Windows Phone 7: What will still be missing at the end of 2011?

In Steve Ballmer’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress yesterday, Microsoft outlined what’s coming to Windows Phone 7 in updates for the remainder of 2011. There’s some good stuff there: copy and paste will come along with some performance improvements in the first half of March, followed later in the year by some 3rd party multi-tasking, Twitter integration in the People Hub, enhanced support for SkyDrive in Office, and a mobile version of IE9, supporting HTML5 and utilising hardware accelleration via the GPU. It all sounds very positive, but what is still missing?

In fairness, they did say that this isn’t an exhaustive list of what they’re adding, so here are the slighlty less high-profile things that I’m hoping get added to the list:

  • Gapless music playback
  • Variable playback speed for audiobooks/podcasts without changing pitch
  • Over-the-air podcast support in the OS
  • Ability to take screenshots
  • Allow 3rd party apps (and IE!) to save media to audio/video store
  • Offer Bing voice search outside the USA
  • More options to organise the full app list (alphabetical doesn’t scale well)
  • A remote desktop client
  • Mass storage functionality (to allow phone to be used as a USB drive)
  • Custom ringtones
  • Custom accent colours
  • Allow developers to “lock” capacitive buttons (it’s too easy to hit the Bing button when playing some games)
  • Remove/increase the cap on the number of apps that can get push notifications
  • Relaxed restrictions on use of low level APIs for key developer partners

It may be that some of those things are in the updates, but I’m going to bet that I’m still hoping for some of them to appear into 2012.

Of course it’s not clear yet quite how good some of the things that have already been annouced are going to be. I’m especially thinking about the multi-tasking and the SkyDrive support in Office – I’ll stick my neck on the block and say I’m expecting they’ll both have annoying limitations. Still, this is a new operating system and it’s at least moving in the right direction.

While I’m writing about what’s missing, there are some apps that I would especially like to see on the platform from 3rd parties. Hopefully they’ll be with us by the end of 2011 too:

  • Audible
  • Skype
  • TripIt
  • Gowalla
  • TweetDeck
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Flash (although I nearly left it off – it depends how quickly sites move to HTML5)

What have I missed? If there’s some feature or app that you are desperate to have on Windows Phone 7, let me know in the comments…

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