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From the beginning, the chief design principle for the Music+Videos Hub in Windows Phone was simple: make it easy to discover and consume the content you love.
In Mango, it only gets better.
The next release of Windows Phone introduces on-phone podcasts, new features like Smart DJ (my personal favorite), and loads of refinements and tweaks that make it easier to find and enjoy great music and video. As one of the program managers that helped conceive and design many of these new features (yes, I do get paid to listen to music all day), I thought it’d be fun to tell you not only what changes we’re making in Mango but also to give you a little insight into why we’ve made them.
Podcasts now included
You can already listen to podcasts on your Windows Phone. The catch is you need your computer and the Zune software to actually browse and download them. In Mango, you can now do all this right on your phone (U.S. customers only). [See the comments section for explanation of this from Josh. –ed.]
In the Marketplace hub, you’ll see a new menu option: Podcasts. Tap it to see featured, top, or new podcasts and to browse by genre. Under genres, we’ve also added audio and video pivots, so you can find exactly the type of podcasts you’re interested in. You can also search for specific titles.
Once you’ve found a podcast that interests you, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it. I like Discovery Channel video podcasts but they tend to be quite large. No problem. In Mango, I can stream podcasts directly from Marketplace. Every once in a while, I want the latest episode of The Onion for a laugh but don’t need them all. That’s OK, I can download individual episodes.
I do, however, always want the latest DJ Tiesto podcast when I leave the house every Monday morning. Easy enough: I can subscribe to the series right on the phone and it will automatically download new episodes while charging overnight. Windows Phone will be the only phone to do this without a PC or third-party app!
When you subscribe to a podcast series, you control how many episodes you want to keep and what order the episodes play back. To save your battery life, new podcasts are downloaded only if your phone is connected to a power supply. To save your monthly phone bill, podcasts download over Wi-Fi by default (unlimited data plan customers, don’t worry: there’s a setting to change this).
If you’re already a hard-core podcast listener (like I’ve become since working on this feature), have no fear. Your existing subscriptions won’t be affected when you update to Mango. But you’ll now have the option of managing those subscriptions on your phone instead of your computer. (To make things as simple as possible, we don’t allow both the computer and phone to manage subscriptions.)
A DJ in your pocket
We all have those moments when we want to listen to some music. But not just anything. We want tunes that fit the mood. A new feature coming in Mango called Smart DJ is designed to provide just the right mix.
Smart DJ takes “seeds”—an artist, album, or song— and creates a music mix that’s similar using whatever songs it finds on your phone. If you have a monthly Zune Pass music subscription, Smart DJ selects from the millions of tracks available in the Zune catalog.
We’ve sprinkled the Smart DJ feature all over the Music + Videos Hub: It’s available from artist cards, the music player, and every artist, album, and song in your collection via the tap-and-hold menu. Since we have a hunch that you’re really going to like Smart DJ mixes, we’ve add them to the History pivot and made them pinable to the Start screen, so you can quickly find favorite mixes again.
Find stuff in Marketplace easier
We listen closely to customer feedback, and one of the things we heard loud and clear was that searching the Marketplace is sometimes painful due to the lack of auto suggestions and jumbled results. We’ve fixed both in Mango.
Now when you start typing in the Marketplace search box, you’ll see search terms appear. Search results are also now organized by content type (apps or games, music, or podcasts). We make it even simpler to find what you want by indicating exactly what each search result is—artist, album, song, or playlist, for example. Marketplace search is also context sensitive. Start a search from the podcast Marketplace and you’ll land right into the podcast results pivot. Same goes for music.
If you’re like me, you probably also love to discover new music. We’d made that possible in Marketplace now, too. In artist results, we followed in the Zune HD’s footsteps and added a Related pivot that lists similar artists.
Changes to the Music + Videos Hub
In addition to new features like podcasts and Smart DJ, we also made a ton of smaller but noticeable tweaks to the Music + Videos Hub, much based on customer research or feedback from you. Here’s a rundown of some of the more notable ones:
We also made a bunch of tweaks to the music player itself. These include:
We appreciate all the feedback you gave us on the Music + Videos Hub over the past several months—and we want to hear more for Mango! Conceiving, designing and building these features has been a blast—but it’s even better when we get to watch our customers use and love them.
Josh Phillips, program manager, Windows Phone Engineering
I disagree with everyone who doesn't like the moving of the play button and shuffle controls. i like it and it should stay like that goo work. I however do agree with everyone about the US only thing. I love in the US so i could care less about other countries getting the down side but i do want this phone to beat apple's iphone. WP7 is amazing new and very useful please don't be hindered by something as stupid as international support, especially if it's going to stop people from enjoying this phone the way it should be and was made to be. the phone is great and lovely, the metro Ui is amazing and i i can't wait to see how more it will evolve.
I'll join in and say that they need to stop holding back the phone and give the people what they want. I already suffer for the past 8 months with the limitations because I believe in and love WP7 and i'm out there getting people to buy the phone microsoft isn't pushing the phones we the diehard fans are believe that, 23 people have bought the phone becuase of me and my sister just order the focus which will be coming in a couple of days. so microsoft listen to us we know what we want so LISTEN and GIVE US WHAT WE WANT!!
I agree with @Kenny Rawlins. With so much consistenly being focused on the US market, I know it's frustrating for non-US customers to hear about all this knowing they aren't going to get it....nor WHY. So, it makes sense to create an "other than US" blog....or find a way to bring equity to the markets.
@Mark Ritchie, what is this "double speed" thing? I've never heard of it. And, if it's what I think it is, I don't understand why it would be a deal breaker....sounds like a niche feature.
@dtstrickland......the answer is: Netflix. It works rather well, actually. Also, if the rumors are true, Microsoft may pick up Hulu, so you can imagine what that's going to open up.
