Monday, 27 February 2017

Two Months On, How's Life Without Windows 10 Mobile?


Two months ago I caved in and abandoned Windows 10 as my smartphone platform. The stream of disappearing apps was becoming a flood and buyers were disappearing which was only going to worsen the situation. Meanwhile Microsoft was doing the minimum possible to keep the platform running - presumably in deference to close partner HP's newly launched Elite X3.

So after two months on the Xperia XZ what conclusions have I reached? Well as a core platform Windows 10 Mobile is still a top notch contender. The core platform is far from being enough and the failure to court developers has been a massive failure on Microsoft's part for so long now it's part of IT folklore.

There's something to be said about being able to go to the Play Store and access any application you could possibly want. 

The list of apps I have access to now is illuminating: my bank, my children's school, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways, Emirates, the remote control app for my camera, IFTTT, NZ's civil defence app, the Nissan Connect app for my car, Pricespy, Pinterest, Pushbullet, my carrier's app.

Those are just the apps I use on a regular basis. Every one removes a mobile pain point.

What have I given up in exchange? I would have suggested Windows 10 Mobile's Live Tiles as the big differentiator, but given how few third parties are actually supporting them it isn't a big selling point.

Continuum? Android has that covered with DisplayLink support, and whilst there's no secondary display feature at least all Android apps will work on the big screen.

No, the only real downside to leaving Windows Mobile is the loss of Cortana and the wonderful job Microsoft has done of making it a truly useful personal assistant. Why won't Apple or Google allow their phones to be set to read new text messages over bluetooth? In the car this is just the most useful thing ever. Just one example of the thought Microsoft put into its assistant that doesn't become apparent until you go past the usual assistant test of asking a set of pointless questions.

Cortana gets things right. We're most likely to talk to our phones when we're in the car, its a huge safety feature in that environment. 

It's the only place I'm feeling the loss of Windows on my phone and that in itself speaks to how far Microsoft let its mobile platform fans down.

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