I’ve been a long time iPhone user, having owned that most glorious of device’s since it was first released in 2007 so it’s fair to say that despite being a .NET developer I am somewhat of an Apple fan boy. I’m not as fanatical about things as many tech enthusiasts I know, some of whom could easily be encouraged into a punch up at the mere suggestion that android might not be that great after all and I don’t spend my evenings writing kernel mode drivers or building my own bespoke branch of JellyBean or whatever the latest offering is called. I like stuff that works. Call be a bluff old traditionalist if you must but when I buy a phone its so I can communicate with it. Yes I want to play games but predominantly I want to call and message people.
Now Recently I’ve been working on several projects for Windows 8 and while the Windows 8 launch has not gone very well for Microsoft, it’s actually going very well for me. Sales of our apps are better than expected and we’re looking to build on that as the year goes on. Which brings me neatly to the point of this post.
Eventus, our social event management application, which is currently in development has been screaming out for a mobile client and while IOS would be great we just don’t have the resources to do that (yet) so the idea was put forward to release a client for Windows Phone. Unfortunately at the time we didn’t have access to a Windows Phone so I came up with the crazy idea of asking Nokia for one.
Now it has to be said, the guys over at Nokia have been amazing. Nothing has been too much trouble and they have offered us more help than we could ever has imagined and to that end a shiny new Nokia Lumia 820 arrived on my doorstep on Thursday afternoon.
Now the device is well built and looks great, the screen is amazingly clear and crisp. Its a little wide for me but I can forgive that so ramming in my sim card I thought I’d see how I got on over the weekend. Now I’m afraid its all downhill from here so if you were hoping for a rave review of Windows Phone 8 then I’m sorry but your going to be disappointed.
Lets get one thing straight from the off. Windows Phone 8 is unstable. In this first weekend I have had to hard reset the device 6 times. Each time requiring it to be set up again from scratch. Its difficult to know if this is a software issue or a hardware issue but I’ve heard that non Lumia devices also exhibit this behaviour so I’m putting my money on the OS.
When it did work it was both beautiful and annoying at the same time. I like the way you can personalise the device, colours, tiles and the like but that’s about it.
I have lots of problems with this device but I’m going to try and narrow this down to a couple of the big ones!
People hub collects all your contacts, from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter et al and groups them together. Cheers, thanks for that. Now I’ve got a contact list with 10000 people in it and cant find anyone! I think Microsoft make a dangerous assumption with Windows Phone in that they assume that everyone wants to mix their actual lives with their virtual lives. Now I know IOS allows me to link my Facebook and Twitter contacts into my address book but it allows me much greater control over the whole process. I can turn off calendars or contact groups I don’t want to see. My contacts are merged in a sensible way. Not so with Windows Phone 8.
They keyboard is unusable. I tried to send a status update on Saturday and just gave up! On the iPhone I can hold it with one hand and type with my thumb and not miss a key! With Windows Phone 8 it just looked like a garbled mess. The more I used it the more it made me angry to the extent that I was going to throw the thing out of the Window.
I have several email accounts I use, Exchange server, Imap, Hotmail, iCloud… And I like to be able to see all of my mail together. Now I know windows Phone does this with a consolidated inbox but it just doesn’t work very well. This is perhaps down to the UI and those damn panorama controls but I just found it almost impossible to see what was going on.
So it was with great sadness and a huge amount of relief on Sunday evening I slid the sim card back into my iPhone and said farewell to Windows Phone 8.
I’m desperately disappointed as I really wanted to love this phone but the constant resets and the fact that I cant type anything on it just make it a no go for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I will still be writing aps for Windows Phone and they Lumia is going to be plugged into Visual Studio for a while longer it just wont be going in my pocket. Its a shame really as it looks like it has the basis for a really good experience. Its just not finished.