RIP, Windows Phone

Posted on July 10, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows Phones with 68 Comments

RIP, Windows Phone

Mainstream support for Windows Phone 8.1—the last version of Microsoft’s mobile platform that was worth a damn—ends tomorrow. A moment of silence, please.

As Microsoft’s support website notes, Windows Phone 8.1 support ends on July 11, 2017, more than 36 months after this product version was released, on June 24, 2014. That meets Microsoft’s contractual obligations, and it will no longer supply any updates available, including security updates.

There’s a lot that can be said here. But let’s instead look back at some key points from my original review of Windows Phone 8.1, which I hailed as “Microsoft taking Windows Phone to 11.” Windows Phone 8.1, unlike its Windows 10 Mobile successors, passes what I called “the upgrade test,” where going back to the previous OS version is painful. It was great. And its time was brief.

It was a major update. “Pay no attention to the version number: Windows Phone 8.1 is a major upgrade for Microsoft’s smartphone platform, one that provides improvements virtually everywhere,” I wrote. “But 8.1 also ships with some major new features: A beta version of the Cortana digital personal assistant which, for now at least, makes Apple’s Sir and Google Now look tame by comparison and a notification center that, frankly, Windows Phone should have had years ago … If there wasn’t already a Windows 8.1 floating around, I have no doubt Microsoft would have branded this one Windows Phone 9.”

This was before the “One Windows” convergence. “What I’m not seeing is any real indication that Windows Phone is being merged into Windows,” I noted. “Yes, there are absolutely features from Windows 8.1 that now appear in Windows Phone, like settings sync, quiet hours, VPN and Workplace, and much more. But this absolutely isn’t a ‘phone version of Windows.’ It’s still very much Windows Phone as we’ve known it, with its own quirks and uniquely phone-based features and functionality. The Start screen is oriented for portrait mode and still cannot, for example, be used in landscape mode. It’s a phone, not a tablet … Perhaps the two products [Windows 8.x and Phone] will be updated in lock-step from version to version (but not with regards to interim updates) going forward, since the same product group at Microsoft is now responsible for both.”

Lock screen improvements. The lock screen has been evolved with a more attractive and, I think, more usable informational layout, with the clock displayed in a larger clock font and the day and date in a smaller font … it supports a new type of lock screen app that can take over the display and provide a unique look and feel.

Action Center. Action Center is one of the best new features in Windows Phone 8.1. It is activated by swiping down from the top of the screen. This works from anywhere in Windows Phone, including, interestingly, the lock screen. There are two parts to Action Center, a row of quick settings tiles and then a list of app notifications. All-in-all, Action Center looks like it accomplishes exactly what you’d expect. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Start improvements. Microsoft now provides a “show more tiles” option for all Windows Phones with a display with a resolution lower than 1920 x 1080. There’s a new Start Background feature that lets you pick a photo to display under tiles on the the Start screen. And there’s an interesting parallax effect that occurs when you scroll through the Start screen: The background image scrolls at a different speed than the tiles do.

Cortana. The most hyped feature of Windows Phone 8.1 isn’t even really a feature of Windows Phone 8.1, per se: It’s available in beta form and then only in the United States. Cortana is basically a new generation of Bing Search, in the sense that it replaces the Bing Search functionality in Windows Phone 8 with a new version that is more universally integrated with everything in the phone and with voice interaction. And… it works.

Settings sync. Like Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 now supports OneDrive-based settings sync functionality.

Wordflow keyboard. Windows Phone 8.1 picks up a Swype-type virtual keyboard. And it works very well. Microsoft calls this capability “shape typing.”

Skype. Windows Phone 8.1 is the first version of Microsoft’s smartphone OS to include a bundled and integrated version of Skype. That means that Messaging no longer works for Facebook or Messenger chats, and that you must now use Skype.

Internet Explorer 11. Windows Phone 8.1 includes a significantly updated version of Internet Explorer which brings this browser up to speed with the version in mainstream Windows. IE 11 for Windows Phone 8.1 includes PC features InPrivate Browsing and Reading View (shown below), and it now supports syncing Favorites, tabs and history between PC and phone versions of the browser. There’s also an updated address bar, unlimited tabs, and other improvements.

