Five reasons I am done with Windows Phone after 3.5 years

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.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
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.

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