Losing patience with Windows Phone

I have to say that my patience with Windows Phone is wearing off.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is the lack of real progress on the application front.  The second is the feeling of abandonment surrounding the Nokia Lumia 900 (or more broadly, Microsoft’s inability to even get a minor update like Windows Phone 7.8 fully rolled out).

Back in April and June of 2012 I wrote blog entries bemoaning the lack of real world apps on Windows Phone.  I won’t remake those arguments, so I suggest you read those pieces to understand my frustration.  The bottom line here is that Windows Phone does not help me manage my life nearly as well as an iPhone (or Android-based phone) would.  It is 11 months since I wrote that first blog entry and as far as I can tell NONE of the real world interaction apps I was missing have appeared on Windows Phone.  And I include both WP7.x and Windows Phone 8, so it isn’t that moving to a WP8 device would help.

The second issue is less important, but actually related to the first.  Microsoft “screwed the pooch” on the rollout of Windows Phone 7.8.  It is now March and AT&T still hasn’t offered me the update for my Lumia 900.  Well, right now I think updates are on hold while Microsoft fixes a bug with Live Tiles.  But every day that goes by I care less and less about the update.  Basically, thanks for the cosmetic improvements but if and when 7.8 actually comes to my Lumia 900 it won’t make the device measurably more useful to me.  Microsoft has managed to turn WP7.8 from something intended to mollify WP7 device owners into something that rubs their nose in the lack of upgradeability of devices they acquired less than a year ago.

The reason I feel these two issues are related is simple.  If WP8 solved my app problem I’d be salivating over WP8 devices and forget all about the WP7/WP8 transition. Instead I just view WP8 devices as more major cosmetic improvements that don’t get me even 1% of the way towards closing the usefulness gap with the iPhone.  They aren’t giving me what I really need, and thus any momentary lust for new technology is overwhelmed by the fact that I’ll shell out $500+ of my own money and after a few weeks of technological masturbation be just as unsatisfied as I am today.

So next month, when I would normally do my mid-contract upgrade, I’m not sure what to do.  One thing is clear, the certainty that I’ll be getting a new Windows Phone is gone.  I just don’t see the compelling value proposition.

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55 Responses to Losing patience with Windows Phone

  1. Nii-Teiko says:

    sad but true…

  2. I share your feelings exactly. I no longer see any compelling value proposition in WP. I’ve been an avid user of the platform for 2 years, since the beginning of WP7. I’ve loved it for a long time and been patient for MS to figure out upgrades, improvements to the system and attract more apps. Since 7.5 there’s been essentially, well, NOTHING. And that’s more than a year ago. I understand the need to update under-the-hood system stuff in WP8, but you can’t keep users waiting forever. The few well-integrated advantages that WP has had for years have been completely rendered moot as iOS and Android have already or are now progressively copying them, nullifying any advantage WP had to date.

    Tired of the situation as you are, I bought myself a Nexus 4 a couple weeks ago and while I hate the aesthetic (nothing beats WP on that front) this phone is VERY useful and helps me do what I need to get done better than any of my WP devices did. MS will disappear from the smartphone race quickly unless they start taking the WP business seriously.

  3. I think you should give WP8 a try. I love it and I’ve had a HTC Trophy (WP7 and WP7.5), a Lumia 900 (WP7.5), and now a Lumia 920 (WP8). Like you, the initial thrill is wearing off, and my frustrations with Xbox Music and the not getting the Portico update is irking me.

  4. stonstad says:

    I feel the same way, Hal. I’ve been on the platform since day one and I just haven’t seen any gains that benefit my productivity in any meaningful way.

  5. jcallahan says:

    The power user in me totally understands and shares your frustration. How can a business not realize that one of the requirements (major app availability) of success is not being met. I’m absolutely stunned that MS hasn’t progressed further in attracting major 3rd party apps. I realize it is hard, but it is essential for success.

    In general, I’m still pretty positive about my Lumia 920. Of course, I liked my Samsung Focus as well. My wife recently switched from her iPhone 5 to a yellow Lumia 920 against my recommendation. I cringed to think I would have to be the one to provide support for her. So far, we aren’t in divorce court and she really prefers WP8. That said, the crappy Words with Friends app almost did us in. It’s amazing how that one app ended up being the “identity” of the 920 for her. If it would have been solid from the start, then my life would have been much easier.

    So I re-upped for another contract cycle on WP, but this is the last unless real progress is made on that front. Thank you for using you visibility to share a message that so many of us wish we could get out there to WP team leaders.

