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Windows 10 Mobile – now or never

Let me start by saying that I like Windows 10 Mobile. It delivers as my daily driver – especially as I am a heavy business user. The Windows 10 based Microsoft flagships, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL are now available but reviews for the 950 on all mayor sites are not superb, giving the phones mostly a 3,5 out of 5. It’s interesting to see that some sites are somewhat biased and even wrong in facts, especially when it comes to apps. Some don’t even know that you can you use Google services perfectly with Outlook Mail and Calendar and super apps like GMaps+. But there are conclusions which hit the nail on the head:

Windows 10 Mobile can do so much better: there are still major bugs, f.e. handling 2 Exchange accounts does not work and Continuum and Hello are not 100% ready…. yet. I myself posted a lot of feedback. It works most of the time but it feels unfinished and inconsistent like unable to pin a file from OneDrive and missing a sharing icon in the People details bar (it’s hidden in the menu?!). And functionality is missing too like multiple startscreens (f.e. 1 for work, car or home), Action center button drag and drop, different display options for collapsed group tiles, the option to choose for square or round photo’s, optimizing the interaction in People Groups and using the Outlook Mail swipe feature as much as possible throughout the whole platform. I sometimes get the idea only 50 developers are working on the OS. The pace is currently not fast enough to catch up with Marshmellow and iOS 9.

Of course we have the always recurring and somewhat exaggerated app gap. As a business user I don’t mind a lot but the lack of major consumer apps (like Pay and Snapchat) and small local apps stays an issue. Microsoft made the cool iPhone to Windows Bridge open source and that’s a first step but the Astoria Android emulator is probably dead. A lot of developers are asking to buy and even open source Xamarin, the multi platform C# development environment that really rocks, and with all this cash I really don’t understand why they haven’t done this yet. Currently Xamarin is just too expensive to compete with other tools. After some serious thought I got some other ideas for Microsoft: 1) Open source some of your own apps so everyone can learn how things are done and reuse controls and libraries. Simple samples are just not good enough to build that state of the art app, 2) Invest 50 million (1 million in the 50 most important countries) to build those 50 most important local apps and 3) Make an Android app converter in stead of an emulator. Windows Phone still needs more apps and the platform needs major support.

The Wow factor is somewhat gone. It took sooooo very very long for the 950 that the momentum was gone and the phone is surely not as exciting as my orange 930, a really cool designed gadget. Why not make a green, orange and cyan case for the 950? How expensive can that be? Microsoft furthermore delivered the supercool Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book devices but where are the Surface Business phone and Lumia Camera Phone (i.e. the successor of the 1020)? Why does it take so long to present a decent lineup with a 550, 750 and 950 in normal and XL size with a cool design?

As I said, I like Windows 10 Mobile. It’s -secure-, has loads of potential, is very user friendly, is fast (except the graphics library…),  is a pleasure to develop for, has Hello and Continuum with new Universal apps coming everyday day and is the best for taking pictures. But Microsoft has to start making the right choices and work much harder then Apple and Google as they still have a lot of catching up to do. Focus is the key: do it right or don’t do it at all. So the question is: are they ready for battle or not? Only time will tell.

Roger Hendriks
CTO and CFO of Fenêtre, a full service supplier for online solutions located in The Netherlands. When he is not working or doing family stuff he loves building apps like the Windows Phone Nokiapoweruser app.
http://www.fenetre.nl
  • david

    It’s a no go until HERE apps are back. MS Maps might offer all capabilities in one app, but when you het used to HERE it is hard to start using something else.

  • shady

    Good piece. Very fair and good insight. I will be with windows phone till the end( or until it becomes too outdated). I like the ecosystem, don’t mind the app gap. I hope Microsoft maybe targets enterprise or some niche market so windows phone can stay around for a long time. Waiting for my white Lumia 950 XL to come this week 🙂

    • Kamal

      Microsoft has plans to increase its corporate reach with more business-oriented Lumia devices in future.

  • McHale72

    Good article. IMHO, Windows Phone 8.1 is a FAR better OS than Windows 10 Mobile/Phone/whatever. My 950XL should be here any day now and it’ll probably go straight in a drawer because 10 is so unusable. I’d much rather have 8.1 on it. There are so many missing features and bugs with Windows 10 Whatever that I have to wonder what they were thinking on releasing it. Bad press at launch is going to be impossible to overcome considering their overall market share which they are losing every day. The app gap is no longer the problem, it’s the OS.

    Windows Phone 7 had a vision of integration, simplicity, HUBS, etc. Windows 10 Mobile is a reaction to losing all of their market share and it’s taking them in the wrong direction… fast. They’ve scrapped all of the great things that made Windows Phone superior. At this point, I don’t see it recovering because they clearly haven’t put the necessary resources into Windows Phone 10… I mean Windows 10 Mobile. My hunch is, the 950XL will be my last Windows phone (5 so far since the release of 7.x, not including the dozen or so Windows Mobile phones I purchased before it). The condition of the OS is laughable with the only saving grace being a better than average camera. HOPEFULLY, they will put forth much more effort than they have so far to get the OS to at least 75% of where 8.1 ended up.

    -Mc

    • raghulive

      windows phone 8.1 is fast because of less features and windows mobile 10 is not complete os, in recent builds they made more stable and fast even for low end devices,WP 10 had new features like wallpaper and improved multi threading environment so it become some what slow on low end devices ,thay why 950/xl had more cores ,more interesting features will come soon.even current 10586.11 feel final OS for me,wait and see how the WP 10 will go on 🙂

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