Calendar improvements. The Calendar app has been updated with some long-overdue functionality: New view pivots (Today, Tomorrow, and then subsequent day) and a new View button that lets you switch between Day, Week, Month and Year views.

Maps improvements. Bing Maps gets a big update in Windows Phone 8.1 and now includes improved navigation, though you will still need a “drive” app (like Nokia Drive+) for turn-by-turn navigation with voice control. Maps also integrates with Wi-Fi Sense, so you can find nearby trusted Wi-Fi networks easily.

Microsoft Camera. With Nokia really turning things up a notch with its Pro camera app, it is perhaps no surprise that the built-in Camera app in Windows Phone 8.1 now works in a similar (if simpler) manner. It offers three main modes—photo, burst, and video—and five quick launch buttons for camera roll, camera chooser, flash, lenses, and scenes.

Photos improvements. The Windows Phone 8.1 Photos hub is finally now extensible, so you may soon be able to access your non-Microsoft, cloud-based photo services from this interface. But even without that integration, Photos has been updated visually and no longer sports the sweeping panorama from before. Instead, you see a new layout that is all business, but gets you to your photos quicker.

Xbox Music, Xbox Video, Podcasts and FM Radio. The Zune hub is gone and replaced by separate apps: Xbox Music, Xbox Video, Podcasts, and FM Radio. Each works exactly as you’d expect, though Xbox Music seems to still perform pretty slowly.

Quiet hours. Like Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 supports a “quiet hours” functionality that lets you configure the phone to not bother you during set hours of the day (typically at night, when you’d be asleep).

Wi-Fi Sense. Windows Phone 8.1 picks up some nice Wi-Fi functionality from Windows 8, including the ability to sync known Wi-Fi networks and their passwords between whatever Windows PCs, tablets and phones you may own.

Storage Sense. As with Windows 8.1, you can now dive into your storage and see exactly what’s taking up the space. In Windows Phone 8, you could see that apps were taking up whatever amount of storage, but you couldn’t do anything about it. Now, you can see exactly how much space each app and game is using and uninstall the ones you don’t want directly from this interface.

Business features. Windows Phone 8.1 includes a number of new features for businesses, including a few—like enterprise VPN and Workplace—that debuted first in Windows. Also available is enterprise wise—which wipes only your corporate data from a phone, and not all data as with a normal remote wipe—S/MIME email encryption, and various improved MDM (mobile device management) capabilities.

Ease of Access controls. Microsoft is rightfully criticized for not doing as much as Apple does for those with vision or hearing disabilities. But Windows Phone 8.1 does include a few additional ease of access controls over its predecessor. Key among them is Narrator, which will read aloud any text that’s on the screen, and new options for zooming in on all web content. You can also change the appearance of captions for videos in IE and apps that use the browser to display content.

Screen projection. Windows Phone 8.1 now supports both wired and wireless screen projection, much like Windows 8.1 does. Wired projection occurs over USB—a feature that was previously available only on specially designed handsets Microsoft and its partners used for public demonstrations—while wireless uses Miracast. (But as you might expect, Miracast is limited to newer devices that support it, including the Nokia Lumia 1520, Icon, and 930.)

Apps. The Apps view—reachable by swiping to the left from the Start screen—has been updated in some subtle ways. For example, now it displays games, which were previously available only in the Games hub. And it also displays key settings, like Battery Saver, Data Sense and Storage Sense, each of which can now be pinned to the Start screen too. That’s helpful, but I wish you could still pin any setting to the Start and/or Apps screen.

Windows Phone Store. The Store app has been significantly upgraded in this release. For starters, it’s now all about apps (including games). If you want to find music, videos or podcasts, you need to do so through those apps instead. It’s also been updated with a new layout, and categories that match those in the Store app in Windows.

Availability. Windows Phone 8.1 is a free update for all Windows Phone 8 handsets. Anyone can get it, and while the general public availability will vary by device and carrier, Microsoft expects this process to happen in force by the summer. Don’t want to wait? Anyone who has signed up for the Windows Phone developer program—including the free version—can get the final version of Windows Phone 8.1 right now, for free.

