're still making, when UPDATES go out to existing phones they will come with "BSP" (low-level phone firmware) updates from the OEMs... and the Services (cortana) are continuallyl getting improved. SO.. when you get an official update or buy a new phone, it'll be more polished than what you folks have now.
    So we're not talking new features but customisations for your region, carrier and phone to make it run smoother as well as bug fixes.
    WinSammie and Guytronic like this.
    05-02-2014 02:10 PM
  5. mtalinm's Avatar
    discouraging that they are focusing efforts on a file manager, which will be used by only a very small minority of winphone users.

    including me - i love it, but seems like a bad business decision. should focus on mass-market stuff.
    nikolas88 likes this.
    05-02-2014 02:50 PM
  6. Xpider_MX's Avatar
    And I hope some people stop saying that the Preview is "the final" WP8.1, Joe Belfiore was clear, it is not the final thing.
    05-02-2014 04:21 PM
  7. vlad0's Avatar
    discouraging that they are focusing efforts on a file manager, which will be used by only a very small minority of winphone users.

    including me - i love it, but seems like a bad business decision. should focus on mass-market stuff.
    Plenty of demand for that.. every user coming from Symbian/Android would greatly appreciate having a file manager.
    anon(8657436) and badcat like this.
    05-02-2014 04:33 PM
  8. thelorenzzo's Avatar
    If you look closely at the File Manager screenshots you'll notice Cortana in the top-right corner. That's so awesome! One month ago we didn't even have a file manager. Now we've got a few of these and a voice-controlled one seems to be coming next month. Couldn't be happier :D
    05-02-2014 06:38 PM
  9. Xpider_MX's Avatar
    I don't think it is Cortana, I think it is an icon for send feedback

    Similar to SmartGlass beta.


    Sent from my Lumia 920 with WP8.1 using Tapatalk
    manicottiK likes this.
    05-02-2014 08:06 PM
  10. mtalinm's Avatar
    Plenty of demand for that.. every user coming from Symbian/Android would greatly appreciate having a file manager.
    I don't agree. Android has 80% worldwide marketshare. I highly doubt that many millions of people all use the file manager.
    05-02-2014 08:34 PM
  11. Bernard Ofori's Avatar
    I don't agree. Android has 80% worldwide marketshare. I highly doubt that many millions of people all use the file manager.
    there is nothing wrong with having file manger available. if you wont use it, i will make use of it. everybody has their own needs from a smart phone.
    A895, rdubmu, Mahdi Ghiasi and 1 others like this.
    05-03-2014 01:08 AM
  12. Zeem Frostmaw's Avatar
    discouraging that they are focusing efforts on a file manager, which will be used by only a very small minority of winphone users.
    Yeah, keep telling yourself that. Meanwhile, in the real world, the File Manager is the most requested new feature for the platform by a large margin;

    Feature Suggestions: Top (51174 ideas) – Feature Suggestions for Windows Phone
    05-03-2014 11:44 AM
  13. Paolo Cardelli's Avatar
    And I hope some people stop saying that the Preview is "the final" WP8.1, Joe Belfiore was clear, it is not the final thing.
    It's the final thing only from MSFT side (RTM build, the same already sent to OEMs too), but it misses OEM firmware/drivers personalization/optimizations that will make it run faster, smoother and more stable.

    So, no: the DP is not the same thing you will have when buying a Lumia 930, or will download this summer when it will be officially available.
    But yes: the DP is part of it, and if you install it on your phone you will smoothly get the second OEM part when available on top of it, and so having the same exact software as others when available.
    For these reasons, no: the DP is NOT the Final Package, but at the same time is NOT a Beta, it only misses some regular updates.

    Now, please, don't ask again
    Last edited by Paolo Cardelli; 05-03-2014 at 12:17 PM.
    05-03-2014 12:06 PM
  14. Kaushik Dash's Avatar
    Not beta, but still not the final from Microsoft. Joe clearly said that, "there's client side software fixes we are still making" that means that along with firmware update, there will be a is update as well.
    05-03-2014 12:22 PM
  15. Reflexx's Avatar
    I wasn't really satisfied with his answer that WP wasn't being treated as a second-class citizen. He pretty much denied that; but Skype is still lagging behind other platforms. If this was only happening for a short time it would be understandable. But this problem has been around for quite a while.
    Jupast and bambusbieger like this.
    05-03-2014 01:26 PM
  16. Paolo Cardelli's Avatar
    Not beta, but still not the final from Microsoft. Joe clearly said that, "there's client side software fixes we are still making" that means that along with firmware update, there will be a is update as well.
    He said fixes will be integrated within OEM firmwares (and updated Apps and backend Services like Cortana too), confirming that the Core OS itself is done, and that DP is not a Beta, but only a finished part of the entire Update Package not already released (DP now + OEM/Carriers Bundles later).

