Editorial

What happened to Windows Phone?

It’s been almost 3 years since Microsoft’s mobile OS officially got a major reboot in the form of Windows Phone 7, and it’s been even longer since we saw the first glimpses of this modern OS, no pun intended, back at Mobile World Congress in 2010.

On paper Windows Phone seems like the best thing to happen to humanity since sliced bread and the end of the Black Plague, or at the very least the best thing that could ever happen to Windows Mobile. When it launched it was, and still is today, a very fresh operating system, with a beautiful, bold, original and “authentically digital” UI. It was the only mobile OS to offer Microsoft Office which the enterprise should have drooled over. It was the only mobile OS to offer Xbox Games, a complete sell for gamers and enthusiasts. It was also simple and mostly intuitive, launching on a plethora of devices in a ton of countries. Oh and let’s not forget that it was backed by Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in history with virtually unlimited money and reach.

So why is it that, three years later, this seemingly perfect OS accounts for just 3% of the market? What happened over the years that prevented Windows Phone from taking the world by storm?

New beginnings

Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 because their previous efforts on Windows Mobile had proven completely unsuccessful in fighting the iPhone’s incredible appeal. Android was also part of the scene and Google was clearly focused on winning this race, so Microsoft had no choice but to start from scratch and come up with something awesome.

And while they did partially come up with something great, they based their whole brand new OS on Windows Mobile, more precisely on Windows CE. This in turn led to limited capabilities of the OS and a spec deficiency that’s still obvious to this day.

Let’s not forget the fact that this being a new OS, it launched on completely new devices and left all of Microsoft’s previous customers out in the cold. Of course this was the right choice in this situation from a business standpoint but people still felt disgruntled.

And 2 years later Microsoft did it all over again. By launching WP7 on CE, they basically condemned all of those devices and customers when they moved to NT in Windows Phone 8. Remember that brand new Lumia 900 that you just bought because “the smartphone beta test is over”? Yeah, congrats it’s obsolete. In fact it was already obsolete before it was announced or conceived. NT was always supposed to be the future, but CE had to be used for a while until WP8 was ready.

I used to argue that this move was necessary. That without launching Windows Phone 7 first, WP8 would have been DOA due to a complete lack of apps and no prior exposure for Microsoft’s UI and design ideas. However I’m no longer convinced by my own argument, and I wonder if waiting another year to launch a fully-fledged NT-based Windows Phone 7.5 wouldn’t have benefited Microsoft a lot more than continuously having to update and support what have become two mobile operating systems.

Specs

Brand new 41Mpx camera - year old Qualcomm S4 CPU

Any Windows Phone user will tell you that most specs are completely meaningless and we have to give an insane amount of props to Microsoft for making that statement a reality when it comes to Windows Phones.

The Redmond company has managed to create an extremely well optimized OS that runs perfectly smooth and lag-free on all devices from the lowest specced Lumia 610 to the most powerful 1020.

But early adopters, geeks and dare I say it, us tech-journos don’t care that much about wider availability of devices or reducing to the lowest denominator. We want the best, the newest the most powerful OCTA CORE HYPERTHREADING OVERCLOCKED i7 processor and a week of battery life if that’s possible.

So when folks first saw the specs on Windows Phone devices they were disappointed and they’ve been disappointed ever since. Windows Phone devices have consistently lagged when it comes to the newest specs, and even though they don’t need them, users want them.

Take a look at Nokia’s latest devices to see what I mean. They’re incredible wonderful devices and yet they still rely on the same one year-old CPUs and screens. When Windows Phone finally got 720p screens, Android was already moving to 1080p. When Windows Phone finally got dual-core, Android was already moving to quad-core.

And don’t get me wrong I know Windows Phones, as opposed to Androids, don’t need those specs to run properly, but the marketing department sure could use them. Speaking of which…

Marketing

Or more exactly the lack of marketing. Since its launch, despite the fact that many companies involved with Windows Phone have promised to heavily invest in its marketing, none have actually made any sort of splash, and that includes Microsoft itself.

Until very recently, read the launch of Windows Phone 8 and the Nokia Lumia 920, the marketing efforts for this OS have been minimal. Remember when Ralph de la Vega of AT&T said they’re committing alongside Microsoft an enormous amount of money to make sure the new WP7 OS would be known to the public? Remember when the Lumia 900 was AT&T’s hero device and operation “Rolling Thunder” was in full swing? Neither do we. Those efforts were half-arsed at best, and they produced little to no results.

And while the marketing budget was spent in the States with virtually zero results, Europe and the rest of the world got two banners and that’s it. Oh, we also got Deadmau5 in London but that was a one time thing and did little to sell any phones.

Instead of focusing on a saturated rich market that’s very hard to penetrate, such as the States, Microsoft and its OEMs should have focused from the start on the rest of world. Instead of going premium they should have gone low-end. They’re actually implementing this very strategy right now with the Lumia 520, 625, etc and it’s proving to be a massive success. So why not do it earlier? Probably because Microsoft thought it could do with Windows Phone what Apple did with the first iPhone.

OEMs and the Nokia factor

If one goes through the original press release that announced Windows Phone 7, one would be amazed by how many companies had promised to support the platform and release handsets in the short-term. Let me reiterate that list for you: Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba. Meaning everybody that was somebody in the smartphone and computer scenes was going along with Microsoft for the ride.

By the time the actual launch came, that list was severely narrowed down to Dell, HTC, Samsung and LG. And as you well know, Dell barely launched its own device and then gave up, with LG doing pretty much the same a short time later leaving Windows Phone in the hands of HTC, a great Microsoft partner in the past, and Samsung an eager company with a ton of resources that was just starting to see its first real returns in the Android market. And while Samsung kept Windows Phone at arm’s length and continued to rake in the market share and the money on the Android front, HTC flip-flopped all around the place like a dying fish, putting out an insane amount of crappy mediocre devices for both Android and Windows Phone. None of those stuck.

Enter Nokia. The once high and mighty company chose Windows Phone and Microsoft because of promised preferential treatment as well as lack of competition from other OEMs and lack of OS fragmentation in the market.

Nokia made mistakes of their own such as going after the US market and the high-end demographic, with the Lumia 800 and later the 900, both of which were sub-par devices when you compare them with the iPhones and Galaxys of their day.

Despite that, they’re finally learning their lesson and they are the only Windows Phone OEM to constantly put out high quality devices at a myriad of price points and with a lot of reach. It took a long time for them to learn this game and to finally make the transition to this new way of doing things, but they did it and their numbers are improving every quarter. Huawei, a new member of the Windows Phone family, is taking the same approach and it's working for them too. Windows Phone seems destined to find its success in the low-end of the market.

However, Nokia is a double edged sword. With the hold they now have on Windows Phone, much like the hold Samsung has on Android, they have become a clear reason for other OEMs to stay away from the platform. So even if, say Sony, wanted to come back to the fold and launch a Windows Phone device they’d have nothing to compete with but build quality and price – and Nokia is acing both of those.

Plus, Nokia has fragmented the Windows Phone ecosystem in a tiny way. They’re bringing value to the OS by launching their own software for the platform in the form of HERE services and awesome camera apps, but they’re also getting a lot of exclusive game titles and apps. And that makes me, as an HTC 8X user, very jealous and willing to switch to a Lumia. And that makes HTC very unhappy, and very desperate, and instead of actually fixing things, by let’s say adding their own exclusive titles to the mix, they keep jumping from platform to platform like a crazed Mario on a bad mushroom trip.

The bottom line is that Nokia is a net positive for Windows Phone right now, but that’s only because of the dire state the OS is in terms of OEM support. Healthy competition all the way and a better distribution of market share would have made the whole ecosystem that much stronger.

Microsoft being Microsoft

There’s one more factor at play here and it’s a big one; Microsoft itself. We’re looking at a new, inspired, fluid, beautiful and fast OS and it comes from the company that launched the Kin phone and killed it a few days later, the company that launched Vista and fixed it a few years later by launching a new OS.

Microsoft is itself in a transition as we have rightly noted so many times before, and this transition pretty much started with Windows Phone 7. The company hasn’t yet figured out how to put out yearly updates for its major products, it hasn't yet figured out how to ship a super polished product and then keep adding on to it in a fast-release cycle.

They’re getting there, but slowly. Far too slow for the incredibly fast paced smartphone race and too slow for us, the customers. Sure, I can argue to you that all the GDRs are incredibly important and that this is a solid foundation for future devices and Windows Phone 8.1, but at the end of the day our phones haven’t received any major updates in a very long time. And the competition is in no way standing still.

Images courtesy of Microsoft, Nokia, Daily Billboard Blog, and my hardworking colleagues !

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Funny, I never even considered getting a Windows phone. Not that it didn't look like a decent phone, but it entered a marketplace that was already dominated by two other brands. WHat did they really expect?

Well that's easy. The UI simply looks bad! Most people would like more choices, not less! Why would I want just a few "limited" items on my 1st screen?

The same thing goes for Metro. Why on earth do I want to see filtered "boxes" over my own choices?

Google and Apple are both better IMO.

I've stuck with the Windows bandwagon for a long time and I'm still on it with my Samsung Ativ S (which as a device, I think is way better than anything Nokia has put out). I like the philosophy of the OS but I can see why general adoption is low...there are quite a few things that stand out and annoy me.

