Microsoft Office Metro…. glorified metro opportunity for Microsoft

When Microsoft introduced Metro user interface with Zune HD we didnt know the potential it had. Fast forward to the birthday of Windows phone , the reboot of windows mobile now we can confidently say that this is the most intuitive and futuristic User interface that is very different from the competitors. Though Windows phone has yet to take some traction in the market the UI has been met with universal praise.

Microsoft and Nokia are aggressively on to the market with the introduction of Nokia Lumia series of devices which will hopefully make a dent in the market share of the competitors. Some columnists disregard the the future of windows phone 7 & Microkia but hey are these the columnists who did the same to XBOX!

As part of the unification of the design of all Microsoft platforms Windows, Windows Phone, XBOX Microsoft is going the Metro Way. When the Metro interface is met with universal praise for the touch devices Windows Phone & Windows 8 in the tablet form factor , the interface and the idea is met with a little skepticism for the Desktop, Laptop, Ultrabook form factors.

Another issue is with the capability of metro interface, Whether the design language is capable of giving us series applications like Photoshop, Microsoft Office suite ….

Microsoft once said the Metro interface is better suited for doing limiter tasks very effectively and easily than doing a lot of tasks in a mediocre way.

Microsoft has stripped away chrome from the design giving complete full screen space for the app to shine itself.

But can serious apps shine in this interface. To show the complete potential (If it has) then microsoft should put out Microsoft Office suite in Metro. We all saw a leaked screen shot of Microsoft Outlook in metro interface and that look fine. If microsoft can release complete Microsoft office in metro style that is almost fully capable as the desktop versio that we currently have then people will have much confidence in metro!!

Microsoft Office Metro…. glorified metro opportunity for Microsoft !!

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Nokia OS Series 40 is not symbian…

I am writing this blog post as i have read many misleading blog posts/ video reviews  by tech bloggers considering Nokia S40 or series 40 as symbian devices or calling them simply symbian series 40 which is absolutely wrong.

What is Series 30,40,60,80 & 90?

Series 40 :

Series 40  Software platform is the application user interface on Nokia’s mid tier feature phones & its Luxury Vertu line of devices.It is the worlds most widely used software platform.  Series 40 is based on “Nokia OS” or officially known as ISA ( Intelligent System Architecture ) Platform. Series 40 supports only programs based on Java ME (micro edition ). Series 40 is also much simpler than the S60 counterpart which is based on the multitasking “Symbian OS”.

Nokia 6300, a series 40 phone

Series 30 :

Series 30  Software platform is the application user interface on Nokia’s entry level / no frills phones. Though series 30 phones are being phased out as most of the entry level phones from nokia are Series 40 devices.

Nokia 1600, a series 30 device :

Series 60 :

Nokia Series 60 is the software platform that runs on the multitasking symbian os. Though created by nokia S60 was used by different oems like Samsung,sony,LG.. The symbian 3 including Anna & Belle are improvements over “Symbian Series 60” platform.

Series 60 ui screenshot :

Series 80 :

Do you remember the Nokia communicator line of devices. Yes it was Series 80 but for the devices in the communicator line prior to E90 (it was s60).

Nokia 9200 Communicator , a series 80 device:

Series 80 was a short-lived mobile software platform for enterprise and professional level mobile phones made by Nokia. It uses the Symbian OS. Common physical properties to this Symbian OS user interface type is a screen resolution of 640×200 pixels and a full QWERTY keyboard.

Series 90 :

With series 90 Nokia released its first touch screen device It was Nokia 7710. This is the only device with series 90 released by Nokia.

Windows Phone User Voice Feed Forward! (updated)

Update : As Many of the features i mentioned here where in fact added , in latest iteration of windows phone.

Microsoft opened Windows Phone User voice page at http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/ for users to give their feed forward so that Microsoft can accept ideas and improve windows phone Apollo / “Next” .

Here is the list of features that i believe should be baked into the Windows Phone code and will make it perfect for me.

1) Enable USB Storage : (Added in Windows Phone 8)

We should be able to use windows phone as a USB storage device. Just like the old “Use as a mass storage device mode” in Nokia phones. So we can use a pc to copy music,data and organize easily with file explorer.

2) A File Manager and a shared file system : (Still waiting for this)

Windows mobile had it, Windows phone  should have it.