  6. John says:

    There were a couple of people here at work that said pretty much the same thing that you just said. They were coming from the iPhone and, upon contract renewal, they decided to give WP8 a try. Both took their phones back within a week or two because they said that WP8 wasn’t as useful to them as their iPhone was. One of the guys was shocked because he said that, in his opinion, the way that Outlook on WP8 integrated with our Exchange server was worse than how the email app on his old iPhone integrated with our Exchange server. They wanted to like WP8 but they said that using it was less productive than their iPhones. The disappointing part was that, when they took them back (to get the new iPhones), the person at the AT&T store said that a lot of people had been doing the same thing. Now, this is anecdotal evidence but, if even you’re starting to lose patience, Hal, MS should take notice of this and, hopefully, they’ve got something up their sleeves.

  7. Joe Wood says:

    The app gap is very real. I think MS could do a lot more to fix it. Speeding up the HTML WinJS compatible framework will help. Also, working on compatibility layers (maybe with Xamarin) to bridge Android and iOS development to WP8. Plus, avoid shooting themselves in the foot like they have done with the WP7->8 migration and dropping XNA etc.

    What I don’t understand is the silence on platform updates and features. Hearing about no meaningful platform updates until next holiday season is going to be very negative for the platform’s momentum. Even the evangalism teams seem to be relatively quiet about app store development, relative to the constant feedback we heard during the WPF and Silverlight days.

  8. I used to read the WinPhone blogs every day to see what was new, now I don’t bother. The only thing I find really bad on the phone is Music and Video management. Everything else I find awesome and i mostly need it to integrate with my Outlook software, although it fails on Categories of contacts, big time.

    I think W8 is miles ahead of W7 in most areas, but it fails on the Music front. I also think that the stability is amazing, my phone never has issues in that department, it’s a rock. (Lumia 920). Wouldn’t it make sense that since the Dev Tools only came out last fall, that the really good apps would only now start appearing? Maaluba is a good example of a great app that just came out.

    You’re a more technical person than myself, do you think the underlying tech is just not finished yet, or are we just waiting for apps still in development? I would love to see your list of apps that you are so sorely missing also, it helps to vent with more precision, list ways that you are more productive with Iphone to help us understand. I hope Belfiore is reading this blog and lining up to comment as well.

  9. What’s sad is discovering that Nokia don’t have a clue what’s going on either (at least publicly) – https://twitter.com/NokiaCareUS/status/307583634464972801 … I’m pretty certain when my contract is up at the end of this month there will be three less Windows Phones in my house and three more Nexus devices than there are today. I am bored of waiting for apps, I am tired of being told that vNext will make everything better … I’ve lost faith in the platform and I think the same is true for many developers .. it’s not a third option, it’s a lost cause

  10. I think that the people who are most content with Windows Phone are those who get it as their first smartphone. They appreciate the simplicity and fluidity of the device, and they don’t care much about apps.

    For example, I got my aunt a WP7.5 device a year ago and she has been very happy with it. She doesn’t know/care that it could get updated, and she has never installed an app. Even when I showed her Shazam, as an example, she liked the novelty, but never tried to go further or discover other apps. Same for many other members of my family (older generations).

    Sadly, these people typically buy whatever their children (or the sales agent at a local store) recommend; and Windows Phone will rarely be first.

  11. Matthieu says:

    I think Hal is pointing a real (and serious) concern with the platform.

    Like he said the problem is not Windows Phone 7, 7.8 or 8. Microsoft has supported several companies to port their apps to Windows Phone. For example Foursquare was a very fine app for WP7 but it was never updated as Foursquare was adding features to both iOS and Android versions. Why? Because the sales, specially in the US, were not good and lot of companies are waiting to see if the platform is gaining some traction before committing resources.

    So with Windows Phone 8 I feel it’s the same situation as two years ago: nice devices (specially with the Lumia brand), a very good OS, a great fan base, a lot of awards but no app.

    IMHO, Microsoft has not put enough pressure or give enough incentives to the carriers. Selling phone is not like selling software: you have an intermediary. Here in Canada Windows Phone is almost inexistent because no operator is doing any promotion. Instead of organizing hackathons, developer promotion etc. Microsoft should help train the sales personal, etc.

    Rogers, the main carrier, was the “launch” partner for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Not once I have seen a Windows Phone device promoted on their homepage. I fear that it’s the case for a lot of countries.


  12. dave says:

    I tend to agree with the sentiment in this blog entry. 7.8 has gone from a positive update to an example of the WinPho problem: velocity.

