Please fill me in on Window Phone

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by ozaz, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2011
    It's been about 18 months since I last took a look at Windows Phone. Since then I've been using Android. However, a couple of things are starting to concern me about Android:

    1) Google's inability to quickly push out security patches to all Android devices, recently highlighted by Stagefright vulnerabilities.

    2) The almost universal move by Android handset manufacturers away from phones with user-replaceable batteries.

    With the new Lumia handsets, I'm starting to think about Windows Phone again. Related to my concerns with Android, I have a couple of questions:

    1) Is Microsoft able to push security updates to Windows Phone without OEM and carrier getting in the way? I wouldn't be interested in signing up to a beta program to achieve this. I'm talking about phones on regular Windows releases.

    2) I noticed the new Lumia phones have user replaceable batteries. Has anyone (either Microsoft or 3rd parties) announced extended batteries for these phones. My interest in user-replaceable batteries is not because I want to carry around a spare battery, it's because I want to install a larger capacity battery (I currently use a 5200 mAh battery in my old Galaxy S4 and love the freedom of never having to worry about running out of charge even on a heavy use day).


    Also, additional questions

    - I'm sure the main issue with Windows Phone is still apps. However, I think I'm far less obsessed with having lots of apps on my phone than I was 18 months ago (In that time I've come to realise I actually don't use a lot of them - especially since I carry an iPad mini in my bag much of the time). However, one potential sticking point is Google Photos. I'd like to continue using this. Are there 3rd party apps on Windows Phone that provide auto-backup to Google Photos and Google Photos viewing?

    - I've noticed continuum. It looks impressive, although not something I think I would use and not a draw for me. Are there any other new stand-out features (last 18 months) that's useful to know about when considering whether or not to switch?
  2. Will0827 macrumors regular


    Aug 11, 2008
    Don't have a windows phone personally, but i try to keep up with news about as many products and find info on as many as i can so i maybe of some help.

    1. Microsoft will be selling the 950/950 XL unlocked at their stores and online so they will be in control of the software updates for those devices. I did read that ATT will be selling the phones, there is some confusion as to whether one of the models is exclusive to them so those specific models may need carrier approval if you purchase them from ATT.

    2. I saw news that microsoft announced a lumia third party accesories program so that may increase the likelihood of there being battery cases or bigger battery offerings.

    Hope that is of some help.
  3. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    If an extended battery is the main reason, you can always get an extended battery case for numerous phones with sealed in batteries.
  4. beyondthepale35 macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2012
    Hello there, as a user of WP since WP7 and someone planning on getting a 950, Ill do my best to help you out.

    So far its been confirmed that the 950 XL will be unlocked through Microsoft in the US; there's still some confusion as to whether the regular 950 will be sold unlocked on launch. Microsoft has said they will sell both unlocked, but no official word yet on the American side of things. I know both will be sold unlocked internationally, however.

    1. This was a major issue before with the various carriers; a lot of people just recently got the last 8.1 update, and considering it has been out for over a year that's a tad ridiculous. Microsoft has stated that they want to control the updates for the next generation of phones, so as far as we know there shouldn't be an issue with fragmentation. Especially if you go with a Lumia directly from Microsoft; it's yet to be seen if it will be an issue with AT&T, but I doubt it.

    2. Considering the phones run new hardware and a new operating system and just got announced, it's hard to say when third party batteries will come. I assume this will happen, but can't really guarantee anything until they get close to launch. I'm sure some third party company out there will make extended batteries, seems silly to have removable ones only for no other options to come out.

    3. Unfortunately, when it comes to apps, Google is especially stingy working with Microsoft. There was some sliver of hope when rumors of Google attending the Microsoft device event appeared, but don't think they were anywhere to be found. You would have to use the browser to access Photos...I'm not entirely sure there's a third party app, but the inability of Windows Phone to use Google Play services at the moment makes it doubtful.

    4. Most phones have the same features nowadays; the app gap is usually what drives people away from WP. WP 10 is the new selling point, and the new Lumia phones have some pretty damn good hardware. Nokia always made great cameras, and the new flagships will definitely compete with the newest phones from Android and Apple. Windows Hello will be integrated, so you'll be able to use an iris scanner to unlock the phone rather than a PIN. Whether or not this is better than a fingerprint scanner is yet to be seen. Project Islandwood and Astroia should theoretically allow ios and android developers to easily port their apps, which would help bridge the app gap and put WP on a level playing field. The OS itself is buttery smooth and secure, and has always been a joy to use. Having top of the line hardware for the first time is exciting in and of itself.

