What Microsoft need to do to keep me with Windows Phone . . .
I moved to a Windows Phone from an iPhone 3GS in the autumn of 2010 when Microsoft decided to totally rewrite their mobile software which was getting unbelievably out of date. The Metro interface is a total change from the icon based software of Apple and Google (or should we just say Apple as let’s face it Android is a bit of a rip-off of iOS).
Anyway, there were key features which really attracted me to the new Windows Phone 7: Office 2010 and Skydrive integration, a native Onenote app (which is a piece of software for the PC which I used loads at the time), social feeds built in rather than through apps and the Metro interface which has live tiles meaning you get info from the home screen rather than having to go into each app separately. It seemed a very well thought-out and executed operating system. I plumped for an HTC 7 Mozart as I thought it had the best look of the models out there at the time and superior camera which I do use a lot. The build quality of the phone is satisfactory but has only 8GB of RAM; not too much of an issue though as I use an iPod Classic for my music.
In the autumn of 2011 the 7.5 Mango upgrade was released and Microsoft did a cracking job of sending it out and put in about 500 features to really make it a competitor and in some ways leap-frog them with features (e.g. music search and QR scanner) built right into the search function.
My issues are now coming with, not the operating system, but the carrier model Microsoft has implemented. Android has a severe issue that new upgrades are only available to very recent models; a clear money making scam from the carriers to persuade people to buy a new phone, which is a bit of a fiddle as they are pushing two year contracts. Microsoft gave the impression that they were in control of updates when WP7 was released but in the last couple of weeks they released an update which fixed a few bugs in the Mango update. This included a pretty major bug where the keyboard would disappear off the screen, and let’s face it is one that would be pretty vital for all users of the OS. However the release from Microsoft was that is was available to ‘carriers who request it’! Noooo, down the Android model. I decided to have an 18 month contract and still have around 3-4 months left on it. So, my thoughts to MS are:
- – send the updates yourself like Apple do, regardless of carriers. This is such a major disappointment and one I’m really narked about. As soon as Apple announce an update, up it pops and will now install over wifi. iOS5 is available to my previous iPhone model!
- – Charge while switched off. Not sure if this is Microsoft’s fault or HTC’s, but the stupid thing won’t switch off while charging!!?? Even if you plug it in then switch off, it just turns itself back on again. What an amazing design flaw.
- – sort out Skydrive – it’s a brilliant 25GB free cloud-based system and has since Mango fantastic integration into Windows Phone, but it’s integration into the PC shell is poor and is nowhere near a user-friendly, as Dropbox. And it’s slow!
- – encourage a firm to produce a ‘premium’ device – the iPhone is a gorgeous, well-built, product which will last. The new Nokia ones look nice (especially the new Lumia 900, see right), but that’s all, their specs are poor. HTC phones all look the same basically to keep their costs down.
At the rate Apple are developing their iPhones with the excellent iOS5, and my move to the Apple infrastructure with iPad 2 and iMac (only if the new one later this year looks cool) it may well be a no-brainer to go back to Apple later in the year with their new iPhone 5 . . . unless Microsoft make some serious moves to sort out their backward Android-style updates.