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back to article The Metro experiment is dead: Time to unleash Windows Phone+

Is this the moment for Windows Phone 8, the overlooked diamond in the Redmond rough, to shine? Now that Microsoft bigwigs have realised that cramming their desktop operating system into a touchscreen tablet format was unwise, to put it generously, how about scaling up the smartphone cousin to capture the exploding mobe market …

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Anonymous Coward

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-8cowdfhvb9Q/US-mlzKqndI/AAAAAAAA0uA/qOzDnQApVkc/w497-h373/photo.jpg

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Since when was Windows 2000 considered bad?

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Win NT should come before 2000 therefore making 2000 good!

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There speaks a man

Who thinks windows is the only operating system...

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Anonymous Coward

2000 was good, ME is missing

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Don't you remember?

Microsoft told us it was bad when they released XP. That's how MS works. When they bring out a new OS they tell you the last one was crap.

Win 8 is different. They're telling people it is crap before they bring out a proper replacement.

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Flagging emails?

Unless you mean something different to what I think you mean you *can* flag up emails in the WM8 email client?

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Re: Flagging emails?

"You can't even flag up a message in the Windows Phone email client - a remarkable omission for a platform that's pitched at enterprises."

Yes you can, select 1 or more emails, choose the "set flag" option. Similar process for unflagging, just choose the 'clear flag' option for the selected emails. Gomez is spot on, this is basic functionality that has been in Windows Phone since its launch.

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Re: Flagging emails?

How funny - Andrew has mentioned this before now, and I've always thought - "silly omission" - but since I don't use it, I've never noticed it. But there you are: winpho 7.8, and it has flags.

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Alien

Oh Belgium...

Oh Windows so buggy thy BSODs are to me

As pastelled giant icons from Ballmer's pee.

Gates I implore thee, you conniving turlingdrome.

And mercifully strangle me with Start Menu items.

Otherwise, I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my Mint install disc, see if I don't!

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Re: Oh Belgium...

Yah. Hilarious. Except that those of us who actually use Windows 8 (or 7) haven't seen a BSOD for YEARS. Literally, years. Well, except in XP, it's riddled with them.

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Re: Oh Belgium...

Except that those of us who actually use Windows 8 (or 7) haven't seen a BSOD for YEARS. Literally, years.

I have a Win7 machine that crashes with a STOP or other kernel fault at least once a month. Literally.

Sure, it's probably the fault of a driver written by some idiot at some second-tier hardware supplier. (I really ought to have paid the relatively small incremental amount for the better components - Intel wireless instead of Realtek and the like.) And if it's not that, it's likely an intermittent fault in memory or some other hardware component.

But Win7 did not magically make all PCs stable, and neither did Win8.

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Unhappy

Re: Oh Belgium...

> Except that those of us who actually use Windows 8 (or 7) haven't seen a BSOD for YEARS.

BSODs. Now with cheesy emoticons.

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Coat

Windows Phone+ is a poor name

Windows on phones, tablets and other mobile devices? What could they possibly call it? If only MS had a spare trademark lying around that might be suitable...

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Coat

Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

What, like Zune?

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Go

Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

Here's the full list of Microsoft's trademarks: http://members.microsoft.com/library/toolbar/3.0/trademarks/en-us.mspx

Personally I quite like the name "Digital Anvil" for a slab-based OS.

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Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

No Bob.

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Happy

Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

I think I've said this before, but what's wrong with "Windows LIVE Phone" using the LIVE interface?

(I like my Android Widgets, thank you very much, but will be putting Win7 on my Asus 1050HE)

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Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

I think they got rid of the wrong word when the dropped 'Metro'.

For phones and tablet it should be Microsoft Metro - Windows is not a trendy name, and it doesn't even have windows now anyway!

The desktop one should be Microsoft Windows, and default to the old Windows desktop. It should include Metro (2 operating systems for the price of one! ;-) ) - which normal desktop users can ignore, and touch screen desktop and laptops can switch to (or set as default) if they want a more tablet-like experience.

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Facepalm

Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

The advert showing on TV at the moment sums it up, lots of swiping and arm waving in an exciting 'Minority Report'/'CSI' style and some guff about space and birds. The result of all this faffing about?

A high score in a Star Wars themed version of Angry Birds.

