back to article Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update

Microsoft's private viewing of Windows Phone 8.1 has been opened to all comers*, many of whom don't like what they see. Despite the modest increment, Windows Phone 8.1 is the biggest update in Windows Phone's history - and is possibly the most extensive update made to any smartphone platform. Features such as the Cortana voice …


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  1. Bob Vistakin

    "a thread of gripes on user site WPCentral has reached almost 1,000 comments in three days"

    That's because the Microsoft shills are all here! Quick, scurry off to downvote/delete/apologise or whatever over in your own back yard...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "a thread of gripes on user site WPCentral has reached almost 1,000 comments in three days"

      Give it a rest Bob, you're getting tedious now.

      Don't like Windows Phone 8/8.1? We get that and that's fine.

      Carping on about just because you can really is wearing thin...

      Don't head down the same path as Eadon did....

      I've read a lot of your previous posts and you seem to be a relatively elucidated chap...

      Lets keep that persona eh!!

    2. dogged

      Re: "a thread of gripes on user site WPCentral has reached almost 1,000 comments in three days"

      Hey Bob, why is it you only ever post on MS related articles and only to criticize the products and call people shills?

      Is it your job?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like it wont be ready by the summer then as originally planned?!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    KitKat - no complaints?

    I've been enjoying the hell out of my shiny new KitKat mob for the past week, and suddenly noticed something odd - very few complaints in the entirety of the twitterverse/blogosphere about this version of Android. Normally when a new version of something with this many striking changes comes out, I'm used to seeing all the wailing and screaming and hair pulling like with iOS7 and BB10 and already with this Win 8.1 update.

    What's the deal? Are people in general enjoying a tasty KitKat bar as much as I am? Are there no KitKat trolls rustling around in the underbrush?

    1. ItsNotMe

      Re: KitKat - no complaints?

      Hey dumb-arse...there are PLENTY of problems with Kit-Kat.

      Moto G Android 4.4 KitKat Update Problems Emerge

      What to do when Android KitKat has ruined your life...OK ...

      KitKat giving you battery drain problems? Try uninstalling ...

      And on...and on...and on... EVERY OS has teething pains...especially when they are Betas, or Dev Previews. Now, back under your bridge.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: KitKat - no complaints?

        @ItsNotMe - "Hey dumb-arse...there are PLENTY of problems with Kit-Kat."

        Panties in a twist much?

        Good collection of articles though. Looks like I've been fortunate to avoid any connection or battery draining problems. Looks like a lot of the connection problems are on European networks. I did see that IHeartRadio was my biggest battery draining app, so I uninstalled it yesterday. Maybe that app is a drainer on other phones too though. I don't use Skype, so don't know about that one. Battery life has been good. One of the few phones I don't have to charge up at some point during the day.

    2. Kristian Walsh

      Re: KitKat - no complaints?

      Despite the name changing from a J to K, 4.4 really is just a "0.1" release; bugfixes, a few APIs and performance enhancements. Nothing to get excited about from a user's point of view. It fixes stuff people didn't like, and doesn't add too much new stuff for them to dislike.

      WindowsPhone 8.1, on the other hand, despite being named like a "0.1" release is a actually a huge revision to 8.0. In Android terms, it's like the move from Gingerbread to Ice-cream Sandwich. Holding the version at "8.1" is a marketing decision, basically, to support the message that there's now a common API for both desktop and mobile "8.1" platforms.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: KitKat - no complaints?

      They're all too busy trolling over at WPCentral? :-P

    4. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: KitKat - no complaints?

      Well, Android users have low expectations, like 25 email messages max is normal. Have they increased it in Lion^H^H^H^HKitKat?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: KitKat - no complaints?

        @Hans - "Well, Android users have low expectations, like 25 email messages max is normal."

        I haven't the slightest idea what you are referring to. Is there some hidden limit in this email program?

