Windows 10 Mobile, where do we go from here?

Windows 10 Mobile

More then a year ago I wrote the article Windows 10 Mobile – Now or never in which a view was taken how Microsoft could change the mobile world with Windows 10. The article ended with “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?”. After 2016 the conclusion is clear: Microsoft was not ready, they had not enough confidence, will and even power to battle with Google and Apple on the phone business. In the end they just gave up. And after posting A LOT of feedback and seeing the superslow pace in which bugs where fixed, bugs kept reappearing and logical features not being added, also I got desperate.

But then in June we got universal messaging, a supercool feature. After 2 years of waiting for new stuff I was really impressed. But wait then they removed it and put it into a superbuggy and superslow Skype beta app. This was total failure all over again. Microsoft just do not understand phone users. At all. Phone users want speed, quality and integration. And not ‘coming soon’ but now. And then there was the hardware bummer: after the 650 no new phones where presented and the partner strategy was a failure too. It’s funny to see that people at Microsoft believe partners will invest in a platform that even Microsoft itself is not investing in anymore.

So last November I did something out of the box and tried the HTC 10 for a week and I was flabbergasted. Supercool hardware but what a mess Android is. The interaction design of almost every app is different and I really missed a lot of specific Windows 10 Mobile features. The integration and cool design of Windows 10 Mobile is just superior. But Windows 10 and it’s apps are buggier, slower, yes slower…, and misses mayor features, like the nice autoinlog on connecting with known bluetooth devices. And of course Windows 10 Mobile still misses apps, especially good local country consumer apps and apps for specific events.

I have a lot of respect for the developers and feedback team on Windows 10 mobile as they get a lot of stuff to handle without the real power and support of Microsoft management. As a global company they could have setup teams around the world, working 24×7 to keep up or even gain on Android and iOS but they just didn’t. For a OS with so much potential a shame. In 2017 I guess I maybe have to go back to the closed and expensive iOS environment as Android is not my thing. So no new Nokia for me. But of course I will develop a Xamarin multi platform NPU app, that one I promise you.

For Microsoft the Surface Phone could be the savior for business users but consumers will still have the app gap. Maybe an iOS emulator is a much better idea then a win32 emulator…. I wish Microsoft a lot of luck in 2017 in the phone business as they will surely need it!

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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
  • Szilárd Nagy

    2 Years ago I left the Android ecosystem for Windows Phone Ecosystem. I had a Lumia 640 DS for 2 Years. Now I changed back to Android, I have a Huawei P9 Plus now. First Lumia 640 delighted me then. I liked the design and UI, but… later with the promisses from M$ that Windows Phone 10 will be much better and so on… I had big expectations from WP10. I updated, and no wonder came… it became worse and worse and slower, App gap is very huge and unbearable. The same app on google play is much much better and more feature rich. In one word: NO MORE and NOTHING FROM MICRO$OFT, never again make the mistake, to buy Lumia or Surface or any other product form MS… Android for ever! Android is clean, understanable, no mess at all!
    Very highly customizable, quick, no lags – I admitt, if do not want to have lags and freezes you have to buy upper range of android phone. Mid or entry androis phones could be laggy and slow, but not compulsorily.
    I wish good luck and happy new year to those as well, who are courageous enough to buy Lumia phones.

  • WahyuAP

    i used android & windows phone for long time, and i know the good or bad they are.. i think windows phone 8 still smoother than windows 10 mobile.. and android get better from year to year, almost no lag anymore.. and you call android is mess.. reason please?

    • Roger

      Maybe not bare Android but surely all the skins and especially the apps, working all in different ways. Besides, I like the design and interaction of W10M a lot but it’s always a personal thing I guess.
      A good 2017!

      • WahyuAP

        i understand 100%.. hopefully good way for W10M in 2017!

  • Kevin Christian

    App gap and slow pace of update are the most annoying thing for me. Good luck for MSFT, i still using the 640LTE. Hopefully the ecosystem of these OS could get better asap. Happy new year!! ????

  • Qbancelli

    So you used a HTC 10 with its skinned UI for a few days, and decided “Android” is a mess?
    Lol

    • Roger

      Hi i used several skins and setups, even the one from MSFT (Arrows) but they all are worse then the interaction of Windows 10 Mobile. And as an app developer i have some experience here and there 😉 But what I dislike most are the apps, they have no unity in how they work. I also did use iOS a lot but still liked W10M better. But hey, everbody can have their preferences 😉 A good 2017!

    • garry popplewell

      I’ve been using a HTC 10 for nearly 5 months after coming from Lumia 950, he’s right, it is a mess, Android’s flaky, unreliable and frustrating in many ways, I love the hardware but miss wireless charging so even the looks come at a price! Windows phone/mobile has a focus on simple intuitive interaction, Android has a focus on ramming features in to get it ticked off a list, as someone who currently has access to Android (HTC 10) windows Mobile (Lumia 950) and IOS (IPhone 6) windows mobile is by far my favourite OS, it’s the eco system and real world support that let it down!