The entire advert sells the product as something you can do on your phone with a flick of your finger, instead of more arm waving than Magnus Pyke* at a rave. Let's face it, unsexy office type stuff is what Windows should do best, pretty much everything else they try is dad dancingly embarrassing. Haven't tried a Windows phone, but I'll take your word for it that they're good. Holly Willoughby likes hers at any rate.

*one for our younger readers.

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Windows

Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

Holly Willoughby still couldn't get me to a Windows Phone. I think James Corden ruined all the good work she did.

I don't miss the start button but I hate the fact that Metro apps and muck and how the start screen interacts with the desktop environment is bloody painful. If they pull Win 8 back to a Win 7 position with metro taking a supporting and not a starring role, then it might be worth the money.

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Headmaster

Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

"Metro apps and muck"

Should read "Metro apps are muck".

Don't know how I did that, but the point is the same. Metro is muck.

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Coat

Magnus Pyke

Magnus Pyke was "a castaway on Desert Island Discs, where he was persuaded, with difficulty, to accept pens, ink and paper as his luxury instead of his first choice of soft crepe lavatory paper."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-magnus-pyke-1558840.html

Jacket -- now where did I put that bog roll?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

I agree with you, the ad is pretty lame. I mean, come on, people in business suits jumping over the tables and doing break dance, is it for this that Win8 is supposed to help me ? Is it a business device or some sort of energizing sugary beverage ?

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Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

I got so fed up with the name "Magnus Pyke" being thrown at me when I was at school... Especially since Magnus Magnusson, another namesake and a far more interesting role model, lived just up the road.

(Sorry, that was completely off-topic. But some things you just have to get off your chest.)

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Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

So, as with so many other commentards on here you're willing to denigrate something you haven't actually used? I have Windows Phone 8 on an HTC 8X and a Nokia Lumia 920 and having had several iPhones and Android phones I FAR prefer WP8. It's slick, smooth, fast, fun and it has all the apps I need.

Oh, and just as a :p to the writer, there IS an Instagram app just not an official one, it's called Itsdagram and it was developed by the peeps at wpcentral.com

What phone do you use just now? A Nokia 3210? I'll bet real money it's a touch screen device.

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Syd
FAIL

They don't JUST need a roadmap...

... they need a roadmap devs will actually believe; and given MS's corporate ADHD* over the past few years this is the root of the problem.

(* The next big thing is... Winforms... oh no, sorry, it's actually Silverlight... oh no, sorry, it's actually WPF... oh no, sorry, it's actually RT...)

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xyz

Re: They don't JUST need a roadmap...

RE...(* The next big thing is... Winforms... oh no, sorry, it's actually Silverlight... oh no, sorry, it's actually WPF... oh no, sorry, it's actually RT...)

Yup, this has been the problem with windows and webby type stuff since about 2001. There's some bloke at MS (no names etc) who seems to think that he can save client server programmers by spinning out the same daft shit with different names. Every morning I wake up and mentally thank the MVC team from saving me from the stupid, backwards crap that MS has come up with ever since some pratt announced design time controls in Interdev.

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Re: They don't JUST need a roadmap...

See, now THAT ladies and gentlemen is what we call an INFORMED OPINION. Well done that man. (or woman, I'm not judging)

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Ive always thought there were one too many (major) variants of Win8 - winPho8+WinRT should merge, 3 different metro apps for - as simpletons see things - the same OS is silly - screen sizes differ, but hardware specs are similar enough to support the same os on both devices, this will create a much more sensible environment for devs which will in turn help the end users, which will in turn help Microsoft...

WinPho8 is nice - better than iOS&android? all have advantages and disadvantages, take application availability out of the equation and all three are equally as good as eachother....

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Def
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Except where the apparently not so simple task of playing a whole album is involved. The music player in Windows Phone 8 can't even do that properly - assuming you think inserting gaps between each track is unacceptable. Just fixing that would mean I could finally ditch my aging iPod and just carry one device around with me.

On the whole I like WP8, but it does have its problems. Some of them simply shouldn't exist in this day and age - doubly so from a company that isn't exactly new to the OS arena.

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Unhappy

Windows 8 is good for something

The initial screen warns every customer without a touch sensitive screen that Microsoft doesn't care about customers. Not enough to even give you an XP-retro option, and certainly not enough to design features to help you.

