Fixing Messaging in Windows Phone 8.1
So with iOS 8 Apple put a ton of work into making iMessage a comparable messaging platform to many other popular applications out there. It's still a moot point since iMessage is exclusive to Apple, but its worth mentioning that this is a place that Microsoft needs to work on, and fast.
Apple has their integration with iMessage (especially now that you can sms on your other iDevices), in Android SMS and Google Chat are all rolled into one thing now. And what about Windows Phone? This should be a space where Windows can dominate. They have the open platform and the connection to to legacy Windows so what's up? When WP7 first came out the integration with FB Chat was a killer feature. But it quickly fell by the wayside, out of date and buggy. And now WP8.1 is out and the messaging app just does SMS? really?!
Microsoft spent $8 Billion on Skype, so why aren't we seeing those fruits? Pretty simple actually. Skype was never a good messaging platform. They were a good video platform that had messaging parts tacked on the side. Which was fine when all you wanted to do was write a quick note when the call quality dipped. And Microsoft did a great job of porting the great Live messaging platform into Skype. The problem is that the app still sucks for that. Its slow, clunky, and its great for quickly switching between threads and other things on the app.
So what to do? There was a ton of hope when WP8.1 leaks had the ability to switch out the Default SMS application. How fantastic would that be! Use the messaging platform of your choice with BUILT IN sms support! But that seems to have been a half cocked idea that missed the deadline. So what now? Well the road is already paved. The just need a few more bits to make it work.
The concept of secondary tiles has been in the new Metro platform for a long time and were a great idea, click on the tile, go straight to the part of the app you're interested in. And with the new social integration in the WP8.1 preview, Microsoft looks to be expanding that with the concept of social apps integrating straight into the people hub. So why not one step more?
Allow 3rd party apps to hook straight into the messaging app. Make it the "Messaging Hub" we were promised back in WP7. Imagine FB, Skype, GChat, WhatsApp, even SnapChat, Instagram direct, Twitter direct, or ANY OTHER APP Feeding straight into one stream.
No more having to remember what friends are on what network. No more having half your Start Screen covered in messaging apps. True convergence. With simple filtering options within a thread you can enable or disable certain feed types. And simple links within a thread can launch the native application and bring up the correlating thread.
Now from a developing standpoint I can tell that this would take a pretty fair amount of work, but I also think that getting this done would be a slam dunk for MSFT. Especially If they could work with Google, Instagram, and SnapChat to get final versions of their apps integrated with this at launch. Okay, maybe Google is a longshot... But the point holds, delivering this would be absolutely killer.
What do you guys think? Comments? Concerns? Ideas? Feel free to post!