Editorials Featured Windows Phone - 11 August 2013
Author: Kristofer Brozio

Windows Phone, well the ‘new’ Windows phone hasn’t been out that long really, at least when compared to iOS and Android. Yes Windows Mobile was here but the new Windows Phone operating system is a new creature altogether, totally redesigned from the ground up and I like it, but it’s got some issues that I think are going to really limit it from gaining any real traction in the marketplace.

winpho

Before I continue, let me get this out of the way by saying this is an editorial, it’s not fact, well some of it is I think, but it’s just an editorial. I’m not a fanboy either way, sure I prefer one device over another but that’s because I’ve found it useful and I couldn’t care less about what other people have to say really. I like what I like plain and simple, if there’s something better I’ll switch to it and I’ll give everything a try at least once, I won’t not use something because of the brand or operating system. Plain and simple I use what works for me and what does what I need and want it to do. I’m not running around saying ‘you’re an idiot because you use so and so operating system or device’. Honestly I don’t care enough to do that, you use what you use for whatever reason, be it your blind allegiance to a product line or company or just because you think it’s god’s gift to the world, whatever, I don’t care. Personally I hate fanboys that think everyone is wrong except them, we are all individuals and we’re allowed to use whatever we want and I don’t think anyone should be persecuted or ridiculed for using what they like. So whatever…

Back to Windows Phone.

Long before Android or iOS came out I used Windows Mobile devices because I liked them and they did what I wanted them to.

I don’t care for BlackBerry, I’ve tried them and they’re just not me. BB is for business really, and my phone is for everything. Yes it’s changed lately and they’ve tried to be more of an everyman type of phone, but it’s going to be hard for them to lose the image of being a business phone.

Yes I tried the iPhone (a couple different iterations) and I didn’t like it. I do own and have owned several iPods, so it’s nothing against Apple per se, I just don’t care for the iPhone. I gave it a shot, I tried it and I just wasn’t happy with it.

The new Windows Phone. I’ve owned two of them, the HTC Surround and the HTC Titan, and I still have the Titan as of now. I had no issues with either phone, they worked great and never failed me in terms of the hardware and the operating system itself. Of both my favorite was the Titan as I like the larger screen size and it just felt and seemed like a better phone to me. I loved the HTC Titan, it was a damn near perfect phone in my opinion but it’s effectivly dead as Microsoft decided not to support it anymore.

The title of this little article is : ‘Is Windows Phone Doomed?’

I think it is and I think that’s just sad really and it’s a great phone and an excellent operating system, but it just lacks support from pretty much everyone including Microsoft.

I’m on AT&T and from my experience support for my Windows Phones was horrible, but then again AT&T support for any phone is horrible so it’s no surprise. Luckily you can update your phone through Microsoft software and don’t have to wait for the carrier, that is a good thing.

All of the carriers are doing a horrible job from what I’ve seen in terms of promoting the Windows Phones they have. Right now I would have a Nokia Lumia 920 but the AT&T stores near me wouldn’t carry the phones, every time I tried and visited and called them they were never in stock. The stores kept telling me next week we’ll have more, next week comes and still no stock and eventually I just gave up trying to get one. When the Lumia came out I went to the AT&T store near me to get one and they didn’t even have one on display, they didn’t even have any kind of Windows Phone display there at all. How do you launch a new phone without having one in the store for people to see? It makes no sense to me. A new Android phone or iPhone comes out and there’s a whole wall dedicated to it, but nothing like that for Windows Phone, just a small display with a very limited selection of phones. When you ask one of the employees about a Windows phone they don’t know anything, they can’t answer questions about them. Ask about the iPhone and you’ll get all the answers you need. This is my experience with a few local AT&T stores, but from what I’ve heard it’s pretty much the same at the other carriers stores when it comes to Windows Phones. Lack of carrier support and lack of knowledge by the employees who are supposed to be selling the products can’t be a good thing.