Anybody who has owned a WP device and then played with an iOS device should know what I mean here, but iOS is a much smoother device. It's like WP is running at 20 or 30 fps and iOS is running at 60. Especially with scrolling, animation transisions, and zooming/panning in the maps application, everything feels much more fluid. The author discusses how smooth and fluid WP is on all hardware, and it *is* in the sense that it doesn't necessarily "stutter", but its just not as silky smooth as an iOS device.

The Maps app is completely useless. Whenever I type in an address, especially in another city, there's a 25% chance that the app will actually find it. Usually, I get something in a completely differenty city. Nokia Drive has no problem finding it, Bing Maps online has no problem finding it, Google Maps has no problem finding it, yet my phone has no idea what the hell it is doing.

Segmentation between the navigation app (Nokia Drive) and maps app is annoying. Maps has traffic overlays, direction list, better manual map control...and Drive has turn by turn directions. Switching between the two is annoying, I just want one fully featured app.

Why can't I paste phone numbers into the phone app? Super annoying. Often times, the number isn't something I can click on directly and I just want to copy and paste the damn thing instead of writing it on a piece of paper and manually banging it out.

The Facebook app JUST got an update that brings it up to a decent state. I say decent because it still has annoying quirks, like the lag between clicking one of the header buttons and actually getting feedback that the button was clicked...it literally takes a few seconds, sometimes leaving you to wonder whether it was actually clicked or not and thus causing you to click it again, which actually unclicks it. Thank god the "panorama" control is gone from the Facebook app...in practice, it just isn't very good. Instead of two clicks - "Menu" and then the section I want, I sit there swiping like an idiot across 4 pages to get to where I want. Not only that, you can't actually SEE what the sections further down are, so you don't even know if you are in the right area of the app to get to where you want, so you sit there swiping through every page only to discover the one you want isn't even there. I don't know who thought that was a good way to do navigation in a UI.

The lagging button input problem is present in a few places. Every UI designer knows that instant feedback to let the user know the action registered is important...take the time you need to perform it, but show a damn loading indicator or something. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is when I click the refresh button in my email box, the phone sits there for literally 2 or 3 seconds doing nothing...and THEN "syncing..." shows up at the top. Sometimes I click the button and wait...only to realize 5 seconds later that it didn't register the click properly. Then I have to click it again and wait a few more seconds to see if it clicked. Then I'll get annoying and click it 5 times, and it actually queues up all the clicks and refreshes 5 times in a row. Seriously? I think they actually fixed this issue in the last update a couple weeks ago, but it only took them 2 years...that was pretty annoying.

I'm not one to really care about a lack of app numbers as long as the few important ones are covered and done well, but not even the big ones like WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, Yelp etc...are getting the proper level of love on WP. The maps/navigation situation is inexcusable....that's essentially a primary usecase on a smartphone these days, and WP is clearly behind the newest map apps on Android and iOS.

Apps *definitely* launch slower on WP than on other platforms, and that's on my relatively high end device. It's already pretty annoying to sit there while FB sits on a splash screen for 5 seconds just to check a notification or something, I can't imagine how annoying it is to add a few seconds on a low-end device. My girlfriends' S3 loads up FB more than twice as fast. It's especially annoying on apps like WhatsApp - if I get a message notification, I don't want to watch a slash screen for 5 seconds before I can read my damn message.

Why aren't there seperate volume controls for app sounds, ringer, notifications, and GPS voice, background music? At a bare minimum, I should have control over ringer and the rest of the sounds seperately. I like to play games at less than full volume, but my ringer should always be at full volume.

And finally...these problems have all been there from the start. Why does it take so damn long to get meaningful updates that address these issues? I bought into the ecosystem originally with the understanding that Microsoft was committed to faster updates, but it really doesn't seem like it's happening. Pretty annoyed at this point, considering alternatives.

I have an android phone and right now I am using an iPhone bit on wed I will be a proud owner of a Nokia lumina 928. And not going to look back. I will be the first in my area to get a windows phone 8. And I can't wait to show it off and have people around here ask what it is.

Great article, I always wondered how Windows Phone 8 went wrong. At the beginning, I was very enthusiastic and thought that as soon as I saw WP8 actually taking off I would buy my first smartphone. I still do not have any, possibly because I cannot read a PDF on anything less than 10 inches.

I never new, and indeed thought that such things were impossible, about exclusive applications for a given phone. This is a show stopper for me, no WP8 device ever. And this is the first time I heard about that, thanks for telling.

Relying on the Carriers for Software updates even if over the air with Windows Phone 8 is still frustrating for users, at&t have to be the slowest carrier to release updates for Windows Phones or maybe any phones.

I just hope I have GDR2 and Amber Firmwire update by September 30th, then I can relax til Windows 8.1 is released in October for Desktop PC. I originally got Windows Phone 7 2 years ago, then finding out I couldn't be updated with same phone to Windows Phone 8, almost made me switch to Android phone, then I changed my mind and got a Nokia Lumia 920

App wise i'd love to see Directv app on Windows Phone 8, but it appears only available for Ios and Android, oh well

Windows phone seems to have a lot of really strange issues.

They advertise WP8 as having the same engine as IE on Windows 8 but it clearly doesnt. Doesn't support local address websites for one

Also, there are some key low level features which are only available depending on if the vendor implimented it and is not advertised anywhere. Take for example rSAP support required for car bluetooth to make calls with your phone sim card. Works on HTC 8X but not on Lumia 925.

Also they are way, way behind on features. They launched Windows Phone 7, and then Windows Phone 8 which was exactly the same in terms of user facing features. I know there was tons of under the hood changes moving to NT kernel but the general user doesn't care about this. In the eyes of the user Windows Phone is about 3-4 years behind the competition.

And then there's the apps. I'm not going to bang the tired drum of which apps aren't available, but event the ones that are are awful. Compare for example the eBay app on WP and iOS. There is no comparison really.

The same goes for apps developed by MS themselves. Look at the MS developed Facebook app (even the latest beta). So slow. Hit the notifications button and it can take 4-5 seconds to open on a lumia 925. Unacceptably slow

If microsoft can't even get Windows Phone apps right, what hope has anyone else got. No wonder nobody is developing for it.

IMHO the problem with WP8 is not so much the platform itself as it is MS' overall strategy of trying to keep it aligned with Windows8 ('trying to' as code still cannot run on both without some modification). Granted, a successful alignment *would* be huge (in terms of the number/quality of apps as well as mindshare/familiarity with Modern), but unfortunately for MS, the potential alone doesn't move products.
Given MS' organisational structure (the 3/4 fiefdoms) and lack of a clear overall direction in regards to the W8-project (i.e. the UI changes from W8 to W8.1 that shows that MS is still looking to consumers for clues as to how to move their product), it does beg the question if not WP had been better off these past 3 years just focusing on catching up with Android and iOS. Other companies seem to have taken a less risky path: Google is in no hurry to align Google Chrome with Android, and neither is Apple with their one-feature-at-a-time approach to lifting features off of iOS and bringing them to OSX.

As it stands now MS' one-platform gamble hasn't paid off. Clearly it has proven much more difficult and hampered innovation, that everything WP related had to be signed off by the Windows group. Hopefully the restructuring of MS can solve this problem further down the road, but as it is right now, there is not enough direction (what happened to the WP8/W8-roadmap? - what comes after blue? Will there be a notification bar? etc), too much doubt (i.e. the tweet a month ago about WP9 requiring new hardware that was refuted, but still managed to run for days), and too much uncertainty when it comes to the tools (silverlight? .net, html5) and hardware (i.e. will we see a Surface 2 and when?) for WP to truly compete with Android or iOS.

Edited by alphonseM, Aug 18 2013, 1:54pm :

1) Still no Windows Phone 7.8 Update for my focus in Canada
2) I dislike the smaller tiles of windows phone 8
3) I dislike office 2013 and how it works with SharePoint (SP2010)
4) I'm not going to the cloud at least not 100% cloud
5) I loved Zune and the Zune software

Microsoft learnt their lesson before and can look back on their mistakes. Yeah a year old processor who cares, as long as the experience doesn't get affected. Alot of today sales argument to laymen is processor speed and memory. We need to peek into our rear mirror and,see that salesmen using the same technique today as,they did with PC's 20 years ago.

As a Symbian veteran I can look back and say that maybe things weren't blazingly fast and popping up before I've even thought on pressing a button. It was stable and reliable.

Windows Phone is for me reliable and trustworthy. I get things done and specs really isn't the deal. User experience is the crucial part.

Android on the other hand is fragmented and built upon a resource-hogging core meaning more features and gimmicks the more powerful the device need to be.

If there is anyone to blame for low sales it should be salesmen that have a frellng ancient specs focus as sales argument, not the amazing experience you get with WP.

Interesting comment.

I was just thinking if I would ever go back to Android and the answer is no... not at the moment. Live tiles are so much better than little icons as they show more information.

Sir Topham Hatt said,
Interesting comment.

I was just thinking if I would ever go back to Android and the answer is no... not at the moment. Live tiles are so much better than little icons as they show more information.