The whole purpose of organizing the files in a folder structure is served only when we have a file manager in phone and a shared file system like we have on the desktop sibling.

3) Serious Multi tasking  like we saw in Nokia N9 

 Now this phone has the best multi tasking experience ever on a mobile device. As stephen elop said  this innovation should live on… hmmm may be in Windows phone.

4) Close button for running apps in Multitasking menu : 

Now apps are suspended and cannot be closed. We would like to have a close button for apps like we have in ios/Nokia n9 Meego in the multitasking menu.

5) Bluetooth file transfer : (Added in windows phone 8)

Okay we know that cloud is the future. But this does not necessarily remove the need for bluetooth file transfer that will enable users to transfer the files to not only smartphones but also to feature phones.

6) Skype integration : 

Now with MS Owning Skype. This is coming. A deep integration to the OS is what we need.

7) Sync directly with Outlook :

Okay cloud is the future. And we should have this. Syncing directly with outlook than through the cloud. If symbian can have it. Windows phone can have it.

8 ) Hot swappable Expansion Memory card : (Added in windows phone 8)

There should be OS support for hot swappable hot swappable Expansion Memory card.

9) Allow other browsers :

Let there be browser wars in the windows phone arena. Let them come up with plugins/addons and even with an alternate search engine…. Oops did i say it?..

10) Full support for portrait & landscape mode across the OS ! :

Like windows 8 a full support for portrait & landscape mode across the OS will increase productivity and will give the os a more “ergonomic feel”.

11) Add VPN Support :

If you are eager for consuming some market ground that RIM loses in the enterprise space VPN support will be an advantage for you.

12) NFC support : (Added in windows phone 8)

I know that is coming. And we need it. The near field communication!

13) Support for FM transmitter :

Okay this came from a nokia fan. FM transmitter is actually a cool feature to look out. Can i ask apple about this? Or may be they will give a transmitter without receiver hee hee…

14) Notifications Center:

A swipe to a page that give all the notification in one single page.

15) Control ringtone and media volume separately:

This has got to be there. Just consult with your windows 8 (desktop os , sorry 1 os for all form factors) team to know hot to do it.

16) Orientation lock :

I cannot believe how this is not there. A simple toggle that locks phone into landscape or portrait mode.

17)  Block calls and sms from specified numbers (blacklist):

These kind of seemingly undervalued “good” features baked into the os will trigger market response.

18)  More visibility to the OS file system:

okay, this is how you make power users happy. An in built tool that is more detailed than Nokia’s storage check, where we can drill down further to see what’s inside infamous “other storage section” , better storage management, ability to clear temp files completely.

19) Support for wider range of processors , let the spec war begin:

We know that window phone is efficient in resource management (except storage) and is fluid in limited hardware (okay benefits for battery consumption), but let the oems complete , at least some consumers do look at those numbers.

 

Windows 8 ….. How should it be?

This is based on my experience with Windows 8 developer preview. So listing out the shortcomings of an OS that is not even “half baked” is not fair! But when Windows 8 goes gold we want it fully baked we dont want another “mango” to fix everything!

I will list out the shortcomings

1) Metro apps need a close button –

Now we cannot close the  Metro apps we open , OS will do it for us by suspending it freeing the cpu/gpu but its still memory resident. If you open too many apps you will have a terrible time switching the apps to get the one you want ( you can Alt+tab if you have a keyboard). OS will terminate the suspended app when in need of memory and finds inactivity. But what if the user intends to have it running and os terminates that app. Now the only option to close an app is through the task manager which is not so friendly to the fat finger! Metro apps need close button!

2) A multitasking view of the metro apps –

A multitasking view of all running/suspended apps (see nokia N9’s multitasking interface for meego) will make app switching more easy , also give a clear perspective of the apps. Stephen Elop is still there he will give you the interface he he….

The multitasking view should also have close buttons for apps.

3) Improved Windows 7 start menu  & equal importance to traditional ui-

The traditional ui is equally important as the metro ui. Windows is the largest ecosystem for desktop/laptop form factors. App base that windows enjoying currently is the traditional apps. Metro is completely chromeless… But as jensen harris said applications like photoshop needs to have chrome .. There are many applications that fall into the same category. Many applications have a long history to tell,got refined through years of development just like you did with windows ! You/we are new in the metro scene & a refined awesomeness in traditional platform which is your strength. We may also need an app that do a bunch of mediocre things for the next 6 years atleast.