I mentioned Microsoft above and when the company making the product doesn’t support it then there’s a real problem. Prime example the HTC Titan and the Titan II as they are pretty much the same phone, just some minor differences. Both of these phone should have been able to handle Windows Phone 8 but Microsoft decided not to update them. The Titan II came out and then Win8 came out shortly and Microsoft essentially told owners of the Titan II that they’re out of luck and they’d have to just buy a new phone if they wanted Win8. In my opinion the Titan and Titan II should be more than powerful enough to run Win8. Look at the lower end or ‘cheap’ Win8 phones out there now and compare the specs to what was considered a high end phone like the Titan or Titan II, the specs are very similar so I personally don’t think there was any real reason not to update them as I’m sure they could have handled it just fine. I think it was just that Microsoft decided not to support them anymore and push their new phones. I can understand it to a point, but you don’t just leave your new customers hanging like that and basically just say ‘tough, get over it’. That’s not good business sense especially when you just released this whole new phone system and want people to use it and continue to use it. I was reading the AT&T forums right after the announcement about no updates for the Titan and Titan II, some people just bought the Titan II and they were saying they’ll never buy another Windows phone again because they were just left out in the cold really. They expected a new phone to be supported and it wasn’t, and I don’t blame them for thinking that way at all.

Apps is next and this is a big problem for Windows Phone I think.

Yes, Android and iOS had a huge head start when it comes to apps but if I was Microsoft I would have done everything possible to get big developers and big companies on board with Windows Phone versions of their apps. To me it doesn’t seem like they even really tried. If you’re playing catch up you need to find an advantage. If I was Microsoft I would have wanted to say ‘Hey look, we’ve got the same exact things as the others so why not give us a try?’ or something alogn those lines.

So yes I had two Windows Phones but I recently switched back to Android, I got an HTC One actually. Why? Because of the apps it has and the companies that support it.

My Synology NAS box I can’t access from Windows Phone.

My security system I can’t access from Windows Phone.

My IP cameras I can’t access from Windows Phone.

My ASUSTOR NAS box I can’t access from Windows Phone.

I just got a cool little product for review, it’s a portable router/bridge, battery and NAS all in one but you can’t access it from Windows Phone.

That’s just a few examples and I could go on and on but I think you get the point.

Companies, big or small, are not supporting Windows Phone and that’s very bad for the platform. People want to be able to do the same thing they can on other devices and they can’t as of now. Yes it’s simplistic but it’s true. Why would someone buy a Windows phone when it can’t do what iOS and Android can for them.

Yes I know there are alternatives and I tried them but they don’t work the same as the official apps. People are simple, they use what they know, they don’t want to re-learn how to do something. It’s fine for enthusiasts or those technologically inclined but the average person isn’t either of those. I guess I fall into both categories and honestly I don’t want to go though all that, I want to open the app and have it work as it should, I don’t want to do workarounds or anything like that, I want it to work.

Microsoft needs to get big and small companies to make apps for Windows Phone so it’s an even playing field. You can go to iOS and Android and find the same things, you should be able to say the same thing for Windows Phone but you can’t.

Ok, Windows Phone is different and it’s meant to be, but the average consumer doesn’t care about being different and that’s who is buying the phones. The average consumer wants to be able to do the same thing as they could on their old phones, they expect the same things and Windows Phone doesn’t offer it to them.

Free apps: I’ve got kids and one of the things I love is the massive selection of free apps for Android and iOS but you don’t see that on Windows Phone. The same stuff that is free on Android and iOS you have to pay for on Windows Phone. That’s a big problem I think.

Overall the selection of apps just isn’t that good, and again, it’s Microsoft’s fault. When they were working on this new operating system they should have been courting developers so they could have launched with a strong selection of apps and games. I’ve tried a lot of games and apps for my Windows Phones and honestly most of them are crap, just junk, especially the games, they’re horrible. You can’t say the same with Android and iOS. Yes there are some crappy things on both markets but not like what you find for Windows phone. The app section is small compared to Android and iOS and it’s Microsoft’s fault really. If I were them I would have been giving free phones to developers and free developer kits, as of now it costs money to join the developer center but Android is free. Yes iOS isn’t free, but they’ve been there a while and Microsoft hasn’t, so offering it free would be one way to get developers developing for the platform.

