Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

Summary: Windows Phone 7 may not be flying off the shelves, but in my extensive experience the platform is the most stable and reliable out there. I recommend that you at least give the platform a try because it is NOTHING like Windows Mobile and the Microsoft name does not kill the experience.

SHARE:

As regular readers know, I have used nearly every mobile phone operating system over the years and bounce around between devices, operating systems, and carriers faster than most people I know. I have been using Windows Phone 7 since July 2010 and can say without a doubt that Windows Phone 7 has been the most stable and reliable mobile phone operating system I have ever used, even counting the early technical preview and current beta development versions of Mango that I have been running on my phones. People may have preconceived notions about Microsoft's mobile platform given that Pocket PC and Windows Mobile had issues, but you can throw all of that out the window and if you give Windows Phone 7 an honest chance I think you will find out the same thing.

My first data-enabled phone was the original T-Mobile Sidekick and then a Nokia Series 60 device. I then moved through various Palm Treos, Windows Mobile phones (smartphone and Pocket PC), a couple BlackBerrys, more Symbian phones, some iPhones, several Android phones, a couple webOS Palm phones, and a few Windows Phone 7 devices. I won't go back to the "old days" when I had Palm OS phones and Windows Mobile phones since they are not applicable now and were quite unstable compared to today's phones, but these are my experiences with each of the current modern platforms.

I will say that some platform instability likely comes from 3rd party software and sometimes even defective hardware. I think you will see in my discussions of each platform that there are some issues even if the 3rd party software is well developed.

Android

Out of the six modern smartphone operating systems, Android is clearly the least stable of them all. I have seen numerous low memory issues, force close warnings, random resets, freezes on apps and connections, and more. With so many different manufacturers, different versions of the OS out and available, and thousands of apps that are clearly not built well enough to prevent issues Android is clearly in last in the stability department.

Apple iOS

I was blown away by the sheer speed and fluidity of the first iPhone, especially when compared to my Windows Mobile phones. iOS is a very user friendly platform and for the most part is fairly stable. However, I have experienced complete lockups and failure to launch on every iPhone and even on my iPad 2. The iOS experience is funny because something will get goofed up in the OS and then tapping an app to launch it gives you an impression it is starting up and then you are taken right back to the home screen with no indication or explanation at all. You can keep doing this and always get returned to the home screen. I understand they don't want to confuse the consumer, but some indication of what corrective action needs to be taken would be helpful.

It is also not always clear how to get an iOS device back up and running. There is no battery to remove so you have to generally follow a button press routine and maybe even have to connect to a desktop to restore your device.

BlackBerry

There have been some rock solid BlackBerry devices in the past, but over the last couple of years the models I have used have disappointed me at times, in regards to stability. The main issue I have experienced with BlackBerry devices is a lock up/freeze where the device gives you the impression it is doing something in the background, but then that never changes and you have to perform a battery pull to get things started again. I still think this is one reason RIM continues to have removable batteries on their devices.

Symbian

It's been just about 10 years since I started using Nokia's Symbian and for a long time they were my most stable platform. Then Nokia started messing with the hardware too much and skimping on internal capacities. I think many of the issues I had on Symbian were related to low internal memory. Then again, both of the Nokia N8 devices in my house randomly just lock up and won't let the touch screen be used to activate anything so a reset is required.

webOS

Palm's webOS (HP didn't keep it going long enough to count in the name) has been quite stable, but still not perfect and I did experience a few random resets and freezes on my devices in the past. It does take a while for the initial sync when you setup lots of services, but I don't count that as an instability. There have been issues in the past with backup and restore failures though and when you are relying on the cloud for so much, this just cannot happen. I also experience weird double key entry issues, but that may have been due to the crappy webOS hardware, which in and of itself was a failure of the platform.

Palm does have a major community built around hacking webOS and there are many hacks available that address issues with the platform so you can make your device more stable and reliable by following the guidance of the webOS Internals team.

Windows Phone 7

Zero! That is how many times I have seen a reset on ANY Windows Phone 7 device that I have been using in over a year. During that time I have used at least six WP7 devices on all four wireless carriers. This includes running the early tech preview on the first WP7 device all the way through the latest RTM version of Mango I have on my HTC HD7. I even have the Dell Venue Pro, with a 32GB microSD card in it, that has been rock solid stable even though I have read a number of reports of issues with that device. I don't know if I have just been blessed with an uncanny knack for using stable WP7 devices, but from what I read online there are many more customers just as pleased as I am with the stability of Windows Phone 7.

