Recent big banner apps will make you question the title, and even it is definitely positive to see Windows Phone get some decent titles…and now that the smoke has cleared lets focus on it’s slow uptake in markets-developing and matured.
I had a conversation with a good friend whom I convinced to get a Lumia 620 in India, when he asked me about Windows Phone. When I showed him my device, I had a Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7, at the time Microsoft had recently announced Windows Phone 8. So didn’t have the Lumia 920 I have now. Long story short, he got the Lumia 620 when it was available in India at a price tag of 16000 INR. He opted for Windows Phone 8, when he could have got far more powerful Android devices at cheaper price plans- likes of Xolo, Karbonn, Micromax, etc.
So, I followed up with him to check how he liked his purchase 8 months later. This guy is not tech endowed by any stretch of imagination, at the same time he isn’t tech illiterate. He knew about Amber update and upcoming Update 3 and Nokia Black update. Some of his gripes were absolutely legitimate and I took some time to reflect and rephrase. His conclusion was Nokia did excellent, Microsoft needs to do better. Windows need work to be more popular. He said more popular, he is obviously referring to Android being the more popular one, which his friends are making him green with envy with their elaborate app illustration, OS features etc.
Also, he came from Symbian. OS that was the first home of Nokia and Nokia had a firm hold in India in that era. He missed some Symbian specific features which goes to show how advanced the OS really was, even if it wasn’t touch-friendly.
This is the list:-
- Absence of Truecaller. This is an app request. Telemarketing is crazy in India, as you can imagine, and a way to see who is calling helps cut down on junk calls and there is no such service as donotcall.gov. There is an app in Windows Phone Store, but it sucks at best as it doesn’t scan for calls in real-time. API limitations.
- Proper file-manager. My kind people for some reason like to micro-manage with folders and directories. I can see cases where this could be useful to have.
- Same key for volume and music- This is listed as the top complain for the platform. Separate controls are needed.
- Whatsapp isn’t as advanced as Android counterpart. Whatsapp is the de-facto messaging standard in India. It sucks apparently on Windows Phone. I can’t relate, since I haven’t used Whatsapp on android.
- Put phone in sleep but still keep alarm active. Symbian was perfect at this. Current Windows phone behavior is stupid. If you are low on juice and still wanna wake up, it is dead meat.
- OTG support. On-the-Go USB support which turns a USB device into host so other device can connect to it. I don’t know if Android does this.
Below is the gripe that was fixed with Update 3, that he forced on my advice using the developer program:-
- Orientation lock. Seriously, Microsoft It takes you three years to add this basic feature in a supposedly advanced mobile Operating System? Shame on you and your world’s bigger software make status quo. Seriously, like you should drown your employees.
- Other storage occupied 2 GB of storage on his 8 GB phone. Baffling and probably sad if your investment fills up with crap over time.’
- Quitting apps via close button. Enough Said.
I haven’t added my gripes to the above list:-
- Notification center. Something Android has had for years. Windows Phone will probably get it in Spring 2014.
- Quick Toggle for controlling settings. Like it should be there.
- Google Now like feature. Again, Cortana or likes is coming in Spring 2014. Again, waiting game
- Better API.
Microsoft thinks Windows Phone is gaining popularity, but if it doesn’t address the problems listed above…these may be its brightest days as people who have these phones will opt for something else, Android. iOS is elite crowd only, so iPhones are out of discussion for 90% of people.
So If anyone is reading this from Redmond, If you think you have won the battle of smartphone in markets by beating Apple. Think twice before you decide to slack off for another two years. You are shooting at a moving target- Android. and by the time you get the above mentioned features, the world would have moved to the next awesome feature Android will get before Windows Phone and Windows Phone will be caught with it’s pants down, chasing to get that feature….again.
Journey with Windows Phone is that of a perpetual wait, for developers, for consumers, for manufacturers. And this is a deeper problem that Microsoft has than just getting those apps.