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Things I hate about Windows Phone


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#1 xeleraph

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:46

So I've been looking back on my post history and seeing myself defending Windows Phone a lot. So, for some balance, I'll be writing to highlight the things where Windows Phone fails at. Let's face it, Windows Phone isn't perfect. And while I can agree with many people that Joshua Topolsky from The Verge simply has an anti-everything-non-Apple slant, unfortunately I can also agree with him that people need to stop giving Windows Phone a free pass.

I've been using a Lumia 710 for almost three months now, and I'll be basing my points primarily in comparison with Android since I've been using it since Eclair. I don't have much experience with iOS, so I won't comment much on it, if at all.

Here's my list of things about Windows Phone that really peeves me off.

1. Bing Maps is crap outside of the US/Europe. This is perhaps my biggest issue with Windows Phone. It doesn't give public transit directions, Local Scout fails to find many businesses or POIs, and it's really hit or miss in general. I can be standing right in front of a McDonalds' outlet, and have my phone tell me that the closest one is two miles away, or that the nearest store for my mobile carrier (Optus) is in fact two thousand miles away in Canberra. This can get really ridiculous and frustrating at times. Another issue is that if you try to call up walking directions, Bing Maps stalls and eventually fails if it can't get a GPS lock, meaning you're unable to call up walking directions while indoors. On the other hand, when you punch in a precise address instead of searching for a place by name, it does generally give accurate directions.

2. IE mobile is really bad from a usability standpoint. It's not that it renders pages wrongly (it doesn't) or doesn't pull up a mobile version of a site (not IE's fault), it's that IE doesn't handle text reflow when you zoom in. A mobile browser that can't do text reflow, I won't even try to figure out how did Microsoft mess this one up. You cannot search for text in a page. You cannot open tabs in the background. Switching and opening new tabs require way too many operations, that I unconsciously try to limit my number of tabs because it's just plain cumbersome compared to other mobile browsers like Dolphin or Opera.

3. Limited social integration. Okay, so Windows Phone is better OOTB compared to Android or iOS. But at the end of the day, the Facebook integration is pretty gimped; can't delete your own comments, can't search for friends/pages to add, can't see who liked a comment, can't send a photo as a Facebook message, etc. You end up still having to download the Facebook app... which is the same as on Android/iOS now, isn't it? Besides, the Android approach is modular. If Facebook changes anything, which it seems to be doing quite a lot these days, it's quicker and easier to update the Facebook app than to update the OS or underlying libraries.

4. Limited multitasking. Skype cannot run in the background. Glympse cannot run in the background. If you're in the middle of a Skype call and have to switch away to look something up, the call drops. 'Nuff said. I know that it's a tradeoff between battery/performance and multitasking capability, but I feel that Microsoft could have dialed the multitasking abilities a bit more towards "more powerful", because having to work around WP's multitasking model really gimps some important apps whose usefulness depends a lot on their ability to run in the background.

5. Refusing to announce WP8 update plans. Self-explanatory. Microsoft is really committing hara-kiri over this, they're going to lose all credibility with tech geeks if at least the second-gen phones won't be upgraded.

With all of that said, I'm still a fan of Windows Phone. Microsoft really does get a lot of the basic stuff right, but they definitely could've done better IMHO.


#2 seebaran

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 13:55

I hear ya. I love WP and all its promise by there are some things it needs to get on the ball with. I can't imagine the following being horribly difficult to enable in WP. I'm sure some exec sucked his teeth are the importance of these things we want:

- Screenshot support
- Video MMS
- Brightness slider
- Forward button for IE Mobile
- Ability to save music+video files direct to the phone

#3 seebaran

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 13:59

Additionally, MS needs exclusives. I am not talking about apps per se, but just features no competitor has to woe consumers over to WP. Here's some I came up with:


Favorites Hub
A live tile that compiles a list of favorited items for the following categories: IE, Pictures, Videos, Places. Places would be favorited from any search results from Bing Maps/Local Scout that the user would like to visit or vist again in the future.


Recycle Bin
Ever deleted a photo, video or doc you wish you hadn't? Similar to your Windows desktop, this app allows the user to restore items back to their previous destinations. Password protection is optional and a setting to auto-empty by day's end or 24/48/72 hours out can be adjusted.


Classic Mode
Metro isn't for everyone. Some like traditional icons. Like Windows 8, WP should allow the user to go between "Metro mode" and "Classic mode."


