Editorial: Why the app gap on Windows Phone/10 Mobile is a bigger problem than I thought

Note: as this is an editorial, this blog post reflects my own experience and thoughts. You will agree with some points, but disagree with others. Feel free to leave a comment to start a discussion below.

Recently, I received a Nexus 5x as development device for a project I am about to start. As tech enthusiast, I could not resist to start using it as my daily driver.

As you might guess, I started with an install orgy of all the apps I am using on my Lumia 950 XL and set them up. It may be surprising, but I immediately recognized huge differences between the platform versions.

Take the Facebook app for example. Animations are smooth like butter, almost all settings are in app instead of leading to a mobile page, even loading content and scrolling is a whole lot better than on Windows 10 Mobile.

Another example is the Path app. Never been updated since its launch on Windows Phone, I was truly surprised when I opened It on Android. It is an app that really is fun to use on Android. I bet they would have a lot more users on Windows if they align the app… sadly, they abanonded the platform completely a few month ago.

The last example is the WordPress app. It exists on Windows (Phone) for existing users, but the experience on Android is galaxies away from the one the one in Windows (Phone) has/had. I am even writting this post with it, because it feels just right to do this (I only did that once on Windows Phone).

These were only three examples, but they show pretty much how different official apps can be between platforms (and how they are supported). And they all show, that Windows really has no priority anywhere (sadly).
The quality of apps that are available on Windows is not all, though. Of course, I downloaded also some apps that aren’t available for my Lumia 950 XL as well. And it does make a difference.

On my Lumia, I often use the mobile page for things to do/achieve. On Android, I have a whole lot more apps to choose from, so I never had to open the browser for:

  • my mobile carrier
  • my landline & tv carrier
  • the communal page of Winterthur (where I live)
  • swiss auction page of ricardo.ch
  • swiss page tutti.ch
  • Amazon (Bonus: the apps are connected, needed to log in only on one and all others had my account)
  • eat.ch, a swiss food order service
  • Imgur
  • Giphy
  • and more…

Some say a good mobile page is as good as an app. That’s wrong for most cases. A good written app is always handier than a website. On any platform (at least in my experience).

Android app quality has improved a lot in the last two and a half years (that’s how long it took me to deeply test the OS and the ecosystem again). They are equal to the high level on iOS (which I saw also recently, as my son broke out of the Windows world I created at home).

On Windows, we have a lot of third party apps that are trying to fill the gap. I respect those developers (at least those that use legal, public APIs), but it is just not the same. And even on Android (or iOS), there is room for third party apps besides the official ones.

The Android OS itself feels also grown up, and it is difficult to say if iOS or Android are better. It is more a question of who you prefer – Google or Apple.

Microsoft’s Windows (Phone/10 Mobile) is on a good way to get on par. Lots of the functionality is also there. But… as long as the provider of a service, no matter which kind, do not use them (for whatever reason), Windows will never grow up. The Universal App approach is a good idea, and it may pay off one day – or it may be too late already. The recent switch to focus on enterprise users does not really help. Because also enterprise users tend to have only one device. And also enterprise users tend to use apps on their mobile device.

As a WinPhan, writting this honest post deeply hurts. Even more, as I really am thinking about switching platforms for mobile things. Not as a developer, but as a user (at least until Windows has grown up).

Posted by msicc in Editorials, 3 comments

Editorial: We are all humans (why racism sucks)


Last night, the news were full of the decision of the grand jury in Ferguson (USA) (because of a young black man that got killed by a white police officer) and the following riots.  A lot of discussions took place, be it at work or also on social media. The common bottom line: racism just sucks. I normally avoid such harsh words or decorate them with an asterisk, but today I need to write it out.

What is racism?

There are two common definitions for racism:

  • the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races
  • discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race

What I learned is that both are closely tied together. If one thinks that his race is superior, it leads to bad behavior against those from the other race.

My Family and me are experiencing this quite often. Being an Italian family living in Germany, we often got discriminated because of this. I do not want to got to deep into details, because drilling into old (and not so old) wounds isn’t helpful for the message of this post. The only comment I am leaving: it can be quite challenging to overcome this.

During our history, a lot of racism took place. Be it the Roman empire or the Spanish conquistadors, the early Americans or the Germans (this could be an endless list): they all have behave racist. This needs to come to an end. No race on this planet is truly superior in all aspects to all others. All races have their own aspect where they are superior to others. But instead of discriminating the other race and search for the point where your race is better than mine, we should look into where we can learn from each other.

We are all strangers here, no matter where we are born or live.

I like how my wife thinks about this:

We are all strangers here, no matter where we are born or live. We don’t own this planet. We are only guests that are tolerated on this planet. Instead of being violent to each other because of different races, we should more collaborate to continue being tolerated at this planet.

She is right. It does not make any sense that we fight against each other because of the color of our skin, our language, our nationality or religion. It does not make any sense to be abusive against each other because a few people scream out loud that they think they are better because of their race. In fact, they are screaming out that they think to be better than everyone, even those of their own race. There will always be people that follow blindly just because they want to live as convenient as possible. But it is up to everyone of us to change that.

I can’t help, but at this point of writing I feel in the mood for “We are the world”. One of the lines is “We can’t go on pretending day by day that someone somewhere will soon make a change.”

Everyone is responsible for his/her behavior.  Everyone is responsible to NOT be a racist.

Everyone is responsible to be a human.



Image credit: University of California


Posted by msicc in Editorials, 0 comments