Five reasons I am done with Windows Phone after 3.5 years

Five reasons I am done with Windows Phone after 3.5 years

Summary: I have been a Windows Phone fan since mid-2010, but haven't used one as my daily smartphone for months. There are at least five main reasons that I no longer use Windows Phone while Android and iOS have my attention.

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Five reasons I am done with Windows Phone after 3.5 years
(Image: Nokia)

I have been using Windows Phone since July 2010 and have written many articles about how much I liked the Metro UI and operating system. As Nokia moves to being a Microsoft company and Windows Phone continues its slow evolution to Windows Phone 8.1, I have to say I have fallen out of love with Windows Phone.

My first mobile device was a Palm device, but I quickly moved to using the more powerful Pocket PC models alongside Palm OS devices many years ago. I have always had a special place in my heart for Microsoft’s mobile operating systems for many reasons, including their sheer power, the customizability of Pocket PC and Windows Mobile, the extremely responsive and attractive Windows Phone UI, and the fact that Microsoft is located here in Washington State where I felt I should support my local economy.

However, as I look back at the last several months of my mobile device usage, I have only been using the Lumia 1020 for photos and video and that functionality is only because of what Nokia brings to the table. Apple’s iPhone 5s camera works well and Android cameras are getting much better too so the camera advantage is not as much of a factor as it was before.

I haven’t used a Windows Phone as a smartphone for months and understand how ZDNet’s Matt Baxter-Reynolds felt last year when he wrote that he can’t love Windows Phone. The funny thing is that the apps are not even one of my reasons as Windows Phone has all the essentials and more today.

Here are five reasons I am done with Windows Phone until I see something more compelling than a fantastic camera:

  • I’m tired of Live Tiles: For a few years I enjoyed the big tiles and how I could customize their order on the Start screen. However, they really offer very little information and I prefer the home screen of Android over all others.

  • I’m tired of the loading dots: With today’s processors, high end hardware, and fast Wi-Fi or LTE networks, I expect nearly instantaneous performance when I open up an app. Far too often I seen the five dots come in from the left and slide out to the right.

  • Notifications are nearly useless: Android spoiled me with fully functional notifications, especially my Moto X with active notifications. Apple copied Android and now has a solid notification system too, but Windows Phone’s Live Tiles and toast method just doesn’t cut it. I understand the new Windows Phone 8.1 improves upon this so one of my pet peeves may be addressed soon.

  • Lack of Google services support: I know this is not entirely Microsoft’s fault, but I get great Google support on my iOS devices. I use and sync Chrome across all my computers and devices, except for Windows Phone. I understand that Microsoft has excellent competing services, but I’m not switching over for a single mobile OS I don’t have a ton of confidence in for the long term.

  • Voice control blows: I liked the speech technology in Windows Phone 7, but it hasn’t gone anywhere since the beginning and now Siri and Google Now blow it away. This is especially evident on a device like my Moto X that has active listening mode ready to respond at all times. I know Microsoft has been working on speech technology forever and think they really need to step it up on Windows Phone.

I wrote five reasons above, but another reason I am tired of Windows Phone is the lack of hardware options. I have been a Nokia fan forever, but much of that time was back when Nokia had unique and exciting devices. The Lumia Windows Phone line is pretty stagnant with incremental differences between devices while Android manufacturers are pushing the limits and launching some interesting hardware.

Readers have been leaving comments below and on Twitter, reminding me of other reasons so my list could easily grow to at least ten now. I forgot a pet peeve of mine and that is the poor video support. Windows Phone 7 used to let you rent or buy movies to watch on your smartphone, but Microsoft killed that functionality in Windows Phone 8. I know most people don't watch movies or TV shows on their phones, but as a train commuter it is quite convenient to catch up on episodes on my large screen phone. iOS and Android have this nailed with Chromecast and Apple TV support too.

