Tried out Windows Phone 8

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by CTU Kyoto, May 2, 2014.

  1. CTU Kyoto macrumors member

    CTU Kyoto

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #1
    I have long been interested in trying out WP extensively; shops around here tend to have dummy models and even when they have real phones, it feels like the OS is difficult to understand using fake in-store data. I decided to get a cheap pay-as-you-go WP8 Lumia 520 as a kind of OS-curious experiment. With Android feeling like an imitation of iOS, I was really interested to see what WP was like.

    I've been using this second phone for a week now and I have to say there are some nice design decisions in there. This is purely a look at the OS and its design and structure, not an argument for or against one phone ecosystem or hardware maker.

    - I had never been particularly dissatisfied with the iOS launcher system, but as the number of apps increases I started to realise it's unsustainable to have the launcher contain all your apps.

    WP takes a more sensible approach that mirrors the one found in OS X and Windows on desktop: users have a place where all their installed apps are listed (the Start Menu in Windows, and the Applications folder or Launchpad in OS X), and they also have a place they can pin or keep their frequently used apps so they can launch them quickly (the Taskbar in Windows and the Dock in OS X). WP mirrors this by having the home screen be a place you pin only the apps you want to see there, and then you can swipe to an alphabetical list of all your installed apps.

    This makes a huge amount of sense to me and I'm starting to wish Apple would use this approach, as otherwise after my first page of apps on iOS I just end up dumping the rest in folders called things like Misc or Default or Less Used. This would also solve the issue people have of having to find somewhere to put default iOS apps like Stocks or Newsstand that they don't use.

    - Apps in WP are able to declare themselves as lock-screen image providers. The system has an option to pull in a different image daily from Bing, and so far I've seen Facebook and Twitter offer to pull images from their respective feeds. This is a really nice option; the Bing one in particular is a fun way to see something new on your lock screen. I've never been that tied to having a particular image of my own on there, so YMMV but it's a nice option and with Apple increasingly supporting Bing over Google, they could easily add it to iOS.

    - A few of the built-in utility apps are invaluable: Data Sense monitors your data usage, displays details per app, and can restrict backrund data usage when you approach your monthly limit; the battery saver can turn off nonessential features when your battery is running low, or you can activate it manually and it will turn off when you next charge.

    It would be nice if Apple is keeping an eye on the competition and not too proud to integrate sensible ideas from them.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #2
    I'd look at 8.1 which really extends the power and ability of the platform. Its a great update.

    I switched from the iPhone to a Nokia Lumia Icon and I'm very pleased with the platform. Its a great phone, sadly its still not gaining the traction here in the US. Microsoft has the deep pockets to be patient, unlike other platforms, i.e., blackberry.

    Overall it was a smooth transition for me, and everything I need is there.
     
  3. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    #3
    Yep windows 8.1 really makes the platform a viable alternative.
     
  4. mclld macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    #4
    "WP takes a more sensible approach that mirrors the one found in OS X and Windows on desktop: users have a place where all their installed apps are listed (the Start Menu in Windows, and the Applications folder or Launchpad in OS X), and they also have a place they can pin or keep their frequently used apps so they can launch them quickly (the Taskbar in Windows and the Dock in OS X). WP mirrors this by having the home screen be a place you pin only the apps you want to see there, and then you can swipe to an alphabetical list of all your installed apps."



    That is what Android does with the app drawer
     
  5. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    #5
    It's also not all that important with iOS and android having universal search. iOS is especially fast with Spotlight in iOS 7. Fast enough to make scrolling through homescreens and folders completely unnecessary.
     
  6. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

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    Oct 30, 2008
    #6
    Agreed. Spotlight is an essential tool. (On my Mac too! Seriously, Spotlight is awesome.)

    The ability to move iOS apps around and put them into folders from within iTunes is also nice. When struck by the urge to significantly rearrange things on my iPhone, I'll use iTunes to get the job done quickly.
     
  7. Lloydbm41 macrumors 68040

    Lloydbm41

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    #7
    This is my number one pet peeve about iOS. I have to use iTunes (which i loathe!) to significantly alter my folder and app layout, otherwise it would take me an hour to move my 150 apps around. IOS is very archaic in its UI. This worked in 2007, but now it is just annoying.
     
  8. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #8
    That's not necessarily a good thing. The fact that searching is easier than using the springboard means that the springboard has held up well over the years. It was fine at first, but with the explosion of the app store, most people have tons of apps installed on their phones.

    IOS 4 helped a little with folders, but had it's own problems: mainly you could only put 9 apps in a folder). You'd still need multiple folders if you had a lot of games or something.

    IOS 7 allowed you to fill folders with multiple pages, but again, there are issues. Previously, you could see tiny little icons for everything in a folder, but that only works with single-page folders. As you already know, that's a pain, and so it becomes easier to search than it does to organize.

    All 3 major phone operating systems allow you to search for apps, but iOS is the only one that doesn't list all of the installed apps in a single long list.
     
  9. ozaz macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Agreed. This is my biggest irritation with iOS.
     
  10. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #10
    Bleh, I hate the app drawer. I don't know what the mental block is for these companies to not have folders to organize this. At least iOS has folders. I know Android has folders, but not in the app drawer. I also don't think universal search always helps, especially if you don't know the name of the app. Windows Metro is guilty of this crap also on their start screen, although I don't know if WP does the same thing.
     