        Seems to scroll down through quite a few hundred messages, and the search results returns things from a couple of years ago if you want to go back far enough. It's IMAP - I think the technology is pretty well feature-set by now, 28 years after Xerox wrote it for its "TOPS 20" servers. Are you referring to some kind of POP3 download limitation? I haven't bothered with POP3 on a phone since the earliest days of experimentation with my first Blackberry. Seems like a bit of a heavy data requirement for a phone to have to handle.

  4. websey


    If you have enough sense to be able to read a how to install 8.1 you should be able to read that this is a preview,

    I myself am lucky and haven't got any of these bugs speaker phone, power button etc.

    But i am a developer and am using this to develop against.

    If you are so fucking stupid as not to be able to read

    a) developer preview

    b) Preview for Developers (app name)

    and make a connection to it being a developer item then you should be taken out back and shot.....

    1. Big_Ted

      Re: RTFM

      @ websey

      Agree 100%

      I installed it to try out creating anapp to see how hard it would be and I only did it as its my backup phone and not my daily use one.

      OK so a Nokia 920 is a bit OTT for backup but I couldn't resist the price at Tescos a while back.

      Anyone instally this is a stupid as someone doing so with an untested android ROM etc, you should at least have the brains to wait a week or so for problemsto appear, oh and the can't go back to version 8.0 message has also been a blind spot for some as I see posts asking how to return to it......

      Oh and my phone seems sooth as silk and problem free so I guess I'mlucky with it.

    2. hplasm Silver badge

      Re: RTFM

      TFM says This is a Developers Version.

      Then- We've done as much as we can with it. See what you can fix for us. Thanks. MS.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: RTFM

        @hplasm No. More this is roughly how it will look when it is released and the APIs are complete, please start to write apps for the new platform for when it is released, but bear in mind that it might not be 100% stable yet.

    3. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: RTFM

      >Developer Version

      Aren't all Microsoft products "Developer Versions" ? Shit, care to name one ?

  5. The Black Hand


    Finally VPN support comes to Windows Phone.

    For a so-called business phone it's been a glaring omission since launch.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: VPN

      > For a so-called business phone it's been a glaring omission since launch.

      Man, I misread that as "...a glaring omission since LUNCH"

  6. Rallicat

    Wow, people being vocal about mostly the bad stuff and keeping quiet about what they like? What an astute observation!

    Seriously though, of course people are going to complain about the bad stuff. There are bugs in 8.1 - it is, as you say, a preview, but what you complain about depends on your usage pattern. I for example, never really 'got' the integrated hubs. I use twitter a lot but never used the built-in system for that. It couldn't handle multiple accounts, couldn't handle direct messages, and was just generally 'lacking' compared to a fully fledged, dedicated app. That Microsoft are recognising this and de-emphasizing the integrated stuff doesn't really affect me - but others may be disappointed. They'll adapt, change happens, and happens on any mobile platform including iOS and Android.

    For me the experience is a positive one, I like the new notification centre, I like the new swipe keyboard, I like the new start screen layout and customisation options. All of the 'new' features (as opposed to changed ones) /are/ being generally well received. How do I know this? because there are very few comments about it. People don't tend to take to forums about features they approve of - only the ones they don't.

    To be fair to Microsoft, this 'early access' approach was as much an enthusiast program as it was a developer program. Most people only hear about these sorts of things if they care about their phone enough -and are enthusiastic about it enough- to start reading sites like WPCentral. How else would they hear about these sorts of routes to get updates early.

    Overall this update is a hugely positive step forward in most ways.

  7. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    Sounds to me...

    Like you bought the wrong phone. Mind you, you probably figured that one out in the first couple of weeks.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like it's slowly being changed into an Android or iOS style user experience.

    1. dogged

      Not really. I have a L920 running it at the moment as dev/test machine and it's still very much a WPx phone, just with more stuff and a fancy voice assistant if you change your language and region to US.

      The assistant is kind of fun but insists on calling me "Dave" when refusing to open the pod bay doors.

  9. jason 7 Silver badge

    The dilema for MS.

    Windows Phone 8 needs to be more like Android and IOS

    Windows Phone 8 needs to be less like Android and IOS

    Maybe they should have bought WebOS cos everyone loved that.

