It is a rainy Sunday morning here in London today. Well, to be fair, it’s pretty much raining everywhere in England today. So as I sat in my office, catching up on news and other bits-and-bobs, I read an article over at Computing UK where Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore outlines how developers are coming to Windows Phone in larger numbers as the platform starts to gain momentum. In it he states:
“If you’re a super high-end early adopter of apps, it’s probably not the best platform choice for you, but if you’re not … we see tons of people who are highly satisfied with it.
“As Windows 8.1 in general increases its volume, we see more and more software developers getting engaged on that platform, and that addresses the app gap,” he added.
That’s a pretty powerful statement. It is a bit of an admission but also a bit of forward thought on how Windows Phone apps are gaining momentum as the platform itself gains momentum.
After reading the article, it got me thinking about my own change from iOS to Windows Phone. What apps am I missing in my day-to-day life? I somewhat expected myself to come up with a laundry list. That was, after all, why I left Windows Phone three years ago. The app gap was more like an app canyon at that point. The result was surprising. I ended up with only two apps out of my daily life that I really do miss from my iOS days. The number of apps I have installed on my Windows Phone? 61.
Effectively I proved in my own world-centered-on-Clinton that the Windows Phone app gap is shrinking. Fast.
Before I go on I should tell you the two apps I miss. First is the Official F1 app. I love Formula One. It is my passion sport, even
more than baseball which has dominated my life both as a player and a fan since I was 5. But F1 is that mix of technology, speed and strategy that I love. The Official F1 app, which is available on iOS and Android, isn’t there for Windows Phone and during race weekends like this one, I miss it. It isn’t an app I use every day mind you but it is an app that I use for a specific purpose (race watching enhancement) that I miss.
The second app is actually a service on iOS which is passbook. As a business traveler, Passbook was a huge help when it came to boarding flights or trains, checking into hotels and the like. While most travel apps for Windows Phone do have a Passbook like function built into them, it means that I have to click into those individual apps each time. With Passbook, I had one place to go. Likewise there are some Passbook like apps in the Windows Phone Store which offer similar functionality – but I have to pay for them and there is that “this use to be free” issue running around in my head.
There is one app that does not exist for Windows Phone and that is the Starbucks app. For me, who is pretty much fueled on coffee, this app for iPhone was a hugely used app. Fortunately there is a great alternative which is MyBucks and it works great.
This certainly was not the case three years ago. Then I basically couldn’t find any app that iOS or Android had, even back when those ecosystems were in their infancy. And it seemed to be growing at an exponential rate which, in hindsight, was exactly the case. Even what seemed to be the most basic apps of my daily life – MyFitnessPal, TripIt, Fitbit and my banking apps – were just not there a few years ago.
So for me, my personal app gap is almost non-existent. I can find the app I need 99% of the time for Windows Phone. What I do still struggle with however is built quality and updates. It is not uncommon for me to read about an app being updated that is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The update roles out at the same time for iOS and Android and….. maybe it does for Windows Phone? Let me give you some examples from my world.
- Instagram. Still in beta in Windows Phone and Twitter integration is broken. No update in months.
- Concur. My company uses this for expenses and travel. I cannot created or edit an expense report in the Windows Phone version like I can in iOS and Android
- MyFitnessPal. I can’t copy from someone else’s diary in the app. I have to go to the website.
- Flickr. Yahoo has stated to me on Twitter they have no plans to update the app as Windows Phone is not a focus platform
Clearly the world is not perfect and I get that but a little parity across the platforms would certainly be appreciated. This is why I’ve applauded Microsoft this week on Microsoft Health. Day one it is available with all the same features across iOS, Android and Windows Phone. That’s the way it should be done.
So on this rainy Sunday morning I leave you with this question: What is your personal Windows Phone app gap? What apps do you miss from another platform or what apps do you use but really struggle with on Windows Phone compared to others?