@bazanime, I don't understand your point. The iPhone is one device. Period. You don't have variation. But in WP7 you have variation. Surely you didn't expected to see the kind of stupid, rampant, fragmented variation that Android has, did you? Or, perhaps you did. If that's the case, then I'm sorry that was your expectation. I expected something in between the monolithic approach of Apple and the chaos that is Android. And that's what we see. It was a brand new platform, after all, and the "behemoth" that Microsoft is set a standard of minimum specs for OEMs to follow. Rather than take a chance (or, rather, too much of a chance) they pretty much stuck to those specs until they cold see whether or not people would buy WP7. Frankly, I'd like you to show me where the market has gained much confidence in WP7 to warrant going hard over into uber-development for hardware to stretch WP7. Nokia is about it, based on what I'm reading, and I won't be surprised if we see more "adventurous" designs coming out next year. What I didn't see in your post was what qualifies as sufficient variation to you. HTC, in my opinion, sucks as a device manufacturer, and certainly would not be my first choice in hardware for any device. And you should listen to Brandon Watson's take on the whole "dual core" garbage. Why do you need a dual core device if the OS works smashingly well on lesser specs? He made it clear that tech heads are NOT their target market, so you might as well get use to that. I was at a party yesterday with a friend of mine who had the Optimus 2x Android device. Let's just say, comparing capability to get places and do things, my Focus at its lunch. So much for dual core being all that impressive. Now, while most of us agree that the time between updates is not what we expected, this is a major update. REALLY major. Your point about the competition is well taken, but NEITHER of the competing platforms took any less time for their major updates. And, in the case of Android, ALL their updates are so all over the map that it's a joke. There is no consistency in Android and it's fragmented beyond belief. So, yeah, that's definitely a strategy to emulate. As for iPhone, if you'll notice, the word coming out is that iOS 5 is beginning to look more like a copy of Mango rather than anything new. I think we'll find that Mango will meet the bar on things that WP7 should have had to begin with, but raise the bar on many others. And now that Tango is rumored, we can only speculate on what might be coming with that.
@ Bernard Angustia, not everyone is going to agree with you on some of those things. I LOVE the new controls. I don't want any kind of a "screen saver"---this isn't my desktop, it's my PHONE. You're dead on regarding the A2DP video issue. I think the whole Marketplace is getting revamped as a result of Mango, so just because it's not revealed now doesn't mean we won't see it by the time Mango comes out (e.g., video pass, etc.). And I'm pretty sure, based on their past behavior, it was a conscientious choice to not share EVERYthing at MIX or any of the other events. By letting things out along the way it helps keep the interest up....that, and the fact that there are still things being added/tweaked every day leading up to final release. So, I wouldn't lose hope yet.
That you won't have a podcast directory outside the US a whole year after launch just says to me that you aren't committed to international users. Why should I commit to your platform?
Martin says it perfctly for me.
The excuses given (when anyone bothers to respond) are just that - excuses, not rational explanation. This thing was in production for a year and, by mango time, will have been out for a further year yet almost no significant regional issues have been fixed.
Lets have some honesty and integrity in the answers please. Lets have an 'intention map'. If I'm never going to see the US stuff where I live, fine - I'll just move on to something else. I'd rather have that than another year of dishonest and incomplete answers.
I'm probably one of the luckier ones as I live in the UK but maps is still limited, there's no voice search, incomplete Zune Pass, no podcasts in the marketplace etc etc. And before Scuba leaps in with more apologist nonsense, I'd love someone to explain what the issue with voice search or podcasts in the UK is - in the absence of honest answers I can only assume it's just a continuation of the policy of treating non-US users with absolute contempt.
As I said, some honesty would solve all. If I could know that the answer is "no chance" at all or "maybe in late 2012", then I could just move on. The apple interface is much poorer than WP7 but their global coverage and recent iCloud announcement could swing the argument in their favour if I only knoew MS's true intentions. Having said that, that alone would explain the lack of true information for global users.
Anyway .... I've had my rant with no great expectation of anything changing.
@ScubaDog2011 You clearly have no understanding and way too much faith in what Josh posted, which by the way is a non-answer and simply the standard usual PR spin.
Let me say this very slowly........
If Apple, who was until recently a company smaller than Microsoft can develop and release a GLOBAL Mobile Phone platform with key features and functionality available in almost all countries AND a Music, Movies and Podcast store (iTunes) in almost all countries, then there is very little reason why Microsoft can't do the same.
Josh, you still haven't explained why Bing in Australia is a joke and yet you continually push the features of a strong Bing and Windows Phone 7 integration? Almost all these integration features are available in the U.S. only. You also haven't adequately and honestly explained why certain OS features - which have absolutely nothing to do with music or video licensing - are only being released in the USA?
This situation defies all logic and marketing and product reasoning. Once again, do you see Apple or Google crippling key features of their OS market by market or favouring the U.S. market vs all other markets which as I said earlier represent more than 70% of Microsoft's revenue?
Of course they don't. If they did, they wouldn't have the market share and success they have.
Are you trying to have us all believe that after 5+ years of record companies and movie companies dealing with Apple on their iTunes store that Microsoft cannot negotiate appropriate licencing across the major markets? C'mon, we are not stupid!
You are clearly disrespecting the basic principles behind these blogs and forums, that is clear, honest and sincere conversations and engagement. Not to mention good consumer engagement by releasing an OS in all major markets with the same features and the same marketing message (without the fine print of "oh but by the way, we will prioritise the U.S. markets with key features mentioned in advertising, marketing and PR and if your outside the U.S.A. well those key features and functionality to you, whenever........."
If you aren't prepared to engage honestly with non-USA owners of Windows 7 phones or are not prepared to provide the same key features and functionality at the same time, or support some of the other features like Bing etc, then why on earth sell the phone in those markets in the first place? I went through owning 3 generations of iPhone's prior to buying a Windows Phone 7 Samsung Focus and not once did I ever experience a crippled OS just because I lived outside of the USA.
I'm a huge fan of the Windows Phone and the Metro UX. My next phone is a Windows Phone, definitely. I live in India and I want to have all the features that US devices have! Desperately!
I live in Poland and from my experience with majority of MS products "we're working hard on it" when it comes to localized services in most cases is just as good as "forget about it".
I watch closely all the announcements about mango and it way too often looks like: "wow! this is a great feature!" and then, after a second "ohhhh... but I won't get to use that here in Poland"..