Movie Maker
The power of Windows Movie Maker should come to WP. iOS has its movie editor, so why not WP? The ability to chop, crop and send off via YouTube or a direct WMV download via the user's SkyDrive would be a nice exclusive for WP users.

#4 Aergan

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 14:15

- Screenshot support
- Custom tones
- Change search provider in IE (typing in address bar)
- More tile colours or even just a colour wheel for them
- Windows 8's version of arranging Metro tiles

#5 DevilsNotDead

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 14:15

No proper Multitasking is an issue for me.
Ring tones and file manager

#6 Simon-

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 14:18

why would you need screenshot support?

#7 seebaran

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 14:22

Simon, there are many of us who wish to take screenshots. From developers who want to showcase features, to social situations for sharing a humorous conversation and much more. It's a nice thing iOS'ers have enjoyed. The rest of us want it too.

#8 tsupersonic

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 14:29

No proper Multitasking is an issue for me.
Ring tones and file manager

No mobile OS has proper multitasking except for WebOS. Android is probably the 2nd best implementation. Meanwhile, iOS and WP7.5 are laughable at best.

I want repeat notifications - I use my phone as a pager, so I need the text message to repeatedly notify me until I acknowledge it. Also, custom message tones would be sweet.

#9 jakem1

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 15:11

1. Bing Maps is crap outside of the US/Europe.

This isn't really a problem with WP, it's a problem with Bing Maps. You can always download alternatives like gMaps from the Marketplace.

2. IE mobile is really bad from a usability standpoint.

My HTC HD2 came with Opera which supported text reflow and I really thought I would miss it when I switched to my Omnia 7. I quickly found that it was rarely necessary and IE is clever enough to zoom in on the text I'm reading. Text reflow also slows the browser down and messes around with pinch-to-zoom.

3. Limited social integration.

Again, this isn't a WP problem but I'm sure the Marketplace includes an app that will solve your specific problems. If not, speak to the company that develops the app you're relying upon.

4. Limited multitasking. Skype cannot run in the background.

I agree that this is an issue for now. Thankfully it will be addressed in WP8.

5. Refusing to announce WP8 update plans.

This is a storm in a teacup generated by bloggers who want something to complain about. Microsoft tried being open about new features when they announced Mango but Google and Apple copied many of the new features before the update was released. This time around they're keeping quiet about their update plans and the blogosphere is unhappy. Current phones will be updated so there's no need to worry on that count.

#10 jakem1

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 15:16

Favorites Hub

That's quite a good idea.

Recycle Bin
If you use SkyDrive to backup all your files this shouldn't really be necessary. With the limited memory on phones I'd rather not have a recycle bin using up storage space.


Classic Mode
If you like icons then I'd suggest a phone from the '90s :p


Movie Maker
Hopefully this will come with WP8 once MS have created a Metro-style version of Movie Maker for Windows 8.

#11 seebaran

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 19:51

Favorites Hub

That's quite a good idea.

Recycle Bin
If you use SkyDrive to backup all your files this shouldn't really be necessary. With the limited memory on phones I'd rather not have a recycle bin using up storage space.


Classic Mode
If you like icons then I'd suggest a phone from the '90s :p


Movie Maker
Hopefully this will come with WP8 once MS have created a Metro-style version of Movie Maker for Windows 8.



RE: Recycle Bin: not everything is in my cloud and I don't want it to be. A bin would be great for those OOPS moments.

RE: Classic mode: Tiles are huge turn off for many I have talked to online and in-person. People are creatures or habits. There is nothing 90s about it really. It's familiar for many. I prefer tiles but if Windows 8 offers it, then WP should too.

#12 L925

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 20:16

I hear ya. I love WP and all its promise by there are some things it needs to get on the ball with. I can't imagine the following being horribly difficult to enable in WP. I'm sure some exec sucked his teeth are the importance of these things we want:

- Screenshot support
- Video MMS
- Brightness slider
- Forward button for IE Mobile
- Ability to save music+video files direct to the phone


Out of all you listed, for me, having a forward button in IE would be most beneficial

#13 Got3n™

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 20:26

i wanna be able to delete all my text message threads at once!

#14 OP xeleraph

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:20

1. Bing Maps is crap outside of the US/Europe.

This isn't really a problem with WP, it's a problem with Bing Maps. You can always download alternatives like gMaps from the Marketplace.


It is a problem with third-party apps don't get access to the same APIs that Bing Maps does. gMaps is nowhere as well-integrated with WP as Bing Maps is, needs to launch the browser to show public transport routes, doesn't tie-in with Local Scout, etc. When you force third-party apps to live as second-class citizens but the built-in app fails to deliver, then yes, it's Windows Phone's problem.