    What’s needed?

    1. A 7.8 release that arrives, without problems, in the next 10 days.

    2. A fix for the “other data” monster files that seem to take over available storage space. Turning off SkyDrive synchronization isn’t an answer.

    2.1 Address notification center, ring vs. Music volume, and other top end user requests ASAP, not in November.

    3. An 8.5 / “Blue” release that coincides with new higher end hardware in August, not November. Yes, I know this won’t happen, but it would be a very very good sign of MSFT’s new commitment to mobile.

    3. Put serious effort to get more apps ported to Windows Phone. Start with Instagram, if you want any teenagers adopting the platform.

    4. Initiate advertising that shows windows 8 across the board from PC to tablet to phone highlighting the integration and ease of use.

    5. Address in small business needs aggressively, as this is a growing space for mobile phone computing use.

    Summing up: As Tom Warren at The Verge stated nicely, “Nokia’s Windows Phone range is complete, now it’s up to Microsoft.”

    Seriously, this is not just another computing front. It is THE computing front. And it takes more than a clean UI / interface to win.

  13. Bill Glosser says:

    As a developer I have been working on a WP8 app for a couple of months now. What I find startling is the number of gotchas in the tool set. For instance Linq to SQL does not work on WP8. (It did on WP7 and 7.5) Using the Where clause throws an error. WP8 requires SQL CE 3.5 whereas Visual Studio 2012 (required for WP8 development) only supports SQL CE 4.0. (There is an add-in to get around this.) So, perhaps more apps would be coming thru if working around glitchs in the toolset didnt wreck havoc with productivity.

    • Matthieu says:

      I’m working for both iOS and Android, the toolset of Windows Phone should not be ashamed. Each platform as its pitfall regarding the tools, language etc. No apps, no users so no developers. Apple succeeds with a language (Objective-C) from the 80’s … . you should use SQLite, that’s the de-facto standard now.

      • BGlosser says:

        Actually I like my Windows Phone 8 (a Nokia 920) quite a bit. Its fun, easy to navigate around. It plays back music clips from UTube over WiFi without dreaded signal interruptions. I used SQL CE because I figured it would be better integrated with Entity Framework to generate data classes, and with SQL Server which I have worked with in the past.

        • BrianT says:

          Bill, which features does your app require which are available in WP8 but not in WP7?

          If the answer is “none”, then you should be developing in VS 2010 targeting WP7. The reason is that your app will automatically run on both WP7 and WP8 thereby doubling or tripling your potential market. Also worth noting is that VS 2010 is much less demanding of computer resources – hyper-threading not required, W8 not required, lower memory requirements.

  14. msftjnky says:

    Sad to see you continue spewing your frustrations. I didn’t read any other articles you’ve written. I don’t see the need to. I’m confused (answers is probably in your other articles) by your “real world” apps frustration. What does that mean? Isn’t communication, social based apps using GPS, AR, etc real world use? Or are you nit picking at the niche apps that are plentiful on ios and android. The apps argument can only go so far. Anybody can get almost anything done on wp8 in “real world” use. I do agree apps could be more and and some, better. I personally don’t find much to be missing except for extra things like WiFi direct or some type of DLNA or similar airplay feature. Anyway, thx for sharing.

  15. MarcSilverTriple says:

    WP8 user, I joined Windows Phone after having 3 different Android device. Some of the reason why I decided to let Android on side of the road:
    – many (most?) Android hit the market already outdated, and they are left on the road with no support
    – among the 3 Android devices I had, no one really gave me satisfaction as a phone, as rebooting by themselves at least once a day with their original manufacturer version (maybe there is quite a good reason many people are trying out alternatives distribution, as apparently it is a bit better (still not perfect but better) with thoses).
    – once you are gone for the alternatives, you’ll never stop changing your settings, resetting everything… It is an endless story, but the only way to get a device which is more reliable everyday (because reliability was far from perfect on that side of the world)…

    After that, I tried WP7 on an HD2 (a try for a few months) : worked perfectly, without freezes and without stability issue. The same device on any Android versions I tried was never able to be a contender in terms or reliability and fluidity. The device on WP7 was able to run 24/24, 7/7 at long as I plug in on the charger after 12 hours of use. This was definitely a convincing factor on my side on the ability of the plateform to play as reliable phone. Until that, I never had any “smartphone” as reliable as my old Nokias, 10 years back. So looking at this, I decided to go for WP8. I choose a Lumia 920, well aware of the support and application Nokia is pushing out to their users.