    But then it would immediately switch to being shit, just because...

    Just do your own thing MS, do your own thing.

  10. jrb

    exactly the kind of content I expected from el Reg.

    so here's how it actually is.

    1) no one commenting here has a windows phone, and updated it to 8.1. I have, and have been using it since it went live.

    2) I've been following reddit,com/rwindowsphone for the past few days, the reality is a practically everyone is happy with the update. There are however the following issues that people seem to uniformly agree on

    1) xbox music app is really not very good at all, and for those subscribing to the "xbox pass" music subscription it has lost a key function. the ability to see new music.

    2) previously games were hidden from the app list, instead stored in their own games container. now they're in the app list. People don't like unexpected change, and this was never publicised.

    3) in certain places the hubs aren't at first, as nice as they used to be. The general issue people have is they think they cannot see social media feeds under specific contacts, or under the people hub. They can, that functionality in its entirety is still there.

    People also think they cannot access their facebook photos from the photos hub. they can, that function is still there in its entirety.

    So what has really changed is

    a) the music hub is 100% gone, it's now an app. A rubbish app.

    b) some of the facebook integration has gone, e.g. you can't see the facebook photos of a contact in their profile, or see what new photos have been uploaded by other people in the photos hub. Remember, we didn't have a facebook app when WP launched, now we have a good one developed by Microsoft that doesn't come with all the fluff that the official app does on other platforms. :-)

    everything else 8.1 brings, and there is A LOT, is very very nice, especially if you have been using Cortana.

    > Websey said "RTFM If you have enough sense to be able to read a how to install 8.1 you should be able to read that this is a preview,"

    this is a feature complete release, it's RTM (released to manufacturing), not RTFM. But will microsoft stop with development of WP? Of course not, most of the OS is split out in to Apps that can easily be updated bypassing carriers.

    1. Adam Jarvis

      Xbox music App is crap because they have licensed iTunes for WP

      Has the development been left behind for Xbox music App, because they have done a cross deal with Apple for iTunes, in exchange for Office.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I don't like it because it's different to the iOS and Android!"

    "I don't like it because it's trying to be more like iOS and Android!"

  12. Timo

    I would almost want more integrated into "hubs"

    I have an old WP7.5 model, and it does do some pretty cool stuff with the communication history, matching up phone calls with SMS's, giving an overall view. I wish that it was more prominent in the phone as I stumble across it every now and then. It works great, especially when you've just had an SMS exchange with someone and you want to switch to a voice conversation.

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    I'm confused

    I thought 8.1 was going to be installed on the new phones that will be available this month. Will this also be the Preview Release?

  14. hugh wanger

    @jrb thanks for posting some factual content.

    I love my Lumia 920 with 8.1 (posting from it now)

    Luvin' my background, notification centre, swype style keyboard. More tiles on front screen.

    The smart WiFi that auto logs you on to free WiFi (ewven those that requires form filling)

    WI-FI toggle that turns off for 1 hour which is useful for me. Its a totally awesome phone OS

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      My (gingerbread) android does that. It's a real nuisance. Whenever it sees an open wifi (ie everything with a signup page) it connects to it and sets a default route there. Of course, it doesn't work because it doesn't do the signup stuff - but it does stop the 3G IP route from working.

      Result : if I don't want to sign up to some wretched 'free' wifi, I have to turn the wifi off before I can use 3G.

  15. jimbo60

    not exactly

    I've been in those forums, and I have the 8.1 preview installed. So I know that about one third of those thousand comments are of the "I'm not seeing that problem" variety, and about two thirds of the rest are "me too" comments. And some of the problem, while likely very real, are inconsistent. Some people are seeing terribly battery drain problems. Others are seeing no problem at all or even improved battery life.

    I think the article sums up the main issues pretty well, though: that's not a lot of problems, but a few real stinkers. And the music apps and ecosystem have sucked ever since Microsoft changed Zune to Xbox Music, so while that's not a new problem, somehow it's been getting worse every release since WP8 and W8 came out.

