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Is Windows Phone Doomed?

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.


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.