Um... theres this thing called notification center. It trumps those OCD tiles any day.

Kalint said,
Um... theres this thing called notification center. It trumps those OCD tiles any day.

All those "OCD tiles" displaying information run on hardware that's "outdated" according to you Android Fanboys and the OS still runs smoother than Android ever did on that same "outdated" hardware.

I'll take my OCD tiles over a laggy OS with a notification centre any day of the week!!!!

You would think MS would have learned from the mistakes of Palm/HP and webOS. It sucks to have left that platform and see the same mistakes being made here, too.

It's not rocket science. Either make something amazingly better than what's out there and charge people the same as(or less than) the competition. Or make a product that is the same as what's out there and charge way less. You will never win if you offer a product that does less than what's on the market and costs the same.

When HP released the TouchPad for the same price as an iPod, I knew they had idiots running the show and the end was near. I'm still not convinced MS is going to make it.

It took the iPhone over 3 years to get people to really go to their phones. Android's and iPhone's marketplace had 3-4 years of a headstart on Windows Phones marketplace. Once Windows Phone has the same quality apps (not that far behind now) people will have no excuse to stay on iPhone or Android. People I know that use iPhone want a new interface, but like the amount of apps available to them on the App Store. The people I know that use Android, love the amount of apps, and the customization, but on a lot of the higher end models, battery life is atrocious and just using the Android OS is very complicated for a lot of people. Windows Phone isn't leaving the scene anytime soon, it will eventually lead IMO. Haters can say what they want, but only time will tell.

I think there's a need to look at the Big Picture. Yes, it's certainly true that WP8 runs faster and smoother on a dual core CPU than Android runs on a quad core. And yes, it's also true that "enthusiasts" always want the latest specs in their phones. But this is confused. What the author should have said is "American enthusiasts". Out here in the rest of the world, if a phone runs perfectly on a cheaper chip then that's good for me, the consumer. This argument - that WP8 should always use the latest greatest chips is fallacious. It takes up to a year for a chip manufacturer to produce these chips is quantities big enough to cover expected demand. That's global demand, not just demand in a small saturated backwater market like the USA.

Americans need to keep in mind that they're still very far behind Europe and Asia when it comes to understanding mobile technology. Sure, many of the terminal devices are designed by and owned by American companies - well OK, Apple and Motorola. But absolutely none of the world's telecoms infrastructure is American. It's 100% European and Asian. USA isn't a player in telecoms. This is reflected in the way Americans use phones - they get super-excited about stuff the rest of us have had for the better part of a decade. Remember iMode? Yes, the one Steve Jobs liked so much he ripped off their naming convention.

If you want to see how the global mobile industry is faring it's not very bright to look at one single, backward market. China is a bigger market than all of Europe and North America combined. Throw in Africa and South America too. In China Nokia is the new Apple while Apple are for the laoren (old folks). Apple's a smart company - they understand this and getting ready to reboot iPhone. Meanwhile, Samsung are on the ropes because the Chinese can't stand Google and it's only a matter of time before Samsung has to dump Android in China if it wants to maintain credibility.

If the race was starting today, WP8/Nokia would be in pole position

What happened? Nothing. It's growing. Devices are coming out. It's getting updated. It's slow but it's upward and that's what matters. 3 years ago I knew of zero people with a WP device. Today I know nearly a dozen. Sure it's anecdotal but people know what it is now and as long as Nokia keeps putting out solid hardware, I think it'll be fine. Such doom and gloom. Fitting, it's been raining here for three days.

MS is not a newcomer in smartphone, in fact, the term smartphone was coined by MS.
8 years ago, MS launch WM 5.0
6 years ago, MS launch WM 6.0 , Apple launch Iphone 1g.
4 years ago, MS launch WM 6.5, Apple launch the Iphone 3gs.
3 years ago, MS launch WP 7.0, Apple launch the Iphone 4.
2 years ago, MS launch WP 7.5, Apple launch the iphone 4s.
1 year ago, MS launch WP 8.0, Apple launch the iphone 5.

MS right now is playing catching with Iphone and Android even when MS was early than the competitors. MS neglects the market during many years.

There is only so much "talent" within a company, even a huge one such as Microsoft. However...when they wasted so much of it on Windows-8's Metro UI (creating a less than stellar new OS) other things just had to slide. So, instead of coming up with a winning smartphone OS, they ended up with a ho-hum OS for tablets. Will Microsoft learn from their mistake? Time and the marketplace will tell, and so far, the "telling" is not good.

MS threw their original smartphone customers under the bus once they finally worked out what a big impact the iPhone would have and how their Windows Mobile OS was so far off track. Then they did it again With Windows Phone 7. Windows Phone was devised to be different to iOS and Android. Windows Phone was not born out of a great wow moment. Windows Phone started from way behind while MS got their stuff together. I think that Microsoft and Windows Phone has the marketshare it deserves right now.

Another problem is the name.. To the 'Average' person who never reads a tech blog 'Windows' has no cachet anymore, Windows means work, Windows means viruses and malware. Windows means something that comes with a PC, windows does not mean fun.

I eliminated a WP8 phone last time I was looking because I couldn't find the hardware I wanted with a swapable battery. Android, with all it's faults, has a lot more hardware options, so I can get exactly what I want.

Maybe you missed the ATIV S with its removable battery, microSD card slot and the largest screen on any Windows Phone!!!!!

I have a Nokia Lumia 920 and I just updated it to Windows Phone 8 GDR2 with Nokia's Amber update.
FM-radio has been added!
Nokia has released two great apps for taking photos and recording videos.
Nokia seems to be the only good option when it comes to Windows phones. The others abandon it without even giving it a chance.
Windows Phone 8 is much better at threading and memory managing than Android.
I'm happy that I bought this phone.

Wut, how?

*cries*

I'm still waiting for the updates. But I had to wait till Q2 this year before receiving GDR2 even though the 920 was released only in January here (well after GDR2 was released)

What happened?

Well basically Microsoft sit on their Asses with the platform, don't add basic features users have been crying out months/years for, and let Nokia do all the work.

Also, calling it 'Windows' Phone is just a bad idea. The average person on the street probably thinks that means it has a Taskbar and Blue Screens etc. They have all kinds of cool names for projects before release, they can surely do better.

The thing needs a total reboot. Ditch the name, start again.

The problem for me is the system is far behind in things I take for granted:
> Why only a number for a password? No pattern or words allowed.
> Why only one volume option for all sounds?
> Why does tapping on a word not give me a cursor, where double tapping should highlight the whole word. Tapping, then waiting for the cursor, then having to move it around to the right place is tedious and time consuming.
> I have to click on another button fr numbers? Why not press and hold?
> Why launch most phones exclusive? Just narrows the amount of people you're going to reach.
> Missed a trick with businesses. With BlackBerry struggling, WP would have been the obvious choice. Give free handsets to one large company, others will pay, employees will get them as personal phones.
> Lack of new features in updates.
> Not really pushing companies to make good replacements for other OS counterparts. Facebook, Twitter apps aren't that great on WP.
> Hate the way the back button works.
> WP should have, or should now get Amazon on side with free app of the day.

If WP wants to penetrate the market, they have started okay with a completely new layout (compared with icons like iOS and Android), but if you're going to offer cheese pizza only, why would people give up pepperoni? Meaning, why would people go for a phone system, which has less features, which are, by todays standards, expected as usual.

All your points are good however part of the problem is actually getting people to even consider a Windows Phone. Your problems come mostly after the sale.

The question should be in general, What happened to Microsoft? Reimagining without much value for past innovations ****ed off users.

You know, the tech press loves memes, and they just recycle them. I don't really understand this whole "MS is so slow compared to everyone else" thing.

Apple releases ONE, yes ONE update per year that may or may not add any useful features. The rest are just bug fixes. My daughter has an 4s.

Google releases ONE, yes ONE major update every year or so. My wife had a Galaxy S3 when it first came out, and just upgraded to the S4. During that time, she got the ONE major update. Yes, the apps are updated more frequently, but the OS itself is on a yearly schedule, if that.

So, if MS manages to put out 3 GDR's in a year, and one major update, I would say they are doing better than everyone else.

Yes but iOS and Android have all the basic features people need. Windows Phone users have been asking for Orientation Lock, Custom tones for sms/email etc..etc...etc for an age now.

This platform needs to catch up, not run at the same pace.

Walrush said,
Yes but iOS and Android have all the basic features people need. Windows Phone users have been asking for Orientation Lock, Custom tones for sms/email etc..etc...etc for an age now.

This platform needs to catch up, not run at the same pace.


Which it is doing by releasing 3 times the amount of updates then the competition...

I'm really excited when WP first announced, I even retyped my wedding card entirely using Segoe Light font to embrace new MS spirit.
I can feel your pity, but lucky you with WP8, I'm stuck with WP7.8 with even no screenshot feature + I'm HTC WP user. MS & HTC really broken my heart with WP8 and left WP7 user.

Spoken like a true Android Fanboy, I would take live tiles over poor performing widgets and static icons any day!!!!

ehhhhh how are tiles confusing.. in my opinion I think android is confusing with all the icons widgets and buttons sure I have played with an android phone but wow ... I got confused. I never really understood how android is the average consumer phone

I don't know how you think the live tile interface is confusing. Everyone that has used my phone has had zero trouble understanding it and none of them had ever seen the UI before.