Microsoft needs to step it up if they want to survive. I think they’re hedging their bets on the Windows 8 and Xbox and Windows Phone interactivity but I don’t think it’s enough for them to survive as a competitive mobile operating system. I don’t know what to say about the new Xbox, or Xbox One. Horrible name obviously, makes no sense, but hey whatever. I have no plans to buy one, I can’t recall the last time I even turned my Xbox 360 on, too many ads and I got tired of paying to do the same things that are free on my PS3.

Windows 8 desktop operating system is bad, I don’t like it personally, yes I tried it, I bought it and it’s not installed anymore, and most people don’t like it either so why would people buy a phone with an operating system of the same name? They’re not going to, plain and simple. I like Windows, I liked Vista if that tells you anything, and I love Windows 7 but I can’t stand Windows 8, to me it’s not really useable for what I need it to do. It’s an operating system made for touchscreens really and I use a mouse and keyboard, they’re aren’t many desktops with touchscreens really so it just doesn’t quite work as Win7 does in terms of user usability.

I don’t know what to say anymore, Microsoft just doesn’t seem to be doing everything it could to really get people to buy their phones.

I like them, the hardware and the operating system, but it just can’t do what I need it to do and that’s it and that’s the reason I went back to Android. I think if my HTC Titan could do the same things that my HTC One could I’d still be using it even if it didn’t get updated to Win8. Sure an update would be nice but the Titan was fast and responsive and just overall a great phone, I would have waited until something similar came out to upgrade like the new 1020. I just got tired of waiting and I got tired of not seeing the same things on the Windows Phone marketplace as what’s available on Android and iOS. 

Sure there are excellent new and amazingly powerful Windows phones coming out but the average consumer don’t care what’s under the hood, they care about what it can do and if it can meet their needs and wants. A new Windows phone could come out with 5” 4k resolution screen and a 12 core processor, but if it can’t play Angry Birds then consumers aren’t going to buy it. The phone buying landscape right now is based on what it can do, and if it can’t do what the average consumer wants it too, then it’s doomed.









About Author

I own DragonSteelMods.com, ReviewTheTech.com and KristoferBrozio.com. I run TestFreaks Blog (blog.testfreaks.com), and I also write for Diy-Guides.com on occasion and of course here.

(21) Readers Comments

  1. I see where you’re coming from though i disagree that Windows Phone is doomed. People see my phone and say “that is too much phone for me”. Yes people are extremely simplistic but more importantly they are cheap. I frequently check out stores and see people buying based on cost first.

    Now I do agree that Microsoft should be doing more to promote the platform. People disagree with me but I don’t care. Microsoft should be spamming TV ads, striking partnerships like Samsung has with the NBA, etc. But what is going unsaid is that Microsoft should be recognizing that their area of explosive growth could be mobile. Instead of having WP8.1 released in early 2014 they should do what Apple did with iOS. Pull engineers from WinRT and use their massive engineering resources to get the product out. I’ve talked with many devs that would love to build apps for Windows Phone but the SDK is too limiting. This pisses me off because they don’t have basic things that should just be there.

  2. Not going to respond to your other comments as I am certain that my fanboyism will leak through. But regarding the Titan not upgrading to WP8, I think the primary reason is it would have required a complete reflash of the phone. Not a big deal for you, or Herg, or even me. But for the typical consumer, fuggitaboutit. And the way companies look at things today, if it can’t work for everyone, then don’t do it for anyone. Part of our dumbed down society.