2. IE mobile is really bad from a usability standpoint.

My HTC HD2 came with Opera which supported text reflow and I really thought I would miss it when I switched to my Omnia 7. I quickly found that it was rarely necessary and IE is clever enough to zoom in on the text I'm reading. Text reflow also slows the browser down and messes around with pinch-to-zoom.


Well, if you like reading horribly cramped text or constantly scrolling from side to side, that's your opinion. No other mobile browser (Opera, Dolphin, Safari, Robot, Chrome) has the problems with text reflow that you mention.

3. Limited social integration.

Again, this isn't a WP problem but I'm sure the Marketplace includes an app that will solve your specific problems. If not, speak to the company that develops the app you're relying upon.


When Microsoft heavily advertises WP's social integration features, but that integration turns out to be lacking so that you have to rely on third-party apps anyway, then yes, it's WP's problem. It's disingenuous to tout a feature but then absolve oneself of all responsibility for that feature's shortcomings.

4. Limited multitasking. Skype cannot run in the background.

I agree that this is an issue for now. Thankfully it will be addressed in WP8.

5. Refusing to announce WP8 update plans.

This is a storm in a teacup generated by bloggers who want something to complain about. Microsoft tried being open about new features when they announced Mango but Google and Apple copied many of the new features before the update was released. This time around they're keeping quiet about their update plans and the blogosphere is unhappy. Current phones will be updated so there's no need to worry on that count.


Wait, so if Microsoft doesn't announce new features, how did you know that proper multitasking for Skype is coming in WP8? Do you work in the Microsoft Windows Phone division? How do you know that current phones will be upgraded at all if Microsoft is keeping as quiet as you claim? Fact is, Microsoft does announce new features. They're not keeping quiet about it at all. The only thing they're keeping quiet about is whether the supposed "hero" phone is going to be obsolete in a a mere 6-7 months after it's launch. I wonder why.

#15 jakem1

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:05

It is a problem with third-party apps don't get access to the same APIs that Bing Maps does. gMaps is nowhere as well-integrated with WP as Bing Maps is, needs to launch the browser to show public transport routes, doesn't tie-in with Local Scout, etc. When you force third-party apps to live as second-class citizens but the built-in app fails to deliver, then yes, it's Windows Phone's problem.


Regardless of the impact, the problem is still caused by Bing Maps. That might not help you but its the Bing Maps team that need to improve their service. It may seem like splitting hairs to you but the integration within WP works well so long as the Bing Maps data is available. It's up to you if you don't want to use 3rd-party alternatives but at least they're available while the Bing team lifts their game.

Well, if you like reading horribly cramped text or constantly scrolling from side to side, that's your opinion. No other mobile browser (Opera, Dolphin, Safari, Robot, Chrome) has the problems with text reflow that you mention.


As I said, I don't find text in IE to be horribly cramped and I don't find myself constantly scrolling. I don't care if MS add this feature so long as it doesn't have any impact on performance or the smoothness of the zooming.

When Microsoft heavily advertises WP's social integration features, but that integration turns out to be lacking so that you have to rely on third-party apps anyway, then yes, it's WP's problem. It's disingenuous to tout a feature but then absolve oneself of all responsibility for that feature's shortcomings.


I don't think it's reasonable to expect Microsoft to support every little feature of every social network out there and, to be honest, I don't want them to be distracted by these sorts of demands. I think it's fine that they support the main capabilities of supported social networks for a glance-able experience in the built in apps/hubs. For anything else you should go to the site you want to use or use their app. That's not unreasonable and you still get more integration in Windows Phone than you do in any other phone OS.

Wait, so if Microsoft doesn't announce new features, how did you know that proper multitasking for Skype is coming in WP8? Do you work in the Microsoft Windows Phone division? How do you know that current phones will be upgraded at all if Microsoft is keeping as quiet as you claim? Fact is, Microsoft does announce new features. They're not keeping quiet about it at all. The only thing they're keeping quiet about is whether the supposed "hero" phone is going to be obsolete in a a mere 6-7 months after it's launch. I wonder why.


I might be wrong but I believe better support for Skype multitasking has already been announced. Maybe it's just a rumour but I believe it's coming as a result of the changes in Windows 8.

It's up to you to decide whether you think current phones will be upgraded. I believe there's more than enough evidence that they will and Lumia 900 sales would suggest that it's not a huge problem for consumers.



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