@Josh pretty much confirmed my postulation that the regional laws are part of the problem. And, no, I can't provide "specific" examples. I only refer to the many comments I've heard over the past few years in a number of forums where software and media access internationally has been discussed. I think we can at least agree that the playing field is different (varying in degree) in every region from what it is in the U.S. And while some of you seem to tout Apple's execution, I've heard other people complain that their performance in this arena isn't as smooth as you're making it sound. They may have better workarounds....but they'd be workarounds. I'm not defending Microsoft's apparent lack of concentration on this problem. But I'm not minimizing the legalities that none of us can really fully know about. We simply can't know what Apple was able to leverage compared to Microsoft. I'm just of the opinion that it's unfair to make a generalized assumption on the Marketplace issues without more information.
I had to join this forum to post my disappointment with MS and the lack of full access to the Zune marketplace outside of the US. This is my first smart phone, and I love it. But it seems that MS are missing a big opportunity by limiting full access to Zune marketplace to the US. I for one won't be signing up to Zune until I have full access.
@rcan he answered your question - if you have it setup through Zune where windows phone is supported you'll be able to subscribe to the podcasts you already have and downloaded to the phone no pc required. Now, if you live in an area where music is supported You can search and subscribe to podcasts. They are aware not everyone has it and as stated they are working on it but nothing more to report now.
Josh, what you neglect to mention is that in markets that don't have the Zune Music Marketplace, the only way to subscribe to podcasts is to manually enter the subscription link into Zune. Nothing is automated or easy to use because access to the podcast directory is linked to access to the Music Marketplace.
So, please, don't window dress a clearly inadequate situation.
I really hope that the DJ smartmix will play marketplace content on the phone, instead of just content in my collection.
I'm also really hoping for channels.
A needed Zune update (and Wp7 Zune app update) is that autoplaylists should have the option to include marketplace content and stream and other feature similar to Smart Mix, like song count limit (and "all" option for relevant filters, like all music by a particular artist shouldn't have an artificial limit of song/minute count, but rules like 1970-1980 rock would need to have the limit), auto-refresh, etc.
What about the Zune Collection storage in the cloud -- when?
Hi Josh can i just check does this mean the will be a podcaste market place in none US version of the zune software or will we still have to find the podcaste's using other means EG itunes and import them manually as now? thanks Dan
Thanks for the calification! I've got one question remaining: Will people with no podcast marketplace access be able to subscribe to podcasts on their phone, if they have the rss-feed?
@Josh Phillips WOW thanks a lot for clarification... this is indeed better than (I think most of us here) expected... sorry for being kinda "rude"... :)
While your response isn't exactly the one I was looking for (i.e. more locales supported in Mango!) thanks for getting back to us.
It's good to know someone is reading these comments and what we're saying and asking for is at least being acknowledged.
Wow! Thanks all for the kudos and feedback – my apologies for the delayed response! I see lots of questions and I’ll get to a few of the smaller ones later but I want to first address the podcast concerns that take up the lion’s share of the comments.
I should have been a little bit clearer on how podcasts work in both 7 and Mango. Today, you can use the Zune PC software to subscribe to any podcast series, anywhere in the world that has Windows Phone in market, and consume them on your phone. That option will not change with Mango but it will improve. Once you have synced a series subscription from your PC to your phone (using the Zune software), you can have the phone manage the subscription by tapping the “subscribe” button on the series details screen – at which point, whenever new episodes are available they will automatically be directly to your phone - without a PC! Again, this is for any podcast series, anywhere in the world with Windows Phone. Additionally, in Mango and starting in the U.S., there will be a full-fledged podcast marketplace that you can browse right on the phone. You will also be able to download or stream individual episodes and subscribe to a series without ever having to connect to a PC. We are working to bring this feature to other markets but the U.S. is the only market for which we can confirm support at this time. There are lots of nuanced and unique regulations in each region and we have to make sure that we’ve dotted all our i’s and crossed all our t’s before we can bring an on-phone podcast marketplace to additional locales.
To summarize, you’ll still be able to enjoy podcasts all over the world with Mango but, once you’ve gotten the series from your PC to device, you won’t need a PC to get new episodes (yay!). Additionally, if you’re in a region that has a supported marketplace, you’ll never need to use a PC at all as you can browse and subscribe to series right on the phone. Stay tuned as we continue to invest in bringing new features and services to new markets. In the meantime, keep up the great feedback! Thanks!
If I have an artist whose songs only appear on compilation albums (albums by "Various"), that artist doesn't appear when I select "Artists" from my phone. This seems like a bug to me, since, if I have an artist that has both albums and songs on compilation albums, the artist appears (and when I select him, under "Albums", it shows his albums and the compilations). Will the new Music & Video Hub fix this?
As a long-time Zune HD owner, I'm looking forward to this and all other Mango features. Bring it on. :)
I'm so happy for the small market of your users that reside in the US. Whereas the majority of your users get limited or no new features.
Well done Microsoft. Truly a global company.
Great stuff guys, although some of the changes made for convenience just ruins it a little because of a few stupid people who didn't explore the service more to be "delightfully" surprised like me! =P
In other items, commenters should remember that respective governments are to blame for region specific regulations as to who gets what and when from Microsoft, the first and only one to suffer sanctions from the gov't firsthand and not by some other company... Think about that when you whine about what you don't have. =/
My HTC Surround is the first smartphone i've owned. I looked at the others (BB, iPhone etc) and settled on a WP7 device. I live in Canada, so a lot of features are not available. That's not necessarily Microsoft's fault. International licensing agreements tend to take forever to iron out when it comes to music and video.
I look forward to the Microsoft's updates (however slow they may be). If I owned an iPhone and wanted updated features and performance, I'd have to buy a new phone. Let's cut MS some slack folks. The WP7 platform's performance blows the others out of the water.
Like many others, I really don't like the new location of the "shuffle all" button. It seems much less intuitive. When it was next to the Music heading, you knew it would shuffle through your music, whereas now it's just a play button sitting at the bottom.
Instead of moving it, why don't you put text that says "Suffle All Music" under the button that goes away once you use it? First time users will realise it's there, and it'll be out of your way after that.
Also, like everyone else, I'm appalled by Microsoft's consistent lack of support in international markets.
@scubadog2011.what do you mean by crazy laws?? And state some examples. Because I don't think there's any country with as many antipiracy and fraud laws as the USA,especially when it comes to the entertainment industry: Music, Videos , Movies etc.