  3. But putting fanboyism aside for a moment (you knew I couldn’t help myself) I find the Microsoft ecosystem provides all the resources I need. So I don’t need to look beyond it. I don’t think I am compromising. Everything I touch or use is compatible with everything else. I use every MS Office application extensively. SkyDrive offers me more than I need in a cloud experience. Outlook mail does what I need it to do. Jumping from Windows XP (my world was in turbulence for the Vista and 7 launches) directly to Win8, especially on my non-touch 6 year old office Pentium was nothing short of amazing. Like I got new machine for $39.99. Seriously. I really enjoy using the new W8 apps. Sure, some suck. But there are updates, and new apps every day. I have 150 apps/games on my WPs, down from a high of 225. I don’t have any IP cameras, or a need to connect to servers from my phone today, so I have everything I want or need. Just got the Wells Fargo app the other day. Do I need it. No. I have direct deposit and do to the back about once every 5-6 months. I balance my checkbook with Quicken on on Win8 PC, so I don’t have to check my balance six times a day. Do I wish I had a BeightHouse app like the ones for iPhone and Android. Yes. But not because I would ever use it. Just to say I could if I wanted to. Bottom line is we all have choices. And that’s a good thing.

    • Like I said, everybody’s needs are different. I’m glad you found what you needed and that it does what you need it to do. I love Windows Phones, I wish they did what I wanted and needed them to do, but they don’t so I’m left with finding something that does.

  4. You can’t access your synology box??? Ok, that’s it. I stopped reading.

  5. You can’t access your synology box??? Ok, that’s it. You havent tried.I stopped reading.

    • That important that you had to say it twice?
      And yes I tried, it can’t do what I want it to do. The Synology apps on the marketplace are for local use only, at least last I checked they were anyway, back in March or April before I got my HTC One.
      I know there is no official security app for WinPho that works with Synology NAS Boxes. To me that’s important, to you it might not be.
      We all use our devices for different purposes, what’s important to you might not be important to me and vice versa, like I said in the beginning, there is no need to ridicule someone for the device they use or how they use it, or more specifically how they feel they need to use it.

      • There is a problem with the comment system.
        After I press submit, a popup says “comment failed to publish” or some BS. Like that.
        Actually the comment did publish. But I look for errors and submit again, same message pops up, and the comment publishes again. And again. And again. Till I give up.
        I see other commenters are having the same problem.
        I learned to press the refresh button after getting the popup. The page reloads, and my comment is there.
        They were not ridiculing anyone.
        Peace

  6. You can’t access your synology box??? Ok, that’s it. You haven’t tried.I stopped reading.

  7. Wait, you expect me to respect your opinion when your only experience with Windows Phone is a Titan? Are you freaking kidding me? Have you even looked at the WP8 app store? It is different than WP 7.5 you know…
    Do you expect me to respect your opinion when you give up on getting a 920 just because your local store refuses to carry it? How about Amazon? How about MS store? How about ordering from ATT online? How about bitching to store management? It seems to me that you don’t really care, because YOU’VE ALREADY GIVEN UP ON WINPHONE. Read: you are dedicated to Android and are making up excuses to reject Windows Phone.

    Well let me tell you a more educated reason why Windows Phone will not fail. Microsoft hasn’t given up. Ironically, the biggest reason why Win Phone hasn’t gotten updates as quickly as Android is the reason MS will not give up. They are a large and slow moving company that will not give up on a multi-billion dollar project until at least 5 years.

    Yes it has not yet been 5 years. In case you forgot, Windows Phone 8 came out less than a year ago. In that time, WinPhone has gained arguably 9/10 of the most prominent apps in the app store. They have become the fastest rising phone os on the planet, consistently raising their market share by 2-300 % YOY. Microsoft is also on schedule to update WP8 three times this year and release a whole new version early next year. They are working on making WP the best mobile OS in the world, but it takes time. Android did not get dominance over night. It took them more than 5 years of development to get here. Remember the G1? Interesting, yes, but nobody cared. The Droid allowed them to finally get market share, but Eclair and Froyo were still very rough around the edges. It took them another 2 generations and Samsung (really just Samdung – take them out of the race and iOS has more market share than Android) to beat iOS. All this is to say that these things take time and MS should be commended for doing as much as they have done in such little time as they’ve been given.

    Do you think that before the Galaxy S III, that your NAS would have had an app for Android? Because I don’t.

