Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Dec 2013 22:57 UTC
Windows

Microsoft is preparing to ship its Windows Phone 8.1 update with two significant changes: a notification center and a Siri-like personal assistant. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed to The Verge that the company is currently beta testing copies of Windows Phone 8.1 internally, with plans to fully detail its features at BUILD 2014 in April. A highly requested notification center feature will be added to the software, and we're told it's enabled by swiping down from the top of the screen in a similar way to iOS and Android.

Pretty sure this update will turn it all around.

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Something still missing
by WorknMan on Tue 17th Dec 2013 00:07 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

They desperately need some sort of Google Voice alternative before I would even consider it. And I'm talking about something that's tightly integrated into the phone, like on Android. This would be the best time too, since Google has apparently abandoned Voice in favor of more important projects like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWRa6Cz6m_M

/rant off

Reply Score: 3

RE: Something still missing
by stabbyjones on Tue 17th Dec 2013 03:08 UTC in reply to "Something still missing"
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

skype?

Reply Score: 4

What's the point of the live tiles then?
by reduz on Tue 17th Dec 2013 01:22 UTC
reduz
Member since:
2006-02-25

The live tiles are just like a notification centre, you can see how many messages of each kind arrived. If they add a notification center, then what's the point of the live tiles anymore?

Reply Score: 2

ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

They serve a diff purpose. The user wants to know what happened in the last minute? Notification Centre is there for that. Live Tiles don't do that. It's not a big deal on Windows 8 because of the app situation and most users still using mostly desktop apps. But on Windows Phone, it's more apparent.

Reply Score: 3

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I find the Live Tiles not a very effective way of displaying information.

I'd rather have a list. You can instantly see what's on it. With Live Tiles you stare at them to see if they change or not and not that many fit on a screen.

The people Live Tiles shows a picture, then you wait wait wait and it turns out nothing happens. Or it does. During that time you can easily read a whole list of notifications.

My Facebook tile shows a 1, a 2 or some other number, but at least a 1 and often a 2. When I launch Facebook there are 0 notifications, but the Tile keeps displaying 1. Or 2. Other Tiles that could/should display something don't.

So even if it works it's not very effective, but in my experience it often doesn't even work correctly.

Reply Score: 4

WP already has a notification center
by wocowboy on Tue 17th Dec 2013 10:25 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

Isn't the home screen on WP just one big giant notification center already, with Live Tiles constantly changing pictures, changing text, constantly moving things? Why all the hubub over a notification center when the thing already has one, is it because it isn't in list form? I don't get it. There are plenty of other reasons I would not use a Windows phone, but its lack of a notification center is the least of them.

Reply Score: 2

Voice interfaces
by atsureki on Tue 17th Dec 2013 12:00 UTC
atsureki
Member since:
2006-03-12

I'm waiting to see just how Siri-like they can get. Bill Gates was the torch bearer for voice-controlled interfaces for at least a decade, and here Microsoft has just released the Xbox One, with the worst kind of rigid lexicon of context-ignorant voice commands, a complete throwback to the very reasons voice didn't take off as an interface until Siri (which it arguably still hasn't, since speed and accuracy remain problematic). It's like if they just now released a touch device that required the user to learn a gesture alphabet. If they can get a real natural language assistant working, it'll be a nice check in the feature column for the phones and tablets, but potentially a huge upgrade for the iffy Kinect.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Voice interfaces
by MOS6510 on Tue 17th Dec 2013 12:18 UTC in reply to "Voice interfaces"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Siri works pretty well for me, even though I'm Dutch.

But what I find annoying is that it's kind of cumbersome to access Siri. Holding the home button and waiting for a reply takes enough time to make it annoying. It would be great if I could activate Siri, or any voice recognition, just by starting to talk.

They could to it on Star Trek and that was in the last century.

However, it's often still awkward to talk to your phone. If you do so in public people look at you wondering who you are talking to.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Voice interfaces
by Fergy on Tue 17th Dec 2013 14:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Voice interfaces"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

They could to it on Star Trek and that was in the last century.

...

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Voice interfaces
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 17th Dec 2013 22:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Voice interfaces"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Not to troll or anything, but the Moto X and Nexus 5 just respond to "ok Google". No buttons to press or anything. I agree 100% that the whole button press to speak was a significant detriment to adoption. I'm going to use google now a lot more now.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Voice interfaces
by darknexus on Tue 17th Dec 2013 23:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Voice interfaces"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Not to troll or anything, but the Moto X and Nexus 5 just respond to "ok Google". No buttons to press or anything. I agree 100% that the whole button press to speak was a significant detriment to adoption. I'm going to use google now a lot more now.

I would, if it was reliable enough to respond every time I say "Ok Google." Problem is, more than half the time it doesn't seem to be listening. I have to repeat and repeat before I get a response. It always listens once it responds or else I swipe up and hit the voice input button, so there's nothing wrong with the microphones. There are also privacy concerns involved in an always listening phone, and not just the listening part. Remember what Motorola did, sending commands in clear text?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Voice interfaces
by MOS6510 on Wed 18th Dec 2013 09:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Voice interfaces"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

No trolling detected, don't worry. :-)

If that works, that would be great. I'd love to leave my phone on my desk and give instructions to it. Having to manually activate the digital ears you already lose time you are trying to spare using your voice.

