Windows Phone: Microsoft’s Greatest Failure

Nokia Lumia 1320

Last weeks announcements that over 7,000 people were being laid off from Microsoft, mostly in the Nokia acquired mobile division, was the final nail in the Windows Phone coffin.  Couple that with the multi-billion dollar write down of the Nokia business and, well, that nail is properly sunk deep in said coffin.

Make no mistake:  I love Windows Phone.  I have been using a Windows powered mobile device since the Pocket PC days and even before that in the H/PC days.  In fact you can still visit one of the last H/PC sites out there, HPC:Factor, a site I helped found.  But I left the platform in 2012 because of a lack of apps and direction.  I came back in 2014 because it looked like things were turning around.

I was wrong.  I’m terribly sad that I was wrong but I was wrong.

Over the course of the last two months you have seen a shift on my site.  That shift has been more around Android than Windows Phone.  The writing has been on the wall.  Windows Phone is dying and Microsoft all but confirmed it was on its death bed last week.  Sure there will be a new device or two for enthusiasts and developers but the cutbacks on devices should not be under estimated.

Microsoft flew the white flag last week.  The war is over.  Apple and Google won.

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Windows Phone Users, OS Upgrades Are Broken in Android Too

Upgrading to Windows 10 for Phones

If you have followed my site for the last few weeks you will have noticed a lot more Android updates.  It’s partly because I have to use an Android device for my day job but also it is good to expand horizons.  I’ve never been a big fan of Android.  I don’t really like the UI although it is certainly better than the last time I really tried to use one, circa Ice Cream Sandwich.  But it’s still not may favorite.  That’s Windows Phone.  I love the personal experience of Windows Phone that despite Google’s best efforts – and Apple’s with iOS for that matter – just can’t replicate well.

One factor about Windows Phone that I and many other sites and users have moaned about however is the upgrade process.  While an update may be available, it could take months or never for that update to hit your phone depending on your country and if your phone is locked to a carrier.  Everyone’s favorite example is Verizon and the Lumia Cyan update which never came out.  Instead, owners of the Lumia ICON (Lumia 930 in the rest of the world) had to wait a full year before that got it and Lumia Denim at the same time.  A year.  It’s unacceptable and is something that Microsoft has said they are addressing with the release of Windows 10 Mobile.

If however you are thinking that the Android grass is greener, guess again.  The upgrading of Android devices to the next version of the OS, Lollipop, if fraught with problems, delays and phones that, while can run it, will never get the update.  Compounding this is the sheer number of devices that are out there and all the possible permutations of Android that have to be developed to support those devices.  By Gartner’s estimate, there are over 18,000 versions of Android out in the wild today.  18,000!  That makes a uniform, systematic upgrade virtually impossible.

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Microsoft To Control Windows 10 Mobile Updates, Not The Carriers

Windows 10 Logo

One of the biggest and best pieces of news for Windows 10 Mobile came out at the end of last week and the implications are huge.  Microsoft stated in an article on ZDNet that they will be controlling all update to Windows 10 including those of Windows 10 Mobile.  This not only includes businesses running Windows 10 Mobile but consumers like you and me.  This is fantastic news as it takes the carriers out of the equation which, in theory, means that we should see updates to Windows 10 Mobile far faster than we ever have under Windows Phone 7, 8, or 8.1.

I wrote about this very subject back in February where I outlined how Microsoft could bypass the carriers on updates to Windows 10 Mobile via a Windows Insider style mechanism.  While in the article from Mr. Bott clearly states that carriers will still be in the mix, it will be at a far lower level and Microsoft ultimately is the one that determines when the upgrade button is pushed on devices.

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What’s New and Known Issues In Latest Windows 10 Mobile Build

Windows 10 Logo

As was expected today, Microsoft has released a new build of Windows 10 Mobile to Windows Insiders who are participating in the Fast Ring.  Build 10080 is the first build to support a non-Lumia device, the HTC M8 for Windows Phone which is great to see in addition to the support for the Lumia 930, Lumia ICON and Lumia 640 XL.  As expected, there are a lot of new features and apps to test out in this build as well as a good list of known issues.  I’ll remind everyone that this is beta software and there will be issues so proceed with caution.  I personally am still not running Windows 10 Mobile on my daily phone and after playing with this build for a little bit on my Lumia 635 and Lumia 1320, it will remain that way.

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New Windows 10 Mobile Build Likely To Windows Insiders Today

Windows 10 Logo

It looks increasingly likely that a new build of Windows 10 Mobile will be available for those on the Fast Ring in the Windows Insider program later today.  Microsoft’s Gabe Aul took to Twitter yesterday answering a pile of questions related to the next build for Windows Phone and PC with hints being dropped that a new build is imminent.

Clearly this isn’t a commitment from Aul that a new build will be out today, but it is pretty close.

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Windows 10 Editions Announced

Microsoft has announced on the Windows Blog the editions of Windows 10 that will be available later this year and unfortunately, it is as confusing as ever.  While Microsoft has made it clear that this version of Windows will be on every device – Phone, Tablet, PC and even Xbox – they have broken it down into multiple editions with different feature sets.  This is the same thing they have done since the Windows XP days and while I get it, it creates unnecessary confusion for consumers.

The biggest news is probably the fact that build on phones will be known as Windows 10 Mobile.  There has been a lot of debate on what Microsoft would call the phone edition but it seems now it is locked into this name.  And to add to the fun, there is a Mobile Enterprise version.  Oi….

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Power Down Reminder in Windows 10 for Phone

Windows 10 Icon

There are a lot of new features in Windows 10, many of which we saw during the Windows 10 event last month.  However there is one new feature that wasn’t mentioned and that is the power down Reminder feature.  Today under Windows Phone 8.1, when you power off your device (press and hold the power button then swipe down on your screen), you are given a “goodbye” message.  Under Windows 10 for Phone however this changes to provide you a bit more information.

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