    For the situation on application side, it is depending upon a lot of factors I think. I’m living in France. In terms of smartphone, my needs are quite simple :
    – reliable phone first
    – GPS with offline capability (Here Drive + Here Maps are fitting perfectly)
    – Camera with good capabilitis on low light, and a dedicated camera button (this is more than a feature – Removing buttons is not making sense to me under a certain limit. I do think they got it right here)
    – office and skydrive
    – Few news application / news aggregators
    – a solution such as Getpocket or Instapaper to read some long blog items and a few others I’m like reading when on iddle in transit. I found alternatives application which are doing the job correctly (yes the original application is not there, but as I got an alternative working fine, I’m not sure I’ll jump to the original one, unless it gives very interesting advantages).
    – social networks (Facebook, Twitter,…) where I do use mostly the integrated capabilities, switching of to applications only for some specific use when the integrated capability is not enough, and I’m fine with that.
    – Skype: on other platforms, any commication application is a power eater. This is not the case of Skype on WP8. I would like to see other communication application working the same way in the future.
    – services : i’m lucky with almost all the services I use in France being covered.

    After that, I got my Lumia 920 on November 3rd, almost when it became available in France. I did saw a lot of evolutions among the existing applications which are really improving on WP8 compared to WP7 (my wife has a Lumia 900 which she is probably changing soon for a Lumia 920). And as well around the plateform has gain in terms of credibility, having the market shares being more significant and clearly growing those times (it is no longer rare to spot a Windows Phone in the wild here). Some company here in Europe are announcing WP applications while it was out of the picture a few months ago.

    But clearly, I do think the Nokia Lumia 920 is what is trigerring this here. I was last week-end with friends who were former iPhone 4 users who switched to S3. They wanted to change for a bigger screen. They are fed up with regular freeze and reboot of their phones. They looked very interested to the Lumia 920. The things that may make them switch :
    – Kid’s corner
    – Low light camera
    – Super sensitive screen, when temp is below 0, you understand what it means
    – Maps and GPS offline capability
    – Dedicated camera button
    – Skype without the application running in the background
    After that, we check out the application they were using on their smartphone. Most of them are already there. And where they don’t exists, there is valid alternatives (sometime better than the original one). Some games will be missing for the kid, but as they still have the iPhone 4, it would not prevent the switch.

    At the end, may be I’m too much candid or the situation in Europe is far better than what it is in United States… But still there is reasons to hope!

    • dave says:

      Its good to be reminded of the good die of wp8 – no crashes or random reboots, at lease for me on my Lumia 900. Also, it’s nice not to have a phone with a cracked screen (looking at you, iPhone).

  16. Nahalem says:

    Don’t want to throw more wrenches at the monkey, but I agree. I feel that Microsoft has its priorities wrong here. They are completely ignorance to what their competitors are doing and seems to be living in their own bubble. After so much talks that Microsoft has changed culturally bs, they’re back to their old ways on their campus. They are competing with themselves instead and my patient is running out for them.

    I’m still on my Omnia 7 and basically ignoring all the WP8 hooplas since it gives on real benefits of what I have now. What were they thinking of canning the Zune software as the desktop client for syncing? Then they made this Windows Phone App that is innately batshit horrible.

    I don’t know what’s going on at the campus (no body really does), but Windows Phone feels like it’s treated as a stepchild and I’m rather frustrated since I like the fresh take of mobile interface of Windows Phone. My two years is up soon and I don’t think I’ll wait for MS to catch up with Android and iOS.

    Is there an alternate world where Microsoft sells off the Windows Phone department to Nokia and let them do whatever they want with it? I can dream…

    • dave says:

      “Is there an alternate world where Microsoft sells off the Windows Phone department to Nokia and let them do whatever they want with it? I can dream…”

      I’ve had the same thought more than once….

  17. The things is, the ordinary punter who buys a phone every two years, well, they already knew all of what you just said. They knew it would happen and they knew to avoid Windows phone [insert number here]. This is why Windows phone is in the doldrums. And it will probably take them 5 years to have your epiphany, and another couple to change things.

    This is why Mr John Doe doesn’t (sic) buy a Windows phone.

    The fact that you persist with it seems like a kind of masochism. I think you really need to move on from Microsoft totally – it’s not doing you any good 😉

  18. Just because they don’t deliver upgrades doesn’t mean Microsoft will not continue supporting your phone for years to come. Your existing apps will continue to run. Hell, even VB6 apps have continued to run long past Microsoft’s support date. This is why people should trust their dollars in Microsoft products.

