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November 11th 2011 4:00 pm

What would you miss if you switched from iOS or Android to WP7?

Just to be fair.

When posting please state if the switch is from iOS to WP7 or Android to WP7

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4 replies

Apps. That's basically what it would boil down to. A lot of the WP7 enthusiasts would say "Every app I want is on WP7" but that is not the point (and often false). Thankfully MS does realise this all too well and is working to remedy it - but by dint of arriving third, they have a huge uphill battle... one that I'm not convinced they'll ever resolve to be at parity with the other two majors, especially in terms of those niche apps which nevertheless determine the usefulness of a mobile platform for many - museums, speciality shops, etc, not just different kinds of fart apps. Despite their work in engaging devs, key 'tentpole' apps such as Skype and Audible are still MIA. Yes we know they're coming eventually, but this story is repeated for many other very popular apps still.

And just generally in terms of augmented reality and related applications, WP7 lags well behind the other two platforms - simply because full sensor support hasn't come until now.

Also from an app-related aspect,I think if you're a tech-savvy individual but within the means of your typical person, you'd probably have a very heavy involvement in Google's free services. WP7 would I imagine pretty much suck donkey testicles as a Googlephile. Google (these days reluctantly I'm sure) provides a half decent iOS experience, but obviously the best is reserved for Android and they would, I'm pretty sure, actively seek to deny any real engagement in WP7.

Servicewise, Microsoft's equivalents in the fields occupied by Google are still significantly more fragmented, inferior or limited. They really need to catch up not just in terms of WP7 OS itself, but in terms of the Live services it hooks up to so that it's a credible alternative to Google's offerings. It's just that I can't see that happening to a truly successful level in the next few years for all sorts of reasons, partly from the fact that a heavy focus on the free-to-use cloud is something Microsoft is just not equipped for, since their revenue stream is completely different (and is much more inconvenient these days) from Google. They could save it by introducing very reasonably pay-for services which eclipse Google's in terms of functionality, but I just don't see this coming in a way compelling for the average reasonably tech-literate consumer.

I don't suffer from the 'Google services suck in WP7' issue since my emails are all on my own Exchange servers (bar a few Yahoo and Gmail accounts scattered here and there) and I generally have very little engagement with Google's wares bar search, but MS's still odd implied assertion that WP7 is purely a consumer phone means that the email - even Exchange - has some strange holes in the functionality that wasn't there with Windows Mobile. And if they expect 'actual professionals' to rock Windows Mobile (as opposed to Windows Phone) in this day and age instead, well you have to be joking.

If you're an experience micromanager - i.e. if you're used to tweaking every widget that appears on your screen - well, WP7 is also likely to disappoint, but actually that is kind of the point.

If you've got used to Google Voice or Siri - Tell-Me is not in the same league, functionally speaking. Let's hope that improves.

Maps & navigation in general - kinda sucky. Not terrible, but nothing amazing on offer. Nokia Drive would be very compelling for someone like me since it's based on the excellent Ovi Maps, but the Lumia handsets are not actually looking that great to me at the moment apart from on a purely cosmetic level.

Also, sad to say that at least on my handsets Mango has started to be less rock-solid-stable than Nodo was, and not simply in third party apps which might be dismissed as bad writing on part of the developer - but in core functionality such as music playback while using Zune. While I constantly had to reboot my iPhone's radio stack when I had them, it was probably rarer to have to restart the entire thing because the phone has locked solid. This is an extremely unwelcome new Mango addition.


Obviously that's not as fully fair as checking out a new handset - and I think I'll be upgrading at least one of my sets to the newly-released Mango phones even if I decide to move away from it for core usage, as I think it definitely has potential and merit, and is to me at least superior in the user experience in comparison to Android for starters. As a phone-only experience, I'd say it's harder for me to draw as overtly positive an opinion against iOS - and obviously iCloud has major potential in terms of a move completely to the cloud in terms of phone -> everything data interaction - but for me the way media is treated by Windows 7 libraries and Zune is a much better experience than the current iTunes way of doing things, and while the gap may be decreasing I still think the established makers know how to build genuinely usable, reliable and durable handsets better than Apple.

All in all, what you're dealing with is still a work in progress. Some things have definitely moved on since Nodo, but I do, more often now, get the feeling that the pace of improvement is not quite fast enough to keep the other two competitors properly in view, let alone overtake in a truly convincing manner for your average Joe. However I'm willing to be more optimistic for now until after Apollo (i.e. the next version) drops and seeing how the mobile landscape looks then.
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Sorry for the late reply, I was bogged down with school work.

I feel like I have a dilemma on my hands. Yes, I do have a string holding me to google services. I have heavy use with Gmail and Calendar, and find the Navigation very convenient at times. Google voice isn't available in Canada.

I'm not a very appy person but apps that I use heavily are Gmail (mentioned earlier), Evernote, Dropbox, and the Bible app. All of these apps are available with all 3 competitors, except for dropbox which isn't available with WP7. Apps that I use moderately are my banking, zipcar, and squarespace. None of which are available with WP7.

What I don't like about Android is the obvious. It ain't slick. What I don't like about the iphone is the tiny screen, but it sure is smooth. I don't know what type of phone I would get next, but I got quite a bit of time before I switch phones so that gives me more time to ponder.
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Apps are a big issue. I've sunk so much money into my iPhone's apps, I'd hate to re-buy them all again. I'm a big Words with Friends player and without that I'd have a hard time switching; let alone all the other small indy dev games I play.

I like being able to ready texts on the lock screen, it lets me judge how quick I need to respond to the other person.

Visual voice-mail is just a small feature on the iPhone but every time I have to listen to the machine drone on about my options when I listen to a voice-mail I feel the need to stomp on my phone. So, can I please have visual voice-mail?

Here's another simple request. I want the time displayed at the top of the screen at all times! I don't want to tap or do a gesture, I just want time displayed. Who wears watches in this day in age for more than just fashion?
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My carrier does voicemail to text. And I think I might need to get a watch for more than just fashion because I hate pulling out my phone to look at the time.
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