Final thoughts. “As you must know, I’m a huge fan of Windows Phone 8.1 and am quite eager to get going with this update on all of my handsets,” I wrote at the time. “If you invested in Windows Phone 8 and were wondering about the next version of the OS, it’s time to celebrate. Windows Phone 8.1 is a huge update. Windows Phone 8.1 is awesome. And Windows Phone 8.1 is here today.”


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Comments (69)

69 responses to “RIP, Windows Phone”

  1. Watney

    “Windows Phone 8.1 is here today” … and gone tomorrow.

  2. SDreamer

    Ah, the Lumia 920. The only Windows Phone that matters IMO. It had everything, a stellar, solid OS that was about connecting and productivity first, it had the solid hardware all built in not needing stupid cases (wireless charging, PureView, PureMotion (before ProMotion!), etc). There just wasn't any other phone after it that had it all like the 920. The 930 and 1520 were close, but compromised (no always on screen on the 920, no built in charging in the US 1520 variant). I'd say the 720 came the closest after the 920, but just lacked the oomph of a flagship CPU. Sad to see that era come to a close now that 8.1 support is gone. Moved from WP8.1 to an iPhone 6S Plus almost a couple years back, but still yearn for those live tiles, and mostly everything else mentioned. Just recently got my dad a Galaxy S8, he's held onto the 950 for as long as he can, but it just isn't as solid as 8. It crashes a ton of times, overheats, etc. Feel bad for him because we got stuck with it. After playing with the S8 for a while, it just seemed logical. It was like what the next 9xx series Lumia should have been, it had it all. If I could only figure out how to get the lockscreen to change with Bing images and keep the fingerprint function, it would be 100% there. It's a solid phone. Almost makes me want to go Android too from iOS.

  3. adamcorbally

    Those were exciting times

  4. Narg

    I had someone just this morning say to me they were frustrated there were only 2 basic choices in smartphones, not knowing that WP ever was an option. To me it's still a sales/ads/reporter caused death (and yes, to MS goes at least some of the blame too...) I sometimes wonder how good this platform would have evolved into had it been a real contender to the market. But we'll never know. *sigh*

  5. Vuppe

    I miss my Windows 8.1 devices. I miss my Windows 10 Mobile devices. Oh well. I'm sure someone out there still misses Betamax, too.

  6. DaddyBrownJr

    I used Windows Phone for almost 4 years; first an HTC 8x, then an HTC One M8. I'm now using a Nexus 6P on Project Fi, and have to say I can't understand the people who say they miss the mess that was WP. I say good riddance to an expensive years-long beta test.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to DaddyBrownJr:

      I missed Windows Phone a lot when I used my Nexus 6P. It's just that Android is so terrible at pretty much everything.

      After I switched from the 6P to an iPhone 7 Plus and found that the same apps (FB, Snapchat, Instagram, etc) all run faster and were more stable on the iPhone, I stopped missing Windows Phone.

      WP was an attempt to find the happy medium between the completely open Android with apps that can hijack your memory, storage, CPU, etc and can make the OS unstable and the closed iOS that forces apps to use limited amounts of memory, etc. Unfortunately it was still beholden to the carrier, so the iPhone remains the only solution for those that want long term security and OS updates, The security updates for the 6P will be over by the end of the year. In comparison, the iPhone 5 is only about to lose support after five years.

      My iPhone 7 Plus is likely to have 3-4 more years or more of iOS updates, security fixes, etc. No Android device is likely to get an update after two years and most will not even get support that long due to carriers, the Nexus and Pixel being exceptions. Even OnePlus has bailed on their two year support promises in the past.

      Imagine if a phone would be updated like Windows. There are a lot of five year old PCs that are running Windows 10 and started life with Windows 7. They still get security updates. They still get new features with Windows 10 updates. Yet the fragmented nature of Android and the reliance on OEM builds and carrier approval prevents this. It took Samsung a year to even deliver Android N on their Galaxy tablets - and not all Galaxy tabs got the upgrade - and that was apart from carrier control.

      Microsoft could have given us a Third Way, updated like Windows without the OEMs and carriers, but without consumers buying it, consumers ended up losing and now most have to deal with the poor security and poor updates of Android. I already know of several Android users that hate Apple and yet are preparing to switch because of the reliability of the iPhone.