I believe  metro is not the future, “Metro/platform & Windows traditional ui/platform are the future” .

Giving equal importance to both. We should have an improved start menu of Windows 7 in windows 8. We should have a complete Metro experience and a complete traditional experience and not in between.Associate windows key with metro start screen. But when clicking start button should pull up the start menu (win 7 style). May be we can have another gui button in the desktop to take us back to metro like we have the desktop tile in metro ui.

It is always better to give best of both worlds. Remember the success of amd-64/x64 over IA-64 in the consumer space.

4) We need Ribbon UI but in office 2010 style –

 I am “for” the ribbon ui. But please make it visually appealing like Microsoft office 2010 suite, the 2007 look we have now seems dated.

5) Presence of  Apps in their respective interfaces –

Now we have the presence of traditional apps in the metro ui as it is getting pinned to the start screen. Let the metro apps stay in Metro and traditional in traditional.

6) Change but dont make the end users alienated –

” People resist change” . But for innovations, changes are inevitable. By making the end users traditional ui available in its entirety and metro ui in its entirety seems reasonable. When should they converge? Let the people get used to the metro. Let the store gets filled with 1 million metro apps. Then slowly converge. May be in windows 9!

I am not a developer and this is an end user perspective of a developer preview!


Pros :


1) Metro ui is so fluid,immersive.

2) Metro will bring forward apps that do few specific tasks than do a bunch of mediocre tasks,

3) Yes metro is the future

Where will nokia N9’s user interface go? to windows phone 7?

What nokia has achieved  in the UI for the nokia n9 meego is mind blowing. We can only say one thing “the best multitasking on a mobile device… ever”. But the sad part is the lack of ecosystem for the meego. There is a  lack of commitment to meego by nokia as it is committed to windows phone 7. Meego is becoming a platform for nokia to showcase its innovations.

My belief is that the swipe multitasking ui will find its way to windows phone! One thing that steven elop said is that the innovations that nokia has made in nokia n9 will live on ! Given the strong relationship between microsoft and nokia i feel that soon we will see this multitaking approach in Windows phone!

Is apple’s success favourable for windows 8

As we all know apple rose to its prime recently with iphone, ipad and  making those users successful salesmen and  also get the macbooks . Apple is still lingering with an extremely low market share in the desktop/laptop segment while windows enjoys a “lions” share. But coming to the tablet space Apple rules the segment. The current market condition is that there is no tablet market there is only ipad market.

 Apple as a company revolves around one great man “Steve Jobs”. Looking back to the history apple was going through a terrible time when steve jobs was not there under the leadership of Gil Amelio.

“Apple is like a ship with a hole in the bottom, leaking water, and my job is to get the ship pointed in the right direction” this is what Gil Amelio said about apple. And Steve Jobs had to fix the whole mess apple was in. He not only fixed it but made it one of the richest companies in the world with a huge fan following and was able to create a “class apart” aura to its products!

How this will create a favourable situation for windows 8?

 

Samsung,acer,lenovo, (android),Hp(webos) and many more tried their luck in tablet space but didnt go anywhere till date. When windows 8 comes which obviously will be the largest ecosystem in the planet all these companies will launch the biggest marketing campaign in the history. Apple has the advantage of being first in the market and microsoft has the advantage of being “late” in the market.

Facebook & skype a fair deal !

When Microsoft acquired skype i speculated (hmm not in the blogosphere but on the facebook wall) now we will see skype video in facebook!  I speculated Microsoft – Netfilx deal also and i am waiting for that. It is a fair deal for both facebook & microsoft. Microsoft is getting 750 + million ( 1 billion soon)  1/6th of the earth population to skype and facebook will be getting skype integration for free… The integration that would have costed them $8 billion…
Why i said this long before?
Mark usually take advices from Bill + Microsoft stake in facebook = facebook + skype
Reed Hastins relationship with microsoft + hastins is in the microsoft’s board + microsofts $42 billion in cash = Microsoft acquiring Netflix
So what is the future?
I believe that  Skype will unleash its full power in facebook soon with pc to phone (PSTN) inside facebook with integration with facebook phone book contacts and using facebook credits as recharges for skype.