And secondly I can understand the licensing issues regarding the Zune content but so the licensing issue also affects the bing features I guess??
One of the great things about WP is the hub approach and the integration of most functionalities into the OS without having to rely on third party apps for basic features and that is why I even like the most about WP. If only because I am not in the USA that I'll have to install a whole bunch of third party apps on my phone to do most common tasks,then I'll end up with an iphonelike phone,were all is done by third party apps and that sucks.
"There are so many anti-piracy, digital rights and other various & sundry laws that make it difficult at best to implement a solution"
Can you give SPECIFIC examples of these laws? What makes them different to yours? What makes them "crazy"?
Apple have an iPhone that is global. There is regional variation sure, but the same product is everywhere.
MSFT are only SLIGHTLY smaller than Apple these days. They can do the same.
i just seen the video for iOS 5 and i must say they have taken alot of the best features from other platforms(Including WP7) and have added their own iCrappy imprints on them.
I think thats maybe why all the 500 feature changes/additions in Mango haven't been released yet, they just might end up in iOS 5 or 5.1 ....smh
I don't want to be harsh but honestly, the current Music + Hub sucks and it's one of my reason I put my Samsung Focus into the drawer and brought an Android Samsung Galaxy SII. And it's sad there is no 3rd party music/video player for WP7 as a workaround.
1. A2DP over video is not working since day one and it's still not being fix in the recent update.
2. No seek bar in video/music is wrong.
3. Where is the landscape support???
4. It loads the wrong album art sometime.
5. There is no play all/repeat all option for Video. And I have to click every single one to play the short music video?
6. Video playback from the last position. Give me an option to turn it OFF!
7. It maybe solved by new addition playlist feature: How come there is only play all by song title? Why I can't play all by Album/Artist/Genre ...etc?
The last two personal / strange things that I missed for Coreplayer in WM but I don't found any software to do it on WP7/Android because I have many music as video format. Video playback in background, and video + music in a single playlist.
@hejselbae,i didn't see in the title of this post US only and secondly i love the idea of how windows phone does its things,but if i have to download third party apps to do every basic functionality then i'll end having an iphonelike windows phone,were everything needs to be done with a third party app and i personally don't like that approach of having thousands of apps installed on my phone.
As an avid podcast listener please put in bookmark\resume functionality that persists if you restart your phone. It's difficult to stop in the middle of a podcast one day and then have to search for the correct position the next day.
Also, make the volume up/down keys change tracks of you hold them.
My point is that given that there are things that are going to be different and unique about each of your local markets in terms of what's available to be included in Marketplace and the laws governing acquisition, use & accountability, I'm not surprised there's not uniform deployment. And so say that "others" have already surmounted these concerns, doesn't mean that they did so very quickly. It's my opinion that in Europe particularly there is clearly an entrenched disslike of Microsoft by the governments. I think this translates to a lot more roadblocks and hurdles than we see in the U.S. So, again, I'm saying there might be some value in complaining to and about your governments' approaches to handling Microsoft. I'm not saying this is the only issue or the "silver bullet". Just suggesting that it's one of the pieces of the puzzle.
Not sure why they done this but moving the playback controls from the bottom of the screen to the top of the media player is a bad mistake.
I certainly wouldn’t say that getting the 'ecosystem' rolled-out internationally would ever be easy. But given that MSFT is now marketing WP7 to countries where competitors have already managed to get this sorted, promises of 'jam tomorrow' will not cut much ice when customers can pick up an iPhone (for example) and get the same level of service across the world. MSFT absolutely MUST crack this issue if it's to get a foot in the door. Later today Apple will announce the iCloud service which will (probably) include a cloud-based streaming subscription service, and much more. This service will be available in considerably more locations than the US - by design - because Apple knows the importance of internationalisation, and has put the time, effort and money into getting the relevant agreements.
MSFT hardly lacks deep pockets or smart lawyers, and should they really, really want to, they can also crack it. If they don’t, then WP7 will just not look like a credible competitor to many potential customers around the world, period.
@ScubaDog2011 - The USA has the DMCA, that's a pretty awful law and Microsoft worked around that, they can work around most laws.
All your complaint about access to features are valid, but have you looked into why? From what I can tell, it's the crazy laws most of you folks live under outside of the U.S. There are so many anti-piracy, digital rights and other various & sundry laws that make it difficult at best to implement a solution. Perhaps you should not limit your attacks to Microsoft, but go after your own governments to make your laws more like the U.S. I'm just sayin'.....
Once again so many users not able to take advantage of features because of localisation issues, why should we use workarounds to get partial features, just in Bing search, let alone anything Else. You are letting down a lot of users outside of the US, who have taken on the Platform wholeheartedly from the outset. Overlooking the lack of features that most smartphone users take for granted. Suffering through your beta test of an update process, to arrive in a place where Mango is dangled before our noses, as bringing 500 new features. Depending on where you live that number could be a whole lot less. I can understand some features not being available everywhere, but the list is getting enormous. Seriously if Microsoft wants to treat the world as US and everyone else, why don't they just come out and state that from the outset.
To present a feature set that will not be available to all users on what is basically the same OS is ridiculous, and another marketing disaster. everyone harps on the fragmentation of Android, and now Windows Phone is going the same way. I implore you Microsoft, you should have the infrastructure and resources to support Windows Phone better than that, throw some money at it, and spare no expense to take what is the best mobile OS to that next level for all users.
I am very disappointed that podcast downloads straight from the phone is restricted to US customers only. What about other parts of the world???
You guys need to rethink your strategy here, or else you will lose in a big way.
All is great. I just dont like the 'U.S only ' part. now that WP will be extended to newer markets with Mango, you should not have US only" podcats etc. also. why could you add audio/video scrubbing using the seek bar directly.
Sigh... none of this matters to me if Canadians are still gonna get the shaft. I'm getting tired of waiting for Microsoft to get their crap together and make the full Zune marketplace work here. How come Apple can get iTunes working just about anywhere in it's entirety, and Microsoft can't? Argh!
All - you guys need to learn to read..."Guys--Lots of great questions in here. I posted this on Josh's behalf today since he's actually out of the office...When he gets back, I'll have him dive in here himself and tackle as many as he's able. Keep em coming!"