    • halberenson says:

      Huh? What good does that do anyone if the apps aren’t available in the first place. Not to mention that support for phones is not the same as support for Windows itself. Microsoft can’t even get 7.8 out there, and they have no apparent plans for a follow-on. And they are evangelizing a development platform that is not compatible with WP7.x, so the flow of new apps will trickle to nothing. Heck, it would take them at least 6 months to get a critical security fix actually deployed (it has already happened) for WP7. I have absolutely no faith in Microsoft supporting WP7.x any better than they support Windows Mobile 6.5.

      • Microsoft was not/is not in a position to create market share. The WP as an ecosystem is a mirage. We imagined it so and wanted it to be true.

        Meanwhile, Microsoft is all-hands dating the new pretty girl called WinRT and wants consumers and developers to love her.

        Apple, meanwhile, is still married to a frumpy NeXT, although she had a few facelifts, and still looks hot.

  19. Turnbuckle says:

    I have an option to return my new htc w8 phone and exchange for iPhone. What would u do? U can bet I know what I’ll be doing.

    • halberenson says:

      I don’t know what I’d do. I don’t love the iPhone, and I dislike Android. In that sense Windows Phone remains my favorite. But at some point I’d decide to put up with an environment I don’t really care for in order to get the apps that I need. For me the current question is do I wait a year for my contract renewal and see what to do, or do I pay out of pocket for a mid-cycle replacement. Historically I’ve done the latter.

      • Bob - former DECie says:

        I dislike both the iPhone and Android, but for different reasons. I really like the the interface on my Lumia 920, but I don’t care that it is the same as Windows 8 as I’m running Windows 8 on a non-touch laptop and I spend 99% of my time in the desktop. Given where I am in my employer’s device refresh cycle, I’ll probably be in one of the last non-touch refresh cycle, so it will probably be at least 3 years before I get a touch device at work.

        I’m probably unusual in that I don’t use my phone for entertainment, but the fact that the two apps I mentioned in either your April or June posts are not available on Windows yet, makes me question whether I will get another Windows Phone at the end of my contract 20 months from now.

    • Tim says:

      I switched from Android to WP8 (HTC 8x) a few months back and have not looked back. It is a great phone and I really appreciate the consistent experience across my Windows devices. But then again, I haven’t felt the need to download too many apps, so I may be in a different category than Hal and others here. The only app I wish I had was Google’s My Tracks. I have a similar app (Endomondo) for WP8, but I think My Tracks was easier to use.

  20. Tim says:

    Hal – if you did switch to something other than WP8, do you think you’d miss the consistent experience that you enjoy now between your (Windows) devices? Between my WP8 HTC 8x, Surface and Win 8 desktops, I get a consistently good experience across all devices.

  21. IB says:

    I recently made the switch from Android (HTC One S) to WP8 (HTC 8X). I was surprised by how amazing the experience has gotten – and how much improvement. In fact, the only capabilities I miss day to day are the almost prescient suggestions of Google Now. I thought I’d split my time between the One S and 8X, but I haven’t touched the highly customized android I put hours into making my own in months…

    • halberenson says:

      Understand that I totally love Windows Phone and really don’t want to leave it. But this is turning into a VHS vs. Betamax kind of war. Betamax was better than VHS in every way except one, capacity of a single tape. The general consumer voted for capacity over recording quality, leaving Betamax to the realm of afficinados and professionals (where it still hangs on to this day). Without the right apps WP looks a lot like Betamax.

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  23. Roger says:

    Hal, I think the future of Windows Phone is not in the high-end. It’s in the low and mid-end. I’m very excited about Lumia 620 and Lumia 520. I think these two models will shape the future of Windows Phone — not the overpriced ones like Lumia 920.

    Windows Phone usage is DEFINITELY growing. A simple test is search anything on twitter with “source:twitter_for_windows_phone”. Even a year ago, you could hardly find any tweets. But these days you’ll find thousands. I think customers love WP in general. It is good enough for vast majority of people. But it’s not good enough to compete with the extremely high price points of iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3.

    My prediction is, Lumia 620 and 520 will help WP8 break the 10% market share barrier by the end of 2013.

    • halberenson says:

      I’ve mentioned before that I know my view is North America-centric, and here Windows Phone has not been playing at the low-end at all. In particular it is totally absent from the pre-paid market. I don’t understand why, though lack of LTE support is considered a death knell for new devices in the U.S. and Canada yet that is the primary differentiator between low-end and high-end phones. The 520 might be coming to T-Mobile USA, but then that is the carrier whose network is primarily still HSPA+ rather than LTE. And the one who is trying to get out of the subsidy business, making a $250 unsubsidized device very attractive.