  7. davidblouin

    Those where the good times, back when Microsoft's dev team still cared about Windows on phone :(

  8. jimchamplin

    Mine were the Lumia 820 and the 1520. Unfortunately my 1520 went south and the touch digitizer failed. Truthfully I’d still be using as a WiFi tablet for browsing and the like it if it hadn’t failed.

  9. jerrynixon

    A terrific OS. Still my choice for my in-laws.

    • robincapper

      In reply to jerrynixon:

      In that I agree, I configured my pass down Samsung ATIV for an 80 year old who had never used a smart phone. Big pinned tiles for her key contacts, pinned navigate home and to key contacts, People, Mail, Text and photos.

      It was the perfect solution and could not be recreated on iPhone at all, not without extensive customization on Android

  10. Alleman

    I do my best to keep my life out of my phone--I lead a simple life.  All I want is a contacts list, integrated calendar, and a decent podcast app.  I DON'T WANT FaceBook on my phone!  My 640 meets those needs but the lack of bank apps is sorely missed.  I also have a hard time justifying $600 - $900 for a phone which is expected to be replaced in approximately 18 months.  Microsoft is not giving me much of an option.  I guess I'll wait to see if the One+ Five pans out as a good phone alternative.  :(

  11. bluvg

    Oh, how I miss my bright yellow 920 :(

  12. kwright62

    Agree. As I do my weekly contact cleanup on my 950xl I agree. The People application was software as an art form. Everything was based on the people in your contact list, not the application that you are using. I know the demise of the people application was the result of the social media companies but hoped that Cortana would fix that by reassembling what all of the applications split apart. Never happened.

    I'm looking forward to the Surface "phone"and a return out a truly useful operating system.

  13. Jhambi

    Ah fond memories of my 920. It was built like a tank and it felt like it weighed as much too. The windows devices i carried over the years : Lumia 920, Samsung Focus, LG Incite.

    • Tommy

      In reply to Jhambi:

      I had a 920 and at the time thought I would definitely upgrade to the 1020's successor when it was time, whatever that may have been. My not-tech-enthusiast wife loved Windows Phone, the 920's camera, and for awhile we were definitely on-board to stick with Windows Phone over Android or iOS.

      Unfortunately Microsoft truly squandered A) a good mobile operating system and B) legitimately good mobile hardware (Nokia). Quite the shame, really.

  14. claren44

    Slightly off-topic...

    Paul asked the other day about where the Nokia phone hardware went. Check your local Dollar General store: they are the handheld devices used for everything from checking in vendors to inventory updates to price checks. 520-size phones (w/heavy-duty cases) came year before last, and larger ones were sent out late last year (either 950xl or, maybe, Surface Pro Mini sized). They come loaded w/necessary software, & use the camera to scan product bar codes for info. Work pretty well, & usually make it through a day (15-16 hours) on an overnight charge.

    So MS did get a little back on their Nokia investment, especially since there are over 12,000 DG stores.

  15. Minok

    Ah the poor suckers that got pulled into the Microsoft mobile attempt... to end up with a phone that never really got app updates or even OS updates (thanks to Verizon's usual childish behavior).

    • Jason Ward

      In reply to Minok:

      Umm, just because Verizon is a shit carrier with a shit track record of supporting end users doesn't mean people were suckers. MS made a solid effort to get updates to users via the insider program. As for app updates, that's 100% on Satya Nadella. Before that asshat took over, we had a growing stable of apps and a platform whose user base, while still a distant third, was growing year over year. Nadella threw that in the trash, and on top of it, ruined the platform with the garbage Windows 10 Mobile fiasco, quite possibly the worst mobile OS of all time.

  16. lordbaal1

    Just because they are ending support for 8.1. Does not mean it is dead.

    Just because you don't like Windows phone. Does not mean it is dead. Ending support for an old OS, and ending support for a phone are 2 different things.

  17. JaviAl

    My first mobile was an HTC with Windows Mobile 6.5 before iPhone or Android exists. Windows Mobile 6.5 had more than 30% of market share. The vast mayority of apps for Windows Mobile are compatible throw version 1 (Windows CE) to 6.5.

    Windows Mobile has full support to Microsoft technologies like Microsoft Exchange and sync very well more than one accounts and also sync Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, etc. I also remember the .NET Compact Framwework, and SQL CE.