I'm guessing he won't be back until Monday, if he wasn't in on Friday. Yes, I know people will hate this and complain and think MS shouldn't sleep or be with their families just so they can get your questions answered except that isn't how people work.
On the one hand, thank you for at least being clear about about US specific features on this international blog...
On the other hand, non-US customers being given 2nd (and 3rd) class service and features still in Mango....REALLY?
(I feel a WP7 YouTube video re-mix is in order if anyone wants to take up the challenge?! - http://youtu.be/7Z3KbFBf89Y)
the 'shuffle all music'-button was so much better in the old place.
the playback controls were so much better in the old place. on a 4" screen the upper quarter of the screen is really hard to reach...
Zune in Canada is broken... And most podcasts have to be added manually or through the publishers website. Not to mention the lack of music... I hate having to support your competitor... PLEASE FIX THIS!
It really is astounding that Microsoft continues to repeat these localisation mistakes. I suppose on the one hand you have to give them credit for launching Windows Phone globally, but on the other hand, the follow-up has just been completely suboptimal. Early adopters are only too willing to cut Microsoft some slack, but there becomes a moment where their patience wears too thin. We are now approaching that point - the matrix of features drawn up by Andrew Tech Support is embarrassing - most non-US residents do not have access to most of the major selling points of WP7 like Zune and Bing.
There's a reason why we're complaining - Microsoft is a $200 billion company, the largest software vendor in the world. You have the power and the fist-fulls of cash to get the necessary localisation in place. Yet, all we get is silence. No-one wants to talk about these problems. Microsoft continuously post these cheerful posts about new features without a single care in the world about international customers, when more than two-thirds of your revenue is derived overseas.
Get it together guys. I'm sick of being negative. I want to be positive. I want to give you my money. But you sure have a way of ensuring that as many barriers as possible are put up to stop me from positively transacting with your company.
Microsoft: Please stop making things US only. You have customers elsewhere in the world. Recognize that. I can understand licensing hindering the music Marketplace, but something like the Podcast directory shouldn't be US ONly! And local scout, local search and things like that? C'mon!
I'll add my comment here too, just to increase the total amount of comments about your lack of international support (especially for podcasts which are FREE).
I've got simply two words for you Microsoft (here's a reference for all the Aussies out here, think of a red headed women when reading this :P).
@AussieAdam well said.
Clearly Microsoft does not see the majority of international markets as viable investments so instead they release a product with basic functionality.
The fact that Apple can create a universal platform with iOS highlights that it can be achieved. So why are the majority of WP7's features fragmented.
If Microsoft wanted markets like Australia to have access to Zune Pass, Podcasts etc then it would have happen. Clearly their focus lies soley on the US, and the US alone.
If they dont start adopting a universal approach to their platform, than perhaps its time to move onto Andriod or iOS.
For once I would like a real answer to why they have not released Zune Music in the majority of International Markets, and at what stage they are at in achieving the release rather than a generic response.
"Hi Matthew, Over time we’ll extend the Zune service to more screens & countries. That’s our goal but we have no further details to share at this point"
Disapointing that they seem to create a seperate class for the 'US' to which we are all less.
"Windows Phone will be the only phone to do this without a PC or third-party app!"
Yeah IF you live in the US that is. Stop making these stupid claims especially when you are talking about a feature that is 3-4 months away from being in the hands of your customers and that will be limited to a single country.
This statement will look even more pathetic once Apple announce next week that this feature will be available GLOBALLY in iOS5 which, unlike Windows Phone updates, will likely be announced and immediately available to EVERYONE the same day (not drip fed over a period of months and only then after carriers have signed off on it).
Sorry but as much as I love my Windows Phone you guys are never going to grab chunks of market share away from Android and iOS until you speed up the delivery of updates and stop this US only nonsense.
61 comments, most of them crying out for answers from MSFT, and not a single response from the company. What's the point of having a blog if you don't engage with your customers? Your platform is losing ground. Your market share is going backward, and WE are the ones keeping it afloat. And most of us are based outside the US.
Yet we don't get a single answer from you guys. Your company is too big, too unwieldy, and you're too slow to adapt.
One day, just one day, you guys will remember there are markets outside the US... markets (like Australia) with a robust economy, where we are (compared to the rest of the developed world) quite well off because our economy never tanked in the GFC. We have money to spend, yet you don't show us any love.
Way to go MSFT.
The one new feature that would enable me to jump from iOS to Windows Phone is double speed playback of podcasts and audiobooks. If that's in Mango, I'll buy the HD7S next week and wait for the update.
LOL....on the other hand, I actually LOVE the new control placement. I pretty much like all the changes coming to the hub in Mango. Just goes to show you preferences are different with different people. However, I'll add my voice to those who are concerned that the audio portion of video only plays through the speaker. The LazyTube video plays through other means, so it seems that it should be able to happen with other video. Also, will anyone be able to create an audio media player with an EQ in it? I rarely like the flat EQ. It would be nice if either Zune had an EQ or the APIs are there so third party developers could create a player with EQ built in. I'll happily sacrifice integration if I can get EQ.
Why oh why will Microsoft not capitulate and offer 5-star ratings for music?! The like/don't like rating system offers little value. Any music lover with a collection over a few thousand tracks really HAS to have a 5-star rating system to be able to find tracks they don't listen to regularly.
Wow Microsoft, you're really getting crucified in the comments by international users who are livid that OTA podcast support won't be in Mango, I hope you're listening. Here's just a recap of the biggest/most popular complaints/requests on the Mango Music+Video features you announced:
* No OTA podcast support outside the US
* Nobody likes the new placement of the "Shuffle All" button, nor do we understand why it makes it easier for them to discover it
* Video A2DP
* Now Playing screensaver from Dorado/Zune HD
From the article:
"I do, however, always want the latest DJ Tiesto podcast when I leave the house every Monday morning. Easy enough: I can subscribe to the series right on the phone and it will automatically download new episodes while charging overnight. Windows Phone will be the only phone to do this without a PC or third-party app!"
Yeah, too bad Tiesto's Club Life doesn't actually play on the phone. Every time I try to play it on my Samsung Focus, I get a nondescript Playback Error.
Guys, I dont know why podcasts are US only but with regards to Zune Pass, they have to have agreements in place with the regions record company's first, this can take alot of time.
