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February 17, 2013

Microsoft Windows Phone: The Best and Worst of

Mobile operating systems is probably one of the most sensitive topics in the industry. Insult one platform and you start a flame war. Let’s move on, shall we and go back to basics. In the present perspective, what does Windows Phone have to offer? What does it lack? Read on and join in the discussion.

Windows Mobile was one of the first smartphone OS to be released into the market (dating as far back as the 90s), but unfortunately, it turned into a disaster. The new Windows Phone OS tries to take a different route, and it went well with a new UI, away from styluses and the dreaded Windows 3.1-like interface. The rest, they say, is history.

Today, the OS faces a new threat and a challenger to the 3rd throne — BlackBerry 10 (that’s another story for next time). So what does Windows Phone have to offer now, backed up with strong manufacturers such as Nokia and HTC?

The Best of Windows Phone

1. Smoothness & fluidity - I remember that first time I held Windows Phone. I was amazed with its fresh and fluid UI, and that moment years ago, I was disappointed with the lag we faced with other platforms (yes, we’re talking about Android). Until now, this element continues to surprise people, especially the impatient ones.

2. Unique Design and UI – All hail the beauty of live tiles! Where else have you seen an icon functioning like a notification? Basically, Windows’ new look is for the minimalist, but will still appeal to people nonetheless. When you see a homescreen full of animated squares and rectangles, it makes you want to interact with it. Consumers always want to feel special and different with their phone, and Windows Phone is usually a more practical choice for them.

3. Straightforward – Just like Apple, it hides everything you don’t need to see. Maybe it’s all due to its closed nature, but if you want things done for you, then here is Windows Phone. If all you want to do is call and text, take away the rest of the shortcuts and make two tiles for your homescreen. The rest is black/white. It’s that straightforward.

Limitation isn’t always a bad thing.  Too much customization can lead to ugly combinations, and sometimes even disastrous ones. Windows Phone gives personalization as well, but in a more controlled way. Colors, wallpapers, tile sizes – all at your disposal. Not only is it customizable, but like we said, straightforward and functional.

4. Enterprise Class – If you’re in the Microsoft ecosystem, meaning you have Live, Skype and all your files synced in Skydrive, this one is one big strength for Windows Phone. Microsoft Office will swoop in for the kill for these people, and if Microsoft really does unify the Windows platform, it’s an amazing business combo with your PC.

5. Low Hardware Requirements – As an extension of what we’ve stated in #1, Windows Phone remains fast and fluid – even on low specs. A Windows Phone running a single core 800 MHz processor can equal the real-world performance of a dual-core 1GHz Android device and that alone is impressive. You don’t need to dwell much on the specs if you’re going for a Windows Phone.

The Worst of Windows Phone

1. Notifications - While live tiles work well, we can’t help but say that we need a better notification system. If you don’t have a live tile for a specific app giving out a notification, it’s basically gone unless you open the app. Maybe a swipe to the right from the homescreen to open notifications?

2. App Ecosystem – Windows Phone needs a better app ecosystem. I’ve said this so many times and I’m always criticized for it, but Windows Phone’s app development is so slow. Also, the OS isn’t really welcoming to shifters from iOS and Android as it doesn’t have apps that Android & iOS users are accustomed to.

Microsoft is doing a lot of pushes to Windows Phone for the past few years. Its growth is quite slow, but that’s better than nothing right? Well, only time will tell since another player is trying to make a comeback and its initials are BB – aimed at the corporate world as well. What about you, what were your best and worst experiences with Windows Phone? Where do you see it in the next 5 years?

Editor’s Note: This article is one of a 3-part series tackling the best and worst characters of smartphone platforms. You can read about the one for Google Android here and for Apple iOS here. – Yuga


18 Responses to “Microsoft Windows Phone: The Best and Worst of”

  1. mrtechie says:

    i am a windows phone user for quite sometime already. what i really love with the phone is, it does the job for you straight forward, easier and faster. it is damn unique! at first i think of the live tiles so dull, but the more you use it,, the more you get inlove with it. absolutely almost no lags even in a low hardware. the article is right. i more, windows phone does love not for cheap. :p hehe

  2. hmmmmm says:

    i must admit, this I have to try pa so nada muna ako comment…..

  3. hanjo says:

    I hav been using a windows phone for over three years now. While it is true that not many apps are available, i was amazed by what people with real programing skills can do and have done with their phones. Im no programmer so evrytime i visit their forums, i feel like an outcast. They are a breed of people who does not rely on the market for apps. They make them. They even found ways to make apps for other OS to work for thier windows phones. They are also the kind of users who make the most modifications to their phones to address even the tiniest of “issues” they find with their phone like from the thickness of the scrol bars to the location of the start butons to how the phone itself itneracts/comunicates with their network. I guess kanya-kanyang trip lng yan. That is why i hate it when i read a post of an OS fan declaring their fave OS as the best.

    • Bob Freking says:

      I have to agree with this one. Each OS has a dev community and it’s truly a plus. There are those who root and jailbreak, but then again, not everyone would go through those stuff. I guess you’re right; no single OS is the best.

