Windows Phone: Why it Deserves 3rd Place
Before I go too deep into this, I'd like to make mention of the face that I'm a proud Lumia 928 user, and that I love my phone. However, despite this, I find it absolutely deserving of 3rd place at the current moment.
No, no you're wrong, this isn't going to be a rant on apps, honestly I think apps is the least of the platforms worries. I'm one of the people who subscribe to the idea that "the most popular apps can fuel an ecosystem", I honestly don't think the app issue is as severe as critics would claim it to be, WP has all the biggest apps (whether it is through third party or not), However, where it is really lacking is features. Features considered so basic that they aren't really given a second thought on other platforms, they're just there, and have been for a long time in smart phone years.
Let's start with one of the big ones, the notification center. It has been around on Android and iOS for quite a while now, and in the time both platforms have had it, it has grown more robust, more integrated, and more essential to the diets of many power users. Now I realize that Live Tiles work in a similar fashion, and while I think they can work as an alternative, the fact is there are many people who will, and do, prefer the former. The fact that they can be used without closing the app is an advantage as well.
Quick settings is another big one. They aren't all that old, but they've been around long enough that the lack of such a feature could deter others from adopting the Windows Phone platform. There really isn't any arguing their usefulness either, it is one of the features I want most, it would be nice to quickly toggle the battery saver on and off quickly without having to scroll through the settings.
Rotation lock, once again, a very basic feature, yet one that we still don't have, and as someone who uses their phone in bed more often than in any other room or on any other piece of furniture in my house, the lack of such a feature leaves much to be desire.
Separate volume controls, I never really understood this one personally, and I kind of like the unified volume control, however it seems I'm the minority, and this is one of the oldest features I've named thus far. The lack of this feature is almost embarrassing.
A real Voice Assistant, yes, we have tellme, but let's be honest, it is little more than glorified bing voice search. Want to know the weather? Siri will tell you what it is out loud as well as show you the weather for the next few days. Google Now will show you and tell you the current weather, the weather of the place where your next vacation is, and even your life story (joking, joking). Tellme however, just takes you to bing search, oh so helpful.
I don't know if this counts as a phone feature, but favorite syncing in IE. I love IE on my Surface, but I'm rather disgruntle over using it on my phone. It doesn't sync with my tablet like other browsers, it opens up on a blank page while most browsers will at the very least open up to a list of favorites. IE doesn't play podcasts in the background either, and I find myself being held hostage whenever I want to listen to a podcast without downloading it, completely unable to use my phone while listening to the latest episode of the AWO. Don't even get me started on the fact that it allows only six tabs and doesn't open up links in new tabs when on Facebook, the Verge app, etc. It is extremely basic, but it is still the best browser available on the platform, and even if it wasn't, it will always be your default browser.
Now I realize that many of these issues are already being addressed (and I realize that some of will probably comment something along the lines of "it is coming in 8.1" because people apparently don't like reading on forums), but after how long? Too long in my opinion. No, I'm not implying that they're too late, but is this any indicator as to how quickly we'll be getting features in the future? A number of these features were already popularized prior to WP8, and yet somehow we still never got them. This is why people consider WP to be half baked, and honestly, I have to agree with them. This is in part why WP is 3rd place in not only market share, but perhaps experience as well. Maybe you are willing to give these things up for amazing Nokia hardware/ cameras, one of the best UIs out there and a great MS services experience, I know I am, but that doesn't stop me from wanting these features that are considered so basic on other platforms.