Qapla’, Windows Phone

Around the end of 2010, I won a HTC Surround in a Twitter contest sponsored by Qualcomm. It was something to do with the new Snapdragon chipset and I happened to get lucky. Oddly enough, shortly thereafter I won a XBOX from a similar contest held by Dice.com, but that’s not related to this post. I won one of the very first Windows Phone 7 devices,and thus began my love affair with the platform.

Having been thru Android (HTC EVO on Sprint) and a few revisions of the iPhone (Original, 3G, and the 4) I was ready for change. Also, I liked the concept of the UI, it reminded me of the Zune, possibly my favorite media player… (I still have a working Zune HD!) I had high hopes for Microsoft’s new platform, hopes that would later become despair.

As you know, Nokia is perhaps (was perhaps) the most well known manufacturer of Windows Phone devices, and I’ve had three of them: The Lumia 900, 920, and now – the 1020. I’m sure you’re familiar with the 1020, it’s the one in the commercial above where¬†the people are at the very back of the concert and are zoomed in like it’s the front row.

We (WinPhone users) were lured in to the Windows Phone with the promise, however implied, that major apps were on their way. To this day, we are missing an official Instagram client, major banking apps, RSA SecureID/token apps, Citrix apps, Starbucks, and other major applications. Were I a gamer, I’d be upset there’s no Candy Crush Saga for Windows Phone.

It’s incredibly frustrating, and sure, there are 3rd party apps. You’d be amazed how many companies open their APIs to the masses for use. This blessing provided us with a working Pandora app for years, although unofficial. Or functional Google Voice apps. Also, 3rd party apps are sketchy. They may authenticate against your account in an unsafe method, they may store your information or intercept it, or never get updated. Also, the company powering the API that makes the app work could change it at any moment. A problem frequently experienced by users of 3rd party “Nest Thermostat” and the aforementioned “Pandora” app. When they break, we mus rely on the developer to find a fix, if he/she can.

You may ask, “But what will you go to? You are so integrated into the Microsoft platform.” You’re right. I use a lot of Microsoft services.

  • Outlook.com (Paid yearly subscription)
  • Zune/XBOX Music
  • Windows Azure (storage and virtual servers)
  • OneDrive
  • Windows 7 and 8

Turns out, however, Outlook.com will work fine on Android and iPhone including push email, calendars, and contacts sync. And there’s a Microsoft OneDrive app for iOS and Android, so I can sync photos, and access documents securely on the go. There is no music app, but I’ve become disillusioned with that app, as of late and plan to replace it with Rdio or something similar.

In addition to the lack of apps, the hardware on the Nokia Lumia 1020 is an abysmal failure. Sure, the camera’s great, I love that bit. But the phone, I can’t hear via the earpiece. Even after having the device swapped out a few times, unless it is totally quiet around me, I won’t be able to hear the person at the other end. (Yes, the volume is all the way up). Also, another quirk I hate, when I am on the phone and take the phone away from my face, perhaps to look up something in the web browser. it minimizes the call. It’s probably the stupidest thing, but no, don’t do that. Leave the call up, let me minimize it and go back to what I was doing. Sometimes I just look at my phone to see something and find I can’t push “back” enough, to get back to the call. Noooope. I have to tap “return to call” at the top. irritating!

One thing I will not miss is the Music app on Windows Phone. Once heralded by users, now it’s a bane to our existence. It’s slow, it crashes, it slurs songs as though it had too many bourbons. A testament to the inefficiency of coders at Microsoft. They wouldn’t know quality if it bit them in the ass.

Originally I posted this article with a list of apps on WinPhone and iOS, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s time for change. It may not be permanent, but we’ll see.

As always, any questions, comments, concerns, contact me.