  4. ThisIsLumia says:

    Just two worst points?!?!? Please check this outtt… http://www.wpcentral.com/8-things-microsoft-needs-fix-windows-phone-8

    I get it, it’s just 2 years old but come on… it’s different now because of the competitors.

    P.S. I’M A LUMIA 920 fan even though it hasn’t arrived here yet :|

  5. AA says:

    Ive tried all 3 OS and I chose a Windows phone because its simply the easiest day to day device. Calling, texting, emails and social networks are so much better sa wp because its integrated into the OS. For my Media consumption and games, I have the nexus7. Yung ipad para nalang sa anak ko.

  6. Jay says:

    I have a Lumia 800 and it’s a very solid phone. I’m not a gamer and doesn’t use lots of apps, so I guess I don’t understand what those missing apps are.

    In any case, for those that wants an OS that just works, WP is the way to go.

    And Nokia’s assent back to top is via their mid-level devices (Asha being the entry-level). See some of the reviews below.

    Rethinking the flagship: The case for Nokia’s Lumia 620
    http://www.engadget.com/2013/02/15/rethinking-the-flagship-nokia-lumia-620/

    Nokia Lumia 620 Review
    http://www.slashgear.com/nokia-lumia-620-review-16268466/

    Lumia 620 – the best budget smart phone out there?
    http://thedroidguy.com/2013/02/lumia-620-the-best-budget-smart-phone-out-there/#24ld5eUjsRQyhodI.99

    • ThisIsLumia says:

      Well apps that are missing are usually business and productivity apps. Local bank apps are very important to a business man who would use a WP8 device.

      At the end of it all, apps are really important for the phone’s reputation and sales. It just lacks so many apps :(

    • mae says:

      Businessman and doesn’t have a secretary?

  7. moonshines says:

    ive been a windows phone user since 2004 (pocket pc/windows mobile days) i must say that this version is far the best version microsoft had released. im through with flashing customs rom, customization. I simply just want a device that works out of the box. Another feature this version i love most is, all apps,games and files goes somewhere. they all have their own destination. unlike the rest, everything is everywhere unless you create a folder and move the apps,files and games to each folder. but for windows phone, you need not worry of anything, it simply keep everything in order. if you installed apps they will all be n the app list. if its a game you installed, it will be in the games/xb hub. if its documents, its in the office hub. pictures, youll surely find all of them in the photos hub. a/v files its all under the zune/xbox music+video hub etc etc… everything goes somewhere.no need to customize your device because everything is already customized for you out of the box. number of apps in the store doesnt worry me. i have a stash of apps but i dont use all of them. even MS will be unloading tons of apps in the store, it sure that not all of them will be downloaded and used. im no fanboy, windows phone just simply does the job for me not me doing things for the device thats why im all for it.

  8. Chinitoguy says:

    I have used a Windows Phone last year. It was the budget friendly Nokia Lumia 610. I’m very much impressed with the smoothness and fluidity of the OS. I love the live tiles as well. Lack of apps? I don’t really care. Im not an apps person anyway. As long as they have the essential apps like Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, news apps and maps its ok. I tried it but I left because of lack of Instagram. I’m just waiting for Instagram to be available on Windows Phone 8 and I will switch… For good. I’m currently using iOS (iPhone 5 and iPad 4). I’m very happy with it but i really miss using Windows. I can see myself using a Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices maybe in two years. I’m just waiting for Nokia to release a tablet and the successor to Nokia Lumia 920 and then I will switch.

    • pintu says:

      window phone sucks
      below is the basic thing missing : no file manager (like if u don’t have computer u can’t access your sim card.) no plat back, no copy paste (in lumia I can’t play most of video)

  9. agentorenz
    Twitter: agentorenz
    says:

    the app i like best is NOKIA DRIVE. You can download maps and view it OFFLINE. And its complete just like google maps online.

    • Name:
      Twitter: Jonathan Loresca
      says:

      Be careful when using nokia drive. Erroneous yung streets nya. Tulad dito sa lugar namin. Mali mali yung streets. May mga streets na non existent. Meron din streets na mali ang direction. Baka mawala kayo pag ginamit ito.

    • agentorenz
      Twitter: agentorenz
      says:

      hala? gagamitin ko pa naman on wednesday since may nagpapa-drive paakyat ng bagyo. Hmm… well ill post it here kapag may mali on wednesday.

      By the way, san lugar ka ba Jonathan? :)

    • agentorenz
      Twitter: agentorenz
      says:

      hala? gagamitin ko pa naman on wednesday since may nagpapa-drive paakyat ng baguio. Hmm… well ill post it here kapag may mali on wednesday.

      By the way, san lugar ka ba Jonathan? :)

  10. Karl
    Twitter: imkarlwinston
    says:

    I’m Lumia 820 users for almost a week now. I love it’s fluidity and smoothness, almostno ag exceptfor some apps. I am just disapponted with the sending of group messages and the lousy camera

  11. Evangeline says:

    I’m curious to find out what blog system you’re working with?
    I’m experiencing some small security problems with my
    latest blog and I would like to find something more safeguarded.
    Do you have any recommendations?

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Bob Freking writes, edits, & renders for YugaTech. He is also currently studying Business Administration in UST. You can contact, follow or tweet him at @bobfreking. For all his social media links, you can go to https://tinyurl.com/bobfreking

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