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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
He is CTO of Fenêtre internet applications and co-owner of Keen On Apps (, both located in The Netherlands. Roger is the face behind NPU’s Windows Phone app and writes interesting articles on NPU when he gets time from donning the role of CTO of his company. Write to him at Email: [email protected]