      That said I agree with you that much of Windows Phone’s success will come in the low-end particularly in non-saturated markets. That will drive share, and then Microsoft and its partners hope adoption of higher-end (higher-margin) devices follows. Unfortunately that strategy might not boost North America market share much for years to come, making it an uninteresting target for large U.S. app developers (ala banks, airlines, etc.). The wild card is if WP came to the pre-paid market. But prices would have to be roughly half that of the 520 to gain any volume there (where low-end Android devices range from $80-150).

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  25. Henry says:

    It’s starting to feel like WM 6.1 again – customers and developers left in the dust.
    The lack of support and real and constant innovation and courage in features and API is as disappointing as is the sad state of hangs and reboots with many WP8 Lumia phones, which Portico made even worse (at least for me).

  26. Sean M says:

    I’m in much the same situation. I picked up a Lumia 710 early last year on a lark to try out Windows Phone having used Android and iOS devices prior to that. I bought it off eBay and figured I could just switch to something else if I didn’t like it. I ended up with an irrational fondness for the WP7 UI.

    Looking forward, though, I don’t know if I’ll move to a WP8 device or switch to something else. The app situation is part of that, but more broadly, I just don’t get the sense that Microsoft has a real strategy for this platform. Maybe it’s just reality that with two mature platforms (iOS and Android) there isn’t much opportunity for mainstream success, but MS seems incapable of even taking advantage of what niches are available to them. As just one example, I have an Xbox which is connected to my home theater setup, and so with a Windows phone, getting a Zune pass worked out great for streaming music at home or on the go. However, with the Xbox rebranding of Zune, I’ve been hearing all sorts of problems, including, amazingly enough that WP8 won’t play Xbox video at all. Really? MS’s plan to compete in the consumer smartphone space involves offering significantly worse media integration than competing platforms? At first I figured this had to be an oversight but we’re now approaching four months since launch, and no improvements or even hints that they’re coming.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be the same sort of problems across all three platforms that MS launched last fall (Windows 8/RT, Xbox music/video, and WP8). MS was apparently trying for a shock and awe release of these products and services. However, they’re all very much ‘v1.0’ products launching into competitive markets, and from the outside it seems MS is not moving quickly to improve them and their integration with each other.

    • halberenson says:

      They definitely have a V1ish quality about them, for good reason. It has only been a little over 4 months since Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 came out, and the new Xbox isn’t due until later this year, so I don’t see an overall issue with the speed they are moving. I’m assuming major improvements in late summer or fall, both in the individual platforms and in the integration between the three.

      • Sean M says:

        Well, yes, they are version 1 quality because they’re do-overs of the existing platforms, but the real question in the end is will that have been the best choice? Particularly Xbox Music and Video. Why do these services seem to be such a regression from Zune rather than simply improved updates to the existing service (rebranded of course)? I can potentially see more of a point in starting over with the new WinRT runtime, though I still have to wonder if they would have been better off iterating on the existing .NET/Silverlight collection of APIs. And the significant updates to Windows Phone may eventually pay off if running a single platform from phone up to desktop actually works well in practice. I mean it sounds cool, but how well is it really going to scale? Only time will tell. But again, that’s not the reality today. Instead today WP8 isn’t that different from WP7 from and end user point of view. There are some improvements, and some regressions, but nothing earth shattering, and all the most visible improvements (multi-core support, higher resolution display support, native code, etc.) could have been implemented on the old CE core if MS really wanted to.

        What I’m really getting at is that the situation seems to perfectly fit the classic issues expected when rewriting vs refactoring code. Starting over from scratch means little or no attention to the existing platform (e.g. the WP 7.8 issues), losing out to competitors during the rewrite as the existing platform stagnates, and finally, a new product that most likely is missing features compared with the existing product. (e.g. WP8’s inability to play Xbox Video files whereas WP7 could play Zune video. This one absolutely blows my mind. Imagine how ridiculous it would be it if Apple came out with iOS 7 and it couldn’t play any iTunes videos. If MS doesn’t bother making their services work with their platforms, why should anyone else?)

  27. David says:

    Hello gents,
    What a good feeling to hear familiar voices and feelings! It seems that there are as many frustrated users as there are windows phones on earth! But is there any other alternative? Nor iphone or android are inovating any more. And Nokia is doing something with the Lumias.

