Email attachments on Smartphones lacking a file system

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I was racking my head this morning over Windows Phone 7. It’s a lovely platform but with some issues, just like every other platform.

One of its lacks is a file system. The OS hides the file system from the user, such that you can’t manage your files as you please. This is pretty much how iOS functions too.

Part of the fall outs of this setup is that you can’t handle email attachments the easy convenient way that everyone is used to, as follows:

1. Fill in the header fields and type out your email
2. Select a button or link to add attachments
3. Add the attachments
4. Send

Because the file system is hidden away, the option to select a button or link to browse to locate a file to attach is not there.

To send anything as an attachment, you have to go to ts default application, select that item and choose the option to send from there.

Whether it is pictures, videos, or documents, that is how it works.

It isn’t a big deal; just different. Just in case you were wondering how to go about it, now you know.

PS: This arrangement has it’s issues though. If you need to attach multiple files of different types, e.g. both a document and a picture, to an outgoing mail (which is often in business circles), I am not sure how possible that is. I haven’t found a way to do that.

If anyone knows, do chime in your comments below.

Comments welcome.

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17 comments

  1. For me, a ravishingly beautiful woman is not worthy of being married without bucolic/ house_keeping skills.

    I would not touch an OS like this without an EFFECTIVE (third_party app?) workaround to this grave deficiency..

  2. I think stating lack of a file system is a little bit of misnomer but rather the right thing should have been lack a file manager or file browser. Apart from Symbian and maybe any other product from Nokia and the former Windows Mobile OS, most other OSes do not have a file manager or file browser integrated in the OS. I know some Android device manufacturers do bundle file managers, but these are not integral part of the OS.

    My device didn’t come with a file manager so I have to resort to third party apps. I don’t see this as so much of an issue except when there is no third party app available for the platform involved, and I would want to believe that Windows Phone 7 will definitely have some file managers in the WP7 app store to chose from.

  3. Harry,

    There is a difference between the lack of a file manager/browser and the OS hiding the file system from the user.

    Android, for example, does not hide the file system. The system is there and available – with or without a 3rd party file manager.

    Try solving the problem of attaching files directly via the email menu by installing a 3rd party file manager for either of iOS or Windows Phone.

  4. Mr. Mobility, Adding multiple files to send in an Email is not as impossible as you think. You just tap The “Edit” button and select all the files you wish to send. Then tap on “Share”. It’s as simple as that!

    Yes, it’ true that ALL the file structure is not available to the user in iOS. However, the “photos” file structure is available to most 3rd party application. you can upload your pic to twitter or Facebook for instance. You can send your pics from GoodReader if you care to.

    Finally, when downloading files like Video or Music or PDF/Microsoft Files on Safari (default browser), the OS is intelligent enough to allow you to “Open in” third party applications like GoodReader, iBooks, OplayerHD etc. This altogether eliminate the need to have ALL the file structure available to the User.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to justify the Total lack of FULL file structure availability to the user. I’m just saying that there’re still intuitive ways of getting round that. And if the device is jail broken you even greater access.

    Finally, methinks with future upgrades, Many of these would definitely be improved upon. Let’s not forget that Sumbian is more than 10 years old. iOS is barely four years old. And the Windows phone 7 is barely 2 years old!

  5. Afewgoodmen, I did not write about sending multiple files. I was particular about what i wrote. Here it is:

    If you need to attach multiple files of different types, e.g. both a document and a picture, to an outgoing mail (which is often in business circles), I am not sure how possible that is. I haven’t found a way to do that.

  6. be improved upon. Let’s not forget that Sumbian is more than 10 years old. iOS is barely four years old. And the Windows phone 7 is barely 2 years old!

    I think AfewGoodMen hit the nail on the noggin on that point-there!

    These newer OSes may be flashier, but they still need some maturation..

  7. @Eye.bee.kay

    I think AfewGoodMen hit the nail on the noggin on that point -there!

    These newer OSes may be flashier, but they still need some maturation ..

    I don’t believe these problems has anything to do with the newness of these OSes but rather they are deliberate artificial restrictions imposed by both Apple and Microsoft. For one, Android is newer in the market than iOS and yet has accessible file system right from onset.

