back to article So much noise on WinMob, but Microsoft's silent on lovely WinPhone

I came to Barcelona to take the pulse of Windows Phone - which I’ll confess I've grown to like quite a bit - I came away trying to make sense of the following paradox. A decade ago, and for some years either side, Microsoft had a terrible mobile device platform but noisily insisted it would succeed. Perhaps because it was …

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Meh

Microsoft Marketing people

have souls?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft Marketing people

Perhaps, but they are clearly idiots copying Sony from 2011..

" Nokia has a cardboard pyramid with a small aperture to show the Lumia 920’s capabilities in low light conditions."

http://www.xperiablog.net/2011/02/16/great-demo-shows-off-exmor-r’s-low-light-camera-abilities-video/

Anyone that's used a wide range of phone (and not just Apple or Samsung) will know that Nokia's camera performance claims are totally overrated compared to where Sony was even 2 years ago.

The Xperia Arc from 2011 is roughly onpar with the Lumia 920. The latest Xperia Z (which costs the same price as the Lumia 920) is miles ahead

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Anonymous Coward

it's not great

it still lacks basic features like supporting message alerts. WP7 was the same. It was a standard feature on most phones for a decade now. Yet WP8 still doesn't.

Plus Bing. Need I say more?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: it's not great

What do you mean by message alerts?

NB: I don't really keep up with phones and I find that people keep mentioning technology that I've not heard of.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: it's not great

Rather than giving downvotes for a genuine question, could someone answer it. I really don't know what is meant by "Message alerts", it sounds like something any phone would have, in that it would alert you for any received message, but the OP seems to suggest not?

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Windows

@AC

With message alerts I assume you're referring to broadcast messages aka CB messages?

Because that's supported, on Windows Phone 7.5 no less. However, there is a caveat here; many WinPhones have specific features not supported by the OS itself but provided by the manufacturer. To make it even easier on the customer there's no way to find out if a certain feature is out of the box or not..

So; on my Samsung Windows Phone (Omnia W) I have the option "Advanced text messaging" located under the 'Settings'. There I pick anything I'd need; from channels, to countries.

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"This is what we stress, not that the phone has 4 CPU cores, or runs at 3GHz.”"

Considering that it is double core at 1,5Ghz they'd better not.

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Re: "This is what we stress, not that the phone has 4 CPU cores, or runs at 3GHz.”"

People might get confused and think that apps will run faster on a phone with multicores. People don't realize multicore is barely supported by any mobile OS and what is there is bloody hard for devs to implement so they don't bother

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WTF?

Re: "This is what we stress, not that the phone has 4 CPU cores, or runs at 3GHz.”"

Stubbs,

You are responsible for the death of millions of Samsung fans who committed suicide after reading that.

How dare you mention facts on El Reg?

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Re: "This is what we stress, not that the phone has 4 CPU cores, or runs at 3GHz.”"

Supporting multiple cores is as simple as spawning some threads. It obvious requires some understanding of multithreading (e.g. synchronization, race conditions, semaphores etc.) but no more than any other platform.

Anyway, even if your app is single threaded, it is still competing with the display, system services as well as other background activities for CPU time. More cores means the experience feels smoother. Even Windows Phones acknowledge that or they wouldn't be dual core - and that's in a system where *only* the foreground app is active.

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"Nokia wasn't grumbling"

That's twice you stressed that in the article Andrew. They must have been really, REALLY keen for you to convey the message to Redmond that they aren't rocking the boat.

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Re: "Nokia wasn't grumbling"

Yeah, playing for better stock options when they get bought.

What chuffing differentiation? WinPhone == Nokia to me and no doubt many others.

Oh my, the camera on the Nokia telephone is so much better than… a good camera on a phone is now taken as a given but if I want a really good camera then I buy a camera. The phone stuff and apps are more important.

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Mushroom

Really lovely?

LG's not going to release any WP8 devices. They are however going to release Firefox OS devices.

Icon's the new burning platform.

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Sil

Re: Really lovely?

Firefox and Tizen are very welcome alternatives to the Google juggernault, I hope they will get it right.

Interestingly enough Firefox, Tizen and Windows Phone's best chances are the developping countries if you ask me, where potential customers are more Platform agnostic and do not have a huge iOS or Android bias yet.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Really lovely?

Isn't FF the one that's going to be all JS/HTML - basically the same idea as ChromeOS? Or was that a rumour only?

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Re: Really lovely?

Releasing Firefox devices may just be a gambit to scare MS / Google a bit into offering them a better deal in the next round of negotiations.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm not suprised

Windows Phone must be an embarrassment, quite clearly not ready for prime-time. Anyone that's owned one and is truthful will know this.

