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12 missing features we'd still love to see in Windows 8.1

Brad Chacos | July 1, 2013
Windows 8.1 changes a lot about the core Windows 8 experience, but it can be so much better if Microsoft adds just a bit more.

8. Core communication apps that play nice with others
The Windows 8.1 preview available Wednesday didn't include Mail or Calendar updates, so we can't be sure what's in store for those apps, which still need some work before they're up to snuff with top-tier communications options. I'm holding out for two big additions:POP mail support in the Mail app, and CalDAV support in the Calendar app so that it plays nice with Google Calendar again. Alas, I'm not optimistic about seeing either.

9. More tile customization options
The new super-big and super-small sizes for Start screen tiles is a small tweak that makes a big difference to Windows 8.1's feel, but again, why stop there? The Start screen still feels so locked down. I'd love to be able to rename tiles, or change their icon and background color. Judging by the emails some of you have sent me, I'm not the only one.

Another helpful feature would be the ability to group tiles into "stacks" that fan out at a touch or click. Think of them as modern-style folders. You have the ability to name groups of tiles as-is, but these so-called stacks would really help make the Start screen more efficient--and more personal.

10. Touchscreen fingerprint recognition

DO IT.

Now I'm just getting a bit ridiculous, to be honest. But hey--Windows 8.1 already gave Microsoft's native biometric support a big shot in the arm, and technology that can read your fingerprint on a touchscreen is out there. It'd be an awesome feature on such a touch-focused OS. Just sayin'.

11. Modern apps running in desktop windows

If Stardock's superb ModernMix program can run modern apps in desktop Windows, why can't Windows 8.1? There would be no better way to coax diehard desktop fanatics out of their shells than to add this low-pressure functionality that would enable the best of both worlds.

12. A clock tile
Because I'm just not going to shut up about it until there's a native way to see the date and time on the Start screen at a glance without having to do anything extra. I loathe having to open the Charms bar to see the time if I'm on the Start screen. No, seriously: Loathe.

Microsoft had the perfect opportunity to introduce a clock to the start screen with Windows 8.1's new Alarms app. Just make its live tile show the time! Did that happen? Nope. Could it happen? Yup, and probably pretty easily--maybe even "In time for the official Windows 8.1 release" easily. Just sayin'. (You can do it, Microsoft!)

 

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