What exactly puts Windows Phone so behind?

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices & Gadgets' started by pantsaregood, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. pantsaregood

    pantsaregood Senior member

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    I've been using an HTC Titan since November 2011. From December 2010 until then, I used an HTC HD7. My experience with both devices was great.

    I constantly see people ranting about "no apps, no features," and I'm left wondering: what's missing, exactly?

    The marketplace, though certainly not as large as that of Android or iOS, is definitely pretty big. I don't really know what big "essentials" are missing from the Windows Phone market, aside from perhaps Google Voice for some people.

    The ability to run browsers that aren't powered by the Trident engine is limited, but that's not really a big deal in most cases. Internet Explorer improved by absurd amounts from version 8 to 9, and IE9/IE10 are perfectly functional browsers as a result of this.

    I can certainly see the appeal of trying to break Android devices in every way imaginable. I recently rooted my roommate's LG Phoenix (AT&T variant of the Optimus One) and then loaded Cyanogenmod 10 on it. It went from running Froyo quite poorly to running Jelly Bean quite well. The ability to have complete control over the phone is appealing, but I don't fundamentally see what features my phone is lacking.

    Someone care to fill me in on what huge features I'm missing? Other than a notification center, at least.
     
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  3. KentState

    KentState Diamond Member

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    Does it have things like Google Maps, Drive and Voice? How about Spotify? I know that really turned me off. Then there is the annoying carrier exclusive phones. How about a phablet?
     
  4. Puddle Jumper

    Puddle Jumper Platinum Member

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    The hardware selection and quality also tends to be lacking compared to Android. This isn't to bad at the moment since WP8 has Krait dual cores but as soon as Exynos 5 and Tegra 4 start showing up in phones they will be left in the dust again. WP8 also maxes out at 720p while the next wave of Android flagships are all but guaranteed to be 1080p
     
  5. vi edit

    vi edit Elite Member <br> Super Moderator
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    Where to start.....

    It's missing massive amounts of first party apps.
    Pandora
    Slacker (technically it exists but you can't cache offline and it's a pathetic mess)
    Yahoo Fantasy sports
    ESPN fantasy sports exists but it's a Nokia exclusive (which is a whole different problem)
    Wells fargo
    Major health care vendors don't know it exists
    Sonos controller (not paying $10 for "Phonos")
    Controller for my Denon receiver
    A PDF viewer that lets you zoom
    A calendar app that doesn't have latin gibberish in it

    And that's just stuff I use daily.

    That's not even getting into the mess that is IE 10. It's the worst mobile browser between Safari, Chrome, Dolphin and the default one on Samsung android phones. The text scaling is terrible. Link recognition is the worst between them. It just does wacked out spazy things trying to scroll on sites with content you can tap and move (like Yahoo Fantasy sports). Tab management is the worst. And so on.

    Live tiles are great, a refreshing change, and a very cool feature. But the rest of the OS is just seriously lacking in depth, capability and development.
     
  6. pantsaregood

    pantsaregood Senior member

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    Spotify is on Windows Phone. Loads of third party Pandora solutions (as well as the HTML5 player) work fine on Windows Phone, as well. Adobe Reader is perfectly capable of zooming.

    As for hardware being behind, you're right - support of quad-core devices is beginning now. I don't really understand the benefit of this, however. Better hardware isn't particularly useful when software isn't particularly demanding.

    Also, Latin gibberish?

    Google Maps and Voice only exist as third party solutions. Google has no interest in supporting the platform - they made that clear when they blocked Microsoft from releasing a feature-rich Youtube app.

    As for hardware quality, all of the WP8 devices are pretty well-built. I've heard people complaining about the Lumia 920 being heavy, but that seems kind of silly. I can see size being an issue, but weight? It did manage to be run over by a car without a scratch or crack, though.

    EDIT: Also, I'd like to point out that, unless we continue towards the "phablet" form factor, 1080p seems a little silly. Seems like it would be taxing on the hardware without any real improvement on visual quality in the case of a 4.3 inch screen.
     
