Posted by Jim Martin 10 June 2014
1 simple reason why I won’t switch to Windows Phone: apps
Having spent the best part of the last month using the new Nokia Lumia 630, I can honestly say I’m impressed with Windows Phone 8.1. Whether or not you’re a fan of the bright colours and live tiles, it certainly deserves credit for the wealth of new features such as the digital assistant, Cortana, which is surprisingly capable.
If you allow it to, Cortana can monitor your email for information such as flight or other travel details, and warn you of problems such as traffic jams in order to avoid being late for check-in.
I particularly like the way you can personalise the interface with an accent colour and that you can choose the size of each of the home screen icons. Plus, the home screen isn’t only a place for shortcuts to apps: you can pin individual contacts or even tasks such as creating a new document in OneNote.
When you factor in Nokia’s own updates (Lumia Cyan) and some useful, easy to use apps such as HERE+ Drive and Nokia MixRadio, Windows Phone 8.1 is a compelling alternative to iOS and, to some extent, Android.
There are inevitably a few areas where Windows Phone lags behind Android and iOS, and until Cortana is available in UK English you won’t be able to use it or any of its associated features including Quiet Hours and Reminders.
However, there’s a much bigger issue: apps. Microsoft is keen to shout about big numbers, but rather less eager to promote quality over quantity. There may be over 200,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store, but I’d challenge anyone to name 10 of them.
Perhaps you can, but one of the problems that needs fixing is that of half-baked third-party apps which have been created to fill the void where official apps are missing. There are no Google apps, nor a Dropbox client. Even where there are official apps, they tend to be lesser versions than on an iPhone. You can install BBC iPlayer, but you can’t download and programmes. That sucks.
While there are alternatives for email, maps, cloud storage and more, I’ve no way to synching my Fitbit One, nor control my Nest thermostat. Developers simply aren’t prioritising Windows Phone, so until such apps exist, I have no choice but to use Android or iOS.
I really want to like Windows Phone, and there are some great handsets out there (not the Lumia 630, unfortunately). But while there are equally affordable Android alternatives, there’s really no reason to choose Windows Phone.