    So, frankly, I don’t care about your little apology in the beginning. Put it in the title. I’ve wasted too much time on what is essentially a cheap ploy for clicks. In a time when WP is growing higher than ever, its gaining prominant and high quality 1st and 3rd party apps faster than Android ever did, and its user satisfaction is higher than any other mobile platform. I’m sorry (no I’m not), but I’m really freaking tired of people ripping on Windows Phone because A. They’re locked into Android and therefore don’t care about it, or B. Some misguided belief that bitching fixes anything, or C. It gets clicks. Why am I annoyed? Because the constant bitching and moaning gives people wrong ideas about what WinPhone is.

    • +1

      could not agree more.

    • could not agree more.
      +1

    • could not agree more.

    • I could not agree more.

    • I could not agree more.

      i guess you are right. I am not saying that i agree with everything MS does or handles things but in the end they do the same thing Android did. Only faster.

    • I could not agree more.
      i guess you are right. I am not saying that i agree with everything MS does or handles things but in the end they do the same thing Android did. Only faster.

    • [I guess that] I totally agree.

      Before wasting time to read the article, I used the old rule “If the title ends with a questionmark, answer NO in your head and then determine if it is worth reading” – I skipped right to the comment section which in my eyes kind of confirms the “No” answer.

  8. Honestly its important that the user find something in the market that fits their needs. That is why Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone and other mobile OSes exist. Give the user what they want or risk losing them when competition is involved.

  9. I loved my Windows Mobile Devices, and I have learned to appreciate android.
    My new Windows Phone 8 is neither one of them, and it does not do all that I WANT it to. YET.
    The camera is Great and the browser works. Apps could help improve my experience in playing music if someone developes them. Soon.
    I am hoping a 5″+ WP device will fill in some of the gaps for me.
    But cost will also be important, and so will WOW factor. It has to compete with the SNote 3, my first choice.
    But I am tired of the Android browser constantly crashing, however WP8 does not have an app to work with my “Smart” Bluetooth headset. I have a lot of android apps, but almost none in WP. I Am Torn.
    I also refreshed an old Laptop with Windows 8, it works. And my wife just got a new work at home PC that runs Windows 8, she is learning to use it. (We didn’t choose it) She also has a WP8 device. Loves it.(She chose it herself, despite my recommendations, before we saw Windows 8) She has a Kindle Fire 1 also. Loves it (She chose it, despite my recommendations)
    I have an Android TabPhone, and Tablet, and this New WP8 Nokia 820.(We both have the same, I just got mine as a backup) There does not seem to be a lot of benefit to having all devices on WP8 like Android, Unless you use it for work, and neither one of us use it like that.
    I am hopeful Windows can fill all my needs, but I am not betting on mobile. YET.
    Peace

  10. I always wonder why everyone sees fit to think they know what Microsoft could, and should be doing beter or how “they will fail”. We have yet to really see MS “fail” at anything in the 30 years it’s been around, so what makes you think it will fail now?

    But I’m not going to pick your article apart. I will say this though; your ‘solution’ of advertising, which funny enough, seems to be every detractors ‘solution’ is way off base. Check here. You will see literally dozens of commercials that have been played on TV since Wp was released. Not to mention all the billboards, banner ads, internet ads, magazine ads, etc.
    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=windows+phone+commercials&FORM=HDRSC3

    The problem, and solution is simple… STFU. All the fear mongering, and FUD spreading as got to stop. That’s all you see, read and hear in any article written by every biased hack who can’t keep his preferrences to himself. MS and WP get picked apart for the most minor of things… they get grilled for not having incredible 16 quad-octo core super computers like samsung… yet nobody calls out samsung for having all that “power” and still not being able to overcome lag. MS gets ignored for all that it does right with WP, and gets grilled for what each person deems to be “wrong” with it… yet nobody calls out apple for offering minor improvments year to year… yay, I can take panorama pics now!
    If people can’t write honestly about WP they shouldn’t write at all. It’s not perfect, but it’s so far from being as bad as it’s often described. But these foolish, NON-experts have decided certain things like samsungs bloated hardware, and apple’s apps are the industry standard. And that’s simply not the case.

    • Windows ME, Vista, the Kin, WP7, These all come to mind as not so successful, or well received.
      Fanboy feelings aside, I will vote with my wallet.
      Peace