  7. Puddle Jumper

    Puddle Jumper Platinum Member

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    Adobe Reader is downright terrible on iOS and Android compared to the other solutions available, if that's the best there is on WP8 it's a big issue for anyone who deals with pdfs on a regular basis.

    Third party options for stuff like Pandora isn't acceptable either, I remember having to use apps like that in the very early days of Android and they are never as good as having the real thing.

    Better hardware always matters, when you say that it doesn't you end up failing like WP7 did.

    The Droid DNA has gotten a lot of praise for it's display and there is no way Samsung won't bring out an ultra high res display to counter it. Microsoft already made a mistake limiting their options for resolutions before and they are about to do it again.
     
  8. vi edit

    vi edit Elite Member <br> Super Moderator
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    I had a Lumia 920 for about 3 weeks that I bought the weekend of the US AT&T release. When I had it the only PDF option was the MS viewer that you couldn't zoom in on.

    It's an interesting phone that took incredible videos, had a great screen, and great build quality. But the daytime photos were less than stellar and just far too soft for the hype of the device. I couldn't deal with the absence of apps that I use on a daily basis. Some other things I was missing included Citrix receiver and app that let me ping devices on the network I was attached to.

    Don't get me wrong, it's an ambition OS, but it *IS* seriously lacking in app development and desperately needs more first party support from the major players. I don't want to replace it with 3rd party hacks that are nothing more than web portals.
     
  9. pantsaregood

    pantsaregood Senior member

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    Use of single-core CPUs had no affect on Windows Phone 7. Throwing absurdly powerful hardware at an operating system that simply isn't demanding doesn't make any sense. Windows Phone 7 would've seen no performance benefits from dual-core or quad-core CPUs, aside from possibly loading some apps faster. The experience, however, would be identical.

    I'm aware of the praise 1080p displays are receiving, but I can't help but wonder if 720p to 1080p is really observable on smaller screens. There is a point at which greater pixel density fails to affect image quality. As for resolution, I'm under the impression that WP8 should be expandable to other resolutions fairly easily because it is capable of software scaling.

    As for third party apps, it really depends on the app in question. Metrotube is among the nicest Youtube apps I've seen on any platform. The first-party Twitter app on Windows Phone is a mess, yet there are some great third-party clients on the platform.

    Better hardware is welcome (especially since the NT kernel is certainly more scalable than the CE kernel), but I fail to see how that will benefit the OS. Do phones sell because of big numbers? That seems a little absurd. Of all things that prevented WP7 from grabbing significant market share, specs seem like the least important.

    EDIT: There's a Microsoft PDF reader on WP8? Adobe Reader is available in the marketplace and has no issues with zooming. It was absolutely abysmal for two years (there wasn't an update released for v9 from the release of WP7), but version 10 was released, and now it is actually functional.

    That said, I hate Adobe with a passion. Metrotube and Metroradio aren't web portals. Web portals are certainly unacceptable as apps, but those two apps use actual APIs to supply content.
     
    #8 pantsaregood, Dec 12, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  10. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    Shens?
    Why is Microsoft developing the YouTube app and not Google?
    Was it Google that developed Microsoft's SkyDrive for Android? o_O
     
  11. pantsaregood

    pantsaregood Senior member

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    There isn't a real "official" Youtube app on Windows Phone. There's a plugin for Internet Explorer that allows you to watch Youtube videos that Microsoft made. It isn't really necessary at this point since Youtube supports HTML5 video now.

    http://www.winrumors.com/microsoft-our-windows-phone-7-youtube-app-sucks-because-of-google/

    As for why Microsoft developed the app, I have no idea. The only app Google has published on the Windows market is a search app that basically links you to the main search page.
     
  12. Puddle Jumper

    Puddle Jumper Platinum Member

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    The experience wasn't identical. Windows Phone 7 was completely dominated in every single benchmark by the Android and iOS competition which is never something you can afford when you are already playing catch up. Simply looking at some of the more graphically intense games for those two platforms clearly shows what powerful SoC's get you.