My question for 2015 is, who can come up with a one-button solution on a USB3 stick to overwrite my outdated Win7.

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Re: Windows 8 is good for something

They give you an internet browser.

And why so many people are hung up on a 13 year old OS that's literally past its sell by date is beyond me.

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Will they ever learn?

One of the key failures with Microsoft's Mobile strategy as seen in CE and WinMo was the dogged insistence on a single Look and Feel. What was good about the Win95 L&F on a PC made no sense whatsoever on a mobile device, touch screen or keypad driven. And now they are seeing the failure from the other side, what makes for a usable touch screen UI on a Tablet, is a major annoyance when it flies in the face of over 20 years of using a mouse + keyboard on the PC.

Whilst the ideal of offering developers a single API and environment to code against is laudable, how can their product managers have not realised the simple truth that the 3 primary form factors they are targeting are used in very different ways, and need different user interfaces. Is the yes-man culture at Redmond so strong that nobody questioned the strategy that is so obviously wrong?

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Too litte too late

Going from phone (yes, we know Andrew and the other couple of users like it) to tablets is still going to mean straddling the ARM/x86 divide that Microsoft have yet to demonstrate that they've mastered.

One should never say never but Apple and Android now have established ecosystems of users, manufacturers and software developers in the mobile space and, by the looks of it, better toolchains for cross-architecture development.

There is still a huge market for really lightweight Windows Pro tablets as notebook replacements: give us the chance to avoid Metro and we'll snap up 1 kg devices in droves. That market will go to the first manufacturers who realise that the x86 notebook is a dying breed.

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Re: Too litte too late

@Charlie Clark

"One should never say never but Apple and Android now have established ecosystems of users, manufacturers and software developers in the mobile space and, by the looks of it, better toolchains for cross-architecture development."

Did I just read that right ... you mention "cross architecture" and "Apple and Android" in the same sentence?

WTF !!!!

Microsoft appears to be the only vendor developing an OS that runs on both ARM and x86 architectures from what I've seen. Apple only have 1 set of hardware specs to work from, Microsoft simply have a basic interface on which their code sits.

Not related to you but ...

I love how Apple does something 10 years after Bill Gates says it will happen and everyone thinks the sun shines out its arse and Microsoft still get met with "some 20 years ago they did something shit so we hate them".

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That horse is dead.

Please desist from flogging it.

The boat already left, and Microsoft weren't on it.

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Re: That horse is dead.

Exactly.

Honestly, who gives a crap any more? Whatever the next big thing is going to be, we know MS are going to:

1. Suddenly realise they're years behind everyone else.

2. Release something stupid with obvious problems that no one wants.

3. PR avalanche - in a 'piles of dead bodies on the piste' kind of a way.

4. GOTO 1.

Watching MS trying to do 21st century IT is like watching marmosets trying to do tensor calculus with an old banana and a boiled egg.

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Windows

Re: That horse is dead.

Precisely. The reason why Microsoft is not doing well in mobile as mobile takes over the world is very simple: We don't like them any more. We have seen them head progress off at the pass for 15 years, and we are ready to escape from that.

Aside, all this fluffing isn't going to get ElReg invites to their launch events, nor emails returned. They don't like you either.

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WTF?

That's not what happened...

Now that Microsoft bigwigs have realised that cramming their desktop operating system into a touchscreen tablet format was unwise

No they haven't. The problem was that they crammed a mobile platform onto the desktop and expected people to embrace it. You're now twisting the events around.

This is of course not saying that this didn't happen; but that moment is already past us a long time ago. Its when Microsoft decided to dump Windows Mobile 6 and redesign the whole OS which resulted in Windows Phone 7. You know: Windows Mobile which included a start menu, making many people wonder why you'd need that if all you wanted to do was to start programs?

I also think its important to realize that there's nothing wrong with Metro perse. The problem is that Microsoft thinks of Metro as an all-base-covering solution while it's not. I honestly enjoy and appreciate Metro on my Windows Phone 7.5 (I didn't care for the upgrade to the WP8-like environment), but I hate it when I start seeing live tiles on my PC in a place I only want to use to (quickly) get access to my programs.

I also think the design of Metro is actually quite slick, also from a developers perspective. The sandbox model can really help to enhance security.

But its simply not a proper design for the desktop. You can't expect people to mimic a hand swipe with a mouse cursor, because under normal circumstances a click with the right mouse button would be used.

