Windows Phone 8: Despite Some Issues, an Excellent Mobile OS

Microsoft’s latest attempt at smartphone software is a job well done—but there’s still plenty of work ahead.

For any smartphone operating-software maker whose title doesn’t rhyme with “Snapple” or “frugal,” success doesn’t come easy. The marketplace is full of firms that have been successful in getting only a small amount of customers.

Microsoft contacted its recent launch of Home windows Phone 8 as part of this brotherhood of stragglers. It had just 2 percent from the global smartphone market within the third quarter, based on data from IDC, in comparison with 75 % for Android mobile phones and 15 % for that apple iphone.

Fortunately for Microsoft, Home windows Phone 8 is really a strong effort. It’s snappy, simple to navigate and personalize, and good-searching as well-all traits that can help the organization because it attempts to exceed Research in Motion’s ailing Rim and Nokia’s dying Symbian platforms.

But-not to mention, there needs to be considered a “but”-the operating-system still faces a constant fight to become strong third-place player within the smartphone market, and also the weakness of their application store won’t help.

If Microsoft really wants to be used seriously by customers and application designers, it’ll have to create serious strides using its Home windows Phone Store, which for the time being includes just a small fraction of the applications readily available for Android and iOS. But Microsoft is definitely an old hands if this involves wooing designers, and Home windows 8-its operating-system for desktop computers and pills-is made to allow it to be simpler for designers to produce software components that actually work on mobile and conventional computer systems. So I will wager they are able to get it done, even when it might take a while.

Just like previous versions of Home windows Phone, I truly loved the feel of Home windows Phone 8, that we examined on the Nokia Lumia 920 (the telephone itself isn’t underneath the microscope here, but the reality is it’s a great device though just a little around the chunky side).

It had been fun and simple to personalize the primary screen of my Home windows Phone 8 device having a slew of “Live Tiles.” They are essentially the Home windows Phone form of icons, though they’re more dynamic compared to ones bundled up with, say, Home windows Vista, and you may fit a lot of them on one screen. The Live Tiles may take the type of a large square, one fourth-size square, or perhaps a large rectangle (the small ones didn’t appear to exhibit live info). If you wish to visit a lengthy listing of all of your programs, just swipe left around the primary screen.

The tiles up-to-date frequently, showing me such things as a constantly-altering variety of buddies around the “People” tile and pictures saved around the camera around the “Photos” tile. Since there isn’t any notification center, it’s essential that the live tiles give consistent, up-to-the-minute info, and that i discovered that using the tiles and also the alert data that put their hands up around the Lumia’s lock screen, I did not miss that corral of alerts you receive around the apple iphone or Android mobile phones.

Home windows 8 includes Microsoft’s Ie 10 browser, which, not surprisingly, was quite zippy within my tests. Pages looked good and made rapidly.

Another wise addition may be the Kids Corner, that can be used to talk about specific applications, videos, music, and games with kids (and most probably prevent them from entering your projects e-mail and from uncomfortable content). It’s very easy to setup and add applications, and youngsters (or grown ups who have no idea your phone’s password) could possibly get into it by swiping left around the phone’s lock screen. Little fingers can move tiles around and re-size them, providing them with a feeling of control over the telephone, however they can’t remove the applications.

Home windows Phone 8 includes near-area-communications support, so phone makers for example Nokia may include an NFC nick and customers may then tap two NFC-capable phones together to transfer photos, Webpages, and much more.

More intriguing in my experience may be the commitment of NFC to make quick obligations with Microsoft’s new Wallet application (an element that wasn’t enabled on the telephone I had been using). If Microsoft could possibly get this focusing on a massive, the Wallet application is going to be really awesome. At that time I examined it, all I possibly could do was store payment card and PayPal account info, that we can use to purchase applications and music within the built-in Home windows Phone Store, keep an eye on my loyalty cards, and look for and save local deals.

Less impressive was the voice recognition software on Home windows Phone 8. It may do such things as open applications or find local restaurants-I’d no clue there have been a lot of doughnut shops in Bay Area-in addition to call contacts, send texts, conduct Web searches, or make notes. However it sometimes had trouble being aware of what I had been requesting, and also the features appeared pretty limited. It couldn’t, for example, update Twitter or produce a new e-mail. In connection with this, both Apple and Google, with Siri and Google Now, correspondingly, possess a large advantage.

The greatest disadvantage, not remarkably, was Microsoft’s Home windows Phone Store. With no context it may sound pretty large: it’s filled with 120,000 applications, including numerous popular ones like Netflix, Draw Something, and Yelp. But it’s still only a fraction how big Apple’s Application Store (over 700,000 applications total, the huge most of which focus on the apple iphone) and also the Google Play store for mobile phones and pills running Android software (over 500,000 applications total). Microsoft’s store also lacks some really key applications like Instagram, Pinterest, and The planet pandora (the second, a minimum of, can be used the coming year, together with annually of ad-free tunes for Home windows Phone 8 customers).

The applications I attempted, for example Foursquare and Facebook, labored well and usually looked good. The Facebook application particularly features a photo-focused, swipe-friendly, simple layout which i rapidly found would rather the version by myself apple iphone. (One gripe: oddly, the live tile for that application only appeared to exhibit my latest Facebook status update made using that application-not updates I made online itself.)

Yet, just like a spoiled kid, I skipped the large application stores with overflowing groups that are offered with an apple iphone or Android phone. I am hoping Microsoft can get caught up in connection with this, because in lots of ways it’s the applications which have renedered Apple and Google so effective within the smartphone market.

Regardless of this gap particularly, I had been happy with Home windows Phone 8. It’s a properly-done operating-system. If Microsoft could possibly get designers coding away because of its platform, customers is going to be smart to check it out when looking for an initial smartphone-or perhaps a alternative to have an existing one.

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