Gimmicky tiles? No. I can look at my start screen and see how many emails, messages, phone calls I have. I can see weather conditions, updates to things like soundcloud and instagram and that's just on the apps I use in particular.

I think people need to stop comparing WP with iOS and Android when they say how many features do they get during minor updates because the fact is that they already have all the major features which a user needs or requires which WP doesn't have. Lets be objective here and admit that MS does a **** job with WP updates and has been moving at a slow pace. This annoyance can be seen by Nokia and major carriers across the world.

I'm happy with my Lumia 920 but thats because of Nokia and its awesome hardware (camera) Do i see myself upgrading to another WP device in future? Nope.

I see this a lot, about MS being slow to update, but there have been countless stories now talking about how MS is having to SIT on updates because of the carrier issues. They literally finish updates and then have to wait weeks or months to push something because of the carriers dragging their feet.

Apple is the only one immune tot his because they were able to bully the carriers when the iPhone was first released. Even Google can't get carriers to play ball like that.

I'm all for keeping the pressure on MS about this, but there is more to it than just MS being slow.

I think the main issue with Windows Phone is that Microsoft is too slow in upgrading the OS. At this point there is a lot of wasted potential, stil missing features that some consider basic and overall not fast enough reaction to changes in the market.

Then there is the fact that the market is saturated and Android simply has too much marketshare and mindshare. This isn't something Microsoft can control so keep pushing WP is the only thing they can do. But they are failing at that with the lack up updates.

Tied to this slow upgrade cycle is that WP remains isolated. A part of WP's potential lies in it being Windows. It has the option to create a unified experience between phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. But WP remains isolated from the other Windows. That they aren't the same OS is understandable (considering phones aren't quite ready for a full OS) but the same UI should be a given at this point..

Failure from WP 7.x to fully support current Bluetooth profiles. Even now, Nokia has to provide a full Bluetooth driver for the Lumia line. This should be in the OS for all Windows Phones. Because of this, lifestyle device makers, particularly fitness peripherals simply cannot be produced for Windows phones. This eliminates tens of millions of people who use their phone as a part of their fitness lifestyle.

Too long to get an official or decent (the current beta is good) of Facebook. No Instagram.

For Windows 8, no way to sync music libraries and playlists in Windows 8 via Modern UI. Xbox playlist sync did nothing for syncing music and Xbox Cloud is spotty at best.

Failure to help devs migrate to Windows 8.0, particularly indies. Where's I made a game with Z0mbies in it? Where's Angry Birds Basic? Where's the Infinity Blade for Windows Phone or Surface RT?

Lastly on this note, any decent game costs $6.99. That's not going to sell lots.

Poor design standard for USB. Should be on bottom always, to facilitate docks, radios, etc. And where are the phone designs that support nice cases like elementcase.com? See how those millions of Droid and iPhone users buy goofy, or cool cases? And Boom Box docks? Out of touch management.

That's just a few, but MS completely out of touch with mass consumers and how they use and play with smartphones.

The majority of end users don't care/cannot afford to buy the high end phones like iPhones/GS4. This is why Android took the majority of marketshare. If you go and ask grandma what OS her phone is running on, do you think you will get the right reply ?
In other words, low end affordable phones were the key for success for Android phones. GS3/4 came later once the market share/apps were already established.

Very good points.

I do finally feel safe recommending Windows Phones, the OS has come a long way in a short time despite the lack of major updates. Microsoft said from the start that they thought it would take three years to become feature competitive because it was a brand new OS and although they have not kept up on the hardware front spec wise, I do think they offer the fastest phones out today as far as everyday use goes.

OS optimization only goes so far though, eventually they need to also run the best hardware, a notification center and voice assistant. And then they need to bring something new and better because you do not win by catching up, it is such a quickly evolving industry and Microsoft needs to start being the first to new hardware and features if they want to win.

This won't happen overnight, it will probably be another two years before we see big strides by Microsoft as far as converting users in masses and that is ok. The industry isn't going anywhere, they just need to stick with it.

It is something far more simple that what anyone here has listed so far -- it is hideous. Your average consumer may not care about hardware specs, but they sure as heck care about how their phone LOOKS, and the WP interface is (too *most* people not on a Windows site like Neowin) butt ugly. I was really looking forward to WP when I first heard about it. Then I saw pics of what it was going to look like, and I assumed that the big monochromatic squares were just place holders. Oh well, MS will figure it out eventually.

the problem with that is that its your opinion, so it isn't something easily fixed by MS. If you could point to technical issues, that's one thing, but UI design is not universal, so some will like how it looks, some wont. I say that since I've heard the exact opposite opinion from people seeing it for the first time.

To each their own. To me an iOS or Android device in stock form tends to look like an old Windows 95 Desktop..icons slapped on a background.

trooper11 said,
the problem with that is that its your opinion, so it isn't something easily fixed by MS. If you could point to technical issues, that's one thing, but UI design is not universal, so some will like how it looks, some wont. I say that since I've heard the exact opposite opinion from people seeing it for the first time.

Well, while I can't back it up with any numbers you can verify, you can take it or leave it... the department that I work in has ~200 people and ZERO WP -- all iPhone or Android. Granted I work in IT, so maybe that has something to do with it. But I also frequent quite a few bars clubs (love supporting local music), and I have yet to see a SINGLE WP in the wild. That can't be just a weird statistical fluke.

But that doesn't tells us why you have not seen a single WP in the wild. I see many people try to take the lack of adoption as a sign of a single issue, usually an issue they personally believe (i.e. it looks ugly). It seems like we love to assume that the reason we don't like something is the reason something is doing badly or well. Your experience just tells us that WP isn't as widely adopted as Android or iOS, but then that's not news since we knew that from all sorts of official reports.

Well, it's an editorial, which means an opinion piece, and that shows. It's riddled with inaccurate and ill informed ideas and shows you have no grasp on the concept behind Windows Phone. To top it off it's choke full of the usual Android fan boy speak about how higher spec is better by default.

The only thing I would agree on is that both MSFT and Nokia really and truly suck at communication the product they have. Nokia is getting a tad better at this, but MSFT still is horrible. Also right now the weakest link here is MSFT who is holding development back and needs to step up as far as getting some basic and much desired functionality into the OS.

Hardware wise Windows Phone is very much capable of standing up against either iOS or Android as the OS is much more optimized and has a much lower footprint in requirements. Android on Lumia 520 hardware would be slow and laggy as molasses, iOS woudl probably not even run at all. At the same price point (sub $150) Android devices are usually running 2.x with sub 3.7inch screens and maybe 4GB storage. They won't run a vast majority of apps from playstore..

Fragmentation is _not_ having exclusive apps. The apps run fine on any WP device if Nokia flips the switch for them to do so. Another miss in the piece. Nokia, from the start, has said they choose WP because it would give them the chance to differentiate themselves and they do. Others just do not care enough to follow suit and only now we see Samsung stepping up at least to some degree.

The problem is the basic stuff, separate volume controls, offline contact and calendar sync, basically much of what Nokia had in Symbian and even now in Asha phones. We're seeing progress here, but it's too slow. MSFT needs to open up the API to at least OEMs like Nokia and let them get on with it.

Microsoft has done a real poor job advertising their phones. And while current hardware works great, they need a flagship phone that techies can get excited about. The 1020 is a start but they need to punch up the screen resolution and cpu. Once you excite the tech crowd, they will begin to write apps.

Advertising has never been Microsofts strong point. Right now they are advertising the crap out of the 928 and 1020, but the main focus is on the camera. The camera is great, but one of the biggest apps Instagram is missing. I know that might not be a big deal for most of us on here, but for many users they share their photos through Instagram only. I would have thought the 1020 would have sparked major interest from Instagram. Microsoft needs to really get back to the root of Windows Phone advertising and advertise the OS, let Nokia or the carriers advertise the hardware.

Along the lines of hardware, thats the biggest misconception with WP is that it needs a 4 core processor lots of ram etc. Android has cause a big marketing rift. Consumer do look at specs but the biggest thing is that WP runs really well on just 2 cores, but most users don't believe that

wv@gt said,
Advertising has never been Microsofts strong point. Right now they are advertising the crap out of the 928 and 1020, but the main focus is on the camera. The camera is great, but one of the biggest apps Instagram is missing. I know that might not be a big deal for most of us on here, but for many users they share their photos through Instagram only. I would have thought the 1020 would have sparked major interest from Instagram. Microsoft needs to really get back to the root of Windows Phone advertising and advertise the OS, let Nokia or the carriers advertise the hardware.

It amazes me how such a big company as Microsoft can hire such bad marketing people.

hagjohn said,

It amazes me how such a big company as Microsoft can hire such bad marketing people.


Doing marketing for Microsoft, it isn't the easiest company to do marketing for

Neobond said,
Awesome article
I am not happy about it. as a wp8 lumia 920 user I think gdr 1 gdr and the leaked gdr 3 updates are major. So I do not agree with his no major updates point in the article. How many point updates do apple and google release in a year? How many phones actually receive those updates? Also wp8 allows companies to update parts of their phone through the store. Things like extras and info on the lumia series. I do not see apple updating parts of their os through the app store.

majortom1981 said,
Things like extras and info on the lumia series. I do not see apple updating parts of their os through the app store.

