Nokia’s reluctance to do call management justice

By | August 16, 2013

Standard settingNokia is working on an app that will help Windows Phone users block calls and SMS messages. Called Call+SMS filter, it offers somewhat limited but useful functionality, which will sound quite familiar to those of you who were fans of our call and SMS management applications back in the days of Symbian and Nokia.
Considering the time Microsoft and Nokia had to equip Windows Phone with this valuable feature, the execution could have been much better. We are quite annoyed by this because we would have done it much better, had Nokia allowed us to continue doing what we were doing so well for them, and for so many years: call and text management.

After the Windows Phone platform was announced, we reached out to our former partners at Nokia to ask for higher-level access so we can release our world-famous app, Advanced Call Manager, on the exciting new mobile OS. Having earned Nokia’s trust and having a great track record with Microsoft’s previous platform, Windows Mobile, unfortunately got us nowhere. My personal understanding is that while our proposal was deemed worthwhile to everyone we spoke with, the idea got subsequently lost in a the new multilayered bureaucracy of the two immense partners. It must have been hard to figure out who out of numerous managers could decide whether certain developers can get access to system features – and it must have been much easier to just raise a rock-solid fence and say “No entry, no exceptions.”

Not getting the access we needed to create Advanced Call Manager for Windows Phone did not prevent us from creating a chart-topping app for Windows Phone. Clearly, we would have done a much better job in developing Nokia’s Call+SMS filter, and so much faster.

Advanced Call Manager

Advanced Call Manager v.1.0 – the quaint beginning

You know how the greatest jazz songs have dozens of covers, to the point where it becomes difficult to track who originally wrote the piece? They call these jazz standards. Well, without excess modesty, our Advanced Call Manager (ACM) established the call management standard nine years ago. Even version 1.0 boasted an impressive list of capabilities, still unmatched on the two “closed” platforms iOS and Windows Phone. We call them closed because that forbid developers to engage with the phone’s telephony and messaging functions, among others, making it impossible to create a third-party call and text managing app. These innovative features included instant recognition of calls and their intelligent handling. The app employed white- and blacklists, knew how to block calls from private numbers and worked in tight cooperation with the phone’s contact list.

ACM only got more powerful and more successful since its initial launch in 2004, culminating in a close partnership with Nokia (before its marriage with Microsoft). In the years since ACM’s launch, the experience we gathered led us to create the ultimate productivity app: Advanced Blocker. It could (and still can, if you run on Symbian) handle all kinds of calls and messages, including private (hidden) numbers, as well as MMS and WAP push message, which are notoriously tricky to capture. Later, but still three years ago, we launched our own Call & SMS Filter. Yes, we were first to claim this wonderfully descriptive name.

But, of course, every journey starts with a single step, and Nokia’s Call+SMS filter has a lot of potential for further development. At present there does not seem to be an option to selectively block just calls or just SMS messages, which is not ideal. The option to set up white- and blacklists (instead of blocking contacts one by one) is also one every user of a call management app will deem a must. Let’s not even mention the extra levels of joy that creating blocking modes and scheduling could bring to the Windows Phone user.

So we would like to put it out there once more: We, Melon Mobile, have been dreaming of worthwhile call and SMS management on Windows Phone since 2010. If you are wondering why Nokia’s to-be- Nokia attempt at call management is so underdeveloped, well, it’s because we have nothing to do with it.

–Nora

Photo credits:

Coltrane cover – Some rights reserved by exquisitur
ACM screenshots – Melon Mobile archive

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