    I was especially hopeful with Windows Mobile 7, next called Windows Phone 7, and I got to try it. But the first problem is does not admits a space in the user name to login with Exchange. Solving it changing my user name i'm impressive that only sync mails, no contacts, no calendar, no tasks, no notes. The sync is a disaster. Also allows one account. I'm impressive too about the lack of features compared to Windows Mobile 6.5 and the ugly user interface and the tiles instead of widgets. iPhone, in its early versions, like Android, had much better support for Microsoft Exchange than the Windows operating system itself. Amazing.

    I also own and paid for a lot of Windows Mobile 6.5 apps and no one are compatible with Windows Phone 7. No words.

    Logically I switched to Android to this day.

    Seeing the evolution of Windows Mobile i see how is losing market share day by day. Windows Phone 8 has no support or compatibility with Windows Phone 7 apps. Impressive. Also sync continues a disaster.

    With the Windows Phone disaster and no one liking that ugly user interface called Metro, Microsoft had the brilliant idea to put that user interface that nobody wants in the desktop version of Windows, Windows 8.x. Logically Windows 8.x was the mayor Windows disaster.

    At today, Windows Mobile 10, or Windows 10 Mobile has no support to sync task or notes. Really impressive. Also, a simple function to add Exchange Notes sync to OneNote has not occurred to Microsoft, is lacking in intelligence. Also Window Mobile 10 has not full compatibility with Windows Phone 8.x apps, and the vast mayority of smartphones with Windows Phone 8.x can't upgrade to Windows Mobile 10. Really a disaster.

    Take note that Microsoft was the first OS in mobile and smartphone before iPhone and Android. And being the first one, played with advantage over the other competitors, who did not even exist. But was not able to take and use correctly that advantage. Microsoft did it really badly.

    I begin writing about more that 30% of market share from Windows Mobile 6.5 in the past, to the today less than 1% of market share of Windows Mobile OS. I really don't know what are Microsoft doing or thinking.

    Microsoft, what are you doing? What are you thinking? Where do you want to go tomorrow?

  18. yaddamaster

    I just (finally) finished switching over our last windows phone holdout to Android. There's still one windows phone in the house being used as a music player but that's it.

    Android is a turd. Every time I need to change a setting I'm reminded of how hacked together this thing is. There is no consistency between apps. And Microsoft integration with Android? My word - I don't see how Microsoft in the long run is going to be successful - I'd love to know what their actual adoption numbers are for Android. Just getting contacts to sync was a nightmare with conflicting directions on various websites (including this one). Thankfully, it looks like we can now sync from the phone back up to the desktop.

    Meanwhile, from time to time I get invites to participate in developer studies in Redmond where MS is desperately trying to figure out how to get people to write UWP apps. The last one I participated in participants universally said "we don't trust Microsoft's commitment in the consumer space".


    • skane2600

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      It seems obvious that MS could get people to write UWP apps if they paid them to do it either as employees or contractors. I believe the most reliable way to make a living writing Android or iOS apps is not becoming an independent software developer submitting apps to an app store, but to be paid to write applications for businesses. Think of all the businesses who have Android and iOS (and sometimes Amazon Fire) apps but no apps for Windows.

      • SvenJ

        In reply to skane2600: "It seems obvious that MS could get people to write UWP apps if they paid them to do it either as employees or contractors." That's not entirely true. There are a good number of popular apps that you would need the permission of the owner to write a 'clone.' Some of those owners have taken action against MS and third parties for trying. It is also a scale thing. Yea, MS could pay someone to write an app for every small bank, supermarket, loyalty program, that has an iOS or Android app, but there are a zillion of these. They'd have to maintain them too. MS did in fact help some ISVs do a WP app to go along with their iOS and Android offerings. Most of those got a 1.0 and that's it, while iOS and Android went on. MS can only do so much. You can only pour water on a crop that's not growing for so long. Sooner or later you have to plow it under. Maybe you can do it better next year, maybe you find a different line of work.

        • skane2600

          In reply to SvenJ:

          I don't know why you think that I was talking about "clone" apps. Although trying to sue a major company over producing a product with similar features is an uphill battle that rarely pays off.

