There’s a lot of people out there hoping to see a Notifications Center come to Windows Phone 8 in order to make it exactly like Apple’s iOS, Android, and every other smartphone operating system out there. There are rumors that Microsoft is actually working on this, it’s just that they didn’t have time to add it into the initial release of Windows Phone 8, but it will probably come in an over-the-air update. That’s great, but why do you need it? The whole idea behind Windows Phone is to be different and innovative. Doing things the same way as everyone else isn’t innovative at all.
Plus, there already is a notifications center in Windows Phone and it’s been there the whole time. Just tap the “Me” tile and swipe to the side where you’ll see… wait for it… “Notifications”.
Of course, only the integrated social networking notifications are listed there. There are no music players, weather forecast graphics, game invite notifications, application news updates, or software update notifications. All of those things are actually on the Windows Phone start screen in the form of live tiles… which are a far more innovative way to display notification data since it’s so much more customizable. If you miss a notification, you’ll see it there on your start screen. If you don’t care much about an app’s live tile notifications, there’s a simple and universal way to ignore them; don’t pin it to the start screen. If an app’s live tile doesn’t update with notification data after showing the toast notification pop-up, then whose fault is that? That’s the app developer’s fault and you can let them know in the Windows Phone Store’s review section. Calendar appointment reminders are another completely different type of notification that are a pain to deal with when your phone is locked. The only options are to snooze or dismiss. You can’t unlock the phone and edit or reschedule the appointment without dismissing it, unlocking the phone, navigating to the calendar, finding that particular appointment and editing it from there.
We’re not sure how Microsoft intends to implement a new notifications center, but it is true that the pop-up toast notifications do disappear after a few seconds and if you miss it, it’s difficult to tell which live tile that notification may have belonged to should you be pretty backed-up in your notification checking abilities. A chronological listing of what notifications occurred at what time could certainly be useful in figuring out which one was the most recent. The most logical place for this would be to merge it with the existing Notifications center within the Me tile (which already nicely lists Twitter and Facebook notifications chronologically).
Does Windows Phone really need a notifications center that’s just like Apple’s iOS and Android? Or is the existing start screen sufficient? Or will Microsoft come up with something completely different for managing notifications?