I don't know what extras+info does for you, but all it does for me is let me see what software and version my 920 runs.

AR556 said,

I don't know what extras+info does for you, but all it does for me is let me see what software and version my 920 runs.


It was an example. There's a ton more 'apps' that are/seem like part of the system but continuously get updated.

"but at the end of the day our phones haven't received any major updates in a very long time. And the competition is in no way standing still."

I just received a fairly major update two days ago in the form of the Nokia Amber update, and it is great. It added a bunch of new features to the phone and they launched a handful of new apps to take advantage of them. It's not like I didn't love my Windows Phone before, but I certainly love it even more now. And there is still GDR3 and WP 8.1 to come. Now, if my Lumia doesn't get an update to WP 9 I will probably be ****ed, but after the WP 7 to WP 8 fiasco I expect that that is going to be the case and I'm going to have to buy a new phone, so I'm already prepared for that. But I do hope that next time they aren't *******s about it and allow WP 8.x phones to update to 9. I really wanted a Lumia 900 very badly, but I knew even as it was released that it would have been a waste of money since I wouldn't be able to update it to WP 8. I'm very pleased with my Lumia 928, but I had to wait much longer than I would have wanted to in order to obtain it (that's just as much or possibly more so Verizon's fault, both for not carrying anything other than the HTC Trophy until WP 8 launched and for not carrying the Lumia 920 when it was first launched, instead waiting until their own customized variant was ready).

My Nokia Lumia 920 is very fast and everything is smooth.
It's smoother than any Android device I've seen.
Windows Phone 8 is well written, unlike Android. Upgrade from 2.3 to 4.0 and the old phones start lagging when doing things that were smooth in 2.3, such as dialing a number. Android is a disgrace, giving phone performance a bad reputation!

At least they were able to upgrade from 2.x to 4.x. If you had WP 7 or below, can you upgrade to WP 8 without buying a new phone? I didn't think so.

No
But should the upgrade turn your phone into a snail, even when you try to do the most basic things such as making a phone call?
Should a the phone lag behind by half a second when you dial the number!? NO!
The performance should become improved. Android has its hardware requirements increase much faster than Windows' hardware requirements.

Some good points but the Nokia hate makes it seem like a rant from an HTC fanboy. Not their fault that HTC and Samsung were doing jack with their WP devices and Nokia blew past them. Just get a Nokia and you'll be a much happier WP user.

Except Samsung have been doing a lot more for Windows Phone recently. I wouldn't call rolling out GDR2 before any other manufacturer to customers devices, releasing new apps and weekly updates for those apps "doing nothing".

Sure they could be doing more but, unlike HTC, at least they are doing something. I have a feeling that they are waiting for GDR3 to give us quad core processor and 1080p support before they throw their weight behind Windows Phone.

I wouldn't bet on it. Samsung took over the development of MeeGo alongside Intel when Nokia pulled out in favour of WP7. The name was changed to Tizen and Intel/Samsung have been quietly developing the OS now for the better part of 2 years. Tizen has a huge number of advantages for OEMs. It runs on both Intel and ARM chips. And it's patent-cleared, so no more annoying rip-off-Android patent fees.

The only thing holding back Tizen is Intel's continued inability to produce less power-hungry processor chips. But it's getting closer every day. The day Intel is able to introduce a suitable mobile phone processor is the day Android is finished. Samsung hasn't poured millions into research to throw it all away and Android is nearly 100% reliant on Samsung for its survival.

neo158 said,
Except Samsung have been doing a lot more for Windows Phone recently. I wouldn't call rolling out GDR2 before any other manufacturer to customers devices, releasing new apps and weekly updates for those apps "doing nothing".

Sure they could be doing more but, unlike HTC, at least they are doing something. I have a feeling that they are waiting for GDR3 to give us quad core processor and 1080p support before they throw their weight behind Windows Phone.


Wut? I receive Nokia updates almost DAILY
Small things like those that come in Amber are not seen in Samsungs development.
Also Samsung didn't open up their own Maps services for the entire WP crowd (not just counting Bing maps which uses Nokia's maps) but Here Drive, Here Maps, Here EVERYTHING.
The HERE apps are by far the best collection of apps available on WP8 (and probably for any phone OS)

Shadowzz said,

Wut? I receive Nokia updates almost DAILY
Small things like those that come in Amber are not seen in Samsungs development.
Also Samsung didn't open up their own Maps services for the entire WP crowd (not just counting Bing maps which uses Nokia's maps) but Here Drive, Here Maps, Here EVERYTHING.
The HERE apps are by far the best collection of apps available on WP8 (and probably for any phone OS)

You need to reread the post I replied to, I was replying to this "Not their fault that HTC and Samsung were doing jack with their WP devices...". I never said anything about Nokia, you did. OMG I offended you by replying to a comment, I won't bother in future.

You Nokia users are so bloody sensitive!!!!

Not offended, I should've reread it indeed
I read it more as that Samsung took over the lead on OEM development for WP8, which they don't. Well not yet.

Shadowzz said,
Not offended, I should've reread it indeed
I read it more as that Samsung took over the lead on OEM development for WP8, which they don't. Well not yet.

No problem, I was just trying to point out that Samsung seem to be doing a lot more for Windows Phone, not as much as Nokia but at least it's more than HTC, at the moment which is good.

Major_Plonquer said,
I wouldn't bet on it. Samsung took over the development of MeeGo alongside Intel when Nokia pulled out in favour of WP7. The name was changed to Tizen and Intel/Samsung have been quietly developing the OS now for the better part of 2 years. Tizen has a huge number of advantages for OEMs. It runs on both Intel and ARM chips. And it's patent-cleared, so no more annoying rip-off-Android patent fees.

The only thing holding back Tizen is Intel's continued inability to produce less power-hungry processor chips. But it's getting closer every day. The day Intel is able to introduce a suitable mobile phone processor is the day Android is finished. Samsung hasn't poured millions into research to throw it all away and Android is nearly 100% reliant on Samsung for its survival.

I have to disagree, just because Samsung might focus more on Android doesn't mean they can't focus a little more on Windows Phone. I also feel that Tizen will be DOA anyway, just like Bada, and only it's hardcore fans will buy it over Android or Windows Phone.

Apple...

This is a big manipulation that is often left out of the WP problem.

When WP7 was set to release, OEMs had secured initial carrier commitments to carry a WP7 device.

Apple moved fast during this timeframe as more carriers and OEMs were looking to offer a WP7 device. Apple was able to stop carriers from pushing WP7 even if they had a commitment in place, and completely stopped several carriers from participating in the release of WP7.

If you look at just one carrier, which is the largest in the USA, Verizon. Apple flipped gears to get a CDMA device ready if Verizon was willing to commit to selling a lot of iPhones and suspend offering WP7 devices for six months.

This was surprising that Apple was able to manipulate a large carrier this easily, and was a big surprise to the OEMs and Microsoft themselves, as they had been testing WP7 Verizon devices and even gave their employees Verizon coupons for WP7 for release.

If you look at the backlash of the 'carrier' commitments from Apple now, you can track their timeframe and push to the time of WP7 and WP8 release dates.

Apple's carrier contracts are also being revealed that they required a huge sales commitment that moved most of the marketing from WP to the iPhone as they couldn't lose the lower end Android sales and needed to sell iPhones at the upper end rather a WP device.

Apple has started to get some backlash from carriers over their commitment requirements, as you find Leap and Verizon and (name virtually any carrier in the world that is not ATT), owing hundreds of millions and billions of dollars to Apple for not meeting their sales obligations.

I personal know that Leap wanted to bring in a WP7.5 device (as it was to support lower end hardware) and ATT instead gave them the option of the iPhone with a contract that designed by Apple specifically to keep them from offering a WP device. Sadly Leap wanted the iPhone at that time and not only stopped WP7.5 but put the entire company in risk unknowingly. Apple's contract with Leap crippled them and was one reason they were no longer casually shopping for a buyer when ATT came along.

As for WP and the switch to NT being a problem, it really wasn't beyond the sensationalism.

WP didn't fail because Microsoft went ahead with WP7 on CE, as this makes virtually NO difference to the end user experience because they both use the same UI and similar platform frameworks.

Users that moved from WP7 to WP8 did so in their normal upgrade/contract cycle. It would be different if users were expected to keep using the same devices from 3 years ago, which just doesn't happen often in the cell phone market.

Look at Android devices from 3 years ago, virtually no OEM supplies them with the later versions of Android nor any updates.

The shift from 2.2/2.3 to 4.x in Android was more traumatic to devices and users than WP7 to WP8, except that users in the Android world didn't realize it. They were being left behind except there wasn't 500 articles on sites like this talking about how Google and OEMs were isolating customers and leaving them with old hardware running an old OS, but it happened anyway, and hurt a lot more users than the WP7 to WP8 transition.

I would love to know why sites like neowin bash wp8 because of updates? 2 major updates in less then a year with possibly a third is not updating fast enough ?