          I wasn't suggesting that MS could achieve parity with Google and Apple simply by paying people to write apps, but any progress is some progress.

          If you look at MS' entire effort with respect to smartphones after the iPhone was introduced it's been half-assed. It didn't aggressively court carriers. Didn't make becoming a WP developer free. Didn't waive MS's cut of paid apps for a year or two. Required Windows Pro to take full advantage of developer tools. Later confused the market by tying the WP to desktop Windows and then confused it further with the WP8 killer "one windows" strategy.

          It couldn't be much worse if MS had hired Donald Trump Jr as a strategy consultant.

    • Bill Russell

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      Say what you want, Android is a good, solid mobile OS. Of course its version and device dependent. The market has spoken. More android devices running than windows ever had - can't be that much of a turd. if people start with android and then "graduate" to iOS - good for them. Nothing wrong with that. The same people will move to a samsung S8 or something as well. I tried (and still own) a windows phone (lumia 520 I believe) and just didn't do it for me.

    • MightyGorath

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      Indeed. I went to Android form my Lumia 930. I gave up on it after several months of giving it a chance. So many (so, soooo many) little things that drove me nuts. In the end I sold it and switched to an iPhone, and honestly, it's ok. I still miss a few things from windows phone, but the iPhone is fine. I can't imagine ever bothering with Android again. Buggy, inefficient, clumsy mess that seems to make work for the user, rather than just get out of the way, and/or help keep track of things.

      • yaddamaster

        In reply to MightyGorath: I'd switch to an iPhone personally but I'm not buying one for each member of the family. That would be a ridiculous cost. But buying four Moto G5's, while expensive, is an acceptable cost. Android is the new Windows - the low cost alternative to the Apple tax. Too bad it sucks.

  19. LocalJoost

    "Now suddenly there was a change, the passing of something... and all that remained was this gaunt... quiet."

  20. StagyarZilDoggo

    The last 2 years of supposed "mainstream support" for WP8.1 wasn't actually worth anything anyway, was it? Development basically stopped in the run-up to the Windows 10 release. Most phones (including my Lumia 520) didn't even get GDR2, released in March 2015.

  21. Ugur

    Windows phone looked sorta neat at first glance but looking back at it now, it was really never gonna work out well for it in the long run.

    The issues were basically baked in from the getgo.

    It's biggest strengths were also meant to become it's biggest weaknesses.

    Like that social hub thingy which seemed like a good idea for users but pretty much no social network was ever gonna support that well long term.

    Or the part that MS bought up Nokia's cell phone making division and then let it rot away by pushing out one cheapo crappo forgetable exchangeable device after the other.

    At the same time also due to having a first party "exclusive" handset maker basically killing off most interest by any others to make windows phone devices for a while.

    Or also MS' horrible stance with the carriers which lead to windows phones never getting pushed much.

    Or also MS' typical stance of killing off each of the iterations of the hardware and OS with broken backwards compatibility 3-4 times over until pretty much all besides the ultra die hards lost trust in it.

    Me as dev, basically each time i was considering releasing something on it, they changed the OS over again and again broke compatibility with all existing devices.

    So yeah..sorry..but no, all of those together are basically guarantees that it will tank, has to tank.

    I wish MS would learn regarding such things for future attempts.

    But then i look at UWP and the windows store and feel like they still don't get it on some ends. Like for example why not containerize/UWPerize apps automatically on Windows 10s or allow users or at least devs to do it super easily from a graphical UI for all apps so that for the transition phase all would work. But no, they try it over and over to get to "the next gen" by breaking backwards compatibility with everything people use their OS for...

    • skane2600

      In reply to Ugur:

      UWP remains a solution looking for a problem. Had MS known that WP would fail, they probably would have never developed Metro/UWP in the first place. Windows would have remained focused on conventional PCs which is the only market that Windows has been viable on.

      • Ugur

        In reply to skane2600: I'm not against all aspects of UWP. There is some sense in apps not putting their files nilly willy across the entire system and messing with the registry and what not all.
        So yeah, some aspects of containerisation make sense for users, too.
        What does not make sense is when one tries to switch all to UWP and just cutting off support for traditional apps and no simple ui driven way for devs to just containerize their apps etc.
        It's like as if Apple would have switched to Intel and cut off support for all existing apps suddenly.
        No, of course they didn't do that but came up with a way how to run all existing stuff on the new platform for a good long while.

