1. ekalyvio's Avatar
    Although the Windows Phone O/S seems to be gaining traction around the world, Microsoft hasnt yet proved that it can be a real competitor to either Android or iOS. Hundreds of types of applications are missing from the Windows Phone store either because the Windows Phone O/S has plenty restrictions or there is not the appropriate hardware (in the phones) to support these applications.

    Lets take as an example the inexistence of custom lock screen apps. Such kind of apps category requires plenty of discussion whether it should exist or not. The problem is that the users are not allowed to use any kind of special type lock screen apps. For example, such an app, could allow the user to unlock the phone after drawing a custom pattern with their fingers on the screen. Having so many restrictions on the phone O/S the developers are forced to create apps that are not in any case innovative.

    Another type of apps category that is missing plenty of functionality is the health & fitness category. Microsoft hasnt added any support for ANT+ devices (see thisisant(dot)com and en(dot)wikipedia(dot)org/wiki/ANT+). This is an alternative to Bluetooth low energy protocol but it is being used by plenty of manufacturers that are creating mostly health related hardware devices (e.g. heart rate monitors, speed sensors, activity monitors, pulse oximeters, temperature sensors, etc.). The inability of the operating system to support such kind of devices, keeps fitness freaks outside of the Windows Phone market.
    Getting a look around the internet and searching for some interesting statistics in that specific category of applications I got amazed on what I found. The graph on this link indicates that 70% of the U.S. internet users are accessing at least once daily health & fitness related apps. Also, for the same time period, 30% of the users are using Goal tracking apps and 27% Motivation apps in such health & fitness category (www(dot)statista(dot)com/statistics/298033/us-health-and-fitness-app-usage-reasons/).

    Just for your information, the health & fitness market, is a market that is going to boom over the next couple of years. Large hardware manufacturers like Fitbit, Nike, Withings & Garmin (to mention some) are developing specialized kind of sensors, electronic devices and fitness trackers (software or hardware) that are intended to be used by users in such fast growing market.

    All these manufacturers are also creating specialized software that interact with these sensors/devices and give to their end-users endless possibilities to track their health habits. The following link (www(dot)imore(dot)com/ultimate-fitness-tracker-comparison-fitbit-flex-vs-jawbone-up24-vs-nike-fuelband-se-vs-garmin) contains a review of 4 such fitness trackers (just to get an idea). The Windows Phone operating system seems to lag behind this niche market and is required to make big steps to enter and rule it.

    The fact that the new Windows Phone 8.1 O/S does not allow the new Windows Phone 8.1 applications to run on the background makes the things much worst. Although WP8 was allowing the execution of location tracking apps on the background, Microsoft has removed that capability in the new WP 8.1 apps from their OS taking a step backward and leaving developers with hands up. This movement does not give any space to health & fitness related software houses to create state of the art applications and to innovate.

    There are hundreds of thousands of users that are buying smartphones with a primary goal to use them as fitness trackers. It is much cheaper for them to buy a $1 or $2 app to do their tasks instead of buying specialized hardware that costs at least $100. Such user base is not going to move to the Windows Phone platform unless Microsoft proceeds to some rapid changes.

    I (as a person & developer) am real fan of the Windows Phone ecosystem and I believe that it can do much more than it is currently doing. Without our voices, Microsoft is not going to change a lot in their mobile O/S. We (the users and the developers) are the driving force of such O/S and we are the ones that we are going to drive such O/S into a big success.
    On the other hand, Microsoft has created a user voice web site where developers can give feedback and vote on Missing Platform functionality. Microsoft for sure is hearing our voices and drives the development of their Windows Phone O/S based on user/developer requests. One of the requests in this web site describes the inability of the Windows Phone 8.1 O/S to run applications in the background (at least for location tracking).

    If you are passionate Windows Phone lover & interested in seeing the O/S giving endless possibilities to its users (especially for fitness related apps), please, go to the following web page and give your vote:
    wpdev(dot)uservoice(dot)com/forums/253374-missing-platform-apis/suggestions/6088960-continuous-background-location-tracking-like-wp8

    Please, let me know your comments bellow. I would be happy to do a conversation about that.
    09-18-2014 01:40 AM
  2. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    Please use the following thread for this discussion: http://forums.windowscentral.com/win...s-succeed.html
    09-18-2014 01:58 AM

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