Just got a Windows Phone, and I'm sorry I did... (Update)

It was time for me to update my phone contract and guess what, I wanted a Windows Phone 7.5 badly after several years with Android so I got a Samsung Omnia W (Focus Flash). I rally though I would be a more robust and stable experience, boy I was wrong.Compared to Android, Windows Phone feels like a glorified feature phone OS, it reminds Symbian or BB OS more than iOS or Android.

Windows phone has a lot of great stuff that are better than Android:

  • Smoothest UI around
  • Great camera experience
  • Great social media integration
  • Email management.
  • Zune Pass - Xbox Music
  • Contacts management is best in class.

However there are some things that are really driving me crazy:

  • Apps are killed off memory too aggressively un predictable multi-tasking: Open Facebook, Whatsapp, or any other web services driven app and you will be greeted with a F***g loading screen, It reminds me of iOS early days, when if you closed and open something it will start loading from the beginning. I understand a mobile OS is not great for multi-tasking but I really think iOS and Android (best) are much better and for me this is just a bad design, They designed some of the features to be compatible for phones with 256 MB of RAM like the infamous Lumia 610, and I think it was not really worth it, because as far as I know, that phone is not topping sales charts anywhere. I can even comprehend what they tried to do with multi tasking when you don't have control over the process, and it kills applications at will. I understand that developers should "tombstone" apps but it seems the implementation is pretty poor.
  • WiFi sleep policies (Updated): Yes, this seems to be the main driver for complains on Windows Phone 7.5, on my phone is particularly bad. After been lock for more than 5 minutes the phone turns off the WiFi, not only that but it takes a while for it to get back to WiFi one you have unlocked the phone. This is really frustrating, I mean, I pay a hefty amount of money to have fast internet connection at home and I can't use it on my phone at Will, I don't have any control at all over it which is worst, I have to depend on a much slower and expensive 3G network. I never had this issues with Android or iOS. The situation has largely improved after my phone was updated to Tango yesterday evening. Still uses 3G while the phone is locked for a while but at least it connects back to Wifi much faster than it did before, hallelujah!
  • IE on Windows phone is very bad and there are no alternatives (update): Internet explorer on Windows phone reminds me of the early days of mobile Safary and the Android Browser. Its slow, it does not have checker boards but it does have white blocks, tons of white blocks while browsing heavy web sites and worst of all, it renders java script heavy pages like theverge.com pretty poorly and slowly. I think some of this issues point back at preserving as much memory as possible and the phone tries to render just what's in front of you, but it does a terrible job at that. With Tango, IE seems a little more responsive and it seems to render pages better, still not as fast as Firefox or the default Android browser on my old Atrix 4G.
  • Metro still have a long way to go: Picture yourself using Zune pass and looking for the song "some body that I used to know" there will be dozens of songs that the search will pull and all of them will just say "some body that I u" the only help you have is using the Album art, as sad as it sounds and you may actually end up picking "some body that I "some body that I used to know DJ Pepito Remix Ft. Perensejo" instead of the actual song. Why long titles does not scroll? it is beyond me...
  • It suffers from the faith of being a 3% market share OS. developers, developers, developers, just don't care about Windows Phone right now, Apps like whatsapp and Facebook are sub-par compared to the Android or iOS versions. Whatsapp does not even integrate with messaging services and I can't perform calls within the app. Yesterday a contact of mine was calling me and I had to take note of the phone number and then call him, that just does not happen on Android, not sure about iOS on this one. Windows Phone is an afterthought for developers at this time and sadly there is no much we can do.

So, what's left for me as Windows phone 7.5 user, regret, sadness, buyers remorse. There is a reason why Windows Phone 7 has not taken off: It is below Android and iOS in terms of maturity. I can see where was Microsoft heading with Windows Phone, they wanted to capture the mid-range market, with low cost feature phone replacements, but they are showing very little understanding of consumers.

Android has had a great acceptance in the market due to the ability of the platform to scale to the highest end of devices as well as the lowest, Microsoft right in between does provide and arguably better experience pound by pound at the lower mid range of phones, but its not enough to stop the momentum Android has gained, and is inconceivable that devices like the Lumia 900 which cost more than double what the Omnia W, and competes with the high end of Android phones, still have the same internals the Omnia W has.

My conclusion, Windows phone 7 has the market share it deserves, it offers a sub-par experience that I will not recommend to anyone. Microsoft is suffering the faith of those who are slow to react to change and act with urgency with no clear strategy. I can even say that the Windows Mobile core concept of having a competent, customizable pocket computer was better, It just needed more polish and modern features, Android followed this rout and it is successful, hopefully Windows phone 8 will get the platform new heights, but still I don't see how it will be better than Android or iOS when the core product proposition has not changed.