Microsoft: Please Sort Out Your Regional Restriction Mess
Over the course of this year I have moved from mostly an Apple stack to a mostly Microsoft one. Previously I used a MacBook Air, iPad Air 2 and iPhone (in rotation with other phones) to get a consistently 'Apple' experience.
However I've now switched to Microsoft - Surface 3, Lumia 930 and Xbox One - and it's marvelous. OneDrive, Office 365 and Xbox Live are enabling services that make the experience seamless. There are none of the glitches that characterize Apple's cloud services and much more flexibility as a result.
However, Microsoft hasn't really worked out how to do regional control properly.
For example, I'm an Englishman in New Zealand. I want Cortana on my Lumia and given that there's no recognition engine for the (very different) New Zealand accent right now, Cortana is not enabled in New Zealand Lumias.
However, the English recognition model for the UK is available and given that I'm English I'd quite like to use Cortana with it. The only way I can do this is to switch all of my regional and location settings to then UK, the upshot being that I can no longer access the NZ app market.
Buying NZ specific apps becomes a chore, as I have to switch my phone back to an NZ configuration, buy the app and then revert to UK settings. Often it's too much messing around just to try a new app, so if it isn't available in the UK store I probably won't buy it.
On the Xbox things are even worse. I have to perform the same regional switcheroo to enable voice on my Kinect sensor. The app situation I can live with, however the Live TV feature is wrapped up in a neat little catch 22: voice control will only work if I'm setup as if I'm in the UK, but the OneGuide feature then gives me UK channel information.
Less than helpful.
I realise there are good reasons for trying to separate out regions when it comes to voice recognition, but given the high degree of population mobility it really doesn't make sense to do this based on location. How about allowing people to choose voice recognition engines based on where they're from and how they talk, rather than where they happen to be?
Cortana on my Lumia works 100% perfectly in New Zealand - so there's no functional reason for not allowing people in New Zealand to use it with whatever regional accent they specify.
Come on Microsoft, you know it would make sense.