As I always write, not every mobile OS is compatible and best for every one of us and we all have our own preferences and needs. For me, Windows Phone just doesn’t cut it anymore and I can no longer just “get by” because I like Microsoft for their other products and impact on my local economy.

In late 2012, all five of my family members were using Windows Phone devices. Today, there is not a single one being used with three iPhones and two Android devices instead.

I know that we will see Windows Phone 8.1 revealed at build in April, but from all the leaks it looks like Windows Phone will simply be getting more functions on par with Android and iOS. It’s going to take more than a pretty face to get me back to using Windows Phone as my primary smartphone.

Further reading

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS, Nokia, Smartphones, Windows Phone

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141 comments
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  • A few more reasons

    1) No visible file system - this is a major impediment to getting real work done.
    2) No real multitasking - constantly waiting for apps to start/re-start and nearly nothing can get done in the background.
    3) Locked down MIME system - no one is allowed to write 3rd party replacements for the browser, keyboard, image handling, media playback, etc.
    4) Slow pace of innovation - promises and more promises, but slow delivery of things people need.
    bitbank
    • Agreed on all four points

      I guess I could have taken these and my "sixth one" to make it 10 reasons, huh Larry? I've been a Windows Phone apologist for a long time, but finally am facing reality.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Dont leave yet

        Matt – your leaving your own bachelor party before the action begins. Cortana is coming, stick around.
        Sean Foley
        • WAIT FOR MANGO!!!

          it's the real deal...
          theo_durcan
        • That seems to be the Microsoft way

          "Just wait until the next version..."
          baggins_z
          • Hmmm

            Not unlike the Cubs fan "Wait until next year" (Yes, I am a Cubs fan)
            benched42
        • PLEASE LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "YOUR" AND "YOU'RE"

          Your = "This is your English lesson."

          You're = "You are ignorant."
          orandy
          • Very similiar.

            You're educated beyond your intelligence.
            CriticalSection
          • WHICH WOULD MAKE HIM/HER A...WAIT FOR IT...WAIT FOR IT...

            ...a LOOSER?!

            Looser = what internet dufii think is a loser...

            Loser = internet dufii who misuse the word 'looser'

            Now, about teh internets...
            btone-c5d11
          • to be fair

            A lot of us type on phones that try to guess what you are typing and auto correct what you type so despite best intentions posts can look bizarre.
            marque2
          • Read what you've written before you hit Submit

            "A lot of us type on phones that try to guess what you are typing and auto correct what you type so despite best intentions posts can look bizarre."

            So read what you've typed or the phone has auto-corrected BEFORE you hit the submit button. If the auto-correct is bad, disable it.
            JohnOfStony
          • Better still - ZDNet to allow us to edit posts

            NT
            jonc2011
          • yup, thats my excuse

            And im stickin to it!!
            dosmastr@...
        • Taste the grass on the other side

          Is WP perfect? Sure not...
          Some of those points you have up there have been on my list of things that needs to get better too (and well enough some are getting improved).
          But something not being perfect is not the same as something else being better. I am running both a Lumia 920 and an S4 daily. I also have the privilege of working with iphones through my work while developing.
          Some things android does better than WP and some apps are available on ios that aren't on either android or wp. But I'd choose the 920 over both the S4 and the 5S if I had to make a choice of just one phone any day.
          If you considered yourself an apologist for holding on to a WP, you might not have considered the apologies you have to make to yourself when the frustrations sets in with the other OSs and hardwares.
          The happiness a phone gives you comes not only from functionality. Everything from the small sensation of how the UI responds to your fingers to the sensation of the hardware in your hand plays in. Just considering the iphone I'd gladly keep every single of the flaws above just to have the quick launcher. I'd also live with every single one of those problems just to have a back button. Heck, I'd even have each of those flaws just to have the lumia 920 body instead of the S4s ergonomically hostile shape (Yes... I really should have felt on the S4 more before getting it, but it was one of those things you didn't realize until you used both phones every day and found yourself picking up the S4 only when you were required to for work... or the more fully featured Uno game).
          Kjell Ahlström
      • Remember you article...

