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Building a smartphone, and filling it with features that will speak the loudest to the most consumers, is a hard thing to do. You've got to get a lot right, even while you understand that you may get a lot wrong. Some people may not like the hardware that you created, while others will praise your software. Or vice versa. It's all about the gamble.

When it comes to proprietary software, it's like the gamble intensifies tenfold right out of the gate. We've seen some impressive phones in the past get the raw end of the deal, simply because the custom software "wasn't good enough."

Then again, something not being good enough is completely relative. Our needs and expectations are so different from person to person, that all a manufacturer can hope is that they'll speak to the majority, even if the minority bemoans certain aspects of a new device.

Software is the biggest opportunity for a manufacturer to bring some of the best value to a device. The hardware may be the way that you get the customer to pick up your new shiny phone, but it will be the software that keeps them coming back. Samsung is a company that's put a lot of focus on their software over the last few years, and there are a lot of people out there who see the value in that.

It's up to you, and only you, to determine how many features you need on your phone.

When iOS 7 was unveiled, the immediate reaction from quite a few people that I saw was that Apple had, once again, drawn quite a bit of inspiration from Google's mobile platform, Android. But, you don't have to look too hard from one platform to another to see "inspirations" here and there. It's just the way things go.

I'm in agreement with Anna when it comes to Windows Phone needing apps, as I've made that perfectly clear over the last couple of years. They also need a bigger focus on their own proprietary features, like Xbox LIVE (especially with Google creating their own LIVE-like service for Android). But I'm wondering if Microsoft should start taking a few more cues from some other platforms out there, much like we've seen other mobile operating systems do over the years.

As I just mentioned, many would suggest that iOS has been picking Android's best new (and old) features and adding it to the iOS features list. So I want to know which features from Android, any at all, you'd want Microsoft to gain inspiration from and bring to Windows Phone.

For me, there's only really one: the notification shade. This is, by far, one of my favorite Android features, as it makes notifications so dang easy. And, as we've seen from Apple since it introduced its own "Notification Center," you can tweak it enough to make it look different, and still hold the same functionality, as the Android original. And based on a particular leak we've seen in the past of what Windows Phone's notification center could look like, I think Android's notification shade is the perfect implementation.

But I want to hear from you. I want to know which Android-based features you'd want to bring to Windows Phone, in an effort to make Microsoft's mobile platform better overall. And, of course, be sure to tell me why you'd want these new features added to Windows Phone. And . . . Go!


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