The only issue I have seen on Windows Phone 7 is an occasional temporary freeze as many things are downloading at once, but I have not had to perform a soft reset or a battery pull on the devices yet. This only happened to me a couple times in the earlier version of WP7 prior to the NoDo and Mango updates.

I get comments from readers that Windows Phone 7 is junk and think these people likely have never used WP7 or just have a hatred for anything from Microsoft. I have been getting more comments from readers that have actually tried WP7 and the majority of them agree that it is a very good mobile operating system that continues to get better.

Most of these mobile platforms are getting more stable as we move forward, but then again we still have companies releasing devices as beta for the consumers to test and then get expected updates later to address problems that should have been taken care of during initial development. I am not saying that everyone should get a Windows Phone 7 device since I am a firm believer in choice and that we all have different needs, wants, and desires so there is no one device for everyone. I am just trying to share my experiences with you so that you can make informed choices and not choices based on fear of a name or preconceived notions based on feedback from just a few.

Have you used all the platforms and if so, what has been the most stable for you?

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

365 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is unofficially the most stable mobile phone OS

    <i>"I am just trying to share my experiences with you ..."</i><br><br>Maybe you want to put <strong><i>unofficially</i></strong> in your title.
    Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

      @Return_of_the_jedi <br>I agree. My experiences with iOS are completely different. We have 6 iOS devices in our home and we've never experienced any of the problems described by MM. I've also several friends who also have a mix of iOS devices and they too have never experienced such problems. I accept his experiences as being his experiences, but other people's experiences are vastly different.<br><br>I also now have a HP TouchPad and I agree that there are problems with its input. The on-screen keyboard is nowhere near as accurate as my iPad. As well, it can be really slow to load some apps. It is a good devices, but one that is not without its problems.<br><br>As for WP7, it might or might not be the best, but I have chosen an eco-system, not individual devices. To my point of view, an eco-system is far more important than individual devices. At this point, it really does not suit me to change eco-systems.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @ptorning

        Your story about not experiencing any faults with iOS are false. I understand you are a fan of Apple, but you should not over exaggerate - it opens yourself to mockery and discredits your post.

        I have an ipod touch that replaced my 2nd generation version and I have a 1st gen ipad - I do get the ocassional glitch and crash but it is not as frequent as my wife's Galaxy Tab. That truly is something to behold!

        I have never owned a Windows Phone, but when my contract ends this Christmas, I will give it a go.
        Poppets
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @ptorning
        Sounds like they got you right where they want you :)
        kstap
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @ptorning a friend of mine has a iPhone 3GS and he can never talk more than 5-6 minutes without his phone restarting ...
        AdnanPirota
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @ptorning
        Well your iPhone may never have more apps like rest of us do. My wife has 10 apps on her phone and it never crashes. OTOH, my daughter has iPhone and son has iPod Touch and both have their devices filled with apps. They crash a lot. I have noticed one peculiar with iOS push notifications. If you restore your iPhone 4 from iPhone 3G, you may never receive push notifications and some apps that rely on those, will kill your phone. I experienced it. I am mobile developer and I use almost every type of device out there and I certainly know. I agree with the part of apps, and those might bring harm to your phone, but some of the apple developed apps and sure technologies such restoring your phone from previous device for contacts and such, shouldn't bring the device down. I have seen issues with WP7 also but those were prior to NODO release and I am currently using WP7.5 Mango Beta 2 and it is pretty stable and since it is in beta, I don't want to raise the issue with battery, but I am sure MSFT might have already fixed it when they turned their build to ODMs.
        Ram U
      • Excellent post and it explains why Apple will keep 90%+ of the market