    Unfortunately, why everybody is copying Apple, Microsoft also chose to copy even those things Apple does wrongly. This is probably one of the reasons WP7 is finding it difficult to make a headway in the market presently.

  8. @harry echemco…

    I don’t believe these problems has anything todo with the newness of these OSes but rather they are deliberate artificial restrictions imposed by both Apple and Microsoft

    Now y would they impose those stupid limitations. ? What do they stand to lose / gain – ESPECIALLY since they had Symbian to Leann from?

    I am still of the opinion it boils down to immaturity. Even Android was quite lame (still is!) when it first came out..

  9. @Eye.bee.kay

    I am still of the opinion it boils down to immaturity . Even Android was quite lame
    ( still is !) when it first came out ..

    Now you are sounding a little lame yourself. I mean Microsoft had a mobile OS before their new OS. Bluetooth, USB mass storage, file management that is visible to the user etc and all the things we have been complaining about in WP7 were all implemented and now come their new OS with all those things missing and everything looking more like iOS and you think it is problem of being new. So if that is the case, why are all those implemented in Android?

  10. I’m confused right now, I’ve been wanting to chane my primary device for some time, but all the bad news around me give me cold feet. I think it all boils down to sticking with a mature and fully robust OS like the Symbian and give sometime to the younger ones to evolve fully. Too bad Symbian’s came a little too late. I love fluid UIs but those will have to wait I’m looking for functionality…

  11. EyeBeeKay, I have to take sides with you on this one. All this boils down to immaturity. The more WP7 and iOS goes, the more newer features would be added and the more matured they’d get. Not too long ago you couldn’t instal application in the memory cards of Android devices! But from Froyo (2.2) upwards you now can.

    Mr. Mobility, You can actually send multiple files of different file types at once on iOS. However, you’d need a third party application! I just did that to be sure before doing this post!

    An App like GoodReader for instance which can view multiple file types inclusive of Wordpad, PDF, Microsoft Word, mp3, mp4, mv3, wav, mv4, Photos (like BMP, MPEG etc) etc. you’d just need to tap on “manage files” and select the files you wish to send. Then “send via Emai”. It’s that simple!

    Just like EyeBeeKay and his Symbian ^1 phones, when you have the right tools (3rd party applications), you can do lots of things with your OS. But definitely not Everything!

  12. Tino,

    Its not exactly bad news. Its a question of what meets your needs. apparently, iOS and Windows Phone don’t. Android or Symbian might. Play around a bit and have fun ;-).

  13. Bros Harry, looks like you are trying you evade asking a question by asking another!
    The questions was:

    What do Apple ziOS & Windows Phone stand to lose / gain – ESPECIALLY since they had Symbian to Leann from?

    You say…

    .Microsoft had a mobile OS before their new OS. Bluetooth, USB mass storage, file management that is visible to the user etc and all the things we have been complaining about in WP7 were all implemented and now come their new OS with all those things missing and everything looking more like iOS and you think it is problem of being new

    Well, WindowsPhone 7 was totally rewritten, and is TOTALLY different Fromm older versions – you know.

    So, why omit something critical if not because of immaturity?

  14. Harry, EyeBeeKay has said it all. windows Mobile and Windows phone 7 are totally different and distinct OS! Just like iOS is different from Android. Windows was phone 7 was written from the scratch. So it is not a matter of Microsoft removing some features from WP7. By the way, Windows mobile was as matured as Symbian so they could do all that.

    When IOS first came on board and even your beloved Android there were also glaring features missing, I dare say!

    All mobile OSes are evolving. Even the quintessential Symbian is also evolving. Everyone would agree with me that the UI of Symbian is just starting to mature with Anna and maybe Belle officially in the coming weeks? Or ?Months?

    Tino, mobile OSes aren’t black and white. An OS LACKING SOMETHING doesn’t mean that it is unusable or non-intuitive! My present devices are both Symbian ^3 and iOS 5. But I find myself using mynios device much more than the Symbian because of the fluidity of use and intuitiveness. They excel in different aspects. And By Jove, Methinks that they compliment each other!

    And I can be certain that by next year, one or two new or missing features would be added to iOS and WP7!

  15. Is these a problem of maturity or a problem of refusing to grow.

    They just keep these things away and am not Happy about it.

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