With Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Windows on a phone, or whatever you want to call it dying a slow death, I’ve been tempted now more than ever to jump ship back to iOS (last iPhone was an iPhone 4) or Android (Galaxy S3).
I recently got an iPod Touch to use for work as, shockingly, there were a couple apps I needed to use via Wi-Fi that aren’t on Windows Phone. Having not regularly used iOS in some time, I was struck by a few things. Number one, iOS is a much more polished experience than Windows 10 Mobile in its current state. No great surprise there, I guess. The overall fit and finish is just better and iOS has been honed to a fine point. That being said, although the skeuomorphism is gone, the basic interface for iOS is largely unchanged since it launched. The perfectly spaced grid of squircles dominates and the (in my opinion) overly simplistic interface just begs for an update. Sure there are Apple’s version of Widgets, but overall iOS feels like a 10 year old operating system. For me, the Windows phone interface blows iOS away when it comes to utility, practicality, and user friendliness. As tempted as I am to upgrade to an iPhone 7, I just can’t imagine going back to this interface.
To be fair, I haven’t used Android in some time, basically since Jelly Bean. However, I can’t get past Android’s fragmentation and the fact that even the Galaxy S8 ships with an older version and likely will only be updated once in its life cycle and 6 or so months too late. I still am not crazy about Android’s interface either. Yes you can download launchers, skins, widgets and the like, but the more you modify it, the laggier, buggier, and more tempremental it seems to get. Maybe that has changed since I last used Android. Also, I’m not that much into the Google ecosystem and not that keen on the too many cooks in the kitchen approach with a lot of Android devices that have the wireless carrier, OEM, and Google all putting their stamp on the device and OS. For my money, Windows phone provides the perfect balance of customizability and predictability (with the following caveats, see below).
Who can guess what the future is for Windows on a phone-like device? Here’s what I’d like from Microsoft to keep me from jumping ship to iOS. First, I don’t care if they are giving up on the current version of Windows phone 10 in favor of “cellular PCs” running full Windows 10. I get it. However, at the very least, take the current version of Windows 10 Mobile and make it as rock solid stable and bug-free as possible. I still have nagging issues with Bluetooth, Live Tile updates, random re-boots, etc. If you aren’t going to add new features, at least make the OS as stable and smooth as possible. If you are working on a Surface Mobile device, micro-PC, ARM-based small screen device, whatever….drop us a hint, give us a preview, do something to entice me to hold on to my 950XL for a few more months with the knowledge that something better is coming. I find the vague responses and coy hints to be non-reassuring and weak. Are you working on something or not? I understand the need for secrecy, but throw your loyal supporters a bone.