Windows Phone 8: Platform/OS Issues
By on December 26th, 2012

In my post about why I think Windows Phone “sucks”, I talk about various items I think that need to be fixed in Windows Phone. Here I go into details on what I feel are Platform/OS features that need tweaks and fixes.

Updates: Windows Phone originally intended for updates to be delivered directly to the end users, bypassing the carriers. It never happened with Windows Phone 7.x. In fact, most carriers skipped/blocked at least one OS update. With Windows Phone 8, the promise was reiterated, and in fact at the Windows Phone Summit in June 2012, executives from Microsoft said they will introduce an early adopter program where registered users would get early access to these updates, presumably without needing the carrier to approve those updates.

Reality is that there has been a Windows Phone 8 update rolled out recently, but only to AT&T and Rogers customers in US and Canada. The update would come to others only in early February 2013.

Meanwhile, what about that early adopter program? No news of that at all since the Summit.

Notification Center: Windows Phone executives keep saying that a full-blown Notification Center like it is in Android or iOS is not needed because of the Live Tiles which can be updated by developers to show the same notifications. While this is in theory understandable, it is absolutely ridiculous in practice. First, not everyone likes to pin all their apps to the start screen. Second, there is a good chance that at any time there are several apps with non-zero counters. If the phone is put down and there is a notification sound, how is one supposed to know if that sound was for that WhatsApp message or a Facebook update? Toast notifications don’t persist so it is hard to say if you miss the toast, which notification was the latest, and which apps have sent notifications since the last check.

Something that saves all notifications/alerts in a single place on the phone, in any form, is much needed.

Live tiles and background agents: I have noticed that some Live Tiles still don’t update as expected. Sometimes they get stuck at previous counters, and sometimes they don’t show the latest updates. These could very well be bugs, but the fact is I had to unpin and re-pin the tiles to get them to be un-stuck and it made for a very bad initial experience.

I also ran into a situation where an app which I marked to run in the background prompted me that there are too many apps with such a feature and that I should re-visit the list under Settings. This means there are still some limitations on the discretionary background agents that can run on the phone. It is probably ideal for app developers to use push notification services in the cloud but there are still so many apps that use local background agents, so the problem needs to be resolved somehow.

For more about this series of posts, see the main post here.

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Author: Romit Mehta Google Profile for Romit Mehta
Romit writes about mobile news and gadgets, and is currently a Windows Phone owner (Nokia Lumia 920). Find him on twitter @TheRomit. Personal site is http://romitmehta.com.

Romit Mehta has written and can be contacted at romit@techie-buzz.com.

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