    Powerful hardware can also drive new features. Samsung took advantage of the hardware in the GS3 and Note 2 to allow for split screen multitasking and pop up video player windows which are both useful. Additionally even as far back as the SGS1 Samsung has used their custom SoC's to deliver superior media playback capabilities compared to any competing device of the same generation.
     
  13. pantsaregood

    pantsaregood Senior member

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    Your reasoning implies that WP7 devices choked because of their slower hardware, when that certainly was never the case. Browser benchmarks are sometimes unreliable due to bias against the Trident engine, but otherwise there isn't a cross-platform benchmark.

    If there was, WP7 devices would've been wrecked in benchmarks. It would've meant absolutely nothing, however. This is the same reason your parents won't see any advantage in a Core i7-3960X running at 5.0 GHz over a Core i3-3120. The former will certainly bench higher, but it doesn't really affect usability. As far as games, you're absolutely right; most mobile games are ridiculous little minigames, though.

    A faster processor is a faster processor. I'm not denying that. I've had people with iPhone 5s and flashed GS2s remark at how "smooth" my phone is.

    Again, I'm not speaking against using powerful hardware. Merely stating that hardware doesn't make a device; effective use of hardware is important, as well. Throwing more cores at phones is going to become increasingly less effective at increasing performance. Throwing large amounts of threads at PCs isn't really practical, really. Some things just can't be coded to run in parallel.
     
    #12 pantsaregood, Dec 12, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  14. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    -Google Voice
    -Google Maps
    -Google Now
    -Google Search (Bing sucks ass)
    -Google Talk
    -YouTube
    -Radardroid Pro
    -Bloomberg
    -Fidelity (I need ability to either go to the bathroom when at work and make a quick stock trade if needed or when visiting a foreign country. The only stock broker that even has an app on WP is e*Trade. Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard, Interactive Brokers, Scottrade, and all the others don't have any Windows Phone app...I just checked.)
    -OnTheFly by ITA Software(They have been the only one to provide cheap prices and excellent customization on desktop and therefore I will only use them. I stopped wasting my time searching Orbitz, Expedia, Kayak, Priceline, and all those other websites years ago and started using them well before Google ever acquired them.)
    -Missing a lot of healthcare apps(I'm a pharmacist and can attest that Windows Phone sucks for healthcare. Wake me up when Lexi-Comp, Micromedex, Clinical Pharmacology, and Johns Hopkins apps are available on Windows Phone.)

    -And lastly, is there a Windows Phone equivalent of "Cerebrus" on Android?
     
  15. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    That's the same way on iOS, so that website is completely wrong...
    From my understanding with iOS 6, the only way is to watch YouTube is in the Safari browser.
     
  16. TuxDave

    TuxDave Lifer

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    No, you use the YouTube app. And there's some voodoo in iOS6 where if you didn't have the app and you clicked a YouTube App it would play in the browser. But once you install the app, it opened it in the app. So there's some better OS integration that app developers are able to get these days.
     
    #15 TuxDave, Dec 13, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
  17. Pr0d1gy

    Pr0d1gy Diamond Member

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    I have an HD7 as well, as does my wife, and I love the phone and the Windows Phone UI. That said, the apps were severely lacking for a long time, and they are still way behind with regard to trendy apps. I don't know what you really call them, but I mean the apps where you see something online you like or for your certain bank, and they always have an iOS and Android app but usually no WP app.

    I really don't care much about that but my wife is ready to dump WP because of it. My biggest problem is that I thought for sure the WP would be the smartphone gaming leader given their Xbox success, but they have really dropped the ball in that arena. I loved The Harvest, Gravity Guy was pretty cool, Fable Coin Golf, and several others were entertaining; that said, it just was severely lacking compared to what I thought they were going to do with it.

    Another thing that sucks is going to websites and they autoload in app mode. I would rather actually use them as I would with any PC browser, and this phone is capable of that, but for some reason they always jump into app mode. Very annoying.
     
  18. pantsaregood

    pantsaregood Senior member

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    Google Voice, Talk, and Maps are very well supported by third-party apps. There's a first-party Google Search app. Youtube is supported by the first-party app and by a thousand third-party clients that vary from incredible to awful.