Whilst it LOOKS nice, that's really about it, everything else is sub-par. Battery Life, yep running a cutdown Windows kernel really takes it's toll there. Lagginess - ditto.

Bugs, don't even get me started on the bugs. You should expect random reboots several times a day. You should expect the proximity sensor to have a mind of it's own, making it tiresome to use in-call keyboard, several times it's been impossible to hang-up a call, having to rely on the other person to hang up, the touchscreen simply didn't respond at the end of the call, and the power button didn't wake the screen either.

Then there is the apps (or lackof). Very few companies even have plans for Windows Phone. There isn't iPlayer or BBC Sport apps (and won't be, unless Microsoft drive up with a dumper-truck of cash and free devices like Apple do), most of your other major apps are missing too.

As a phone, it's really poor, as a smartphone it's even worse.

THAT is why consumers have gone elsewhere. When you can buy a Nexus4, SIM-Free for £230, and it's 10 times a better phone than any Lumia, including the 920 (camera excluded), or if you care about the camera, you can buy an Xperia Z for about the same price and still end up with a MUCH better camera than the 920 and a MUCH better phone

consumers are clearly shop savvy...

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JDX
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Re: I'm not suprised

My £150 WP lasts about a week between charges and has rebooted perhaps 4 times in the 6 months I've had it - I'd rather it rebooted than just locked up :)

Why does it need an iPlayer app, isn't iPlayer going HTML5 which is supported in IE10 (this is a guess I haven't tried).

It's got niggles and flaws but I've not really spotted bugs as such.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not suprised

Sorry but you clearly don't know what WP is aimed at. It is communication centric, people hub for seeing what people are posting on Facebook and other sites.

Even going into someone's contact entry lets you swipe across to their pictures and view their pictures from various sources.

It has an interface that is fairly unique, you can easily move a conversation from SMS to Facebook or email. Something that Palm did until HP killed them off.

It is an optimal communication device, not a dumb app launcher like iOS and Android.

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Re: I'm not suprised

Not sure about your other points, but the can't-hang-up problem is something I've also heard of from users of Windows phones.

One person asked me to have a look to see if I could figure it out, but the phone seemed to work fine when we tested it calling both landlines and other mobiles, so it's likely one of those bugs that shows itself enough to be extremely irritating, but too intermittently to actually get fixed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not suprised

What a load of bollocks. I'd suggest that you've never actually seen or used a Windows Phone. I've had a 7.x and currently have a WP 8 from Nokia. I know about eight or nine people who have them and no-one has complaing about anything you've mentioned.

I've never seen a random reboot. I've never had a problem with proximity detection. There are plenty of apps, no BBC released iplayer, but there are alternatives. As a phone it's just fine.

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FAIL

Re: I'm not suprised

What the eff are you on about? My wife and I both have WinPho and what you're describing is a universe away from our experience, which is slick as hell, trouble-free, and above all *fun* in a way iOS and Android haven't been for years.

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WTF?

Re: I'm not suprised

Just wondering, which phone and network are you on?

i've had an Omnia 7 on Orange / EE for about 2 years now and have not had any of the issues you're mentioning. the battery lasts about a day with moderate / heavy usage, but once the battery saver kicks in it stretches the last 20% out to a couple of days (albeit with light usage).

not had random reboots, nor any problems with the screen or sensor. Performance from it has been really good, smooth and reliable, even though it is "only" on a single-core 1GHz chip (which i know seems to put a lot of people off, even though performace is still good).

The app sitiuation is often mentioned, but i've not really noticed anything that i am missing (though i admit, iPlayer would be nice).

as for cost, i'm afraid that i just don't see your point. Last week, o2 were selling the lumia 620 for £120. for the shopping around that i have been doing recently, i don't think that you would be able to get a comparable android phone for that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not suprised

If you want me to carry on with all the problems, I can.

Bluetooth audio streaming, VERY erratic, common disconnects to both speakers and headphones, lots of stuttering of the audio playback. LED flash stuck on after taking a picture on a couple of occasions, dismal platform integration ("lets call it Xbox, and hope users think they are getting Xbox Live on their phone"), did I mention the total lack of apps?

I'm sure some people will convince themselves that they didn't buy into a dead platform, and equally, there will be posts from Microsoft's viral marketing team pretending that everything is fine, but the reality is, Microsoft HAVE dropped in marketshare from the dismal 1,7% they had the previous year, it's now closer to 1%, and the platform is less relevant than ever.

It's a two horse race, and as much as Microsoft and Blackberry shareholders don't want to admit it, that's how it is.

I would actually give Blackberry more chance of making a 3rd place that Microsoft given the total lack of interest show by consumers for this years incarnation of Microsoft's ever changing mobile strategy.

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WTF?

