Tag Archives: Microsoft

Outlook.com –> Google –> Inbox

24 Oct

However Google wants to package it, to any Outlook.com user it should be fairly obvious Google’s Inbox is an answer to Microsoft’s oft lauded, newly rebuilt webmail. Both share some very good quality, namely some level of automation, control over said automation, and a far cleaner interface than what they respectively replaces.

But I could not help but notice something in Google’s behavior concerning Inbox. Google could be called “The Internet Company”, so I find it pretty weird that they rolled out Inbox in an invitation only method. While Google has more than once used invitation in past, I would have imagined they have moved past it, specially that invitation is often associated with limited backend capability, such for Ello, or in case of hardware, OnePlus One. Add to the fact that, when Microsoft launched Outlook.com, all  I had to do was go to Outlook.com.

Second thing I find weird is that even when I got my invitation, I had to activate by logging into Inbox app, specially when the app is not available on Windows Phone. Hmm. Google might try its hardest, but Windows Phone or soon just Windows, is here to stay. So making it hard for Windows Phone users such as myself is pretty pathetic.

Last but not least, Inbox’s web interface is only available on Chrome. Come on! That’s just sad. The open standard loving Google is nowhere to be found nowadays.

I like Inbox, I really do. I am unlikely to switch as it does not seem to offer anything Outlook.com does not, but Gmail users should be happy. I just wish Google would stop taking potshots like I mentioned.

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To Universal App or Not

30 Jun

Windows Phone 8.1 brings a host of improvements. Most notable and consumer facing among them are the Action Center, Cortana, improved start screen, all the Senses etc. But the feature that might end up being the most useful to the users without them even knowing is the introduction of Universal Apps, the compile once and run on all devices apps. Since its introduction, there have been a lot faster app additions to both Windows and Windows Phone store. Previously you’d have to wait for developer to do both separately, if ever; but now cool apps from Windows store appear on Windows Phone store simultaneously, and vice-versa.

So what’s not to like?

The problem with Universal Apps are a bit low level. Literally. While they make great sense for indie developers and even bigger publishers to take advantage of it to maximize their usage of resource allocation, Universal apps are all managed code apps, and will always be slower than their native cousins. Improvements to platform itself will keep bringing down the performance hit associated with managed code, but a gap will remain. So while these apps are very good, and even desirable in cases like TV apps and the likes, if an app requires maximum performance possible, developer probably should stick to native apps.

Especially if the developer is Microsoft itself.

It’s downright depressing to see a loading screen on a first party app. I don’t want to see a loading screen on my music app. Ever. Not a resuming screen either for that matter. I don’t want to see those screen on my podcast app, on my videos app. These are core functionality app, and people try them, a lot. If a platform loyalist like me is outraged by it, think how someone trying it in a store would feel! An iPhone or top end Android devices will be there to rescue from the terror that is loading screen. That cannot be too great for the already tiny Windows Phone market share.

So dear Microsoft, you have the resources. Please use it to kill those loading screens. Universal apps are great, and should help Windows Phone a lot in coming days. But don’t use it on places where it will bring more harm instead. There are places for it, first party pre-installed apps is not among them.

Devil Is In The Details

22 Apr

There have already been plenty of reviews of Windows Phone 8.1. This is obviously not a review. Just a list of details, major or minor, only doable by someone who regularly uses the OS.

Good:

  • Keyboard now suggests/offers emoticons!
  • Updated boot animation is good.
  • Updated icon for outlook account and exchange.
  • Parallax implementation is good.
  • Does call grouping in call history.
  • Map nicely integrates POI from Foursquare. More important stuff appears first when zooming in.
  • More tiles across the device spectrum.
  • Manual checking of app  updates.

Bad:

  • Xbox music sucks. SLOW.
  • Slower performance.
  • Podcast app has no browsing.
  • Outlook account is still called Hotmail.
  • Office apps not updates one bit.
  • Still no contact picture in call history.
  • Setting still a mess. No icons.
  • Transit direction is not using the transports’ (either of bus and train) names to denote them (NYC), only the direction.
  • No need to give that pop-up when I check for app updates.

Neutral and Time Needed:

  • Cortana sports integration is woefully incomplete.
  • Worsened battery performance.
  • Worsened memory management. IE is unloading tabs too frequently.

I want to see:

  • Cortana to have batch operations. (Turn off all alarms, Move all alarm forward by 3 hours, )
  • More options for Action Center quick actions.

These all may seem pretty small time stuff to a lot of people, but a lot of these small stuff can get in the way of a great experience. So here’s hoping someone is paying attention somewhere.

Laundry List for Windows

15 Oct

Microsoft has been enjoying an almost monopoly in enterprise and consumer computing for almost as long as personal computers has existed. But as Android and iOS gains popularity, Microsoft needed to take necessary measurements.

The Metro Modern design language is in my opinion Microsoft’s doorway to dominating next generation of computing. But as it stands, compared to the desktop environment, it is still woefully lacking. This post is intended to be a “laundry list” of tweaks I believe Microsoft needs to do on Windows for a improved user experience.

Windows Desktop

Add podcast support into Windows Media Player. OR Update Zune.

Desktop can get Metro Interface elements like this.

clip_image002_thumb1clip_image001_thumb1

Internet Explorer zoom settings should be independent of the Metro IE.

Desktop apps should be able to integrate with charms bar too. Do more than just screenshot share.

Continue reading

Microsoft’s Next Boss

2 Sep

On the wake of the news that Microsoft is acquiring Nokia, I believe its safe to bet that Stephen Elop is going to be appointed the next CEO of the software giant. He was already one of the most anticipated person, but him leaving Nokia to lead Microsoft would have left Microsoft in a bad strategic position. But now that Elop is back, with Nokia (as we knew) with him, everything falls into right places.

Laundry List for Windows

24 Jul

Microsoft has been enjoying an almost monopoly in enterprise and consumer computing for almost as long as personal computers has existed. But as Android and iOS gains popularity, Microsoft needed to take necessary measurements.

The Metro Modern design language is in my opinion Microsoft’s doorway to dominating next generation of computing. But as it stands, compared to the desktop environment, it is still woefully lacking. This post is intended to be a “laundry list” of tweaks I believe Microsoft needs to do on Windows for a improved user experience.

Windows Desktop

Add podcast support into Windows Media Player. OR Update Zune.

Desktop can get Metro Interface elements like this.

clip_image002clip_image001

Internet Explorer zoom settings should be independent of the Metro IE.

Desktop apps should be able to integrate with charms bar too. Do more than just screenshot share.

Continue reading

Modern Apps on One

24 May

It’s a self congratulatory post. Could not help!

Almost a year ago, exact date was June 23, 2012, I made a prediction in a post theorizing on Microsoft’s game plan that the next Xbox, now revealed as Xbox One, would run Metro Modern Apps. My exact words were,

“Last but definitely not least, Xbox. Xbox 3, Xbox 3D, Xbox Next, Xbox 720, Xbox 1080 or Xbox “put whatever you want” will run every metro app. This not an insider news, this is a prediction, one that I can say with utmost certainty. ”

It feels good to be right!