        • skane2600

          In reply to Ugur:

          I don't think most Win32 apps put files "nilly willy across the entire system", usually necessary files are neatly organized in a directory. In fact UWP apps are stored pretty much the same way except they are under the hidden directory "C:Program FilesWindowsapps" instead of "C:Program Files".

          Applications don't "mess with the registry" they use it to store relevant information.

          Yikes my backslashes got eaten. God I hate markup crap.

          • Woofer Roc

            In reply to skane2600:

            Ever hear of "dll Hell", registry cleaners, and other such "joys" of Win32 apps?

            • skane2600

              In reply to Woofer_Roc:

              Yes, DLL hell was a problem that mostly affected 16 bit Windows more than 15 years ago. Even then the use of static linking would eliminate it. DLLs are primarily a form of optimization (storage) which can lead to problems although it was justified originally because resources were so limited. Over the years a number of OS changes and development practices have pretty much eliminated the problem.

              Today UWP adopted the more common Win32 practice of keeping resources separate.

              Ironically, today's "best practice" of "don't repeat yourself" can lead to the same sort of problems. Code duplication is now considered more of a problem than code coupling.

              I've never used registry cleaners but I've heard they're kind of a scam. Registry "leftovers" are usually caused by poorly written installers/uninstallers. Whether such leftovers are actually a problem for average users or just an annoyance to the prissy sensibilities of developers I don't know.

  22. burog25c

    Hmmmm.. I'm using 10 and... I won't got back to 8.1 or 7.5 or anything else. Truth be told, my other half won't go back either.

  23. James Wilson

    I remember getting my first Lumia 930 with Windows Phone 8.1. I remember the horrible bugs with the calendar where if you tried to sync a google calendar or icloud calendar, the time would shift by an hour.

    I remember going to the Microsoft support site and getting the same old 'Try reinstalling your phone' and 'Have you tried doing a hop during a full moon' responses.

    Eventually it was fixed and Microsoft have come through with Windows Insiders programme, Windows 10 mobile and so on. They have a huge hill to climb though. I'm one of the few who have stuck around but you have to be really careful when you neglect your customers - customers should be at the centre of your business plan and their experience should be paramount.

  24. bbold

    Sad, indeed. Not to be rude, but how many "deaths" must Windows Phone die before we can finally move on? Let's stop opening up old wounds, messing with the scar, removing scabs and stirring up blood. Instead, let's move on, and look towards the future of Windows on Mobile Devices.. Andromeda.

  25. Darmok N Jalad

    It was a great OS on great hardware. I really liked my Lumias, be it the 521, 925, 1020 or 1520. That was back when I was "all in" on Microsoft, even a Surface RT. Now I own no MS products and only use their free mail service. Maybe I'll buy an old Lumia as a personal collectors item.

  26. jwpear

    Does this mean MS will drop ability to restore the phones back to their original OS? Asking for a friend. :-)

  27. Mike_Peluso

    I loved it.. when it was almost competitive. The Tiles interface was simply superior for glance and go. I would be so happy if I could have Android and my Nexus 6P (great build quality, regular updates, universal carrier compatibility, no crap-ware) with all app developers building to the Live Tiles interface. To me, that is the perfect phone. I don't think Google will change to any sort of smart icons or live tiles time in the near future. Breaks too large of an existing platform. :(

    • wolters

      In reply to Mike_Peluso:

      Yes...during that "almost competitive" period, it was a blast to use. Heck, I loved the ROOMS feature and Hubs. It set it apart.

    • Bill Russell

      In reply to Mike_Peluso:

      There are a few windows tile launchers for android - I tried one and thought it was not bad. But I've only used windows phone briefly here and there. I believe that "the masses" do not like tiles. It appears too complicated.

    • Woofer Roc

      In reply to Mike_Peluso:

      Odd - I find that Android widgets show far more info than the WP 8.1 live tiles, particularly my Outlook email and calendar (with the MS Outlook Android apps). Still, that is what I miss about WP 8.1 now that I have gone back Android after almost 2 years with WP 8.1 on Lumia 640 - the cleaner look, that tended to be more eye and finger friendly.