Re: I'm not suprised (AC @09:58)

Really? I've got an HTC HD7, a Lumia 800 and a Lumia 820 - I use these for development, so while they don't get the same workload as my day-to-day device, they do go through periods of hard use when I'm testing.

I've had a few glitches here and there, but nothing to the scale you're implying in terms of lagginess, bugs, reboots and so forth. Yes, I'll admit that there are a lot fewer apps out there, but all the stuff I would use day-to-day is pretty much covered - and you have to remember that the WinPhone is a) a lot younger in it's lifecycle than iPhone and Android and b) is trying to gain a hold in an already well populated market.

Plenty of trollbait in the article, I'll agree, and there's still room for improvement on the WinPhone platform, but what you're saying sounds a lot like FUD-spreading to me...

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Re: I'm not suprised

sounds like you have a dud phone there. Which one was it you said you had..?

I'm sure you are not just making up a laundry list of every problem that you think you have read about on the internet despite no personal experience, in an attempt to score some unspecified points from somewhere because that would ridiculous.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not suprised

Again, I've not seen a single one of the problems you're seeing. I use the phone to stream music/podcasts in the car, it also does hands free through bluetooth with no problem. The platform integration is excellent, that's the whole point.

There are loads of apps, certainly there's been one for anything I care about, yes you did mention it, but you only suggested that the iplayer app wasn't there, which others do you want?

Assuming you're not just making this up, you've had a very bad phone, but as I've never heard of any other phones behaving like this, so I can only assume that it's a dodgy individual device, rather than anything else.

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Devil

Re: I'm not suprised

You forgot to mention the "Blue Screen Of Death" that happens to the Win Phones - that happens many times a day.

The OS is such a piece of shit......

LOL

If only it would flush around the S Bend.

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Re: I'm not suprised

It is an optimal communication device, not a dumb app launcher like iOS and Android.

I'd suggest you've never used Android's widgets. You know, those things that Microsoft ripped off, limited to blocky squares and called "tiles"?

You want the mail icon to show you how many unread mails? It does that.

You want your contacts all on a home page of their own complete with pictures? Not hard.

Perhaps a media player with its controls on the widget?

A flashlight app that works by tapping the widget rather than launching an app?

Social networking widgets? Device hardware toggle widgets? Calender widgets? Map widgets? Browser widgets? Widgets for things you'd never have even thought of?

All there, you just need to look for them. I suggest long-pressing the home screen and selecting "widgets". Or just selecting "widgets" from the top of the app drawer on an ICS or greater tablet. The phone manufacturer has likely included some. The Play Store has a load more.

And Beautiful Widgets is rather nice.

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FAIL

Re: I'm not suprised

Never seen it. Never seen a screenshot of it. Never seen a complaint.

Never heard of any such thing before your comment.

You made that up.

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Thumb Up

Re: I'm not suprised

I've had an Omnia 7 since launch (October 2010?) and apart from a bit of screen burn it's been pretty much faultless and still used daily. Just waiting for the Win 8 prices to drop, which seems to be happening, as well as that O2 deal you mention Phones4U are doing a HTC Win8 phone for £120 in store.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not suprised

It doesn't even HAVE a blue screen of death, which I guess shows how personal and real your experience isn't.

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Re: I'm not suprised

He was probably referring to:

Speedtest.net,

All of the catch up TV app,

Foreign newspaper apps,

Native Youtube app,

his banking app (from any bank)

the clubcard app from his supermarket of choice,

Google Maps,

a proper Push based Gmail.

Basically there is absolutely zilch on the platform.

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Gimp

Re: I'm not suprised

How can you have *fun* without a soul?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not suprised

Really?

YouTube seems to work as well as I want on my WP8, anyway it's Google who are actively preventing 100% functionality.

There is an alternative to Google Maps in the Nokia offering, it's much, much better.

Again push GMail doesn't work because Google took their bat and ball away.

The rest - That's pretty much clutching at straws, if you want them, fine don't get a WP, but really Speedtest app, TV catch up apps, clubcard apps? I'd give you banking apps, however there is a web browser that seems to do the job for me (Co-op).

speedtest.net?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not suprised

I had a Lumia 820 and a Lumia 920 at different times. Neither of them bought thankfully, work gave them to me. (Microsoft are throwing them at us like they are sweeties, they are so desperate for us to push them out to unsuspecting punters). Both phones suffered pretty much the same faults. (the 920 didn't stutter as much when Bluetooth streaming would be the only real difference I spotted).

It's clearly NOT a single bad phone, and the devices were provided 4 months apart, and both suffered pretty much the same bugs and faults. I never even got into the real usability problems with Windows Phone.

We don't push them, as we know the punters will be straight back. Sell them a iphone, Galaxy, Xperia, HTC One whatever, and they will be happy punters. Sell them a Windows Phone = grief.

