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I've said at least 100 times before that Windows Phone shows great promise. Windows Phone 8 is just a few short weeks ahead, and I'm getting quite excited for what it has in store and what Nokia and Microsoft have come together to produce. (HTC and Microsoft have paired to create some rather svelte devices, too.)

The Windows Phone 8 update brings a bevy of new features, such as a refined home screen and support for various hardware improvements: SD cards, NFC, multi-core architecture and 720p display resolution. There is also an updated camera application, the ability to screen capture and tiny refinements throughout the entire operating system.

In short, this update is Windows Phone's coming of age, a transition from adolescence into adulthood. Windows Phone is beginning its journey into maturity, refinement and being a well-oiled machine. It will also be stepping form the shadows to duke it out with BlackBerry 10 over the currently unoccupied third ecosystem position. But as the launch of the Lumia 920 and other Windows Phone 8 devices nears, I can't help but remember the reasons I have never been able to stay with Windows Phone in the past. And I can't help but wonder whether the changes in Windows Phone 8 will answer some of the outlying issues I and many others have with the platform.

Below are a few reasons I have my doubts about Windows Phone 8.

 

Application and game support, investments

There is no doubt Microsoft has done a lot to nurture and grow the Windows Phone [Marketplace] Store. In just under two years, developers have created over 100,000 applications for Windows Phone. For contrast, BlackBerry has been around for ages and developers have been making apps for BlackBerry for the better part of a decade. Research In Motion launched BlackBerry App World in April 2009. As of May this year, there were just 99,500 applications in App World, most of which are specifically for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

Still, while 100,000 applications is nothing to scoff at, that's only about half of what both Android and iOS had at their two-year marks. According to Wikipedia, App Store had over 225,000 at 23 months and Play Store (then Android Market) had 200,000 apps at 26 months.

The typical counterargument, however is, "There are 100,000 applications. That should be more than enough." In theory, that may be true. But in practice, it's easy to find that only a fraction of those 100,000 apps are quality apps worth downloading. Not to mention, I have come to love many applications on Android and iOS, such as: Snapseed or Picsay Pro, Pocket, Zite, Instagram, Chrome, Reeder or Reader HD, Google Voice, iA Writer and Epistle, Google Drive, Bitly, iDisplay and many more (which I touched on here).

Sure, I can find some alternatives or third-party remakes of some of the current apps I use. But that's a lot of digging (which I'm willing to do) that will likely result in me having to do without some of my favorite apps and services. Not to mention, I've spent upwards of $400 (possibly much more) on applications for both iOS and Android. I will be essentially starting fresh with Windows Phone.

 

Google Apps accessibility

Speaking of apps and services, I have explained in the past that I am heavily invested in Google Apps. I have six or more Gmail accounts and four Google Apps accounts for various reasons. For much of the work I do, I depend on Google services, such as Drive, Talk, Voice, Gmail, Contacts, Calendar and Reader.

There are certainly third-party apps for Google Voice, Talk and Reader. And Gmail, Contacts and Calendar sync can be setup almost effortlessly. I can even access Drive through the mobile browser, if need be. But the experience is greatly hindered, along with some functionality.

Luckily, I will always have an Android device with me wherever I go. I can rely on a second device to get the job done. But it would be nice to be able to access all of these services and applications from Windows Phone, too. In short, however, it means I will never be able to use Windows Phone as a primary platform.

 

Application resume times

On issue I have had since my first round with Windows Phone were applications resume times. Unlike iOS or Android which load the last application instantaneously after unlocking the device, if you let your Windows Phone device time out and unlock it a few minutes later, Windows Phone opens to a "Resuming…" splash page that sometimes takes up to 10 seconds (or more) to load an application.

The premise was that they were improved in the latest update, Mango. After some hands-on time with Mango on an HD7 and then with the Nokia Lumia 900, I learned that this hadn't really been addressed as I had hoped.

Also, because of the way Windows Phone handles multitasking (or task switching, really), applications that require staying open in the background don't always work as intended. Instant messaging applications, for example, may still be in the background, but they pause and notifications stop altogether until you open the application back up. And unlike other platforms, if you switch back and forth between apps while carrying on an instant messaging conversation, on Windows Phone, the application will sometimes "resume" every time you switch back to the app, meaning you have to wait for the application to resume before opening the conversation back up.

None of this is exactly a deal-breaker, but over time, things like this really begin to pick away at my nerves. Here's to hoping multi-core architecture can assist in task switching/multitasking.

 

Notifications

Lastly, a low point of Windows Phone has always been its notification system. In contrast from BlackBerry, Android and iOS, which all have a centralized location for unattended notifications, Windows Phone notifies users once of incoming notifications before they become scattered across the home screen on live tiles.

The only way to tell if you have missed a notification is to check the home screen. However, if you do not have a tile placed for the particular application you received a notification for, you will have to happen upon the notification within the app itself.

On a brighter note, Microsoft has added the ability for third-party applications to display notifications on the lock screen. But that still doesn't address the need for a single, centralized location for incoming and missed notifications.

 

I'm still looking forward to Windows Phone 8 and the Lumia 920. But I am very wary of Windows Phone and the improvements Microsoft has made. It has added some much-needed capabilities and features to the OS, but I'm afraid it may have missed some of the finer details. I fear we may have to wait until the next update for some of those and that I will find myself in the same boat as last time.

