Hi guys, new to the forums.
I want to share my point of view but don't shoot the messenger. I have been working in the mobile space, I have talked to pretty much every OEM many times. My closest ties are within Nokia. I talk to Nokia on a weekly basis and by that I mean I talk to Corporate Vice Presidents and higher (Elop).
I love Nokia, the amount of sheer talent that they have is incredible. I have been out-smarted on many occassions by the very same folks over there. My love for Nokia went even further after I figured out they are going to embrace Windows Phone as their new platform because I have been turned into a Microsoft fanboy just by the sheer hate the company gets from bloggers etc. on a regular basis. I didn't consider myself even a fan but after seeing the negative perception regarding the company, I have tried to bring a little perspective by fighting the dumb arguments against them.
I have been able to play around with early pre-builds of Windows Phone 8 but a lot has been changed since. I haven't had a recent build in months so what I'm saying now is completely and only my opinion.
To sum it up in one word....its overwhelming and underwhelming. I can make any OS look amazing or terrible because I'm aware of their weaknesses and strengths.
Microsoft has once again completely changed their OS. The new platform gives them much greater flexibility to accelerate development paces for the future. Windows Phone 8 does bring a lot of pretty cool stuff. A lot of the prayers have been answered and by any measure its an incredible update.
New Office apps, new maps and offline turn by turn, new IE, VoIP integration, much better cloud integration, new music service, native NFC support, wallet, native code, NT kernal and more...thats just a TON of new stuff, a TON.
But here comes my annoyances with the OS. It seems to me Microsoft has not polished the old stuff as much as they should have. Again, this is fairly speculative since we have no idea what the final build will look like. Its ALL based on all the leaks and the emulator.
1. the notification center is missing. Thats a fairly little issue for me but a lot of people do complain and they have the right to do so. It just seems like Microsoft feels with a notification center their live tile concept will be less of a standout feature. Its just that live tiles are effective in their own ways but notification center has its advantages too. You don't have to pin everything, you get more information and its easier to switch between those relevant apps from a unified center. (I'm aware of the new lockscreen stuff, pretty neat). But a toast notification history would have done wonders, I still feel the left screen from the homescreen should be used.
2. I absolutely hate the UI of the internet explorer. Fullscreen browsing is missing (it makes no sense to see the URL bar all the time), forward and backward buttons are missing, it seems like gestures are missing, switching between tabs, favorites etc. is still going to be painful as one button just doesn't cut in. I had hoped they would introduce a radial menu for quick controls in the browser or a drop down bar with tabs...anything.
3. The multi-tasking on WP is still terrible. It will waste multiple screens when you go to check your mails and when you only have 5 thats an issue. When you click on the app it will re-launch the app rather than resume the app which is a huge annoyance to me. Its also fairly inpredictable as to when the back-button closes an app, when it goes back within an app or goes back to the last app. Sometimes I want to go back within IE9 and it will close the app.
4. Universal search still hasn't been detected, another fairly huge simple function. Searching calendar, texts, documents is a big deal, especially on a phone that claims to be business ready.
5. Universal volume control sucks. Why can't I have different volumes for system, ringtone, music? Why can't I listen to music and type an email without the keyboard being annoyingly loud? why is that games still make noise with my phone on silent? Little function, huge impact. There is still hope somebody from the WP team does actually use one because it doesn't take long to realize this.
6. Another little issue with big impact...the settings menu. Its awful. They should have created tiles for "phone settings", "system settings", "network settings", etc. They also should have moved WiFi, Data, Bluetooth, NFC, Airplane etc. at the top and taken the toggle out of the sub-menu to save people a click. Android does this pretty well, even iOS has embraced this.
7. Little stuff: smart dialer, sending contacts via SMS, folders, weekly view in calendar, flagging hotmail emails (amazingly this is supported for GMail but not for Hotmail, wow), better keyboard (English keyboard is awesome but predictions for other languages is subpar and some auto-complete stuff flat out wrong). I have seen this in NL and GER keyboards in particular. Closing apps via a swipe up, the ability to send PDF attachments, editing emails when you want to forward them (sometimes you don't want to forward the ENTIRE email), turning off auto-rotation. camera self-timer, a better copy solution, copying stuff in IE is a pain compared to the competition but this has changed I can confirm (haven't tested it though), the opportunity to forward/rewind manually rather than in 30 second and 5 second steps, the inability to charge when phone is off or when the alarm doesn't ring when phone is off. That stuff is trivial, it isn't rocket science. I know iOS also has plenty of stupidities but Apple has the hardware prowess and the ecosystem to neglect that. Microsoft has to beat Android in customer experience. Micro-managing devices is dumb and only what for bloggers but such essential stuff have to be supported, especially if you aim at first time smartphone buyers who have enjoyed some of this on their dumbphones. Especially for Nokia, thats a big deal. You convert symbian users and they will be pissed at the lack of stuff like not having a calling protocol with duration etc...this stuff is big in emerging countries that Nokia is targeting. And no, having apps for that doesn't solve the problem. It makes it hard to keep track seamlessly.
And really I'm sure you all can add stuff to this list. Thats called polish. Windows Phone has the right foundation, its fast, its smooth, its stable, it looks good and it introduces a lot of neat new concepts to get things done. But it still lacks the polish, it feels raw even after the leaks. One could say its cool because we would still be "hungry" after WP8 for the next updates. When you look at Android and iOS...they really aren't making huge progress right now...its all fairly incremental with adding polish or gimmick features that nobody needs or uses.
My problem is that I feel that while this is a huge update. Its not "impressive" enough from the average joe's perspective, they won't really be impressed by the technical implications and ditch their platform for it, especially if they are invested in that platform.
I just don't see how this will take WP from 2% to 10% or more. I don't see the incentive for apple or google fanboys to reconsider.
We love Windows Phone, I got my WP (HTC HD7) 3 months before the very first release. I have 4 Lumia devices and an HTC Titan. But I still think Windows Phone has a ways to go. But again, a lot of the stuff I mentioned could be in the final builds as we still have no idea how WP8 RTM looks like.
loooong post, lots of complaints. But remember, I love WP. I just don't know if Microsoft is paying the level of attention to detail as they should. You cannot excite people with the ability to multi-select pictures or be able to backup their phones...in late 2012...thats a given.