  11. CosmoFox macrumors regular

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    Mar 10, 2014
    #11
    I have nothing against windows, but I find it takes wayyy longer to install all my apps, and customize the OS to how I want. OS X is a lot easier.
     
  12. Lloydbm41 macrumors 68040

    Lloydbm41

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    #12
    You can create folders on wp that looks just like it does on iOS, only it is more complicated to create a folder than on iOS. That said, once a folder is created, adding, moving and deleting apps from a folder is soooo much simpler and faster to do on wp than either iOS or Android.

    ----------

    One of the reasons the Windows 7/XP lol is preferred over that Metro look in Windows 8. I never use the Metro tiles homescreen on either my PC or my Venue Pro 8. I'm just glad Microsoft didn't force users to use Metro tiles and we still have the option to use the normal desktop. If it had been Apple, I doubt that option would exist.
     
  13. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

    AppleScruff1

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    #13
    Which have you spent the most time with?
     
  14. SurferMan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    Location:
    South FL
    #14
    I actually like Windows OS now, especially after the 8.1 update. Maybe next phone I'll do windows for a change from Android and iOS. In reality, iOS and Android both look and operate basically the same, Windows just feels fresh and different.
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #15
    The start screen for the WP phones is more then a just a place to keep your apps. The live tiles provide feedback and information. I think its a nice intuitive design.

    Its also easy to quickly navigate through the alphabetical list of apps, by hitting the # icon in the list and then selecting the letter you want to see.

    Overall, I'm liking WP more then the iOS UI.
     
  16. deluxeshredder macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 30, 2013
    #16
    iOS 6 was very unique, it's iOS 7 that is total Android wannabe.
     
  17. alexforget82 macrumors regular

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    Jun 27, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, Qc
    #17
    That's honestly the only platform would make me change from iOS, especially since Microsoft update Windows Phone to 8.1

    My biggest problem is i'm totally into the Apple Ecosystem (2 iPhone, iPad, iMac, Apple TV, Time Capsule...) + my friend and family use a iPhone/iPad/iMac so it become easy to send message with iMessage. I'm a bit afraid to lose this function.
     
  18. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    #18
    A bit off topic but isn't the app store on a Windows tablet basically the same as what is on Windows phone?

    If it is essentially the same, why does it continue to lag behind with apps? Still not enough momuntem to entice developers?
     
  19. Internaut macrumors 6502a

    #19
    It's a mystery...... My understanding is that if you develop for one, developing for the other is easy. Yet iPlayer and Spotify are both available for Windows phone, but not for TIFKAM* on Windows tablets. This is killing RT adoption.

    * The Interface Formerly Known As Metro, simply called Modern, these days.
     
  20. ozaz macrumors 65816

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    #20
    No, they're different stores. Presumably this will change in the future with so called Windows universal apps, but don't know when that will happen.
     
  21. Lloydbm41 macrumors 68040

    Lloydbm41

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    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Central California
    #21
    Windows apps and Windows Phone Apps can now be developed hand in hand as of the 8.1 updates to both OS's. The apps share a lot of the same code, however the developers of apps will have to find the time to redevelop their apps to do this. (This is not likely to happen very much, outside of the big name developers with lots of money and personnel I mean.) Developers that want to create new apps on the other hand will find this more tempting.

    For example, I emailed the developers of Pushbullet about this very topic and while they 'want' to add Windows Phone into the mix, they only have a few people and little time. Here is the email I received from Ryan, the cofounder of Pushbullet:

    That said, there are already apps out for both app stores, with the coding for the new rules in place that if you buy for one, you buy for both, unlike before which required paying twice. Microsoft kicked off the Universal app party with Halo: Spartan Assault.
    Look at the small icon in the pic below in the game info for example:
     

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  22. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

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    #22
    I have both right in front of me. They have nothing in common.
     
  23. Lloydbm41 macrumors 68040

    Lloydbm41

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    Oct 17, 2013
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    Central California
    #23
    Yeah, I didn't really get what he was saying either? IOS has looked like iOS since the beginning. Android started off mimicking the grid of icons before diverging Android to allow for personalized icon placement, widgets and live wallpapers. IOS has never done this. Unless he was talking about 'features' that iOS has borrowed from Android like the Notification Center, but even that has been there since ios5. I'm not sure what he is talking about?
     
  24. mlody macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Location:
    Windy City
    #24

    WP also sparked my interested and recently, I was able to grab a nice deal on a used Lumia 928. I didn't want to spend $500-600 for Lumia Icon (Verizon has a very limited selection of the WP phones) since I was only testing waters with the OS, so 928 was my only real choice.

    I like the OS very much. The tiles work much better than on a desktop OS (my home system is Windows Pro 8.1 update 1). but the app selection is very disappointing - a lot of apps I was using on iPhone are not available - some of them are: xfinity/Comcast apps, fidelity apps, starbacks and few others.
    Also, it seems like the app store is flooded with a lot of garbage apps and mobile website wrapper apps. Searching app store and filtering is also more painful that for instance on iOS.

    Like I originally said, the OS itself is great. Microsoft is expecting to be more aggressive rolling out updates, so I bet that there are a lot of new and exciting features coming to the WP rather sooner than later.
     
  25. Lloydbm41 macrumors 68040

    Lloydbm41

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Central California
    #25
    Did you update your 928 to WP8.1? If not, do it and you'll notice a huge improvement with features, including how the app store looks and operates.
     

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