I am a Luddite

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Okay – I know I’m being a Luddite but I am going to say it anyway – even despite Paul’s disdain for those of us still in mourning – I really miss my Windows Phone. It just worked. I had no issues with contacts, messaging and email. Didn’t have to play around to get to work with Ford Sync. There even was a way to add Cortana as a contact so that in my car’s system I could say “Call Cortana” and basically do anything that Cortana was capable of.

Since then I have not been able to get either IOS or Android to even come close to this. I have to do really dumb stuff to even begin to try and vocally text – to the point I have just set my phone to say – “Sorry I am in the car and unavailable.”

I know it’s about the apps, but sometimes it’s also about the basic usability of the dang device and on this score Apple and Google have purposely made it as difficult as possible to use anybody else’s services – it’s “My way or the highway.”.

To be honest – I haven’t enjoyed using my phone since I made the switch from Windows Phone.

The truth of the matter is that engineering excellence has no correlation to market share. IOS and Android both suck. Period.

Comments (28)

28 responses to “I am a Luddite”

  1. richardfenoglio

    I agree with this completely, but especially on the car integration front. Voice to text with Cortana in my Ford was amazing, and I especially miss the "You've got a text, would you like me to read it or ignore it?" prompts while driving and the near-perfect transcriptions when I replied.


    Paul has mentioned several times that Microsoft killed Android Bridge because it apparently worked too well, which makes me wonder what could have been had Microsoft moved forward with it.

  2. jumpingjackflash5

    Yes it is a pity tha Microsoft abandoned Windows Mobile. Efforts to be present on Android and integrate it with Windows are poor replacement. I do not have Lumia now, I am on Android. It is pretty decent but sometimes I miss Windows 10 Mobile, too.

    Microsoft should not leave consumer's market. If they do they will finally lose at business market a lot of clients too.

    Maybe they should try one last attempt to return, carefully planned and with strong backward compatibility with existing UWP and PWA apps. And with a number of selected partners who would manufacture phones that Windows Mobile can be installed on. Microsoft needn't manufacture all the phones on its own.

  3. WiseOldElf

    and as the parent of young kids, 'kids corner' was just perfect :)

  4. remc86007

    I know it's crazy, but 1.5 years later, I still think about Window Phone at least once a week when I encounter something that just isn't as efficient on IOS. Having a real camera button, a back button, and a dedicated search button is just better. The messaging and email client native to Windows Phone was way, way faster and more efficient to use than the imessage/Outlook Mobile mess I'm using now. The tiles were useful! The 3rd party reddit and youtube apps were far, far better than what was on IOS when I switched (although Apollo is on par now). I know it can't be possible, but I swear my Lumia 950 XL occasionally took better pictures than my iphone does. Most of all, I miss the general UI design. IOS is all around ugly. The icons are ugly. The settings menu/app setting split makes zero sense.


    I know a lot of this sounds like I should try Android; I have, and I hated it worse than IOS.

  5. crp0908

    You're not a luddite. A better example would be someone who drives a car from the 1970s because they hate the electronics in modern cars. You mentioned you have a Ford and it synced well with your Microsoft phone. But you didn't mention the year of your Ford. Ford Sync Gen 1 and Gen 2 are "Powered by Microsoft," which might explain why it works better with a Microsoft phone. I can tell you from personal experience that Ford Sync Gen 2 is unimpressive. The voice recognition for using the nav system is terrible. If your Ford is from model year 2014 or older and states "Sync Powered by Microsoft" or something like that on the dashboard, I wouldn't be surprised at the trouble you have been having with voice recognition.


    I have no experience with Ford Sync Gen 3 so cannot comment on the Ford Sync 3 experience.

  6. jimchamplin

    Miss mine too.


    Don't miss its shortcomings though, especially now that iOS has had three years to progress since Windows 10 Mobile died.

  7. evox81

    Cortana's (on Windows phone) handling of Bluetooth (text and voice commands by "calling" Cortana) was the best there was at the time. I missed it immensely when I switched to Android. I tried all the apps that claimed to replicate it and was disappointed.


    But... When I bought my new car last year, which has Android Auto... I have to say the experience has been usurped. The integration of Android Auto with the physical controls in the vehicle were the missing piece that Cortana never had. Google Assistant has also advanced enough that its voice control is a worthy replacement.

  8. navarac

    "You've got a text, would you like me to read it or ignore it?" was just brilliant.

  9. jules_wombat

    I am still running my Lumia 650, as my personal phone. As, in my own opinion, it is still superior to an Android or iPhone alternative. I do also have an Android Nokia 6, but I cannot find any compelling "Apps Launcher" to compete with the superior Windows Mobile experience.