  28. rojo says:

    I love Windows Phone and as much as I hate to admit it, I agree. I personally feel that the Windows 8 rollout was a huge slap in the face. Microsoft needs new Windows Phone management in place ASAP.

  29. Gary Schroeder says:

    I love WP, always have, and love my Nokia 920. But I also very much agree with your post. In fact, you’re better off staying on WP7.5 if for no other reason than you still have a good music and sync experience. MS took a massive step backwards in those 2 areas with WP8 — the sync app looks like something that a high-school intern wrote in about 1994 as his first project of converting a text-based app to GUI. It really is an embarrassment to show it to anyone.

    I’ve travelled a lot in Southeast Asia over the years, and moved here last fall. What has surprised me is the massive amount of Android phones in use here (way more than I ever saw living in Seattle). But oddly, there doesn’t seem to be the deep dedication to a particular type of phone or platform here. People are very willing to switch if another platform offers something better. Nokia has done massive marketing here, at least in Bangkok, so there’s a pretty large general “awareness” of the platform. I’ve had tons of people see me using my phone and want to see it and have me show them what’s different from iPhone and Android. When I do a short demo, people are generally amazed and love it. Then comes the dreaded question: Does it have app X? Where X isn’t something like Facebook or Foursquare, but rather a particular app for their bank, or some other specific but necessary app for them that’s available on iOS and Android. A search in the WP8 store inevitably turns up no results. And that’s the end of the discussion.

  30. Max Wild says:

    Forget the expensive Lumias. Get a 620 like I have had for 4 weeks and you will see that MS have correctly identified the future of Smartphones. Yes, you can see Bentleys and Ferraris in the streets from time time but you see many more ‘bog standard’ cars which do a great job of getting from A to B. That’s the Lumia 620!! And it was just £50, yes, £50

  31. Yiannis says:

    As a developer, I am not going to develop for windows phone 8 until Microsoft starts listening to end user feedback and replaces the ugly metro UI on both windows phone and windows 8 os with something similar to ios or android (pages of icons on a desktop, not tiles). Until then I will continue developing apps for ios and android only.

    • halberenson says:

      umm, that strikes me as a REALLY silly reason.

    • Bob - Former DECie says:

      Pages of icons on a desktop are what I don’t like about android and ios.
      You are also ignoring the tech baby boomers whose eyesight aren’t the best anymore. My wife loves the tiles for exactly this reason.

  32. James says:

    I have a Nokia 820, but have an iPhone 5 arriving tomorrow… Nokia has done a great job, but WP “8” is too much a v.1 OS – though has great potential. After trying for months to get it working with my office exchange server, I’ve had to admit defeat. Android & iPhone just work – and MS’s flaky support for their own mail system on WP just baffles me. I’m also not using the phone to its potential because of the “Other storage” issue.

    I think other posters are correct though – it makes a good mid-range phone. The problem is that this may not drive much app development. I know that MS is playing a long game, but it’s giving Apple and Google a huge head start.

  33. Molly says:

    I got my first windows phone in the summer of 2011. Do you know how many phones I’ve had since then? 4! One of them I broke, then when I got replacements they were buggy beyond belief!! I had to have another one to replace the first buggy replacement I got. Then my third windows phone would not charge. If I held it just so it would charge but that did not work after a month of that. I upgraded from the windows 7 to windows 8 on the nokia lumia 920. I loved it just as much as the ORIGINAL phone I had gotten back in 2011. Actually I loved it more. However as a 17 year old girl the apps are seriously lacking. I run an online business so the email function on windows is fantastic. I am also quite fond of the facebook and twitter apps. They are sleek and highly functional. Other than that, windows is seriously lacking. Most of my friends have iPhones or Androids which means I cannot contact them on apps like SnapChat. If you’re social that is a major downfall. While windows does have some similar apps for social connection like the butterfly chat app, only one of my friends has a windows phone, meaning I still can not use them. Futhermore I plan on working the farmers market this summer. I cannot do that without a credit card scanner, and windows does not have one. Yesterday my phone got disconnected so I am getting a new phone. I’m tired of waiting for windows to catch up. Don’t get me wrong its sleek and easy to use which I love, but iPhone is where I am headed.

  34. James Meek says:

    I think what you have to bare in mind is that Windows Phone 8 is really only version 2, People seem to forget that Microsoft made the brave move to start again with Windows Phone 7, they threw away everything that was Windows CE, and Windows Mobile, and started fresh, if you look at it from that point of view they have come up with a fine phone operating system, that primarily always works as a phone and when doing the things you want your phone to do. I have an iPhone and an Android handset as well, and stability wise and speed of using as a phone the Windows Phone (HTC Titan with 7.8 upg), trumps the Android easily and even beats out the iPhone.

