Sunday, May 06, 2012

Sorry, Windows Phone 7.5. You really need a serious make over, really.

Maybe I hoped too much about Windows Phone 7.5. In short, it is very disappointing. It is just like a failed iPhone imitation.

Last month, I received my Lumia 710. It is the only Windows Phone available in Korea yet. I know it is a cheap model. I am not complaining about the hardware itself. What I am going to complain about is the software.

Let's say.. The only things I liked about WP 7.5 are the nice built-in sound clips (way better than those in Android or iOS, in my personal opinion) and the smoothness of the UI.

I do not know where to start... First of all, it is all tied to Microsoft services which are not very mature as Google's. I can only use Bing as my search engine. I can only use Bing map. But the Bing search engine sucks. One strange thing as an Android user is that pressing search button always brings the bing search screen, not the search feature of the application. For example, on Android if you were playing music and you pressed the search button, it searches songs in the music player. On WP 7.5, it brings the Bing search. To search in applications, you have to press the application's custom on-screen search button (if it has any).

I think the tile system will eventually thrown away. It is just inferior to icon + widgets. Icon + widgets can do everything tiles do. My 4-inch Android phone normally displays 25 icons on one screen. But Windows Phone can display only 8 tiles maximum on one screen. That means, if you have many applications, you have to scroll many many times. All applications are listed in a one-in-a-line manner, so you have to scroll many times there, too.

Lack of notification system really sucks. If you missed an e-mail while using a program, you will never notice it until you lock the screen or you go to the tile screen and scroll down to the e-mail tile.

Lack of widgets or shortcut menus really makes it tedious to use the phone. For example, if you want to toggle the airplane mode, you have to go to all applications, scroll down to settings then go to airplane mode. On Android, you can just press the power button long, or use widgets, or the quick button on the menu (if you are using a Korean phone).

There are really few applications other than games on the Marketplace. It has passed about one year since WP first came out, but still there are really few number of apps. Why? Well I do not know, but it seems like Microsoft is trying to be an Apple. To run the  apps you compiled on your own WP hardware, you have to pay MS $99 each year and you can use three devices. This probably bars casual developers from starting development for WP. For Android, it is just one-time $25.

Applications are also immature compared to Android and iOS version. If you have used Android, you would remember the time when Android version sucked when compared to iOS version. Windows Phone version usually lacks features.

There are so many shortcomings that I feel tired to enumerate them all. And there are very little features that iOS or Android are not already providing. There seems to be no reason to switch to Windows Phone now for most of the people.  It is not a surprise that Windows Phone has such a low share. It is actually decreased (2.7% in 2010 to 1.5% in 2011). There is really no attraction in Windows Phone for both users and developers.

Sorry, Microsoft. If you do not throw away the stupid tile UI, introduce a nice notification system, make shortcuts, provide richer API in Windows Phone 8. I think it will fail miserably, too.

When people say "no", it means no. Do not try to convince people that what they hate is actually a good thing for them.


Anonymous said...

There are few very annoying items in WP7
- pointless animation when pressing tile to launch an app (the flip animation is nice the first few times, but boring and time wasting after a while)
- controls on the camera app takes up too much space since they are not transparent. On a 3.5 screen the video area is way too small.
- layout of wp7 app is stupid with big font title and requires paning all the time to access information

Anonymous said...

You are basing your opinion on a misconception that everyone wants what you want.. I have two family members who like the simplicity of the interface.. one has android and one has an iPhone..
Both switched to the Nokia 710 and have never looked back..
Android Music service is horrible and iTunes is inferior to Zune pass.. all the music I want for 7 bucks.
obviously you have nothing better to do with your time then to customize your phone.. Maybe once you get a job have a family you'll find playing with your phone is not as important as you thought..
and if you do have all those things.. perhaps you should put the phone down and spend some time with your family instead..
I unlock my screen and bang I have all the important notifications I need.. no messing around.. From weather to twitter to Mail to text messages.. My iPhone didn't do that and Neither does Android out of the box..
WP7 is Fast.. and that's what I need I don't want to be looking at my phone all the time.. I prefer living..

Try looking up once in a while from your phone.. you’ll find a whole world around you..

Jeong-hun Sin said...

Hey, "Anonymous":
That is exactly what I feel. Flip animations looked cool on the first day, but now when I switch multiple pages, it is just annoying (seems to be no option to turn off the animation).
The UI is wasting too much space on a limited screen like a mobile phone...

I just wonder how many people think like us and what Microsoft is going to do about it.

Jeong-hun Sin said...

Boy it is hard to distinguish one commenter from another when they all use the name "Anonymous".

To the second "Anonymous", yes you may be right if you look think like that. As people are getting old, they do not want to waste their time on new things. They come to realize that their time is limited, and they stick to what they have.

So, if you like Windows Phone's people tiles and music services, it is the right phone for you, but not for many (I suppose) people like me.

I do not know what the "whole world" has to do about screen real estate efficiency, though.

Alex said...

So you wanted it to be Android and it's not - what a surprise! Windows Phone is a great fresh alternative to iOS and the like.

As for marketshare - you are comparing Windows Mobile numbers from 2010 with Windows Phone numbers from 2011. Completely different OS, end of it.

And don't tell me you did not discover app list - you know that tiles are for notifications (and not just to launch apps) right?

Anonymous said...

Thats why WP7 gets the best user ratings. Even Siri tells us it is the best smartphone OS.

You obviously don't get live tiles notifications, startscreen pinned programs, how fast and fluid a smartphone OS must be and how MS made WP7 always fast and fluid and very stable. Notifications in a blink of an eye with live tiles. Instant hit of apps with pinned programs.