I am sorry for the title of this blog post. I wanted to say something like “Windows Phone 8: A Windows Phone Lover’s Take” or “Why Windows Phone 8 needs updates quickly” or something, but realized that what I really wanted to say was what the title says. In a series of posts, I will try to explain why I came to such a drastic conclusion.
But first, some background. In case you didn’t know from reading my posts here and elsewhere, I am a fan of Windows Phone. I have owned and exclusively used Windows Phone virtually 100% since the day it was launched back in 2010. I like many of the in-built features of the OS enough that despite the maturity of iOS, I am not going to switch to the iPhone.
There is no doubt that Windows Phone 8, with its Windows 8 internals and fantastic high-end hardware like the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X can compete well with iOS and Android. However, as an existing Windows Phone user I am seeing many issues with the platform/OS, ecosystem and features (or lack thereof).
Here and in related blog posts, I attempt to list some of those issues I have noticed after using my new Lumia 920 for about three weeks.
Platform/OS issues: In a separate post I discuss the issues that I feel need to be addressed within the platform/OS.
Internet Explorer: In a separate blog post I look at several issues with Internet Explorer on Windows Phone.
Xbox Music+Video: In a separate blog post I go into some of the issues I have had with the Music and Video apps on Windows Phone.
Other smaller items in the system, which are important to note regardless:
Me tile – The Me tile works very well for seeing notifications (replies to tweets, Facebook notifications, etc.) and for quick posting and check-ins. However, it has been missing notifications for direct messages and native retweets since launch. These are missing from Windows Phone 8 as well.
Facebook messaging – Windows Phone has had Facebook chat incorporated since the beginning. They also added the ability to send messages even if the other person is offline. What is missing though is the ability to send/receive group messages. I use Facebook messages a lot, and mostly for group messaging. If there were a feature to send/receive group messages, it would make me miss the Facebook Messages iOS app a little less.
Auto-upload pictures/video – With Windows Phone 8, we finally see the ability to automatically upload full-resolution pictures and videos to the cloud. This is great and understandably, there is a limitation that the highest quality pictures, as well as all videos, are only uploaded when the phone is connected to WiFi. What I am seeing is, after taking pictures and videos outside where there is no WiFi, when I return home and the phone reconnects to WiFi, the pending uploads don’t automatically start uploading. I have to force them to upload by essentially restarting the phone. I am sure this is not the intended functionality, so it seems like a bug, but it is an issue to me nevertheless.
All the issues I have mentioned in this series are fixable via software updates. Also, with Windows Phone 8 we have seen that Microsoft is willing to apply smaller, perhaps more frequent, updates. However, as I mentioned earlier, it does not look like the Windows Phone updates are truly universally deployed (yet), like Windows Updates. As a result, my unbranded Nokia Lumia 920 will suffer through the random restart bug for two months while I know that those with AT&T and Rogers have seen the updates already. This is extremely frustrating.
Windows Phone 8 is still only a couple of months old. I think Microsoft knows fully well that this is their chance to wrest some semblance of respect in the new mobile-focused era. Limiting updates, or being slow in applying these bug fixes, will be shooting themselves in their feet. They simply cannot afford to make another mistake like that. Here’s hoping that we see many more updates, and a simplification of the update deployment so it gets closer to, if not the same as, iOS update deployment.
First, let’s hope that they are working furiously on some of the glaringly missing features, as well as features which have been taken away from Windows Phone 7, and then hope that these get updated as small update packages which get applied frequently till the OS is “complete”.
Let me know your thoughts about Windows Phone 8 in the comments.
Product Reviewed: Windows Phone 8
My peeves with Windows Phone 8 after using a Nokia Lumia 920 for three weeks.