Windows Phone – Notifications & Companion Devices

Hello again! It sure has been a while since I last posted but I am now going to get back into the swing of things, to start things off here are some thoughts I have had in regards to notifications and companion devices on the windows phone platform (A cross post from a forum post I made on the verge that can be found here: http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/15/3991692/windows-phone-notifications) .

Thoughts …

People say that Windows Phone lacks a notifications centre. This isn’t totally true there is a notifications area within Windows Phone here it is from my phone:

image

What is lacking is that the application notifications are missing. These notifications are the toast notifications that can be pushed to your phone by an external service or raised by one of the background services running on the phone (don’t get me started on those).

I admit this is a little hidden and maybe could do with an easier route UX wise. But IMHO all that is required is that this list is added to when a notification is raised. It’s the simplicity of this that confuses me when Microsoft say they couldn’t get this into WP8 before release.

One area that I see related to this and something that the people at MS need to act upon very quickly stems from a whole new device type that is gaining some traction and rising consumer expectation. That is wearable tech like the Pebble smart watch and others:

http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/28/3925364/pebble-smartwatch-video-review

Others:
http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/8/3852340/cookoo-smartwatch-hands-on-pictures http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/10/2697038/im-watch-hands-on-pictures

If you do a search on the WindowsPhone user voice site for Pebble you will see 5 existing suggestions with about 600 votes for support:

http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions?query=pebble

Not a great number I know but how many people do you know that use the User Voice site ;)

All of this adds up to the need to be able to push the notifications including the number of unread emails, TXTS etc. out from the device onto an external display via a third party service. Something that the sandboxed environment that developers are provided with just does not allow.

Another problem is that the background tasks that the API provides are now allowed to run as regularly as is required or a task like keeping a companion device updated.

The way I see it is that the API requires a new app capability that is associated with a request for access to the user to allow the application to gain access to the notifications and read information like email, texts and calls (calendar and contacts are already a feature).

This will also require an event based hook so then an application can register to be notified when a relevant phone based event happens rather than having to run an agent in the background.

All lot of work to be done please MS please make it so!

UPDATE: There is a new kid on the block that should make things easer for app developers. Check out the Agent smart watch :)

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