      BTW, that is one of my issues with WP 10 in that all the controls seem to be smaller and harder both to see ("thin font") and to tap accurately, the latter being what made me give up on setting various notification alert ring tones on a 950. Another big issue is the reduction in apps that were not updated from 8.1 to 10. Then there is the big WP 10 annoyance of the constant "threat" of forced updates taking over the phone for 1-2 hours at unpredictable times (even worse with full PC Windows 10 when i frequently wonder why response time goes through the roof till I think to check the Windows Update setting status...). Dead phone service that long could be dangerous in times of emergency.

      My wife is still content with WP 8.1 on her Lumia 640, as it was her first smartphone after years on feature phones, and helping her learn to use it is what persuaded me to switch from Android when I was faced with the large expense of yet another Android phone upgrade to switch from Verizon to AT&T with the continued prospect of phone upgrades just to get ongoing security updates. Until the core apps of phone, email, text messaging, browser, and camera become undermined by server side "upgrades", I will not even try to migrate her off it to Android - iOS is not on my radar in any event due to its expensiveness and highly walled garden approach).

      I will try to keep my wife on WP 8.1 "life support" in hopes of something better coming along, whether with something like the "Surface Phone" chimera from MS, or something Linux-based as with the UPports team taking over Ubuntu Phone from Canonical, or just keep upgrading with cheap Android phones every year or so - ugh!

  28. wolters

    I really enjoyed the 8.1 time of Windows / Windows Phone and I was ALL IN with the Microsoft Ecosystem. Then came Windows 10 Mobile and the dwindling list of phones that would get the update or even allowed to do insiders. Icing on the cake was when Verizon didn't get the 950xl. I had to move on.

    It does make me sad to see people in denial over Windows Phone. I'm not being these people up or dogging them but it makes me sad to see people go on and on how it isn't "dead." It is dead, even if you still use it day to day. It is no longer a thriving OS.

    I've recently had to move 3 family members off Windows Phone to Android and they really miss their Windows Phone. And so do I...

    • daveevad

      In reply to wolters:

      I switched from VZW to T-Mobile and bought an unlocked 950 from the Microsoft Store when I realized that VZW was never getting another Windows Phone. I don't regret my decision, mostly because T-Mobile has been Amazing! (surprise, surprise!). Wish things had turned out differently for the OS. Will probably end up with the (insert flagship name here) Android phone when the 950 becomes unusable. *I was an early android adopter with my Samsung Epic 4G, back in the day. Major complaint back then...Missing apps! Go figure.

  29. webdev511

    I really loved my Windows Phone when I had it, despite the fact that I was on Verizon the entire time. the HTC Trophy was just flat out fast, the Lumia 822 was okay, but with a microSD slot and replaceable battery made up for the lack of flash. I ran my icon for almost 3 years before it was obvious that there wasn't going to be a new flagship Windows Phone on VZW.

    It was a good time, but today I am quite content with my Nexus 6p on ProjectFi. It's no Windows Phone, but it does what I need and is kept up to date.

  30. DemBones

    Almost every single improvement listed above is present in Windows 10 Mobile, many of them have become better versions over time. Windows 8.1 and 10 on mobile aren't dramatically different. You can lament "One Windows" and its effect on mobile, but both Apple and Google are slowly merging their mobile and non-mobile experience as well. Like it or not, that's where things are heading.

  31. pwrof3

    Paul, you were an essential piece in getting me to make the move to Windows Phone way back with the 7 Series. I went through all of iterations of 7, 8 and 8.1. Loved the UI and the hardware. I still find Live Tiles to be the most useful thing on any phone I have ever owned. Using iOS now, I feel like I'm using some ancient operating system with having to open apps to see mail, weather, news, etc. (Widgets on iOS help, but not as useful as having it right there on the home screen).

    It was a great ride with Windows Phone, and I still love it dearly. LIke most, I ended up switching to iOS and Android a few years ago because of the app situation. Now I have all the apps I need and continuous support from not only app developers but Apple as well.

    Thank you for talking me into Windows Phone all those years ago. I wouldn't give up that ride for anything. It sure was fun and is still something I would be using daily if it were actually viable.

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