Microsoft can make it hard to love Windows Phone 8 sometimesAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
I've been using a Nokia Lumia 928 over the past month as my daily driver. To anybody else, it would be a baffling decision why somebody would go from a high-end flagship Android like the HTC One to a phone like the Lumia 928, which has significantly lower specs as well as a developing platform. But, as most of you know, I had my reasons to learn Windows Phone 8, and the 928 was the phone that I chose to learn it with.
Only having the phone for a month hardly makes me an expert on the platform, and I often find myself browsing forums and websites that specialize in Windows Phone 8 to continually learn more about it. As simple as Windows Phone 8's interface is, there is a lot to learn when coming from operating systems like iOS and Android; fortunately, the learning curve is pretty easy. Development for the platform is budding, with new applications trickling into the market every day. Most of the time they're third party applications, but sometimes you'll get lucky and some well-known company will come out with an official app for something or other. Those days are pretty good when they come along.
For the most part, I am enjoying learning about this platform. However, just yesterday I came across an article that had me raise an eyebrow at it. You have probably heard about Microsoft's own search engine, Bing. While Bing is relatively new, Microsoft has been pushing for more people to use the search engine by starting up Bing Rewards. Bing Rewards is pretty easy to learn: you search with Bing and get points for doing so. You can then redeem said points for gift cards to places like Starbucks, Amazon, Domino's and other popular retailers just for using Bing. Some might see it as a bribe, others see it as an opportunity.
Microsoft, of course, sees it as an opportunity and would like to bring that opportunity to smartphone users. It makes sense, given that a lot of people who own smartphones conduct their Internet searches on their smartphones now. It would also make sense if Microsoft released Bing Rewards on Windows Phone, their own smartphone OS, first.
But why would they do that? Instead, Microsoft releases Bing Rewards for iOS and Android first. Windows Phone 8 will get Bing Rewards later.
I understand that it is easier for Microsoft to develop and release an application for Bing Rewards for those two platforms first. Bing is integrated on Windows Phone 8, so it's going to take a lot more work for Bing Rewards to actually function like it should on Windows Phone 8. But at the same time, it is basically confirming that Windows Phone 8 will always come last, even for services that are directly under Microsoft's control.
It's not really so much the actual application itself so much as the message it conveys to people using Windows Phone 8, or people who were considering the switch. Most people aren't going to look past the surface when it comes to the situation. Nobody is going to care that it will take longer to get the app to Windows Phone 8 because Bing is integrated. When Microsoft advertises that Bing Rewards is now available for iOS and Android, and only iOS and Android, things are going to look weird.
Don't get me wrong. I still dig the platform, and although I've thought about switching back to Android a couple of times at this point I still find reasons to keep using Windows Phone 8. It's a nice platform, but it's going to need more than consumer support to make it go anywhere. We just want Microsoft to love us a little more.
Images via Bing