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Is Windows Phone that bad?

Most of the people have a negative image on Windows phones. Many of them haven’t even put their hands on one, but simply putting it down because of what they’ve heard. This article is not intended to claim that Windows phone is better than other platforms, but a humble effort to clarify mythical believes you might be having.

The most complains come towards the Windows Operating System, rather than the hardware platform. These accusations would have been valid for the earliest versions of Windows Phone. But, It you take a look the leap it took from Windows Phone 8.1 to Windows 10, you would think twice before complaining.

Look and Feel

This is really a hard criterion to compare a platform. The reason is, different people like different modes of appearances. There can be millions of people who don’t like the Titles (modern UI), but there are people who really like it (just like myself). For me, it is really easy to launch an app, without scrolling through screens. But some people feel it the other way around. When considering Android, there are hundreds of different custom versions introduced by other vendors, such as Samsung’s TouchWiz and One Plus’s Oxygen. However, Windows Phone 10 has evolved a lot over the revisions, just like other platforms. Hence, it is not fair for me to compare the platforms on the Look and Feel aspect. However, I believe others shouldn’t do the same as well. 🙂

windows-phone

Operating System Limitations

Just like any Mobile Operating System, Windows also have limitations. When considering Android OS, it has comparatively less amount of limitations for both users and developers. Moreover, Android does provide a “super-admin” mode called “root mode”, where you obtain the UNIX super user access to the operating system functionalities. When we consider iOS, it has a lot of limitations related to even some simplest actions such as file transfer. As for these accusations, the requirement of separate software to copy files to the device, is still not problematic for iOS, but it was a huge failure for Windows Phone 7.

From my experience, Windows Phone 7 was a total imitate to iOS. That was the reason it had the inherent limitations iOS had, such as iTunes, Bluetooth file transfer etc. But from Windows Phone 8 onwards, Microsoft team was able to remove many of such limitations. In Windows 10, these limitations were far gone!

However, there are some limitations related to developing apps on Windows Phone 10. One such big limitation is that the programmer can’t change the settings of phone programmatically. There must be an involvement of the user to change it. I personally have come across such situations when developing an app for Windows Phone which was intended for geo-locations, where I got stuck when trying to enable/disable Wi-Fi using my app. It doesn’t allow you to change the setting, but provides the ability to prompt the user to enable/disable it for us. I’m not that much familiar with iOS and Android platforms, but I’m sure iOS doesn’t provide that feature [1].

When we compare Windows Phone 10 with other two major players – iOS and Android – they do have a considerable amount of customization features provided.

When we consider the customization aspects, we can see Windows 10 and iOS are both in the same boat, regardless of what people claim. Android leads the game since the OS itself is built having “customizability” as a high priority feature.

Hence, I would like to close this section of limitations by claiming the winner as Android and co-second-place holders to iOS and Window Phone 10 [2].

Connectivity

When we consider the connectivity between other devices, everyone knows that iOS is giving a huge pain communicating with other platforms. Even with standard protocols such as Bluetooth, the communication is only limited to iOS devices. Apparently, Windows Phone 10 had proceeded silently so far from what it started with, and no explanations are needed for Android though.
And each platform has its own series of devices, apart from Android, where it can be customized to run on anything as it is open source.

Google Apple Microsoft
Android OS iOS Windows Phone 10
Nexus Tabs and lot more others from other vendors iPad Surface RT

Surface Pro (Runs Windows 10, not the mobile version)

Google Glass

Google Cardboard

Google Daydream

N/A Hololense
There are many from other vendors such as Samsung Apple iWatch Microsoft Band

Microsoft Fitbit

N/A N/A Continuum

surfacepro

hololens

microsoft-bandfit-bit

windowscontinuum

 

When comparing these three platforms, we can see each one has its own series of devices, and there is no point of comparing them since they have taken different approaches on their own.
However, I would give +1 for the Continuum feature introduced by Microsoft, where you can convert your phone into a PC instantly. I own a Continuum Dock and the experience is great and smooth, including watching movies, surfing Internet and using the Office package.

Apps

And, this is the main domain that people throw the stones at. Yes, the amount of apps in the app store is not as big as Android or iOS. That is mainly because, the less number of app developers, which is now growing considerably.

However, there are apps for the famous ones in the Windows store as well. The main reason was, many of the app developers were not happy with the flaws of previous versions of Windows Phone. However, after Windows Phone 10 was introduced, many big companies including Facebook have started releasing apps for Windows Phone 10. But unfortunately, Google hasn’t yet done any development towards Windows Phone 10, and I’m still confused why. Even though Microsoft has released all their apps for Android and iOS, Google hasn’t been that grateful to submit their apps to the Microsoft Store. So, yes, there are no Google apps for Windows Phone, except for a stupid search app to denote the presence of Google Inc. Hence, this is a game changer, where most of the people avoid buying Windows Phones because they won’t have Google Docs, Maps, and YouTube etc. That’s a sacrifice you have to make when buying a Windows Phone. But I don’t see anything wrong with the OS on there, rather some political issues triggered from another company. However, there are both Microsoft and other third-party apps in the store, which will server you with more or less a similar feeling.

However, Facebook has started to release there apps for Windows Phone 10 and they’re doing a great job in getting the same interface on the Windows platform as well.

Following apps have been released to the Windows Store.

Facebook
Facebook Beta This is being continuously updated with lots of bug fixes.
WhatsApp
WhatsApp Beta This is being continuously updated with lots of bug fixes.
Viber
Twitter
Skype The best responsive app across all the platforms.
Instagram
DropBox
Photoshop Express

And there are a lot more apps there now, but you might not find a few apps though. That is because Windows Phone 10 still at the early stage of development and it would take a bit more time to get everyone on-board [3].

And Microsoft Store has the best games on its store including:

Hit Man Go
Tomb Raider Go
Halo
GTA San Andreas
FIFA 17
Subway Surfers
Traffic Rider
Candy Crush
Hill Climb
Asphalt 8 : Airbone
Temple Run 1 and 2
And a lot more…

windowsstoregames

And I won’t even try to compare the gaming performance of these games on the Windows Phone. 🙂

As you can see, Windows Phone is not bad as many people claims. Apart from some issues with apps, the operating system doesn’t have any significant issue. However, it’s all about the preference of the user.

For this review, I haven’t used any hardware features such as Fingerprint scanners, Iris scanners, camera etc. The comments given about the performance is given for the phones having similar specs (processor, RAM and Graphics). I mostly focused on the features of the Operating System.

As a summary, Windows Phone 10 is not bad as people claim it to be. The best way to feel that is, to use one for a while.

[1] http://stackoverflow.com/questions/14653058/disable-wifi-on-iphone-using-objective-c
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_mobile_operating_systems
[3] https://blogs.windows.com/buildingapps/2016/01/05/windows-10-store-growth-creates-new-developer-opportunity-in-2016/#Ft32uxiyyEwGTLB5.97

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Praneeth Peiris

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