To sum up some of the disadvantages international users
(e.g. Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico, Singagore, Hong Kong, Ireland and many many others...)
are unable to access:
- NO zune pass
- NO zune Music Marketplace
- NO Zune Podcast Marketplace
- NO Zune TV Marketplace
- NO Zune Movie Marketplace Purchases
Other missing features (in my country) - at least SOME OF THEM:
- NO navigation in Bing maps application
- NO Bing image search in Mango
- NO support for embedded youtube videos in IE
- NO local scout in Mango - NO "expore..." feature
- NO or total crappy "nearby" advices most of the time (Bing is pretty bad - BETA for years now)
- NO local podcasting support in Mango
- NO add support for devs
- bing music service support in Mango (like shazam)??? probably NOT
So this is pretty sad.... changing the location to USA is no solution!!!
Microsoft, will you ever support countries outside the US?
Mango would have been a big chance.... :(( YOU MISSED IT AGAIN!
THIS IS A FRAGMENTED MESS AND A DEALBREAKER!
Aw comeon guys.. why do you always make some of the features US only.. What about the rest of the world :(
I agree with everything Bernard Angustia stated. I live here in the US, but Microsoft needs to get their act together to get content outside of the US. There should be NO reason why the new Podcast features are a US-only feature.
I too wondered why Smart DJ was not at launch. You stated that the Music+Videos hub is the Zune device on the phone, yet didn't have Smart DJ nor saving as a Playlist. Granted, on the Zune you couldn't edit a Playlist, so I'm happy that feature is finally coming to Windows Phone atleast.
You have revamped the UI. Great. Now, what about Codec support? The Zune software on Windows Phone needs to match the Zune hardware with the same features, or go above and beyond. Give us AVI, H.264 4.0 Main and High (with b-frame support), heck even add OGG or FLAC. Also, add support for 720p resolutions, or 16x9 aspect ratios. If I have an MP4 video that contains 1280x720 video, the Zune client re-encodes it to a smaller resolution. The Qualcomm chip can support decoding 720p video. Why can't the Zune player do as well?
Everything looks very nice and I am super excited about Mango...
But I have a few suggestions:
1.) In place of artist pictures can we have the option to use album art?
2.) I would LOVE to be able to jump to anyplace on the progress bar in a video by tapping on it.
3.) Can we have an option to toggle between "Classic" and "Mango" views?
4.) Can we play media from our SkyDrive? Android can do it via Google Music and Amazon's Cloud, Apple will be doing it via iCloud... I don't think you guys want to be playing catchup forever.
I'm extremely excited about the Podcasts features. Very nice!
Would also like to see the following for Podcasts:
- Tweet title/link for podcast episode
- 5 Star ratings of podcasts and episodes
One more thing. I have a friend whose only reason for not switching from the iPhone is that there isn't 5 Star ratings for music. He likes to be able to create a playlist based on how high he rated music as one of his criteria.
Can't wait for Mango!
I agree the situation is far from ideal for international users regarding some of the upcoming core features. But a lot of commentators are quite aggressively saying, that Microsoft is only caring for US owners. That is definately not the case if you care to look into it.
I honestly feel confident that more services will be rolled out globally in time. And hopefully new and free apps will be developed locally to compensate for at least some of the missing features. These apps might even be able to work with Bing, Music, etc. In Denmark we already have some very nice (and free) apps that can do almost the same as Local Scout - I do mean almost, but they could easily be developed further if there is a customer base for it.
The Windows Phone OS is such an amazing OS in my opinion, that I am definately willing to overlook some of it's faults regarding regional issues. And I would never think of iPhone or Android as an alternative.
MS - I hope by now that you''re getting the message about the US-centric nature of your development of WP7. Can I suggest that someone answers these comments please? There really isn't much point in posting this stuff up and then just ignoring what people are saying in response - not very professional.
I have followed the development of WP7 but I really have to say - if you do not address how you are going to roll out the supporting features to international markets I absolutely will not get one, no matter how snazzy the OS is. I understand that there are legal issues with music rights etc, but how can Apple manage it? I don't really care just how hard it is really - Apple/iPhone are your competitors - if they can do it and you can't, people will not buy WP7.
I really, really hope that we're going to get a response to all of these comments...
hejselbaek, you mention services, and I agree these things take time to implement, but Microsoft has had a lot of time, dating right back to the advent of the Zune hardware. I can understand why Zune Pass is difficult to get organised, it is such a unique service, but there is no excuse why there cannot be a standard regular music store.
Also you make no mention of the missing features in the OS itself. There will be no Local Scout outside of the UK and the USA, there is currently no voice commands, no Bing local search, and now no podcast support. Again I can understand the difficulties with getting voice commands right to cater for local dialects and pronunciations etc, but what is the excuse re Bing? Bing has been around for quite a few years now. And how can there be a justification for blocking out Podcasts to the rest of the world outside the USA?
When I bought my WP in November 2010, I was fully aware of the fact, that some features were not available in Denmark. It's sad to hear, that some buyers were not aware of this fact. But another truth is, some of the missing features were NOT exclusive to US by launch dates and stil is NOT exclusive to US:
Zune Pass/Music Marketplace is NOW available in: France, Italy, Spain, UK, and US. Germany don't have Zune Pass but do have Music Marketplace.
App Marketplace is NOW available in: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, NewZealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States
By the time Mango update is released, the following countries will gain access to the App Marketplace (announced on May 24th): Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republicm, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary , India , Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa , South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan.
It's still uncertain when/if Zune Music/Zune Pass service will be launched into more local markets as this is dependant on license agreements, just as the US Podcast section. I know these facts might not be fully satisfactory - not even to me - but it clearly shows, that Windows Phone/Microsoft does not ONLY care about US-buyers. The truth is much more balanced.
I am reaching my limit with Microsoft and Windows Phone 7. You are so close to having a great and compelling ecosystem, but you go and make absolute bone-headed decisions that lock out the entire world except the USA. I am sick and tired of the USA-centric nature of your ecosystem. No Bing local in Australia, no Zune music in Australia, no Amazon app in Australia despite the fact that Amazon ships a healthy proportion of their catalogue to Australian customers. Now no international podcast utility coming in Mango. Frankly you guys are idiots to annoy your best customers this way. Remember the bulk of WP7 handsets are being sold outside of the USA. God knows why considering the way you treat us.