But worse, it makes ik unnatural and thus takes away from the experience. It's like having to pinch your wife's nose before she can accept voice input.

I've tried the OS X voice control and some third party stuff to control my computer, but the mayor downside of that is... you can't listen to music! It either messes up the voice input, or doesn't react at all. Sometimes it even reacts to the music.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Voice interfaces
by lucas_maximus on Wed 18th Dec 2013 12:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Voice interfaces"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Siri works pretty well for me, even though I'm Dutch


These voice recognition stuff works well as long as you have what I call (I dunno the correct term for it is) an American or Internation English Accent ... I call them the people that can't say Tomato properly.

With Scottish accents it just doesn't work and the accuracy for my accent is 50% at best.

Most Dutch people that I have me that speak almost perfect English sound quite American to me.

Most non-native English Speakers and native English speakers who aren't from the UK have a real hard time understanding my accent, so I doubt that a machine will be able to be taught any time soon.

Edited 2013-12-18 12:06 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Voice interfaces
by MOS6510 on Wed 18th Dec 2013 12:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Voice interfaces"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I guess it's very hard to do, because I doubt the software can pick up every letter. Human brains can fill in the blanks and correct mistakes. It also understands context.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Voice interfaces
by lucas_maximus on Wed 18th Dec 2013 19:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Voice interfaces"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I think with the accents thing, is that they don't want to invest the money for a Scottish version of Siri since it is only a small number of their global customer base that would have this problem.

I am sure if you trained (I have no idea how the voice matching algorithm works, so please correct me if I am completely clueless) the algorithm with my voice and then it tried with an American accent it would just have as many troubles.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Voice interfaces
by MOS6510 on Wed 18th Dec 2013 19:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Voice interfaces"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Siri is very good at understanding words it knows, like commands and common parameters like numbers and days, but is has trouble with the rest. Ask for Michael Jordan, no problem, but say Lucas Maximus and well, I'll just try it. Oh, it did get it right at once.

Well, I guess you are a bad example. :-p

It has problems with less popular words.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Voice interfaces
by lucas_maximus on Wed 18th Dec 2013 19:35 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Voice interfaces"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I will have a go with my friend iPhone tomorrow and we see if it understand me ;)

Reply Score: 2

gamechanger:)
by l3v1 on Tue 17th Dec 2013 14:14 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

Pretty sure this update will turn it all around.


Riiight. ;) )

Reply Score: 2

RE: gamechanger:)
by dukes on Tue 17th Dec 2013 17:37 UTC in reply to "gamechanger:)"
dukes Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm not following. Turn it all around to go backwards? Because paying attention to the facts out there, WP clearly has been moving forward.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: gamechanger:)
by MOS6510 on Tue 17th Dec 2013 19:09 UTC in reply to "RE: gamechanger:)"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Thom thinks it is not, so he suggests this update may or may not make WP more succesful.

It is indeed moving forward, but at a turtle pace. Microsoft even releases apps on iOS and Android first. With all their recources they should be able to move much faster.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: gamechanger:)
by Kochise on Tue 17th Dec 2013 19:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: gamechanger:)"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Has fatness ever helped someone to move faster and more gracefully ?

Kochise

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: gamechanger:)
by MOS6510 on Tue 17th Dec 2013 19:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: gamechanger:)"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It does help when pushing something I guess.

But if Microsoft is too fat they could set up a slimmer unit that just goes at it.

The battlefield is mobile devices and Microsoft appears not to be fighting. I don't sense any urgency. The Metro interface and Live Tiles made WP different, but then the innovation just stopped.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: gamechanger:)
by Dano on Tue 17th Dec 2013 19:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: gamechanger:)"
Dano Member since:
2006-01-22

Windows Phone is pretty solid and good on battery. Best platform I ever owned, and I had a lot of Android models. I can't wait to check out Cortana.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: gamechanger:)
by MOS6510 on Tue 17th Dec 2013 19:50 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: gamechanger:)"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I have a Nokia Lumia 800 running WP 7.8, which isn't a good indicator of the current WP affairs.

When my employer tells me to get a new phone I'm going for a new WP one.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: gamechanger:)
by Nelson on Wed 18th Dec 2013 00:42 UTC in reply to "RE: gamechanger:)"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Thom enjoys fanning the flames here, he himself has posted articles showing Windows Phone crossing double digit share in Europe and Latin America.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: gamechanger:)
by MOS6510 on Wed 18th Dec 2013 09:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: gamechanger:)"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

You'd almost mistake him for a blogger looking for hits. :-p

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Thu 19th Dec 2013 16:48 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Voice control is overrated in my opinion. People are too inconsiderate as it is with their obnoxious phone calls. The last thing we need is people having conversations with technology, half of which probably just getting the thing to understand what they want it to do -- but regardless. This stuff doesn't really advance our use of technology, it just offers one more way to feel rage towards those who lack decency.

Is using a non-voice interface really that difficult or time-consuming? And for the people who would ask what if the user is already doing something else (like driving), how about he/she either wait or just stop what they're doing for 2 seconds. I feel sorry for anyone who thinks that's asking too much.

Reply Score: 3