    1. Davie Dee

      Re: not exactly

      I've had a read an I suspect those reporting a worse battery life were probably being very efficient before the update. Those with better battery life were not, some of the default settings are more energy efficient but there is a lot more around location info an background tasks so its likely you'll see this difference of opinion based on their previous settings, obviously being a test there will be more savings to come but I don't think its currently the end of the world as some of those comments suggested

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just one troll so far, you're confusing them

    Usually the Ms apologism and smackdown are in separate articles, that seems to work better than trying to combine into one

  17. K Cartlidge

    How I (mostly) sorted my battery issue with a 720 and WP8.1

    I noticed the increased drain and went to the Settings > Background option to see what was running. Only there's no longer such an option.

    So I lived with it for a day, then did a quick search and found the (not obvious) equivalent in the Battery Saver. The list of apps in the Usage area there shows a small message against those you can change, detailing if they are allowed to run in the background.

    I went through the list and realising that a whole heap of previously blocked apps had gained permission to run in the background I turned them off again.

    The battery life is still not quite as good as it was, but notably better than just after the upgrade.

    Also on the topic of battery life, if (like me) you have Cortana activated you'll no doubt be aware that regardless of what you intend using it for you *must* have location settings turned on. That's a bg drain in itself, so personally I'm in the habit of using the new toggle in the notification area to switch location on or off as needed.

    One other little thing I find helpful that nobody really mentions is in the WiFi settings. When you switch off your WiFi you get the option of having it switch back on automatically after an hour, 4 hours and so on. When I commute or pop out at lunchtime I can switch off the WiFi (continual network searching hurts the battery) and not need to remember to reactivate it.

  18. Hans 1 Silver badge

    >I also found the on-device search pretty unusable.

    Yeah, just like on XP, where they decided to hide all interesting things by default and introduced a little dog to calm your nerves while you where looking for the search options.

  19. DaddyHoggy

    Having played with lots of different phones recently, my 12yo dyslexic daughter settled on a WP8 phone, a Nokia Lumia 620 because for her, the layout and integration of functionality made perfect sense (she likes her Win8 laptop too - go figure). She never really got on with my wife's old HTC Desire S, so for her to be enthused about a phone is encouraging (she's reached that age where she wants to increase her independence and has started to communicate via grunts and texts). So, I'll be hoping that when 8.1 rolls out to the masses it's not too different from what she has grown to love.

    1. Davie Dee

      Its sad to see someone down vote your comment, I can only assume it was because either you suggested someone may like an MS product or you have the audacity to suggest an android device is anything but perfect for everyone's needs, anyhow I shall apologise on behalf of the community in the event it wasn't a miss placed click an someone is being daft.

      Having been in a similar situation with an elderly relative I know exactly what you mean. She tried half a dozen different phones 3 of which were android based and none came close to her Ativ s, she loves the simplicity, how it just makes sence and doesn't need to keep feeling bad because she no longer needs to "bother" people with her sillieness.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems Microsoft still doesn't 'get' it..

    It started when they released WP7. The first thing which any business / more serious user noted was the lack of a todo list. That problem, combined with several others, alienated quite a few people who were perfectly happy with Windows Mobile.

    Then WP8 came out and it became obvious straight away that the current batch of devices wouldn't be able to keep up due to hardware restraints. Which most users considered quite odd. After all; it was Microsoft themselves which demanded that any device which should run WP would meet some very specific hardware demands. This move alienated a lot of people who expected somewhat the same which you get with Windows: a product which gets supported for a (very) long time.

    Heck, if only that was the main issue... This isn't even addressing the change of the interface for example. Where my WP7.5 phone can display 8 medium sized tiles at the same time; the newer interface can't do that anymore. You get either very small (4 mini tiles in one large tile), a large tile or a double tile. But only 6 large tiles fit on the screen at the same time. Effectively alienating, once again, people who got accustomed to it. Example: with one blink of an eye I see my missed calls, new e-mails for both personal and business use (2 tiles), unread text messages and the current weather. While ALSO giving me one-touch access to the people hub (contacts list), me hub (notifications, checking in, etc.) and Office mobile.