    So everything will install on top of the DP smoothly, since the DP is same as Release 8.1 Core OS.
    If you want WP8.1 early, just stick with DP and keep signed with this type of update/upgrade process (he even smiled about this long awaited "dev" program).
    05-03-2014 02:17 PM
  17. Kaushik Dash's Avatar
    When you get a OEM firmware update it says "Nokia Lumia Black Firmware" and if you haven't installed developer preview it will also show a OS update to <version number>.

    What I expect is another slight bump in OS version (meaning update to the OS itself, bugfixes and perfomance improvements) and "Nokia Lumia Cyan Firmware" update.

    Microsoft doesn't do firmware updates, they just give the OS updates. Joe said that they are already working on improving 8.1 which they will roll out with with the firmware of respective devices, it won't be integrated with firmware, but will come with the firmware.
    05-03-2014 02:56 PM
  18. Xpider_MX's Avatar
    He said fixes will be integrated within OEM firmwares (and updated Apps and backend Services like Cortana too), confirming that the Core OS itself is done, and that DP is not a Beta, but only a finished part of the entire Update Package not already released (DP now + OEM/Carriers Bundles later).
    Not a beta, I agree, but not the "final thing" like some people said. Some people really think that what we will getting in June will be exactly the same than Developer Preview, with bugs and issues, and it is not true.

    So everything will install on top of the DP smoothly, since the DP is same as Release 8.1 Core OS.
    I'm not sure, I guess you are wrong, we know (thanks to WPCentral news) that MS is preparing an update (before launch) for bug-fixing.

    That's why I'm saying people must stop talking about "it is final" and so.
    05-03-2014 11:32 PM
  19. patrickg25's Avatar
    Good points. Anyway, from what I read from some source the WP 8.2/ WP 9 (I guess) is coming this year, December, or probably the first months of 2015. They say MS aims to give update twice a year, so I think it's a good thing that after the WP 8.1 we'll have another update, (I hope it's UI changes). So whatever is final, is actually not. Updates are coming and coming!!
    Xpider_MX likes this.
    05-03-2014 11:43 PM
  20. Xpider_MX's Avatar
    Good points. Anyway, from what I read from some source the WP 8.2/ WP 9 (I guess) is coming this year, December, or probably the first months of 2015. They say MS aims to give update twice a year, so I think it's a good thing that after the WP 8.1 we'll have another update, (I hope it's UI changes). So whatever is final, is actually not. Updates are coming and coming!!
    I guess it will be "Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1", just like Windows 8.1, and it is supposed to be released on October.
    05-03-2014 11:46 PM
  21. patrickg25's Avatar
    I guess it will be "Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1", just like Windows 8.1, and it is supposed to be released on October.
    I read it here (well it's a rumor) and the Metro UI start screen might probably be gone.
    http://www.techradar.com/news/softwa...hone-9-1092322
    05-03-2014 11:51 PM
  22. Xpider_MX's Avatar
    I read it here (well it's a rumor) and the Metro UI start screen might probably be gone.
    Windows Phone 9 release date, news and rumors | News | TechRadar
    I don't think so, Modern UI (the real name for Metro UI) will not disappear, it will be better.
    05-04-2014 01:12 AM
  23. patrickg25's Avatar
    I don't think so, Modern UI (the real name for Metro UI) will not disappear, it will be better.
    Yeah, I hope they have interactive tiles where you can control apps. Ex: Pause play or next for the xbox music tile. Much more like widgets
    05-04-2014 04:12 AM
  24. Kaushik Dash's Avatar
    Good points. Anyway, from what I read from some source the WP 8.2/ WP 9 (I guess) is coming this year, December, or probably the first months of 2015. They say MS aims to give update twice a year, so I think it's a good thing that after the WP 8.1 we'll have another update, (I hope it's UI changes). So whatever is final, is actually not. Updates are coming and coming!!
    The alleged WP9 will probably be announced with W9 (Threshold). It is rumoured that RT and Phone will merge, leaving only two operating system, Windows Phone and Windows (which will both be partially integrated as well).
    The threshold update is said to be in Q1/Q2 2015.

    I read it here (well it's a rumor) and the Metro UI start screen might probably be gone.
    Windows Phone 9 release date, news and rumors | News | TechRadar
    It has already been cleared, Modern UI is staying but on desktop we will apparently get an option for the Aero Design.
    05-04-2014 05:20 AM
  25. mtalinm's Avatar
    Yeah, keep telling yourself that. Meanwhile, in the real world, the File Manager is the most requested new feature for the platform by a large margin;

    Feature Suggestions: Top (51174 ideas) €“ Feature Suggestions for Windows Phone
    think about who is filling out this survey. techies not mass market. it's a bad prioritization but MSFT does this all the time, trying to make everybody happy. that's why they will stay in single-digit marketshare for years (I'm saying this as a fan)
    05-04-2014 08:28 AM
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