What say you, folks? Are you excited about Windows Phone 8 and the respective hardware? Or, like me, do you still have your reservations about Windows Phone? If so, what are they?


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46 Reactions to this post

"Does the state of Windows Phone concern you?"


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Naj Khan win 7 is better
Lenn Liggins Can't wait unit the launch of Windows 8 and WP8.
Gibby Garcia yep these are the people who are so scared of Windows...
Sebastian Gomes Not at all. Android all day
Mark Belkowski i wont touch w8 on my pc either. i hate the modern ui.
Ismael Sergio Molina I have a HTC Radar right now, and am looking forward to the Nokia 810. I would like to try it first, and judge if its worth the upgrade. If not I'll get the Samsung Note 2. I do love Windows Phone though.
Aaron Dean It would have potential if they had more apps but it will just be a flop again. And all of you know it.
John Gish Windows phone has potential..... Fast,fluid and different......they need to attract developers to get on the ball catching up with good quality apps...
em_003 I'm happy with my Windows Phone. Coming from owning a ios and android before I can say is the best mobile experience so far. I'm not too invested in apps, so it wasn't a problem for me. Plus everything I use the most like facebook and twitter is already bake in the OS. I keep my contacts and appointments in gmail, but WP does a great job to integrate this to the people hub and calendar.
Juwon Donte Nope I honestly can't believe windows is still around
Marc OKelly Windows Phone 7 failed me
Larry Hanks I hacked my HTC HD2 and overwrote windows with android...Largely because windows (PC and Mobile) is getting so dumbed down a toddler can use it. my biggest beef with windows is that it's more like a toy than a serious phone OS.
James Matthews No you big baby.
Naresh Patel Totally agree with the writer... Weary I am
Jamie Bethell Had a play on the 820 today, nice phone and os looks good, still struggles with the apps tho I think and that's what puts me off.
Zach Cline You can tell there are a lot of android fanboys . I wouldn't mind trying out windows phone 8 the next time I'm able to upgrade . I've had almost nothing but android up until I switched to the iPhone and I've had the least amount of issues with iOS. Windows looks like its probably just as smooth
Anthony Means Well if they can't get it really good enough on a PC what makes you think that I'm going to use up windows 8 cell phone I will stick with my top phone is the year the Galaxy S 3
Felix Tran Some people still compare Windows Mobile and Windows Phone =.=! Windows Phone is nothing like Windows Mobile folks!
Samir Barik HTC Windows Phone 8X so interesting. Under the hood is a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, the same CPU that will power the Lumia 920 ...
Eric J. Powers Not worried about windows phones
Javier Delgado but you talking about windows mobile...wich its totally different... i think people that experimented windows mobile should give a second chance...it worth it.
Joshua Becker Tried it. The Quantum was a clusterfuck.
David Cipollone No, I'm pro-Android. I gave Windows Mobile a chance before. I think they're heading in the right direction, but Android has become my preference.
Donald Evans III This is such a hater post. Just let Microsoft be great! I love my Windows Phone!
Michael Castaneda is their any new windows phone joining verizon??
Mark Belkowski nothing about windows phone or w8 impresses me or worries me. they will always be 3rd place in the market.
Cristian Tomasito why would it concern me, they have money to burn, make money off every android sale, there OS uses the same kernel for windows 8.
Bryce Poulton As someone who works in the wireless industry I can tell you that of all the mobile os's, we see the fewest problems with Windows Phone. I am super excited for the launch of Windows 8! In 2 years Microsoft will be the new Apple. They will have an unbelievable ecosystem for every users needs.
Fray Contreras Yea Windows is so 20th century and still dominating until this day.
Freddy Vasquez Windows is so 20th century
Rok Vrtacnik If i dont get a upgrade to win8 (Illegal or Legal) im going back to andoid :( when i switch to andoid the s3 will drop in price so much ill buy it :D
Ryan Elkins I have a windows phone 7.5 and really like it. Only would like a wall paper home screen and if they had a layout with the tiles bit with different screen sections like android and a lot better and more apps it would be perfect. I have a feeling Apple is falling back..FAST
Vicente Reyes I think apple will fall behind with blackberry. Windows is getting back up their fast.
David Barton a small percent of uses will be using Windows 8... the vast majority of users love their iOS & Android devices.. Window's will have the same issues as Blackberry, NO APPS!!
Hubert John Abiera Nope. Out of all the mobile OSes that I have used, Windows 7.5 is the my favorite mobile experience so far and am definitely looking forward to the Lumia 920. My concern before I switched from Android to Windows Phone was the app selection, but after I took the leap, I realized that I really am not that dependent on apps. Windows Phone does everything that I need with elegance and without frustration.
Thomas Boehnlein Not really. The fun is only just beginning. It took Google 4 years before they had something worthwhile.
Marrion Bell No because their tech trash
Joel Diaz I think it looks amazing but not sure if it will last much longer.
Dounutz Sesar Whats windos 8????hahaha
Jason Vanderhyde I actually really like it I just hope there's app selection.
Rawlston Shamik I'm not wary of switching back to a NOKIA
James Frank Racanelli Such an amazing OS.




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