I’ve used Windows Phone consistently for quite some time now. I’ll be honest, I love it. The user experience from the operating system is unique and fluid. It’s better in my opinion than Android and on par with Apple.
The live tile system, which is what sets Windows apart from others, is what makes the experience. I used to say integration, but both iOS and Android have done a good job of allowing you to be integrated in other forms, to your other devices.
So what is wrong with Windows Phone? It’s simple really, it doesn’t have nearly the app development that Android and iOS have. Every month, a new high profile app is removed. In the last couple months we’ve seen Bank of America, Geico, Vevo, and Living Social leave, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Even the development of big name apps is neglected. Instagram is still in its beta and hasn’t had an update since 3/22/14. Audible finally saw an update in early march after having been neglected for over a year as well. It was just recently announced that Family Guy and the Quest for Stuff will see no new updates for the foreseeable future. I can personally tell you that the game is very buggy and broken. You can’t even link your Facebook account to it, which means no cross platform playing.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t just stop there. Big name apps are just completely absent; Snapchat, Tinder, and the whole Google Apps suite. In some cases, like Snapchat, there isn’t even a third-party alternative. I wrote an article about Snapchat recently, and Snapchat has also come out to say they will not be working on an official app in the near future.
So what is Microsoft doing to combat this?
Maybe you’ve heard of universal apps. The idea behind this, is you obtain an app on your PC, tablet, or phone, and you now have access to that app on the other devices, and data can be shared between devices, like say, saved game data. Microsoft feels this will help give developers incentive to just go ahead and make the apps they are making for Windows, compatible with phones and tablets as well. They are going to push this idea strong in Windows 10.
The only problem, this universal app idea isn’t new. They’ve employed this tactic for over a year, and while yes, there are plenty of universal apps on the market, it sure doesn’t seem to be luring people to develop more for the Windows OS.
They also a little over a year ago reached a deal with Gameloft to move their catalog of games over to the Windows platform, and that was a huge victory as far as gaming goes. Are we still missing some things, yes, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Once again, let me stress how much I enjoy the user experience the OS provides me. It’s a little demoralizing to see the app development not get better over the past couple years. It’s because of this ongoing (and seemingly never-ending) problem, that I’ve considered moving back to another OS. If the state of Windows Phone ever changes, they will have me, hook line and sinker. Until then, I feel I need to consider my options for a full mobile experience.