        @ptorning <br>"but I have chosen an eco-system"<br><br>Because Apple was able to take their little iPod and their little iTunes and develop it into a huge eco system over the last 10 years, it will not be enough for competitors to come out with superior devices. It won't make people switch.<br><br>Is WP7's stability better than iPhone? Don't know. Don't care to be honest. My iPhone has crashed a couple times in the last year and my iPad has crashed once in the last few months but that's okay, I don't expect perfection from Apple. The truth is that the stability of iOS is good enough. Not perfect but good enough. So even if WP7 was 100% stable (a feat that would massively impressive if not totally improbable) iOS isn't bad enough for me to make stability a "feature" in any other device.<br><br>I too have chosen an eco system in my iPhone, iPad, and iTunes. I've spent hundreds of dollars on applications and peripherals. A device that has 2 fewer crashes a year is not going to make me abandon that.<br><br>WP7 will fail not because it is a bad device but because people like ptorning and me (and tens of millions of others) are not unhappy with iOS stability and do not see the value proposition in losing our eco system to gain 5 minutes of productivity (if that) a year.
        toddybottom
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @ptorning - Your last paragraph is probably the most poignant point I have read on here in a long time. I agree that you choose an ecosystem and once chosen it is hard to migrate away. As a previous Zune and Hotmail user, it was very easy for me to slip into WP7. I cannot imagine the difficulties involved in trying to migrate over to either iOS or Android (my wife has a Shift 4G and trying to get all our purchased music on her phone is somewhat of a PITA). Android, not having a truly established ecosystem is probably the easiest platform to leave and should be the one most concerned with possible churn as WP7 gains momentum. Just my 2 cents.
        tdogg219
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @toddybottom
        is an idiot. Any tech company can go down if it stops innovating. MS at least has monopolies in some very profitable parts of the tech world allowing them to survive. Anything Apple has can be replicated. Apple only has 30% of the smartphone market share. Do you think developers are going to ignore the other 70% of the market. Same with iPad, it's only matter of time before the competition gains market share by selling cheaper products ($99 touchpads anyone?) and when that happens they will get developer supports too. Apple is a company that must keep bringing great new products if it wants to hold its tech crown.
        anono
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @toddybottom

        Apple will never see 90% of the mobile market. I doubt any mobile platform will. Windows Phone will eventually surpass iOS because of its closed nature. Windows Phone is a closed platform too, but Microsoft is constantly working with popular services to integrate with its products as opposed to just having everyone do it their way.

        Microsoft's ecosystem is just as good, if not better, than Apple's. It's actually the only platform that can take on Apple's when it comes to a full platform experience and thats mostly because of the hard work they have been doing for years on the Zune Marketplace. No they dont have all the music from the unsigned hands as iTunes does and I'm sure it has more movies and TV shows available, but it has pretty much everything the majority of people are going to be looking for. Not only that but their whole Live back-end really shows how powerful their ecosystem is.
        WixosTrix
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @ptorning Microsoft does have an ecosystem. They have Zune, Windows, Windows live and, something Apple doesn't have yet: Xbox
        ahumeniy
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        Hello poppet! point by point... hell, why not? [b]

        Your story about not experiencing any faults with iOS are false. I understand you are a fan of Apple, but you should not over exaggerate - it opens yourself to mockery and discredits your post.[/b]

        I also experienced no issues with the stock OS - would you like to call ME a liar as well? The ONLY time I experienced issue with iOS was when I was using a half-baked tweak... once that tweak was gone things ran smoothly again. Perhaps your issues were less with the device and more with the user. Besides how to YOU know what issues ptorning did or did not experience with his iOS device? Can you prove that he is lying? Somehow I did not think so.[b]

        I have an ipod touch that replaced my 2nd generation version and I have a 1st gen ipad - I do get the ocassional glitch and crash but it is not as frequent as my wife's Galaxy Tab. That truly is something to behold![/b]

        So now you are telling us that your wife's Galaxy tab frequently crashes - or rather more frequently than your iPod touch and iPad. Which must be something indeed because it is a very rare occurrence that iOS devices crash - which again leads me to believe that it is more of a user issue.[b]

        I have never owned a Windows Phone, but when my contract ends this Christmas, I will give it a go.[/b]

        Have fun, I hope you enjoy it. I might wind up getting one as well to replace my work BB... I'll see what's available and how much I like the choices prior to my purchase.
        athynz
      • I haven't heard of many iOS crashes either

        @ptorning

        Again, in today's market it seems pretty clear that if stability and reliability are on the top of your list iOS or WP7 are good choices. Android is not. I know we'll get many on here that will argue til their blue in the face how once they rooted their device and stripped this or that off their Android is completely stable. That's a problem I have. I shouldn't have to root my device to make it stable. If Verizon wouldn't have had a Windows Phone when I purchased the Trophy last month I would have gone with an iPhone 4. Android is a huge PITA, no consistency. It really reminds me of Windows Mobile. There were some good WinMo devices and there were terrible ones. Huge fragmentation. No consistency across devices and OEMs. Sound familiar?