    The others, you're certainly right about. I don't really get "Bing sucks ass," but those apps definitely aren't present.

    As for the Youtube bit: it was filed in an antitrust suite. There's probably something to it.

    There's no way to remotely control the device; the extent of similar functionality is the phone's location gets tracked.
     
  19. ImDonly1

    ImDonly1 Platinum Member

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    Google made a youtube app almost right away when ios 6 launched.

    Google does not want to support MS and therefore says they have no plans to make apps for WP8 (from what I have read so far). Maybe once it catches on they will start. Have you also noticed how google announces their products on the same day MS announces theirs? I get the feeling google is not a fan of MS.

    As for why MS made a youtube app. Youtube is probably one of the core apps most people use on their smartphones. If you have no youtube app, then your os is lacking. If google wasn't going to make one, MS will.

    Also, you do realize apple made the first youtube app and google maps for the iphone? Google only made the most recent one and that's because apple was going to discontinue theirs.
     
  20. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    I realize that.
    But it is my understanding that Apple paid Google for them along with making Google Search the default on the iPhone.
    Can anyone just make an app and use anyone's trademark? If so, what's stopping anyone from creating an app called "Microsoft Office" on iOS and Android app store?

    Google is definitely not a fan of Microsoft.
    I can tell because when some dude asked Eric Schmidt a few months ago "what are the 3 most innovative technology companies today" and he mentioned "Google, Apple, and Amazon".
    That was a complete slap in the face because I was expecting him to say Microsoft and certainly not Amazon.
    You should read Google and Apple's history vs. Microsoft. Until Steve Jobs felt threatened by Android, Google and Apple were best of buddies against the Microsoft hegemony. Their CEOs often joked about merging their companies together into "AppleGoo" on numerous occasions.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/technology/14brawl.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
     
  21. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    I mean Bing search engine "in general".
    Oh and trust me, those Verizon phones with "Bing search" integrated sucked as well.

    Is there an option in Windows Phone to have an integrated search box/bar that will search Google like exists on Android, or do you have to open an app or a web browser to do a search?

    No option to remote wipe, track by text, track even if a thief changes the SIM, track even if the thief restores to factory default?
    I can do those things with Cerebrus, even if the thief changes my SIM or attempts to restore to factory default/reset the phone.
    The only way to remove Cerebrus from my phone is to flash a ROM on it using ODIN. Not many geeks no how to flash ROMs...Certainly not those homeless on the street.
     
  22. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    Also, are those Google Voice workarounds on Windows Phone completely integrated or is it a complete mess like it is on the Google Voice version on iOS where Apple doesn't allow apps to access the native dialer and such meaning you have to open the app all the time to do anything.
     
  23. s44

    s44 Diamond Member

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    C'mon, Apple fans said the same thing when Android had dual-core and the i4 didn't. Now they're amazed at how much faster the i5 is than its predecessors.

    Just the most obvious thing that's noticeable *all the time*: rendering complex webpages.
     
  24. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    I thought Apple pulled the YouTube app on iOS6, similar to what they did with Google Maps?
    Google must have released the YouTube app pretty quick, then. Didn't know that there was one already.
     
  25. dagamer34

    dagamer34 Platinum Member

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    Windows Phone has never had high-end or iconic hardware like the Lumia 920 or HTC 8X. The closest it had was the Lumia 900, but it was clearly a mid-range phone with mid-range specs at best.

    I'd also argue that influence from carrier reps matters a lot more in the grand scheme of things than actual app selection since I honestly don't think most people download lots and lots of apps (and an even smaller pie pays for them, meaning they should be able to switch platforms easily).
     
  26. ponyo

    ponyo Lifer

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    iPhone YouTube app was released pretty quick. But the iPad app was just recently released not too long ago. Not having it on the iPad sucked really bad. I dont know why since I couldve just used the browser. I guess I have been conditioned by Apple to only use apps when it's just as easy to use the website instead. I can't remember the name of the third party YouTube app we used on the iPad. I think it was Jasmine or something stupid like that.