    And yeah; I like that little arrow in the upper right corner. It even helps people who have never used Windows Phone to try and "move" the screen to see "if it points to more stuff".

    Needless to say; this simply sounds like yet another screw up. Yes, I like playing games from time to time but I don't like them cluttering up my apps list. I love the games hub; you start it when you feel like playing a game, then you can chose which one since they're all listed.

    The hubs are also a huge issue; my people hub for example gives me access to everything. I can contact people through calling, e-mailing, texting or even social media. All from one single location.

    Of course I'm not complaining. I'm still using WP7.5 and will continue to do so for the next 2 years (just got a sim-only renewal). Why change something if it works for you? I put appointments in Outlook (2010) and I see them appear on my phone and vice versa. The only limitation is that it can't synchronize todo items with Outlook. But seeing how WP8.1 is even planning on removing those todo's all together I guess Microsoft hasn't made much progress there (for me OneNote eventually filled in the gap).

    Microsoft really needs to start realizing that if you alienate people from your products then they'll either stay put or move away. In both situations you won't be making much money from them.

    1. dogged

      Re: It seems Microsoft still doesn't 'get' it..

      > Then WP8 came out and it became obvious straight away that the current batch of devices wouldn't be able to keep up due to hardware restraints.

      You do talk some utter crap. The L520 is probably the lowest hardware smartphone out there and a) it keeps up just fine and b) it keeps up well enough to get the 8.1 update.

      The fact that you're too cheap to pay 50 euros for a new phone off-contract and you're terrified of any change at all is nobody's problem but yours.

  21. st4yr4d

    i wouldnt be too worried, if people dont like the changes it will take them all of another 2 years before the next update is ever launched... *sigh*

  22. Wang N Staines

    Porn hub

    That's the one I missed on my phone.

  23. Davie Dee

    I'm using it just now. Essentially everything added is looking really good bar a few early development issues. Unfortunately everything they removed has made it worse. The hubs were fantastic once you used them properly. Music, messaging, Games, me, are all a waste of time now. I get the need to have apps do the work rather than system functions but these early impressions of these hubs are terrible. However. In saying all that, as I mentioned the things they added in are a great welcome. The various different 'sense' apps keyboard functions, numerous new settings, VPN, slightly better podcast function (buggered by crap music hub) calendar, wallpaper, icon graphics, Bluetooth seems more stable. Volume controls alarms and audio settings... I could go on an on, simply put MS. Put the hubs back together an we're almost perfect :)

  24. john devoy

    Well they DO tell you multiple times it is not a final release version.

  25. Duncan 4

    Love it

    I've updated my 925 and my wife’s 820, I know it's a developer release but what the heck! It's a huge update in many ways. The biggies for us are the home screen, I now have everything I need including 4 email accounts and several apps without the need for scrolling and it just looks so much cooler adding a background to the tiles. Swipe typing works perfectly and coupled with the WP dictionary is very effective. I had a play with cortana (I like to call it Cortina as in ford) and it works well but voice recognition isn't really for me as I can type, guess if you're hands free this kind of thing makes sense or if you think you look cool speaking to your phone "phone! please call mum." I loved my WP before now I just love it more, given my old iphone to my 10 year old son, after all it's just a toy in comparison.

    Past experience tells me I probably should have waited for a full release before updating but couldn't resist, so far so good guess, time will tell...

  26. Duncan 4

    its awesome!

    Applied to to mine and my wife's. Loving it all other than cortana voice recognition, isn't for me as I have fingers, guess if you're a hands free roadwarrior it might be handy. I loved the look and feel of WP before but its coolness rating has just been multiplied by 10. As is often the case ita the smallest stuff that makes the biggest difference! Basically love it an no problems so far either

  27. GENGHIS7777

    Agenda View is still there

    The Agenda View in Calendar hasn't been deprecated, just moved. Tap any particular day in the Weekly View and the Agenda for that day appears.

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