Around Dec 2012, I was looking for a new smartphone. I was upgrading from a Nokia 1100 which was a basic phone. I had downgraded to the 1100 post losing my Nokia Music 5230. Prior to that I had owned a Nokia 2100 , a motorola and my first phone was a trusty Nokia 1100.
Yes, I know it appears I was a Nokia fan all through but this story is not about my older phones. It is about the last phone and why I ditched the windows platform.
As someone who jokes that he was a software developer in my past-life, I considered myself a power user. I thus had done my research and I was waiting for the windows phone launch for 1-2 months. Windows phones had attracted me for multiple reasons back then.
- The windows phone OS was a new platform with some of the key issues of android such as security, multiple versions removed promising a better experience.
- With the Microsoft brand behind it there was supposed to be better Office integration on the cloud( Microsoft service called OneDrive which rivalled dropbox etc.)
- The build of the phones was absolutely solid. I still swear by it.
- There was excitement around the phone with promises of things android and ios could not do.
- The phones were gorgeous in multiple colours( I finally brought a yellow one)
- The camera with Nokia and Carl Zeiss tech promised a whole new level.
I thus became an owner of a Nokia Lumia 820 within 4 days of its India launch(Feb 2013). This also meant I took most of the promises at face value. I was undecided between the 820 and the 920 but I was at that point in time not convinced of the need for the larger 920 screen and how it fit in my hand(In retrospective I possibly overreacted).
2 years down the line I chucked the phone finally and went to an Android. I did not even consider a Microsoft Windows phone again for many reasons. So in effect a 2 year review is below.
- The phone had great performance but apps became its biggest limitation. The ecosystem never developed as the phone never took off except in some developing countries(India & Brazil). This had three ramifications-
a) The hottest apps came for the iOS and the Android
b) The wait for the the latest rage (say temple run) was 10-12 months at least if it came that is. I remember people literally begged for instagram
c) There were simply no choice of apps for the same thing(1-2 if it existed)
- Very few windows phone only apps left a mark. Wordament which was ported to android later was one but the list is short.
- Windows is now officially lagging behind , another just ran. Unless something drastic happens(maybe a Xiaomi like company), it is only for people who want basic functionality from their phone
- In the two years, phones with larger screens became replacement for the laptop with apps and mobile sites delivering a nearly equal experience.
- With Microsoft releasing its office apps and onedrive apps, there was not much of a competitive advantage with windows phones.
Thus in the month of Feb exactly two years after my last phone purchase, I brought a OnePlus One. More about that in another article.
As of now I would not recommend a Microsoft(Nokia is dead) phone to anyone. Microsoft also realizes it and therefore their emphasis on tools for portability of iOS and Android apps is a step in solving this issue.
However if I am the publisher of a new app, would I really care about windows when the whole Android and iOS world is out there? Each version adds more complexity for support. I think the answer is obviously not.