        Be honest with your decision. No sneaking around with WP after April and no WP articles either. So remember, you're done with WP!
        lubbalots
      • A Windows Phone apologist?

        Your list in itself is reason enough for you to switch to something else, and that's fine.
        But the fact that you liked something early on, but moved to something different, something newer that had features that better suited what you're looking for, how would that make anyone an "apologist" for their earlier choices?

        One day you like white chocolate mocha, the next day you discover salted caramel latte. That wouldn't make you a white chocolate mocha apologist, that it some how takes away that you enjoyed the WCM in it's time, all it means is that you prefer something else today, for certain reasons.

        For me, those 5 reasons are pointless as they are unimportant to me, so still happy with the phone, but others' mileage may differ.

        That doesn't make anyone an apologist, that's just known simply as "reality".
        William.Farrel
        • A small seed of discontent...

          @William.Farrel, I was like you a scant month ago and absolutely loved my WP8 phone.

          However, I'm firmly entrenched in the Amazon technosphere, and am becoming increasingly frustrated with Amazon's refusal (it's gone beyond dragging their feet) to support their customers on WP8.

          The lack of apps in general is starting to wear on my patience, and Matthew's comments about the loading dots really hit a nerve. I do all of my reading on my Nokia 920, and with the latest release of the Kindle app, I'm spending more time trying to get my book to load than reading. (OK, that's a flat out lie, but ANY time spent wrestling with Kindle is unacceptable when much of my reading time is in the 2-3 minute gaps during the course of a normal day.)

          I'm also starting to be a bit jealous of my friends and their smug "OK Google" commands. I want that.

          Oh. Did I mention battery life? One day I get unlimited time, the next, dead in 4 hours. Not really sure why. (Nor is anybody else. There are WAY too many solutions for this particular problem without any consistent results.)

          I still love tiles and I believe that the WP8 UI in general is brilliant and the best product out there. But we REALLY need some serious effort to be undertaken in developing more mainstream apps and advanced functionality.

          So. Starting to fall out of love with my WP8. Pretty sure that I won't be leaving it any time soon though. iOS and Android REALLY frustrated me...

          Keeping the faith MS. Don't let me down!
          bkfriesen
        • A small seed of discontent...

          @William.Farrel, I was like you a scant month ago and absolutely loved my WP8 phone.

          However, I'm firmly entrenched in the Amazon technosphere, and am becoming increasingly frustrated with Amazon's refusal (it's gone beyond dragging their feet) to support their customers on WP8.

          The lack of apps in general is starting to wear on my patience, and Matthew's comments about the loading dots really hit a nerve. I do all of my reading on my Nokia 920, and with the latest release of the Kindle app, I'm spending more time trying to get my book to load than reading. (OK, that's a flat out lie, but ANY time spent wrestling with Kindle is unacceptable when much of my reading time is in the 2-3 minute gaps during the course of a normal day.)

          I'm also starting to be a bit jealous of my friends and their smug "OK Google" commands. I want that.

          Oh. Did I mention battery life? One day I get unlimited time, the next, dead in 4 hours. Not really sure why. (Nor is anybody else. There are WAY too many solutions for this particular problem without any consistent results.)

          I still love tiles and I believe that the WP8 UI in general is brilliant and the best product out there. But we REALLY need some serious effort to be undertaken in developing more mainstream apps and advanced functionality.

          So. Starting to fall out of love with my WP8. Pretty sure that I won't be leaving it any time soon though. iOS and Android REALLY frustrated me...

          Keeping the faith MS. Don't let me down!
          bkfriesen
        • wiil im not conviced

          That you understand how he means apologist.

          One who gives a defense of or answers about. Not one who apologizes for
          dosmastr@...
    • Apple or Microsoft?

      Are you talking about iPhone or Windows Phone?
      Both are incredibly limited.
      anywherehome