That’s a question that’s been driving me for some time now. When I first came to Windows Phone – on my HD2 back in the days – I was kind of disappointed too. Coming from Windows Mobile and Android I was used to have access to almost anything in the system. I used to have all these nifty things like a file browser, a task switcher/manager, custom lockscreens, custom alarms, custom ringtones. Well, I spent more time for tinkering with the OS than I actually used the device. Not to mention that I flashed my device at least twice a week. Why? Because every single iteration of the ROMs I used was supposed to bring a little more stability and speed. I can’t even tell if this was actually true, but I always considered it well worth a shot.
So after flashing the first DFT WP ROM onto my HD2 – which was months ahead of the first update aka NoDo – I came to realize that MS obviously took a couple of steps back in terms of features. It almost felt as if they were approaching mobile OSes the same way Apple did. Which I found kind of shocking to say the least. Pre NoDo – and even pre Mango – WP7 lacked a lot of features that I felt were a necessity for each mobile OS. There wasn’t any multitasking, no official Messenger app, no social networks. But unlike many other users I saw the potential this new OS had. Even though it was lacking in so many ways. After spending a couple of weeks with it I started to lose the feeling to actually need file browsers, RAM cleaners, task managers and even the whole lot of customization I had gotten used to. Windows Phone’s strength was the focus on delivering information without the need of digging through a thousand of apps. It was its focus on providing a unique user experience and convenience that only Apple managed to provide with iOS so far. And from my point of view they did it in a much better way.
NoDo, Mango and now Windows Phone 8 all built up on these strengths. They added more features and even more access for devs to the underlying system. Each and every single feature Microsoft added was well thought about and felt right. It didn’t have that Frankenstein like patched together feeling I’ve always had with Android and even Windows Mobile.
I’m not blind though. I know that Windows Phone still lacks a few things and certainly doesn’t do everything right. Backups anyone? Podcasts? Xbox Live video support? Unlike many others I at least don’t have any issues with synchronization. But I can see that this is still considered a construction zone rather than a top notch solution. Zune did a better job there. But these are downsides every single OS has to deal with. There isn’t something like perfection.
I’m going to cut the chatter here now and go to what was supposed to be the original topic:
so who are actually the users who complain so much about Windows Phone and what it does or does not? That’s the point I was making with my personal story. It’s mostly these people who feel limited, because of the lack of customization. Limited because of the lack of access to the system. What these people see as boundaries is in fact the exact opposite. Windows Phone set them free. Free from things they actually don’t need. The issue is, they refuse to give into it. They refuse to take the time it needs to get comfortable with it. If more people would really USE a Windows Phone for more than just a couple of hours, they would see and feel the difference. Just like I – and many others now – did.
Bottom line is, it’s up to Microsoft and the OEMs to convince people that Windows Phone does (almost) everything a smartphone needs to do these days. And it does it in the most beautiful and convenient way possible.