  • DBS

    Two things:
    1 – I don’t get people who say Android is a mess. They always fail to explain why. One thing is for sure: Windows Phone 10 is a lot more unstable than Android since 4.3.

    2 – iOS emulation will obviously never happen.

    Windows Phone is dead and so are all of Microsoft’s chances on the mobile arena. The unicorn Surface Phone IF it ever comes to be (and I HIGHLY doubt it) will salvage absolutely nothing. Not even in enterprise.

    • harambe

      So What about win32 emulation? Ms is working to make win32 apps work in snapdragon 835 can’t this save ms in enterprise?

      • Xenred

        Win32 will really make a great differentiation here but we have yet to see. As for now its not confirmed yet it will come to W10M, only on Windows 10 on ARM is confirmed.

        Though running Win32 apps isn’t a use-case scenario that you will do with a smartphone-like device 90% of a time, especially on most users just want to communicate with their friends and families with social and other fun apps. It’s great to have like me which makes me no need to carry full laptop and just laptop dock-like accessory, but it’s not common use-case to everybody. UWP still have big role to play here on apps and how MS performs in smartphone market in general to convince developers and consumers alike to invest to this platform.

      • DBS

        Not really. Windows programs on ARM isn’t new. It was already possible on Windows RT. Microsoft making it easier this time will not really change anything.

        Because then you have thing: why on Earth would an employer deploy a phone that can emulate win32 programs poorly and require access to a large screen, mouse and keyboard, when they can just deploy a 2-in-1 like the Surface Pro?
        The employer will NOT replace his/her Android/iOS device with the company Windows Phone and there’s no point in even trying to convince them to do it (as it would also be incredibly stupid). So what exactly is the advantage for the company to have those kinds of devices? None really.
        The complete failure of the Elite X3 is already a proof of that. HP has already a x86 emulator service available for companies to get with the Elite X3. No one is getting it. Emulating real Windows on snapdragon chipsets isn’t really going to change that.

    • Kevin

      There is definitely bloatware on android though. I have no doubt that the android device you probably have has preinstalled amazon apps. Windows 10 mobile is also as stable as the android I had before it. And it’s not dead, because I received an update on Wednesday. Or at least the software isn’t dead for sure

      • DBS

        Actually no, my Android device does not have pre-installed the Amazon apps. But it does have pre-installed (and non-removable) the entire suite of Microsoft apps (it’s an S7 by the way).

        The problem with “bloatware” is that what is and isn’t bloatware changes from person to person. For example, in my case, having the Microsoft apps isn’t bloatware because I already use Microsoft services (except Skype) instead of Google’s anyway. So in my case, the likes of Gmail, GoogleDrive, etc are the bloatware. For a Google-user, the Microsoft apps will be the bloatware.

        However, Windows Phone also has bloatware anyway. You can remove most of it, sure. But then again, you’ll soon be able to do the same on Android, at least in Europe, as the EU is going to force Google to debundle their apps from the OS.

        As for Windows 10 Mobile: it has no apps, no users and no developer support. Therefore, it’s dead.
        Just because Microsoft issues updates to it, doesn’t make it alive. It costs Microsoft nothing to update it. The updates it gets are the ones coming from the normal Windows 10 development. It’s not like Microsoft is actively working to improve Windows Phone 10.

        • Kevin

          I only came up with the Amazon example because that was on my htc one m8. I guess bloatware is simply exclusive deals to have the apps preinstalled. But it still has a low number of diehards like me and a couple of well known apps getting updated. I’m not even a die hard Windows phone user, I’m simply fully invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. But Windows phone users are just those who got the Windows 10 update and continue to use it or those who didn’t get is and stuck on Windows 8.1. It may be selling less, but still has a very small loyal user base. Instagram updates their app for nothing since it’s ported over. More apps may come in the future without developers having to put a significant amount of resources. Windows phone being updated without any cost may even keep it going. But in the end, it’s not dead yet, but even I would have to admit that it is dying out. A lot of people do not even know it, and the lack of presence of certain apps will continue to keep many people away. The problem isn’t really in the operating system; Microsoft already caught up to Apple and Android in that aspect.

    • Xenred

      I actually always scratching my head what’s really a mess with Android? Well the part of the problem is that OEM have so much control to tune their own UX for their own devices, but we’ve been gone so far and experience is way better these days and OEMs started to do some polish, others even just releasing near vanilla Android with minimal skin changes.

      Android isn’t perfect and its not as good as iOS in terms of fit and finish. Windows 10 Mobile is a mess too, design-wise its highly inconsistent and MS doesn’t seems capable of attention to detail and polish. UX is all-over the place that their MDL doesn’t do its job to be a good design language replacing Metro. It’s just being implemented on rush and leave it there, no thought on many things.

      • Roger

        True but it’s not only the OS but especially the apps. I still like the apps on W10M far better looking at usability and interaction.