Windows Phone 8 will get 3 updates by the end of this year but none of them are "major". More exactly none of them are user-oriented.

Vlad Dudau said,
Windows Phone 8 will get 3 updates by the end of this year but none of them are "major". More exactly none of them are user-oriented.

What? None are user oriented? Is this supposed to be a joke? So when you get an security patch for Windows that adds no extra functions to the "program" itself then its not meant for users? Who is it meant for then? Aliens? What a load of crap.

Also all this Nokia bashing..well like someone said, now its Nokias fault that HTC and Samsung were/are just sitting on their arse and do nothing for WP while Nokia actually creates new apps, new devices for all price points etc?

Vlad Dudau said,
Windows Phone 8 will get 3 updates by the end of this year but none of them are "major". More exactly none of them are user-oriented.

GDr2 allows you to change what app opens up with the camera button and adds fm radio. Those are major updates. it also adds things like phones to have 2 gig of ram. I would call those major. GDr 3 supposedly will add things like orientation lock and an update to closing multiple apps. Both of those I think are major updates.
your article states this
"company hasn't yet figured out how to put out yearly updates for its major products, it hasn't yet figured out how to ship a super polished product and then keep adding on to it in a fast-release cycle."

They are releasing 3 updates in a year and releasing windows phone 8.1 in 2014. how is that not fast enough?

majortom1981 said,
I would love to know why sites like neowin bash wp8 because of updates? 2 major updates in less then a year with possibly a third is not updating fast enough ?

I found that using the term "major" very debatable...

majortom1981 said,
I would love to know why sites like neowin bash wp8 because of updates? 2 major updates in less then a year with possibly a third is not updating fast enough ?

Other than maybe a notification center (which might be in GDR3) what major improvements do they even need to add? Windows Phone is pretty much 90% complete. Other than a few minor improvements there's not much more of significance to do with the OS. After 8.1 it's going to be a lot of frivolous improvements and experiments.

Avatar Roku said,

Other than maybe a notification center (which might be in GDR3) what major improvements do they even need to add? Windows Phone is pretty much 90% complete. Other than a few minor improvements there's not much more of significance to do with the OS. After 8.1 it's going to be a lot of frivolous improvements and experiments.

Go use WP8 for a while, I keep running into the smaller things... And many of those are app based though, like media center support, search-through-your-thousands-of-songs option in the Xbox Music app (or Nokia Music app for that matter, but this is just a shell over the default music app).
Or the orientation almost always forced in ugly skyscraper mode...
the ability to use the search button for something else then INTERNET SEARCH (or rather the option to disable this button, it's so easily pressed when holding the phone in landscape mode and I don't use Bing cause Bing is horrible in NL most of the times)
Things like easy ways to turn your Wifi/Data connection on and off (and not use 3rd party apps or click through the system settings)
Or something simple as "Don't start downloading apps while on data connection" (which is sorta fixed with GDR2, pause the download progress while on data, it automatically continues when you are connected to WiFi)

And this is just from the top of my mind, there's tons more encounters like this that bug me as a WP8 user, but also keeps others from even trying WP8.
WP8 isn't 90% complete, it's sooner 70-75% complete if you count up all the minor things that its missing (not even counting major things like VPN support etc)

100x this. WP has so much potential but it just feels like MS is letting it sit there and rot. it's sad because if they ACTUALLY tried it would probably crush the competition

Brando212 said
100x this. WP has so much potential but it just feels like MS is letting it sit there and rot. it's sad because if they ACTUALLY tried it would probably crush the competition

They're not in a position to crush any competition even if the thing squirted fresh brewed coffee and xanax tabs.

However there's something to wonder about why they're letting it sit and rot again, when factoring Windows Mobile's decent and growing marketshare in the mid-2000's that they let die on the vine. As an IT decision maker that embraced WinMo products like the MotoQ at the time, only to be forced to migrate to Blackberry because MS stopped caring about mobile, I don't have sympathy for MS letting it happen again.

virtorio said,
Not enough progress, and what progress there has been hasn't come fast enough.

Agreed 100% - have been saying the same for a while now. Windows Phone had great potential but its been let down by some bad decisions by Microsoft, and a terribly slow pace of development.

djonez said,

They're not in a position to crush any competition even if the thing squirted fresh brewed coffee and xanax tabs.

However there's something to wonder about why they're letting it sit and rot again, when factoring Windows Mobile's decent and growing marketshare in the mid-2000's that they let die on the vine. As an IT decision maker that embraced WinMo products like the MotoQ at the time, only to be forced to migrate to Blackberry because MS stopped caring about mobile, I don't have sympathy for MS letting it happen again.

So true! I was in the same boat, eventually forced to roll out BES and handsets back in the day, Oh MS! WP it could have been you if you had been on the ball back then. Imagine MS native devices with Remote access to the corporate network, full office compatibility and centralised management of devices and services, true integration to AD and MSExchange, Sharepoint, (insert any major corp technology) the workplace would have thrown money at you, instead of the landscape now.

Ironically it would have been the game changer, interface and ui style across all platforms (not to mention your "login" and apps services following you to each device you use in this ecosystem from phone login, work-desktops, tablet, handset), with this integration firmly embedded in their product lines and their user-base. Throw in the surface etc and it all would have been a utopian MS workplace......too late now I fear to get back to that how hard they try?

The top feeders love their work ipads n iphones, harder to tempt them away now
the techies and tinkerers like Android (myself included) and I am living with a Lumia 800 user so I feel their pain for the pre WP8 nonsense, im sure a lot of the first release phone owners may be anti Nokia/WP now, my other half seems to be but loves the OS

Edited by Mando, Aug 25 2013, 10:49am :

Well, lets for a moment put technical details aside and focus on language&local features.
As a part of EU, WP devices are translated into my native language, but translation is limited to most basic stuff like menu and home screen. Most default apps(!) and deep level settings are fully English. I can't give this mixed translation to my "multi-tasking parents".
Also, local store is very limited, at the launch there was like 20 (twenty) apps for my local store, although UK store had thousands of apps.
Also, there was a limitation of credit card, which had to be UK based to purchase anything from the store. Our VISAs/Mastercards just weren't good enough.
XboX Live account still is "unsupported" here, so everyone just switches their locale to UK. You can't purchase anything from this store if you have locale set to native.

Not surprisingly, since it is still almost impossible to obtain XboX console (and XboX Live account for that matter) LEGALLY in my country (as a part of EU).

So my question is, why having a smartphone, where most of the features are either locked, unavailable or missing for my locale?

Because for some reason Microsoft is often very blind sighted by their US only approach
IMO this is one of Microsoft's biggest all time flaws.

But surprisingly, WP is doing better in any market but the their market of primary focus.....

Doubt it would make a difference, he probably gets millions of tweets, and most likely, either ignores them or someone else goes through them for him.

Microsoft is a business, and like any business, is more interested in profit, if you want a change made, hurt their pocket, if enough people stopped buying 'product x' the company making a loss would have to look at why.

But Microsoft is known to come over to Neowin. There has been a long relationship between MS and "fan" sites like neowin.net.
I'm pretty sure there's even a few MS developers wandering around on this place.

And we've been used as a reference in the past and the IE team even made a special testdrive where they used the Neowin logo.
So thinking MS won't come to sites like this might be a bit stubborn seeing the history between MS and Neowin.

Dushmany said,
Doubt it would make a difference, he probably gets millions of tweets, and most likely, either ignores them or someone else goes through them for him.

Microsoft is a business, and like any business, is more interested in profit, if you want a change made, hurt their pocket, if enough people stopped buying 'product x' the company making a loss would have to look at why.

I tried from my part. You can do the same thing. Accidentally or Incidentally he may read this.

I did also, used to be a die hard Nokia fanboy, or whatever, (If it wasn't a Nokia I wasn't interested) But now, it's a whole other story, I miss em, they still are good phones, the os is just 'not my thing'

Eh I guess it depends on what you want out of it. I'm pretty happy with my 900 as I don't pretend it's a tablet, I don't need a crapton of apps on the thing, I have tablets for that. Best phone I've ever owned, does everything I need a phone to do and is a hell of a lot more reliable than the Android phones I've owned in the past.

Just to point out, Android's update record is far from perfect too. There's a lot of devices stuck on 2.x for example.

Exactly. even a lot of new devices are sold with 2.x. The software fragmentation is one of the biggest factors to their marketshare.

Going to chime in, I have a Lumia 810 and really like it. I only have minor complaints with Windows Phone right now.
To start off with, yes adoption is slow and there are a couple of reasons to that.
Microsoft was late to the game and having to go up against Apple would be a challenge no matter what, the reason Android has been so successful is because they have taken the approach that Windows once was. Android in my opinion is the new Symbian or the new Windows of the mobile world. OEMs can easily put it on a device regardless of the OS version. Android can be easily be fragmented hardware and software wise.

Now going into Windows Phone 7 not only was Microsoft late to the game, but the feature set on WP7 at the time was pretty minimal and could be compared to the launch of iOS and Android. If Microsoft had included the same feature set that the others offered from the get go then it may have helped. Windows Phone 8 has been no different. Apps are a big factor as well, developers are releasing to iOS and Android way before WP8.