However, it seems the days of Microsoft "domination" are really behind us it seems. People don't blindly buy into stuff because it's new, also because they don't have to. Once Microsoft starts realizing this small issue who knows what could happen...

I'm honestly hoping for a ground breaking Windows 9 sort of environment. I disliked Vista but loved 7. I'm sure Microsoft can pull it off again, if they really try.

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Headmaster

@ShelLuser: Re: That's not what happened...

Now that Microsoft bigwigs have realised that cramming their desktop operating system into a touchscreen tablet format was unwise

No they haven't. The problem was that they crammed a mobile platform onto the desktop and expected people to embrace it. You're now twisting the events around.

It's not twisting the events at all. They *did* cram their desktop OS into a mobile format. Your response is more or less saying the same thing, in that I think you are saying they crammed a mobile format onto the desktop OS

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Too many abandoned non intel platforms from Microsoft.

Microsoft have abandoned many non Intel platforms. And by abandoned I mean leaving the software unable to be run on a new system and the hardware unable to be upgraded. (whereas other systems usually have a progression where the same software can be used on different versions of a system, and often the devices can be upgraded to the new OS.)

This suggestion would add Windows RT to the list.

Who would risk this again and buy a new Microsoft tablet system?

And I think the reason MS don't mind being in 4th place is because they are competing with iOS rather than Android. (Locked down to an app store.) They have taken down Symbian, and given most of its market share to Android.

They earn money from Android.

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Re: Too many abandoned non intel platforms from Microsoft.

I think this is a good point, not just about processor architecture. Their lack of focus and long-term product strategy is starting to hurt them badly. So many failures like the Zune devices and the infamous Kin, plus early WP7 adopters getting left in a near dead-end.

Who is brave enough to be an early adopter on a Microsoft product any more? And that's a bit of a cyclic problem because with no early adopters a product can never go mainstream.

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Re: Too many abandoned non intel platforms from Microsoft.

Zune stuffed people from both ends.

People and companies who bought into "plays for sure" get stuffed when MS killed it to make room for Zune (they get all the money).

Then zune never when any place. The hardware was not bad, but like Sony who had good sounding players, the whole package was lacking.

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mdc

The problem...

... with all of this is that Microsoft launched Surface at roughly the same time as Windows 8.

You see, Metro was never designed for tablets. I should know, I was one of the people who designed it; and I did so primarily for keyboard usage. not touchscreens. The "chromeless" design simply lends itself well to touchscreen use as well, which is why it was initially trialled as a replacement for Windows Mobile. As a non-core market, it was a pretty low-risk environment that was used to gain customer and critical feedback on the design principles.

Unfortunately, this led to people thinking that Windows 8 was somehow WP7 ported to desktops, which couldn't be further from the truth. The goal with Metro was ALWAYS keyboard first.

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Re: The problem...

Interesting post. I'd like to hear more about how Metro is supposed to work with keyboard and mouse.

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FAIL

Re: The problem...

Designed with keyboard and mice in mind? Really?

Is that why we have no right click, no start bar, and after years of clicking on icons we get invisible corners?

As far as interfaces go, I'd say the "smart corners" are the worst aspect of it, The moment you hide functions away from the end user and behind an invisible button you are asking for trouble as without a visual clue to click here they will not be used.

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Re: The problem...

This is a really interesting assertion (that Metro was designed for keyboard usage). I too would really like to see more details of the design principles, even just a blog post.

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Re: The problem...

Couldn't agree more; although I personally had fuck all to do with designing the thing :)

Keyboard shortcuts and all the stuff that you, and in this case I do mean YOU added in to Windows 8 have been a revelation. I have railed and railed about how great W8 is and I just don't get how so many people don't get it. EVERYTHING I do with my computer is faster on Windows 8 and while I'm working I don't think I even see the Metro interface. All the programs I use most often are pinned to the taskbar or the desktop and if I do want to open something else I usually just hit win then the first three letters of the app and it's there. Less mouse clicks, less faffing about.

I can, begrudgingly, understand why some people don't like to have the Metro interface foisted on them and if MS do, as is planned, unify the code bases and allow boot to desktop then I think that will be a huge boost. Please don't get rid of Metro altogether though because it's the most fun my PC has ever been.

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