  10. Greg Green

    MS’ inability to market things well, coupled with Nadella’s fear and embarrassment of being third in something really limited MS’ success.


    Its a puzzle to me why Nadella supports Surface yet wouldn’t give the same support to the phones. They had the money to offer steep discounts to developers, even to fund developers to fill the App Store with the most popular apps. Yet quitting seemed smarter to him.

    • Jackwagon

      In reply to Greg Green:

      Surface has been more successful in its purpose to "set the bar" for OEMs. At the same time, Satya had been against the acquisition of Nokia even before he became CEO, and felt that there wasn't really a place in the market for a third platform unless they could "change the rules".


      For that matter, even if he thought WP could be successful, there are various opportunity costs (not just $$ for WP, but resources from other projects). It may have been that he decided that it was possible, but only at a cost he didn't feel was justified.

  11. AnOldAmigaUser

    I miss the camera button. The ability to take a photo with one hand was something I used almost every day. That and the camera on the 950XL was definitely better than that of the iPhone XR. The ability to pin contacts and groups was really useful as well.

    The worst part is that it was the lack of support for Microsoft's own apps that forced my hand. I had to reinstall the Office apps after every monthly patch to get the applications to recognize my Office 365 subscription, and they dropped the Teams app.

    I do not hate the iPhone; battery life is amazing, the camera is fine, performance is good, but the UI is uninspired

  12. hrlngrv

    You're not a luddite, but you are part of a rather small group who either discarded everything you may have amassed on another type of smart phone before switching to a Windows phone, or you switched from a feature phone to a Windows phone. Few others did what you did.

    FWLIW, I'm more an actual luddite. I haven't installed any 3rd party apps on my phone. The only times I'm ever away from my work laptop or home PC I don't want to use my phone either.

    Not that it makes up for anything, but I know a number of people who'd like to have Blackberries still.

    The sad fact is that MSFT believes there's not enough money for MSFT to make on Windows phones. When it comes to money, I figure MSFT knows best, certainly better than anyone without access to its internal, proprietary financial projections. In any case, this wouldn't be the first time putative engineering excellence failed in the market.

    Why didn't Windows phones succeed? Maybe the apps, but consider how many original Windows Phone 7 handsets couldn't run Windows Phone 7.5, how many Windows Phone 7.x handsets couldn't run Windows Phone 8, and how many Windows Phone 8.x handsets couldn't run Windows 10 Mobile. IOW, maybe MSFT had a lot to do with putting off most of the world's smartphone buyers.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      That's not just a "rather small group" that switched from a feature phone to a Windows phone. That's almost every early adopter and tech enthusiast. The first real Windows phone was the Motorola MPx200 in late 2003. By comparison, the first iPhone was in 2007 (with no 3G radio or store) and Android wasn't really in the market until 2008. For over three years if you used an actual smartphone it was a Windows device and the real Luddites asked why you'd want a phone with Word and Excel and access to email.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Maybe our definitions are different, but I consider the early 2000s Blackberries to have been smartphones, and I saw one helluva lot more of them than I ever saw Windows phones, in the first Windows Mobile era, Windows Phone era, or second Windows Mobile era. And, gosh, Blackberries had e-mail since at least 2000 (when they were introed where I worked at the time).

        There are no publicly available usage statistics for the decade of the 2000s I can find, but my impression is that Blackberry was the leader before the iPhone. Maybe there were Nokia handsets using Symbian back then, but I also didn't notice them either.

        But I take your point. MSFT catastrophically lost what smartphone user share it had by needing 3 years from the intro of iPhones to move from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone 7, and its utter lack of initial urgency was summed up exquisitely by Ballmer's pinnacle of cluelessness statement that he preferred MSFT's position in phones just after the iPhone's debut. If there was ever an example of comprehensive inability to foresee the future, that was it. Clearly from a MSFT perspective, in 2008 it was better to offer phones able to run Excel and Word than pay attention to consumer uptake of iPhones and Android phones.

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          I'd class Blackberries in a different group because they were almost totally a feature phone with email and proprietary email at that. They lacked the flexibility and standards-based protocols used by what we now call smartphones.


          In either case, though, the point is that the "rather small group" was not small and included pretty much all tech enthusiasts.

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to MikeGalos:

            All tech enthusiasts.

            I live in the SF Bay Area, home to one or two tech enthusiasts. I don't recall seeing many Windows Mobile 6.x phones in the wild in the mid-2000s compared to Blackberries. Do you have actual usage cardinal numbers? OTOH, I do vaguely recall questions about Excel Mobile in the old USENET newsgroups invariably being answered with a you can't do that in Excel Mobile, so there were people trying to use Windows phones and generally being frustrated trying to do so.

  13. Lordbaal

    Windows phone was just simple. And sometimes simple is easier and better.

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