I think right now apps aside Microsoft has a pretty solid OS, the biggest issue that I see for them is that its going to only get harder to pull Android and iOS users over if they don't start implementing some of the features that those OS's include already. I like just about every on WP8 right now, but there hasn't been anything huge to draw users away from iOS or Android, just different ways to receive your info.
Apps can be said the same right now. Hardware wise things have been pretty solid.

I really like Windows Phone but Microsoft treating WP7 users as beta testers was annoying.

Microsoft are far too slow at matching basic features of competitors. Yes, they are late but enough time has passed to see what should be there from day one on smartphones and being a little better in camera quality or UI doesn't make up for it.

The app situation should sort itself eventually but a tough long road ahead. Even paying devs doesn't seem to help that much. Not sure what else they can do other than making Windows Phone sell more.

Nokia are trying their best and I would even say, dragging Microsoft along in hope they do better. Great hardware with good software that is so close to being great.

WooHoo!!! said,
I really like Windows Phone but Microsoft treating WP7 users as beta testers was annoying.

Which also brings the point of the really unfortunate "the beta test is over" campaign.

ichi said,

Which also brings the point of the really unfortunate "the beta test is over" campaign.


A campaign which had nothing to do with software and was all about hardware (sunlight readability, poor camera, cracked displays, bad reception). Really just a dumb attack by trolls. The point of the commercials was Nokia has come back to the US market with Lumia and fixed all the traditional iPhone complaints. If MS had called WP7.8 "WP8" would this even be a talking point for trolls?

Well, "the beta test is over" and then the Lumia 900 turns legacy. If that's not bad timing for the ad I don't know what it is.

Mouettus said,
What happened? Well as the article states, not nearly enough. Switched to android and couldn't be happier

I switched to Android this past February after 2 years of WP7. End result? I loved the Nexus phone, hated Android software - 5 months later I've switched back, now to WP8.

wingliston said,
Unfortunately, Android has stopped.

Indeed, after several years in the market both Android and iOS seem to be resting on their laurels and have ceased any meaningful development. Windows Phone is still new and fresh.

TCLN Ryster said,

Indeed, after several years in the market both Android and iOS seem to be resting on their laurels and have ceased any meaningful development. Windows Phone is still new and fresh.


History repeats itself: Palm stopped innovating and MS conquered the PDA market and then the,smartphones one. Incredible as it is MS then repeated the same mistake and fall from over 40% to the 6/9% where it is now....

TCLN Ryster said,

Indeed, after several years in the market both Android and iOS seem to be resting on their laurels and have ceased any meaningful development. Windows Phone is still new and fresh.

So new and fresh, the public doesn't even know it exists. NOW THATS FRESH

I totally agree! Microsoft acts as if they are the market leaders, they are to slow with updates, you see no effort at all to catch up with iOS and Android!!

They should change their update frequency! So please vote and make them understand! But WP 8 lacks so many features and Microsoft is so extremley slow with bringing updates. You can't tell me a new calendar app isn't ready! But no they wait till 2014 to bring it to their users!!!

If you also think Microsoft is going to slow updating WP vote and help reminding Microsoft to bring new features faster to bring it up on par with iOS and Android!
http://windowsphone.uservoice....ring-12-updates-which-bring-

hey vlad, just for the people always complaining about no apple news on the front page,you should make them an article like this one titled "What happened to Iphone".

vcfan said,
hey vlad, just for the people always complaining about no apple news on the front page,you should make them an article like this one titled "What happened to Iphone".

Im seen a whole heap of WP news on Neowin about updates, apps, google F***ing WP users over with youtube, GDR's etc etc etc,


why no apple stuff and the reason why the UI has been the same for ...how many years and apps like the Ifart and stuff ?

EvilAstroboy said,
why no apple stuff and the reason why the UI has been the same for ...how many years and apps like the Ifart and stuff ?

Because IT WORKS. As it currently stands iPhones & the iOS ecosystem in general have great sales and simply work for the end user. I use Android and can't see that changing in the near future but if a non-techy friend wanted advice on their first smartphone I'd recommend an iPhone and that's because, for better or worse, Apple have kept it relatively simple over the past few years.

As for apps, point out any current platform that doesn't have a large number of terrible, pointless apps? WP isn't any different either:

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-gb/store/search?q=fart

vcfan said,
hey vlad, just for the people always complaining about no apple news on the front page,you should make them an article like this one titled "What happened to Iphone".

It sold 31 million last quarter. Or is there something I'm missing?

I don't need a ton of apps, so that wasn't a big issue for me. I had a gen 1 Samsung Focus and I loved it. I got a Lumia 920 when they were released and had to replace it 4 times due to hardware issues. After the last one, I broke down and got a Galaxy S3. Once my contract is up again, hopefully the platform will have grown. I'd love to go back.

medium_pimpin said,
I don't need a ton of apps, so that wasn't a big issue for me. I had a gen 1 Samsung Focus and I loved it. I got a Lumia 920 when they were released and had to replace it 4 times due to hardware issues. After the last one, I broke down and got a Galaxy S3. Once my contract is up again, hopefully the platform will have grown. I'd love to go back.

Its strange because 90% of people complain about lack of apps and Nokia's hardware is the best you can find. In my opinion in terms of durability its the best. you are the first person I have seen complaining about hardware issue.

For me it's all about the apps. I would like to try WP next year but the lack of apps is a deal breaker. Google know this and hence do nothing to support apps on WP as they do on Android or even iOS. Personally this has put me off buying another Android phone.

SK[ said,]For me it's all about the apps. I would like to try WP next year but the lack of apps is a deal breaker. Google know this and hence do nothing to support apps on WP as they do on Android or even iOS. Personally this has put me off buying another Android phone.


The app situation is a lot better than the media leads you to believe. If you are worried about things like Google maps, Youtube, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. those apps are all well represented on Windows Phone by the development community with great apps. Where you might have some troubles is in apps that can't be done by 3rd parties like HBO Go or your local banking app. Most of the major banks have apps now, but the smaller ones are still lagging.

Of the major apps though you are pretty well taken care of on Windows.

I think the answer's simpler than that,
Not everyone got it
I myself was almost seduced by the lumia range, but after having a play with them in my local O2 store, decided I didn't like it.
(Personally I think Nokia should make them with both OS's, Windows OS for those who want it, Symbian for those who don't, pity they didn't develop that further, looking at what the big players have managed to do with their phone OS it would have been nice to see what Symbian could bring <if anything> and it would keep competition healthy, not just 3 choices for smartphone OS)

virtorio said,
It always seems unpopular with people, but I think Nokia could make a great Android phone.

Nokia could also go out of business after MS and Apple are done suing them. Better to take a billion a year and all the legal protection.

If you want Nokia to follow HTC to the grave, sure make Android phones.

Avatar Roku said,

Nokia could also go out of business after MS and Apple are done suing them. Better to take a billion a year and all the legal protection.

If you want Nokia to follow HTC to the grave, sure make Android phones.

What is the supposed reason why Nokia could not be as successful as Samsung selling Android devices? If you check the markets where Nokia/WP has a high market share you will see that are the ones where Nokia was popular before the switch. In other words: majority of the users buy the devices because they are Nokia, not because they are powered by WP; which is, IMO, the,same reason people buy Samsung running Android instead of, for example, HTC.

Fritzly said,

What is the supposed reason why Nokia could not be as successful as Samsung selling Android devices? If you check the markets where Nokia/WP has a high market share you will see that are the ones where Nokia was popular before the switch. In other words: majority of the users buy the devices because they are Nokia, not because they are powered by WP; which is, IMO, the,same reason people buy Samsung running Android instead of, for example, HTC.


Because Nokia does not rely on CPU/RAM/GPU specs, and if they go fight this battle with Samsung full frontal, they will lose due to the resources Samsung has available which Nokia does not.
And that means, Nokia will need to heavily invest time and effort into Android, basically forking it and making it their own OS.... And still have lots of issues (legal and other).

Now they shifted out the development of the OS, yet still have influence on the primary development of it and can focus on quality phone's and unique apps.

We saw how it went when Nokia wants to design and write their own OS, it failed horribly.

Shadowzz said,

Because Nokia does not rely on CPU/RAM/GPU specs, and if they go fight this battle with Samsung full frontal, they will lose due to the resources Samsung has available which Nokia does not.
And that means, Nokia will need to heavily invest time and effort into Android, basically forking it and making it their own OS.... And still have lots of issues (legal and other).

Now they shifted out the development of the OS, yet still have influence on the primary development of it and can focus on quality phone's and unique apps.

We saw how it went when Nokia wants to design and write their own OS, it failed horribly.

I really do not think that Meego was horrible, on the contrary...
Anyway history is not made by if and but so... it is what it is....

Fritzly said,

I really do not think that Meego was horrible, on the contrary...
Anyway history is not made by if and but so... it is what it is....


Hey, I still like Symbian on my 6310

Shadowzz said,

Hey, I still like Symbian on my 6310

After WM, Symbian was my favorite OS; I tried my wife's. IPhone but it never clicked for me.

Fritzly said,

After WM, Symbian was my favorite OS; I tried my wife's. IPhone but it never clicked for me.

