The Windows Phone OS has been around for about 3 years now. It has created waves and garnered attention for reasons good as well as bad. However, an average person still doesn’t exactly know if he wants to opt for this mobile platform wholeheartedly. Recently, we conducted a survey on Facebook, asking people what is it about WP that makes them drool, and what puts them off. Here’s what we found and put together:
What We Loved
The Windows Phone experience is loved for one true reason- the OS’ stability and the lagless navigation. The user interface is simple, neat, and minimalistic. The keyboard, however non customizable it may be, is probably the best there is, in the league of mobile platforms. The autocorrect and dictionary use is perfect. It incorporates something called ‘Word Flow’, which operates much like the phrase prediction technology in SwiftKey and the keyboard found in Android 4.1 — it can type entire sentences for you, word by word, by looking at what you’ve typed so far.
But unfortunately, this is where the list of the things we love about Windows Phone ends. These don’t even make up a quarter of the expectations one has from their smartphone in this age where one is entirely dependent on their phones for nearly everything. So here’s where the rant begins:
What Microsoft Messed Up
Notifications Center: This probably is the feature Windows Phone users miss the most. You just cannot put up with the fact that you missed a toast notification by a millisecond and now you have to hunt around your entire start screen to find out what app notified you. This was solved partially by including lockscreen widget support for apps with the arrival of Windows Phone 8.
No Rotation Lock: One expects this basic feature out of any smartphone, alongside screenshots. It took a major upgrade(read WP 8) to allow something as necessary and basic as screenshot ability, wonder what’s gonna trigger the rotation lock.
Select All: Seriously? How does one NOT lose their mind sending a large number of pictures, or deleting a number of songs one by one?
Poor App Support: With the native app source support having just come to Windows Phone with the arrival of version 8, popular apps like Instagram and many others are still rumored to be in the pipeline , but one cannot see them coming anytime soon.
Lack of sound profiles: The whole idea behind providing users with not more than 3 options -Ringer, Vibration, Ringer+Vibration- to choose from when it comes to sound settings is ridiculous. Also, the fact that the ringer volume and speaker volume for media are tied together, is a major put-off.
Me Tile: The Me tile and menu is almost a decorative tile and nothing more. It’s one of the laggiest things about the ‘deep’ social integration that WP promises. The notifications that are supposed to reach you, aren’t whole. And hey, I CANNOT like a picture on Facebook from the hub right away, I need to open the Facebook app for that. There’s no auto ‘Reply to all’ for tweets which means I have to go to a twitter client and do it. This destroys the purpose of the Me tile altogether.
Homescreen Backup: Anyone who moved from Android to WP certainly finds the fact that the homescreen, that took them so long to be set in a perfect fashion CANNOT be saved, super annoying. Dear Microsoft, we would appreciate a homescreen synchronization between multiple devices or a backup of the homescreen so that we can switch between different layouts with absolute ease.
Stock Audio Player: Zune on the device is further annoying, there’s no way in which you can create real, meaningful playlists without hassles on the go; only allows you to do so on Zune desktop. And oh yeah: there’s no gapless audio playback.
The Windows Phone Store: Upgrading to another Windows Phone is no less a tedious process. Just like every other OS all your app purchases and installed apps are linked to your account so when you switch devices you can fetch your applications and use on your new device. However, WP8 does not allow you to download and install all the applications at once; you have to go to every single one of them and click on the download button on the desktop website. Frustration hits you and it probably takes away the joy of acquiring that new WP you held with so much love. Fix this already, MS! Also, the apps on the Windows Phone Store aren’t categorized on the basis of their compatibility with WP 7.x or 8. Don’t think it would take a lot to accomplish this.
Zune: Zune isn’t the most convenient of all the other irritating sync softwares mobile platforms have (read iTunes). It takes ages to sync videos, doesn’t allow easy management of your collections, and is kinda mindless. A real mass storage would any day attract a larger userbase.
The fact that Windows Phone 8 is relatively bug free, and is quite smooth is really impressive; but that’s not an excuse for lack of development. We’ve seen countless concepts and ideas on how to improve WP; from multiple notification systems, to improved People/Me hubs and Microsoft hasn’t exactly been doing it’s homework.
Only last week, Nokia came out with the beast of all the camera smartphones out there: The Nokia Lumia 1020. Now this device, is an epitome of how serious and sincere Nokia has been in delivering the best of hardware technology to a mobile OS which is starting to seem really stagnant. Nokia’s innovations and camera prowess is what has saved Microsoft and Windows Phone’s ass all this while. What began as a ‘MS is saving Nokia’ notion has completely gone the other way round.
It’ll be really difficult for dedicated OEMs like Nokia to pull it any longer if Microsoft fails to fix the above stated issues and in turn impress loyalists and the rest of the world with it’s next update. All eyes are on the Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade.
It’s time to wake up MS. Quit hitting the snooze button.