I felt the need to register at this blog so that I could record a comment.
I was an early adopter (Oct 2010) and have sort of gotten used to the incredibly slow (that is to say almost nonexistent) update cycle. For example, when I hear about phone-based podcast subscription, I think "guess I'll have to wait until a full year has passed before getting this but at least it's coming". Then I read on .....
Only in US ?!? Are you guys serious?!? I'm angry enough about all the geographic inequities but there can be no possible reason, legal or otherwise, for making podcasts only available in the US. It shows utter contempt for international users and I have to say this one announcement is the very last straw for me. I'll be playing close attention to the iPhone announcement tomorrow as at least I can be sure that Appple's services are geographically consistent.
I cannot describe how angry this ridiculous "US only" situation with WP7 makes me. Total fail Microsoft and I've absolutely had enough.
from what i have seen of the artist imagery on the lock screen it is using just stock artist photos without any color splash over them (like on xbox and Dorado/Zune PC)... i know it could interfere with information being displayed but maybe some type of metro font sliding around per the Xbox and Dorado/Zune PC as well
i just love that style and hope y'all can figure out how to incorporate it into the final build of mango
Not to defend MS to much, but I'm sure at least a small part of the problem developing globally is the liscensure issues. For podcasts I never understood that, but for music certainly. Look at another digital company like Netflix, who had trouble expanding to Canada. The labels need to think globally for digital subscription services as well.
Repeat once, yes! Thank you.
Now, how about a scrub handle for audio please?
Wow! These are all great features and will bring the phone music experience closer to the Zune HD level (which, by the way, remains the best musical experience available).
But, WHY LIMITING THE AUDIENCE TO US ONLY AGAIN?
Many of us have been supporting the Zune platform for long enough but are still limited (Canada). I want to spend my money with Zune BUT YOU ARE PREVENTING ME TO DO SO.
Microsoft must learn to deploy globally.
I have to say I couldn't find the "shuffle" button up until now :-) so thanks for the tip..
Unfortunately I can only agree with many on this blog, that different features for different countries is very very disappointing. I live in Germany and while we do have the marketplace, many times the zune player doesn't find the proper image for my backgrounds and now the thing with US only podcasts is an additional annoyance. Especially since every other smartphone maker (Google, Apple, etc.) have no such restrictions.
While I applaud the history features and the smart DJ (I am very much looking forward to that one!), I find the UI change regarding the shuffle all button bad. It makes no sense (what does it do? Play the current song, intermix everything from music to podcasts?) and takes away much of the distinctive look.
I really hope MS changes its policy with regards to the international community, but I'm not holding my breath.
It makes me sad to see such an amazing platform being crippled internationally simply because of what seems to be neglect or laziness (everyone else can do it, why not the biggest software company in the world?).
The US focus is going to be the downfall of WP7 (if you can even speak of a downfall since it probably will never get high enough for it to go down)
I'll just continue to use Google for my maps needs and my Ipod to listen to music and podcasts.
@Kenny Rawlins. This is not true. This blog is global, and communicates information on features & updates to users worldwide. Microsoft is fully aware of the controversy/critisism, that some features are US-only, and has in a recent post promised to clearify whenever a blogpost contains information about US-only features.
This post is a fine example as it is clearly stated.
You can argue, that core features in the OS that are only available to US-customers is a major mistake - and I tend to agree in a lot of cases, but I am sure that most US-only features will be developed to be fully functional outside US in time, or perhaps by using apps that provide same functionality on local markets.
1. Like so many why US only for podcast
2. When will UK zune subscribers get the 10 downloads a month?
3. I was a Spotify subscriber and the best thing was the caching, does Zune do this on the phone?
I want to add my voice to the chorus of people complaining about US features. Iam incredulous as to why you would handicap the phone like this.
Is it for legal reasons? If so, tell us the details - we're adults (mostly), we can handle it.
Whether it is true or not the overriding feeling from many MANY areas that you compete in is that Google and Apple make products for the whole world - Microsoft do not. Let's see how many regions Apple roll out iCloud for next week - I'm betting its not "US only".
Seriously, this is beyond my comprehension.
Why does Microsoft insist on constantly rolling out USA only features and then promoting them at media events?
More than 70% of Microsoft's revenue comes from OUTSIDE of the USA, I can spell that a little slower if you like O U T S I D E of the U S A!!!!!!
Does iPhone and Android constantly roll out USA only OS features? NO, of course they don't because the whole concept and reasoning is absolutely absurd.
Until Microsoft gets a grip of this fairly basic reality, it will fail.
The whole mobile market in the USA is 2-3 years BEHIND the rest of the world in terms of 3G/4G+ capabilities and technology adoption and yet Microsoft constantly demonstrates this behaviour.
I am truly stumped.......
I fully appreciate the argument and logic in moving the shuffle play button. But personally I like the present location a lot better from a "delightful" and design perspective. The "old" layout gives the Zune player a distinctive and iconic look. With Mango the layout looks so.... ordinary? And the "shuffle all" play button looks so lonely at the bottom, and I wonder what the users expect to happen, when it's located on it's own, with no references as to what is going to happen. Play music? Play podcasts? Play video?
This is an excellent post! Mango sounds like a dream come true. I was mostly excited about IM options under the messaging hub but these improvements to the music hub has me equally as excited. I have to say I'm very disappointed that most of the comments to this awesome post are of people complaining. Cant satisfy everyone I guess
Guys this is a US only blog,all what is announced is good only for US WP users,we who are not in the US this blog is not for us.
@Michael Stroh,please can tell the guys in your team to develope a WP blog for the rest of the world?where the publications there will be regarding things that will be useful for us WP users out of the US/UK please.
Josh, Zune Pass Music and WP in Australia – or “I want my Zune Pass too” | Sheeds' Blog http://bit.ly/ivmrWG :)
1. Moving the "Play/Shuffle All" to where you did makes NO sense. It's no more discoverable: it only confuses what will actually happen when I hit the button. Currently, I know it plays music from my phone. In mango, what does it mean at the bottom? It plays videos and radio? It plays songs from the marketplace? As a matter of fact it's still just a triangle so how do more people suddenly know it means Shuffle All? BAD change.
