WP8: Not Winning (Important Update)
UPDATE: Woah, I didn't expect this post to blow up! I just finished reading Paul Thurrot's report on WP8 based on today's release, combined with some info he's had for a while, and I gotta say, I'm quite a bit more excited about WP8 than I was when I wrote this post (although it sucks that I likely won't get them since many core stuff won't be in 7.8). I do suggest y'all go ahead and read it, it's a wonderful post, and his section titled "Windows reimagined" probably excited me the most. I do think a lot of the concerns I raised though in this post are valid and need to be addressed (and I'm hoping many will be by release).
I own a Lumia 900 and an 800, and my reaction to today's WP8 announcement was very "meh".
I love WP7, and I really want WP to win. The most frustrating part however, is (a) lack of some very basic features and (b) lack of apps and killer features. Today's announcement didn't seem to help any of those:
Lack of basic features:
I was really hoping for the following features that other OSes have had for a while:
- Compass support in maps and integrated public transport support. This is really frustrating when I'm walking in a place I have never been before (end up walking half a block before I figure out I went the wrong way). Neither the Nokia maps update for 7.5 nor the WP8 maps update mentioned anything about this. Further, the UI shown for WP8 maps looked exactly like Nokia maps today without the compass support. Also, not having public transport in built, or using something like GMaps Pro doesn't cut it as that forces you to use a lot of cut/paste for directions.
- A notification center. Nothing about this.
- Better multitasking. Sure they mentioned the Voip and the maps thing, but where's the ability to go back more than 5 apps? Close an app?
Lack of apps and killer features:
Today, they announced Audible and Zynga's Draw Something and Words with Friends. Which are great apps, but there are a lot missing. Things I miss include Music (Pandora, SiriusXM), Banking (Fidelity, Wells Fargo, Mint.com), Medical (WebMD for quick symptom checking), Games (Angry Birds in Space), Credit Card Readers (Square, Intuit GoPayment, PayPal PayHere), and others (Paypal, Instagram, Flipboard). Even the popular apps like Draw Something are so darn late to the game, that most of my friends that played it a lot when it came out, are no longer on it.
Fact is, developers will only make WP a priority, when it'll get more marketshare.
And to get more marketshare, beyond the Microsoft enthusiasts, Microsoft really needs to deliver a "cool", killer feature that other platforms do NOT have. This has to be something that's very unique and revolutionary, not simply evolutionary (like merging facebook and contact apps). Microsoft's done this before, delivering a killer game like Halo for Xbox, or trying a new cool hardware piece like the cover-keyboard for Surface. But WP8, seemed like catch up at best, without any such feature. It's fine to catch up when you're behind, but you really need to offer something other platforms don't to win. And until you do that, you won't get mindshare or users, ensuring you won't get top priority from the devs, reinforcing the cycle even more.
Finally, as an existing WP7.5 customer, I know that I'll get 7.8, but will the new WP8 apps work on 7.8? (They did say 7.5 apps will work on WP8, but not the other way around!)
What do you guys think? Do other WP7.5 owners agree? If you don't have a WP7.5 phone, does WP8 win your vote?