      • DBS

        Well, the heavy customisation of Android might be a problem. On the other hand, the lack of customisation of Windows Phone was exactly what led many OEMs to not even bother since they couldn’t differentiate their phones and it was virtually impossible to compete against Nokia hardware (and by the time Nokia left, Windows Phone was dead).

        But indeed, Google has polished the base of the OS itself which was a major part of the problem. The thing most people don’t realise is stock Android is actually VERY POOR. You pick up a Nexus or one of the new iPixels and you realise how little it does. The thing doesn’t even have a restart option (which every single OEM version of Android has).
        You then can pick which version of Android you like the best. For example, if you want a refined and improved but almost stock Android experience, you buy a Sony Xperia.
        If you want a powerful version Android from where Google goes to rip off stuff, you buy a Samsung Galaxy. If you want an iOS clone, you buy one of the Chinese Androids (Huawei, Xiaomi, etc).

        iOS is very good at fit and finish. No doubt about that. But so was Windows Phone 8.1. The problem is that both OSs were unbelievably restrictive. iOS is horribly so. If you weren’t an iSheep, you are forced to become one since your phone will not have anything but a wallpaper to differentiate it from any other iPhone.

        I completely agree though. The design of Windows Phone 10 (or 10 Mobile, whatever) is a complete mess which isn’t helped by them trying to make the same UI work for desktop and mobile. The worst is that it leads to the desktop design being infected itself also. For example, the new settings “app” is absolutely atrocious and it will take forever to make it as useful as the old one is.

  • I use iOS for work and it baffles me why people like it. My biggest beef is having no system back button, apart from a screen icon in the TOP LEFT of screen (Why put it there where it is impossible to use for one handed use???). Other details like the # key being buried on the 2nd page of characters on the keyboard, Bluetooth which is shockingly bad on an iPhone 6, and I also had the battery bug where the phone would shut down unexpectedly at 20-30% and software bugs like this doozy attached where the phone froze and even hitting the end button didn’t do anything. Updating from iOS 9 to IOS 10 also killed Hands Free Protocol on Bluetooth for their map app??? I mean WTF, both MSFT and Google have this feature enabled for my 2015 Subaru Forester.
    I just got the 950XL for Christmas, and with the latest Anniversary update it really does keep pace with and surpass the iPhone 6 in many ways (Especially the continuum feature). The app gap isn’t the problem for me as there are many local websites which work well on mobile. However this is where MSFT need to pull out all stops to get Edge working properly. Flash isn’t supported on mobile, and I know flash is being killed off over time, however flash isn’t going to go away over night on websites so MSFT need to find a way of adding this to mobile and especially for continuum mode. If they can add this and also get continuum mode to do split screen multitasking, pinning apps to the start screen, and add extensions like Ad blocking, then they really do start having a point of difference to both iOS and Android. Also get mobile payments working in more areas of the world like Australia would also be a great addition for me.
    PS My wife has a Nexus 6P and the latest update to 7.1.1 has killed battery charging times and discharging. I thought iOS was hard to find feature settings but Android is getting way worse.
    Setting up a Windows 10 on mobile is one of the one major reason I hope MSFT keep pushing forward. It is so great to have so many settings/function mirrored between the Desktop and the Mobile making it so easy to personalise the phone the way you want it. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a54d43a91bca88de070d7b70449ee0ceef300275096e9aa7d1021e6d50b0225a.jpg

    • Docservlet

      Oh…you’re still pushing this nonsense out? Interesting. I used MS in the past. It’s shockingly bad.

      • What nonsense are you talking about??? These are legitimate issues and user experience complaints that I have with iOS. If you have had issues with MS in the past then you should try out the latest Windows 10 releases, it’s come a long way in it’s first year.

        BTW, I presume you were meant to have posted your comment about continuum to this post instead of another. So when you say continuum looks lame, what are you referencing it to???… Have you actually used it???… Are you comparing it how you can do something similar with your iPhone & Apple TV??? If so then talk to me when Apple allow you to connect your iPhone to a monitor/tv without having to use Apple TV and also allow you to use keyboard and mouse and a bunch of other USB peripherals at the same time so it gives you a PC experience, all while you can still be using your phone as a phone.

        Apple make some great gear but unfortunately they are falling behind in innovation quickly, and their QC is suffering in both hardware and OS. Apple also lock you into their walled gardens which drives me nuts. At least being in the MSFT/Windows ecosystem it allows me to pick and chose what device I want to use their services on.

        You might not agree with what I say, but that’s ok, we can agree to disagree.

        • Docservlet

          LOL!!!! “Falling behind in innovation”!!! LOL!!!! Really??? Microsoft must be out innovating them with their nonexistent mobile OS. Or maybe Google actually makes chrome more than a lame browser. Let’s forget about the fact that google shuttered their 2 pixel chrome books. Your premise is so idiotic, I don’t know where to begin.

  • RbrtSfrn

    That is a good article. And yes, we wanted it minimum 2 years ago not someday tomorrow. They are still not ready. Do you have confidence that Nadella will be w10m saviour after he was coroner??!! Happy New year to all, peace-love-health-wealth!!?

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