I never really liked iOS either, maybe 7 will bring some changes finally I will like, looking good so far. But I've never been a fan of glossy, dropshadows etc.
Plain and simple is what I like. I could control Symbian without looking at the phone, calling numbers, text messages, going through the menu's.

The best thing that happened to Microsoft's Windows Phone was Nokia else Windows Phone was dead on arrival. Look at the amount of new apps and features which Nokia brought which was suppose to be brought back by Microsoft at the first place. Everyone is ****ed with Microsoft though with their slow OS updates right from Nokia to big carriers so bleh.

it's dead there's nothing new to the os an nokia are just holding on to windows phone they still have the slightest hope for it.

Mulsivaas said,
Go poop in someone else's punch bowl. You clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

Like you have full understanding of market and products. Go back in to your mom's basement. You think you know everything but apparently not.

Auditor said,

Like you have full understanding of market and products. Go back in to your mom's basement. You think you know everything but apparently not.

I got nowhere even remotely close to claiming I did. I'm curious as to why you got so suddenly defensive over the OP's clearly-trolling comment.

P.S. My mother passed away when I was sixteen. Stop using such stupid jokes, they're ineffective anyway.

Auditor said,

Like you have full understanding of market and products. Go back in to your mom's basement. You think you know everything but apparently not.

wow these are the kind of fights that happen here on the weekend? LOL LOGGING OFF SEE YA MONDAY YA'LL

Auditor said,
Like you have full understanding of market and products. Go back in to your mom's basement. You think you know everything but apparently not.

I suppose you "have full understanding of market and products" then, do you?

Auditor said,

Like you have full understanding of market and products. Go back in to your mom's basement. You think you know everything but apparently not.

He never claimed that he did, troll.

basco1 said,
it's dead there's nothing new to the os an nokia are just holding on to windows phone they still have the slightest hope for it.

as I said many times before, this is windows enthusiasts forum. If you have no passion for Windows you have no business here. get the hell out.

S3P€hR said,

as I said many times before, this is windows enthusiasts forum. If you have no passion for Windows you have no business here. get the hell out.

What a joke you are. Windows enthusiast forum does not mean blindly praising MS for their bad products. Let the Neowin write at front page that it is only for MS fanboy and rational people need not to join the forum then we get out of here otherwise keep your mouth shut. If you don't like something then voice your option or GTFO.

Auditor said,

What a joke you are. Windows enthusiast forum does not mean blindly praising MS for their bad products. Let the Neowin write at front page that it is only for MS fanboy and rational people need not to join the forum then we get out of here otherwise keep your mouth shut. If you don't like something then voice your option or GTFO.


I can distinguish a critic from a troll/ few people coming here regardless of the title just say platform is dead and things like that. that's just wasting everybody's time

S3P€hR said,

I can distinguish a critic from a troll/ few people coming here regardless of the title just say platform is dead and things like that. that's just wasting everybody's time

If you can't hear what other people have to say then ignore it rather than blaming them as troll. In fact you are troll yourself as you have nothing to add rather than getting ****ed off. Did you get your milk spilled in morning that you are so mad. LOL

Great article.......I am wondering about the reaction of Country Director of MIC nepal if he will come across this articles..........................

"Take a look at Nokia's latest devices to see what I mean. They're incredible wonderful devices and yet they still rely on the same one year-old CPUs and screens. When Windows Phone finally got 720p screens, Android was already moving to 1080p. When Windows Phone finally got dual-core, Android was already moving to quad-core."

That's what GDR3 is to Support by the end of the Year ?
Dual-Core is more then enough for Windows Phone, Is so smooth and non laggy ( always had been, even with Single Core) ?

Mulsivaas said,
And the author knows this.

And that's wrong, users don't care about specs...only enthusiasts. They care about the user experience.

bluefisch200 said,

And that's wrong, users don't care about specs...only enthusiasts. They care about the user experience.


Exactly. The average consumer couldn't give less of a crap... Performance is what matters, and they get that.

Though I agree, what the avg user does care about is the Reviews )write by the enthusiasts) and what other people have, (again taking the word of the enthusiasts)

EvilAstroboy said,
"Take a look at Nokia's latest devices to see what I mean. They're incredible wonderful devices and yet they still rely on the same one year-old CPUs and screens. When Windows Phone finally got 720p screens, Android was already moving to 1080p. When Windows Phone finally got dual-core, Android was already moving to quad-core."

That's what GDR3 is to Support by the end of the Year ?
Dual-Core is more then enough for Windows Phone, Is so smooth and non laggy ( always had been, even with Single Core) ?

Is there any relevance to who gets these chips and resolutions first? The iPhone doesn't even have an HD 720p screen and it is outselling every other phone. The Lumia 520 is now the best selling Windows Phone, representing almost 1/3 of all devices sold.

From a performance standpoint iPhone and Windows Phone are still better than Android. Browser performance tests put Android in dead last despite the latest and greatest parts. The author makes the same dumb consumer error as someone who buys a camera because it has more megapixels or a PC because it has more GHz. If you are not buying an iPhone or Windows Phone because of performance concerns you are just a completely uneducated consumer. Most likely you are going to end up buying a slower phone because you bought based on spec sheet instead of actual performance.

He says to do it for the marketing department, but those parts have a negative effect on cost and battery. Really silly. Like the complaint about not moving to Windows NT 2 years earlier. If Microsoft would have waited until Windows NT was ported to phone, Windows Phone would have just launched and there would be no apps. Microsoft would've still been selling Windows Mobile for the last 2 years. They made the right decisions.

Edited by Avatar Roku, Aug 17 2013, 5:55pm :

Do keep in mind developing WP8 isn't as easy as developing Windows for computers.
Due to the lack of performance, what they do, has to be optimized a lot and made sure it runs smooth even on sluggish hardware, unlike Windows 8, where it just starts disabling services that are not 'required' and run in an alternative low-resource mode not available for WP8 as that's all its doing, running in some form of low-resources mode.
This isn't Android where lack of resources can be ignored since old devices aint receiving updates. Or iPhone, where they have a very limited set of devices.

And even so, its development isn't moving as slow as you make it out. I've received an update a few months ago, and in the upcoming few months the next update arrives, and later this year, the next update will be coming.
And this is without Nokia's own updates on apps (some are system apps) and their firmware.

Do they?

I can consider myself an enthusiast, but not that much.

I got myself a lumia 620, and couldn't be happier with it. Got used to it pretty much on the same day I got it, it's fluid, never failed me once.

But to be fair, I almost didn't get it... Having more androind experience, when I rread the specs, I was very worried.

Now I know that it's more than enough, no slow downs, always fluid and ready to switch tasks without a single hicup. But as the android is quite significant in the market, and everyone knows that, to an android phone, specs are everything, you can't blame people for being afraid to get the phone with the lower specs.

As I said I got a Lumia 620 and it runs as smooth as butter, but a android phone on the same price range would lag as hell, no matter what I would try to do.

the thing that makes the difference is mostly the application base. People are used to have certain applications and WP is still behind Android, but... my bet is in 5 years, WP will fight android as an equal and will eventually win (because Android core is weak in terms of preformance and security). MS is aiming for a long run and so far they are doing ok, and nokia as well. 2nd bet ...sell your Apple shares now

You dismiss the power of advertising and specs. Compare the Samsung Galaxy to the HTC One. Most people prefer the HTC, but Samsung's massive advertising and good reviews of "best specs available" have given them a massive lead over HTC when sense would have said they would be neck and neck.

So the same process is in place with WP, Nokia and the rest. We know it doesn't need dual core (let alone quad), mega-rez screens, etc but while people don't care they do listen to the salesmen and marketing.

Great article btw, interesting and fair history. I did think MS would be up to ~10% by now and this explains why they didn't make it (yet). For the later history I think Nokia should have gone 520 and 920 at launch of WP8, not 920 and 820. WP would probably have double it's current market share if they'd started out at both extremes, as it was nobody cared about the 820.

dumaal said,
the thing that makes the difference is mostly the application base. People are used to have certain applications and WP is still behind Android, but... my bet is in 5 years, WP will fight android as an equal and will eventually win (because Android core is weak in terms of preformance and security). MS is aiming for a long run and so far they are doing ok, and nokia as well. 2nd bet ...sell your Apple shares now

They practically said it themselves it would take some time before WP could catch up again to the rest. At least I expected this when I went with the 920, knowing they wont change kernels and having Nokia backing it is comforting. If Nokia went Android, I'd have a 920-like android phone now

And I don't think Apple is going anywhere, but we'll see. The 2 rises they had where thanks to Jobs/Wozniak, and now neither is running Apple Time will tell though.

Mulsivaas said,
And the author knows this.

to be honest with you If I were Microsoft, I would focus 100% on apps. bringing apps like crazy by all means. They are software company for god sake. If there is any barrier such as google's stubbornness or anything else, they should handle it with persistence and patience.

bluefisch200 said,

And that's wrong, users don't care about specs...only enthusiasts. They care about the user experience.


Users get the experience from the apps too. The OS may run on 300Mhz CPU fine but the apps wont. What about the previous post all over the web that some models are too slow to run Skype? Yeah that is what makes WP look old and not powerful enough.
Also people like to play games and games need fast CPU more RAM and more power in the GPU and WP is yet to deliver these things.