    I’ve used every version of Windows CE/Windows Mobile and now Windows Phone, and I have to admit when I first switched from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone, there were quite a lot of things I didn’t like, because it was completely different to what I was used to before, but as I have gotten used to it I have come to love the stability and speed of the phone when doing what a phone should, the music and video work great (although I would like split volume control for music and ringtones) Every app I have looked for and want to use I have found something that will do what I want, and I have to admit I am a Microsoft Developer anyway so I have in a couple of cases just put something together to do what I want when I haven’t found an equivalent. If you have registered your device as a developer you can sideload apps to them so…

    Microsoft cannot force developers and companies to build apps for their platform, just like they cannot force you or I to buy their OS, That is always a problem, yes they could do more to aid cross platform compatibility, but Apple doesn’t, why bash Microsoft for something that Apple has been doing for years?

    Similarly I have seen and read lots of people complaining about the release schedules for updates, you have to bare in mind that the benchmark people are measuring everything against is Apple, and Apple control the whole process, not only do they manufacture the hardware, write the OS and control the releases but they also do not let carriers do customisations to the firmware, the carrier can choose which elements of the Apple OS to support on their network (such as visual voicemail for example) but they cannot directly manipulate the iOS firmware.

    Both Microsoft and Android however have extra steps, Yes Google has the Nexus range of “pure” devices, but they also have manufacturers that add stuff on aka TouchWiz on Samsung Galaxy and the like, then the carriers also do customisations (which I hate) as well. The same is true for Microsoft, except that they currently do not have a “pure” offering. so the paths look like this:

    OS: Apple, Manuf. Hardware: Apple, Manuf, Firmware: None, Carrier Firmware: None
    OS: Android, Manuf. Hardware: Various, Manuf. Firmware: Yes, Carrier Firmware: Yes
    OS: WinPhone, Manuf. Hardware: Various, Manuf. Firmware: Yes, Carrier Firmware: None

    So yes Microsoft and Android may say we have an update coming out in August, but then you have to wait for the hardware manufacturers to take it and build their firmware, then the manufacturers release to the carriers who do the same thing before it finally becomes available for your phone. Whereas Apple can just say we have an update coming out in August and as they control the whole process it comes directly to you.

    As Microsoft and Google don’t “build the hardware” they have to take on board the requirements and requests from the manufacturers for things they want to do with the operating system, a problem that Apple does not have. Google have partially got around this with the Nexus range of devices, I would be very interested to see (and to be honest I assume its in the wings) a Microsoft Branded Phone (it will probably be based on a Nokia baring in mind the tie up they have now) But with the Surface products out and Microsoft planning on increasing them I would expect to see a Surface Phone at some point running “pure” Windows 8.

    In the meantime I’m planning a move up to a Windows 8 device I think I’m going to give the Samsung Ativ S a go personally, this move is partly dictated by the fact I also what to get my skills up for App development on that platform, so kind of need the hardware.

    Oh one final comment/opinion before I depart, some posters have said Microsoft should turn the OS over to Nokia and let them run it. that would be a massive mistake in my opinion, Nokia have lost the plot, they invested heavily in Symbian (basically buying the company) and have now to all intents and purposes walked away from it, and symbian was an awful operating system – so slow. The only way turning the OS over to Nokia would work is if Microsoft bought Nokia as a company first.then of course they would be in a much closer proximity to able in that they would have the capabilities to control the whole stream.

    Enjoy the Windows Device stop comparing it to the older operating systems and treat it as it really is a toddler, it’ll grow up, lets face it iOS is getting ready for v7 and Android for v5, Windows Phone 8 is only 2! think back to when iOS and Android were 2, they had all the faults you are complaining about or other ones…

    My two cents…

  35. chamath says:

    Nokia and Microsoft is a greedy company only interested in grabbing money from people.WTF? I want Temple Run on my phone

    • James Meek says:

      And how is Apple or Google any different? They’ll cloak a fart in gold dust and sell it to you if that is what will make you part with your money

  36. Max Wild says:

    Chamath wanted Temple Run – so now that he has it has his view changed?
    This year with the introduction of Windows 8.1 Update to my PC and Surface RT (Mk1) and soon to be released Windows Phone 8.1 Microsoft have created a unified system across all platforms that is easy for the non-techie to manage.
    This has been done at a price for consumers that is super competitive which confirms my comment in March 2013. It was good then and since got better!

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