        @Athynz - Pointless to argue a statement like that. I can completely believe that an individual never had a crash on their iPhone. I believe it's a fairly rare occurance over, say, a year's period. But I also don't believe my Trophy will make it a year without some sort of reboot or crash. It's been a month without a hiccup. The only other smartphone out there that even comes close is the iPhone, I'd say that's pretty much a given. I think you should give it a try. I came off of Android and it was enough to make me not want to look at the platform again for at least the 2 years this contract is on. Maybe Google will finally exert some control over the OS. If they do that I'd be willing to revisit the platform, until then...

        It is funny though, after owning an Android device with all these awesome features I thought were must haves I found out it's not that important. Multi-Tasking? Overrated. I'd like some, the way the iPhone does it now is fine, but honestly I very rarely notice the difference. Physical keyboard? I was way, way wrong on that one. I would have thought a phone without a physical keyboard was uselss until I went over a year with never using the keyboard on the Droid 2.

        The only thing I miss? My Swype keyboard.
        LiquidLearner
      • Plus 1 on the Swype keyboard

        While I've never owned an Android phone, I did try my friend's (can't remember which one it was). It had the Swype keyboard and I was very impressed.<br><br>Apple did a good job of addressing iPhone's biggest flaws with iOS 5 but the keyboard is one thing that I think needs some major attention. Maybe Apple could license Swype? That would be sweet. Or they could simply create their own copy of Swype. After all, Apple has shown with iOS 5 that it isn't afraid to copy all the good things it sees in Android.
        toddybottom
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @wixostrix@ Are you saying that only Microsoft is trying to improve the user experience? Do you honestly think that the others are sitting back and doing nothing? You do realize that iOS 5 is coming soon, as well as an Android update? Or are you thinking that the two major mobile OSs are just sitting there like static target?
        Rick_Kl
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @ptorning He's wrong on some things in the article, but any criticism of iOS is earned without a doubt.
        blueskip
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @ptorning

        Apple and Apple fans have often claimed that since neither they, nor their friends experience problems, then it must not be a problem, and yet, consistent reports of problems exist.

        I know that part of the problem is the definition of problem. I rarely if ever have problems with Windows, or with Internet Explorer, yet others report problems. I have become convinced that I have a higher problem tolerance than others, so I don't notice little quirks (my viewpoint) that drive other people batty. So, you need to accept that problems do exist, even when you don't see them.

        Otherwise, you are doing an ostrich (head in the sand), which I also think is a problem with some Applefanboys.....that's not a personal assault. I don't know you well enough to judge from this post, but I do think it is a problem with some of the Apple persuasion.
        AudeKhatru
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @ptorning

        THE FUNNYIEST THING IS THAT SAMSUNG BADA OUTSELLS WP7
        Sultansulan
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @poppets
        There is little that pisses me off more than being called a liar, especially by a little moron. My experiences are my experiences and they are the truth of the matter. End of story! I don't give a flying f!#k about what your experiences may or may not be. Hard as it is for your incomparably small mind to understand, your experiences are your experiences; those are not mine. I would strongly urge you to grow-up.
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is the most stable mobile phone OS

        @anono
        "Apple will never see 90% of the mobile market. I doubt any mobile platform will. Windows Phone will eventually surpass iOS because of its closed nature. Windows Phone is a closed platform too, but Microsoft is constantly working with popular services to integrate with its products as opposed to just having everyone do it their way. "

        No, Microsoft will not get big "ecosystem" (please, could we actually stop calling available services and apps as "ecosystem"?) because one simple mistake.

        Microsoft does not allow services to use their own brand to identity themselfs from other services.

        No one wants to use WP7 hubs as you can not promote your own brand and services.

        Microsoft has chosen to kill WP7 from the beginning and it can be seen.

        If Microsoft wants WP7.5 to have even small success (10%) it needs to open the platform so that every service out there, can identify themselfs to the phone user. They can not be anonymius behind the MS brand.

        Otherwise it will stay same as now, you need own app for every photo/music/video etc service what is out there and no hub integration.
        Fri13