2. Why is "apps or games" still one content type? SEPARATE APPS FROM GAMES PLEASE. Games keep dominating the top apps list, when they have their own marketplace category. It's not fair to apps, and damages discoverability.
3. So scrubbing in video, but still not in audio? Weird.
4. We want the ZuneHD and Zune Desktop style screensaver with bio info, etc overlaid on top of the semi-opaque artist photos. I'll take the battery hit, or do it while charging
Yes, new Zune features... oh wait, not for the majority of WP7 users. How about you get your act together and make sure your users can access your full suite of features.
One of the reasons that I bought a WP7 was so I could forget about using the iPod touch I have however this still hasn't happened and unfortunately it looks like Mango isn't going to change that. I listen to a lot of podcasts and to be able to do this I listen to them on double speed. This shouldn't really be a difficult feature to implement however still no sign of it. Secondly no audiobook support, and this for me is positively embarrassing that there's still no support for this, ans since there's no audio scrubbing support it really is impossible to listen to audiobooks unless you have 14 hours to listen to the thing all the way through
I would love to see the ability to rent/purchase movies and tv shows directly from the phone.
A lot of people call android segmented because there are a couple of different os's with clearly defined features in each.... atm Microsoft has a lot of phones (focus and omnia) on different versions of their os and each phone depending on where it was activated has different features available lol. That needs to be cut out right now, at the end of the day if you want to be a global player you need to stop thinking that the US gets special treatment, it just annoys people.
Love the changes and additions.
However for international users who don't have access to all the richness of the music play back hub, Can you please give us the ability to add a background graphic so that we don't have that black and boring background.
<duplicate of post in WPRadio EP30 blog post>
Hey Josh, Brian and Michael,
I did have a Zune Pass in 2010 for music - it was amazing I agree, but with WP7 I needed an AUS based Windows Live ID and had to drop the US Live ID. Now I miss that service heaps! Is there ANY chance that MS could put up "Where's my Zune Pass" page....with a market by market summary. Status could be for each WP7 market;
1 No current plans
2 Intending to release - but no current status
3 In negotiation
4 Release TBC
It's hard for those like me in an overseas market - we try and dampen our hopes so that we don't get disappointed - then we hit a new MS press release, blog post or podcast where the Zune Pass is spruiked for the US market and your "Crushed Excitement" Rollercoaster ride starts up again :(
At least if the status was 1, I can give up hoping. If 2 - I stop thinking about it if somewhere b/w 3-5 I stay patient and hope!
What do you say ?
I love my Windows phone and I signed up just to say this:
Why is the podcast stuff US only? Why? Why? Why? Why?
It really doesn't make sense to me. :(
Why, why, why would you not allow the download of podcasts outside the US? That just seems so ridiculous, I cannot believe it is not a mistake.
Also, please add support for other video formats, and the viewing of flash video from websites other than just youtube.
U.S cusomers only??? Seriously, WTF!!!
This is ridiculous.... there are parts in Europe where even maps navigation is disabled by default.... we have to change to a different country to get it!
I tell you why this is so crazy stupid: if a person buys a branded WP7 - the phone is preset to its region... if you are in a country with no bing maps navigation support people think WP7 does not provide navigation - NORMAL PEOPLE DO NOT SEARCH THE WEB TO SOLVE PROBLEMS
THEY DO NOT CHANGE SETTINGS UNITL THEY GET THEM! They tell their friends that crappy WP7 does not have maps navi....
Seriously - if you want to have global success you have to provide global access!
With Mango nothing seems to happen! I tested the Mango emulator in the new SDK and even Bing images are not available in certain countries!
SERIOUSLY - whats the problem with global image support and all the other unsupported features??? I don't get it!!!!
thanks for the posting. Mango looks better all the time. One of the selling points of this phone is that is the "Xbox phone" and that is VERY cool. What's not cool is that I pay for Xbox gold and I don't get Zune Pass with that. That's an extra charge. I get last.fm on Kinect, but it's not nearlyas cool as Smart DJ and Zune. This is what needs to happen:
1. Buy Netflix
2. Integrate Netflix content and Zune content into the Xbox Diamond subscription.
That would be HUGE!
Ii cant help but sigh. Here you have something that has so much potential but you hold it back so much it should be a crime. If Usain Bolt could win gold in a race, would you tie chains to his feet at the starting blocks?
1. Exclusion of flagship features due to region. An iphone is an iphone regardless of what part of the world you are.
2. Very little variation in handset choice. You just sit there and allow HTC and co play lip service whilst giving you their castoffs, meanwhile their android staple are cutting edge hardware designs. You cant sit around waiting for Nokia in 2012. Push for volume from your existing OEMs...PUSH AS THE BEHEMOTH THAT IS MICROSOFT. DEMAND RESPECT.
3. Too long a wait to your next update Mango. You competitors will not and are not resting on their laurels. IOS5 and Android Ice Cream Sandwich including the dual and quad core architectures will be something to reckon with.
4. Everything else mentioned in the comments.
You are doing everything to kill your momentum, its suicide in this highly competitive sector.
Dont screw over your international audience or you will be punished severely.
Why cant I use the slider to quickly jump to a section,,,, why ´:(
Sorry, but I hate the new player controls position. The Now Playing screen looks ugly with them there. Here are my requests/questions:
* VIDEO A2DP!!! This is ridiculous that you don't have it.
* Port the cute screensaver on the Zune HD
* Marketplace Picks
* I also don't like the "Shuffle All Music" position change. That was Zune's signature thing, man!
* Can you create auto-playlists on the phone? That would be so cool. Even cooler if we could get songs from Marketplace as well.
* Five-star ratings. If Marketplace apps have them, so should music.
* Video Marketplace on the phone
* Zune Video Pass
* Zune Pass Lite for a lower price point (no 10 free downloads included)
* Why wasn't this announced in a special VIP event like the one 2 weeks ago? Why isn't Zune that important to Microsoft? PLEASE DON'T KILL THE ZUNE BRAND!
Again U.S. only :( Is there no podcasts in Europe????
How about "custom" podcasts? That was manualy added to Zune