    In any case, if you have any questions feel free to ask. WP users are hard to find, but it really is a wonderful OS. Apps mean nothing to me so I've never been hampered by it in any way.
  5. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2011
    Thanks all for the replies. Good to learn that there's a designed for Lumia program for accessory makers. I'd be very surprised if that doesn't result in some extended batteries.

    Battery cases add significant length and width to the phone. I don't like this because most phones are already a bit bigger than I'd like even without a case (especially since there are very few flagships less than 5.2" these days). Extended replacement batteries only add thickness to the phone, which I have no problem with.

    I saw this when browsing the web yesterday, which I suppose it what you're referring to.

    Sounds good if it transpires. It would be a significant draw when compared with Android.

    Thanks for the overview.

    As can probably be gleaned from my opening post, the two pre-requisites for me to even consider switching are an improvement over Android in security updates and existence of appealing phones with available extended batteries. So I'll keep an eye on that after the lumias & Windows 10 mobile are officially released.

    Two crucial apps for me that I didn't mention earlier are 1Password and Sonos, but I understand Windows Phone versions of these are in development, so should come soon.

    It's a shame there isn't a better situation with Google apps. And for me it's really only Google Photos that is the issue. I'm sure I can live without the official gmail app, and I'm sure I could switch away from Google Maps & Google Music. But I'm just not impressed with OneDrive Photos.
  6. mrex macrumors 68040


    Jul 16, 2014
    google cannot update all android phones because manufacturers/carriers have poked them. google makes patches quickly and offer them immediately to manufacturers. blame them about being uncapable of providing quick updates. it is not on googles hand.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Google releases the source code and then the manufacturers/carriers update the code and do regression testing and finally rollout the update to phones.

    Given the high volume of phones for a given carrier, they usually are not too fast to rolling it out. This is why nexus is a better option in opinion, it gets its code directly from google.

    Remember, android is open source, and such google can only provide the fix, others are the ones to implement.
  8. ozaz, Oct 12, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2015

    ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2011
    I wasn't ascribing blame to Google. I was simply stating the situation - Google is unable to push security updates to all Android handsets. And that's a downside of Android.

    Having said that, if the situation is to improve, Google will need to be the one to force change.
  9. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    Google has to grow a pair. Apple releases one update, everyone gets it with no interference from the carriers whatsoever. Understandably Android has a LOT more hardware variations, but maybe some kind of system which can universally update kind of like windows which has a ridiculous amount of hardware variations but only get their updates straight from Microsoft.
  10. dgr874 macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2012
  11. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    One thing that's keeping me from getting a Windows Phone, odd as it may be, is the lack of the ability to invert the colors to white text on black background.

    I need to do that for the sake of my eyes when looking at my phone when it's dark. On the iPhone, I have triple-click-home-button set to 'Invert Colors', allowing me to do it quickly as needed.

    At least Windows Phone 10 has the option for a dark theme, but it doesn't affect web pages, AFAIK.
  12. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2011
    As it currently stands, the main downsides of with OneDrive Photos for me (in comparison to Google Photos) are:

    - Inability to manually order photos in Albums.
    - Scrolling through photos is considerably slower in OneDrive (at least on the web and on Android).
    - OneDrive doesn't have face recognition/tagging.
    - No standalone OneDrive Photos app on iOS or Android (I think having to go into the main OneDrive documents app is a clunky experience for viewing your photos)

    The fact that Microsoft have been historically slow when it comes to photo management software is also a factor (for example, it's only been within the last year that Microsoft have recognised the need for Albums as an organisational tool for photos, as a supplement to folders. Everyone else has had this for 5-10 years). This makes me suspect that Google Photos will improve at a faster rate that OneDrive Photos, and hence my preference at the moment is to stick with Google Photos if possible.
  13. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    This has always puzzled me as well, but with all phone makers. With android and iPhone you can invert the colors, but it's a haphazard solution at best and pretty much ruins any web browsing with images. I usually end up not using inverted colors because it's not worth it, and just endure my wifes sighs in bed next to me. Don't even get me started on the whole white theme craze we are in now.

    But windows 8 and 10 allow you to have a true dark theme, where you can set everything to be dark but images/graphics still look normal. I'd give anything to get this mode on a smartphone. I'm very surprised MS did not carry this over to its phones.

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12 October 10, 2015