Consumers aren't idiots. 90% of them don't walk into a phone shop without doing some research, be it online, or more often talking to a tech-savvy friend or relative. The very few people that want a Windows Phone on entering the shop, are soon dissuaded when you show them the other better products on offer that are far more suited to their needs.

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Re: I'm not suprised

> Again push GMail doesn't work because Google took their bat and ball away.

My understanding of this is that to push to WP8 requires a protocol that Google has to pay MS for. As MS won't let Google use it for free for MS phones then Google will not subsidize this usage. I understand that you can get if you pay for a subscription rather than the free service.

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Re: I'm not suprised

Seconded Neil B

Myself and my wife both have HTC Trophy phones. Not the biggest, newest or shiniest but definitely work well in all regards that we use them for - which is usually texting or the Mrs sending me pictures of the children doing something (usually hilarious).

Wife discovered the calendar functions yesterday - so the calendar on my phone is going to get a solid hammering in the near future (with things like Kindergarten lunches and the like...)

Although I do have to say that one of the OS updates seemingly broke the true heading API call for the compass. "Raw Compass Data" showed the compass itself was still functioning perfectly, but the true heading value was very out (North became West) which appears to be an Integer wraparound issue of some description.

Also - don't feed the trolls. Hit them with a shovel instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not suprised

Hmm... I have an 820, two friends of mine have the 920, bluetooth streaming and hands free work fine on both. Is this a problem with your receiving device?

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Perhaps they realise lots of people wouldn't want a Microsoft system on their phones, regardless of how good it was? There's just a common dislike to the brand thanks to their desktop garbage. Besides, I would be highly surprised if I was the only punter to whom WP is so ugly that there's really zero inclination to try it even far enough to see if it works well or not.

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You're definitely not the only one that finds WP outstandingly ugly (fisher price, poor UI design, lousy repeatability and consistency). Which is a shame really, as some of the underlying concepts are quite good.

If they had actually put a good looking UI on the phone (a skin really), tidied up the inconsistencies, not foisted sodding Bing and Xbox Live everywhere you looked it would be a good phone OS (not that Apple or Google are angels on this regard either). Yes, there are crashes and odd things that happen, but as long as you get a good build quality phone then these don't happen too often so they appear to be more spurious hardware related issues than direct OS problems. There are fundamental holes in the OS functionality compared to other phone OSes, as have already been pointed out here, and unfortunately the locked down nature prevents most of them being resolved by 3rd party apps, but this is also true of some other phone OSes as well. While Android is pretty open, some things need the kernel to handle and not at the application layer and while you can install complete custom versions of Android, this is beyond most users.

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Anonymous Coward

Elop

After all the attacks on Elop, it seems he hasn't done a bad job. People are once again aware of Nokia. Their product range is roughly 6 months ahead of BlackBerry.

And Microsoft may be right. Their name is a bit of a turnoff for a lot of people. But who other than a few IT people really care what OS a phone is running? Better to let the manufacturers promote their wares.

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Meh

Re: Elop

Mrs Dan 55 mentioned a special offer for some Lumia model a few months back. Without going too much into specifics I said no way would I want a phone with Windows and asked her whatever possessed her to think I did? Her reply was I liked strange things like that as I'm an IT geek. In return I asked her if she would want a phone with Windows and her reply was no, definitely not.

The average customer may not know technically that WP8 is a dog's breakfast of MS technologies which is still missing key functionality but they do know that Windows is a byword for a world of anguish and annoyance on computers and it can easily be avoided on phones.

The best thing MS ever did was not mention Microsoft or Windows when marketing the XBox. Amazing how they managed to forget in such a short space of time.

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WTF?

Re: Elop

" People are once again aware of Nokia."

Marketshare dropping despite new product launches says otherwise......

If I were a Nokia shareholder, I would be looking to divest, as quite clearly Elop has put them on a suicidal path,

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Stop

Re: Elop

Marketshare dropping despite new product launches says otherwise......

[citation needed- wait. Don't bother. You're Mrs Barry Shitpeas, as seen on Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe. In other words, you made that up.

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Meh

Re: Elop

Market share drop can be caused by two things - negative growth, or the market as a whole growing faster than the specific product.

At the moment, WinPhone is still relatively young, and I think it's too early to write it off completely, regardless of what the anti-Microsoft brigade says. Another year or so, I think, and then we'll see where things are... after all, it took Android a good 3 years to take off, and that was with a much less saturated market.

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Re: Elop

Citation

Kantar Worldpanel’s December smartphone market share numbers are out... Windows Phone’s [US] market share also ticked down to 2.6% in December from 2.7% in November... it is surprising not to see a substantial boost in Windows share considering the marketing support and new devices from AT&T.

(http://bgr.com/2013/01/22/smartphone-market-share-us-december-2012-301514/)

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