April 2012 Update:
I would now recommend a Windows Phone for anyone who needs an easy to use phone. The Metro UI is simple for people who aren’t used to smart phones, and the lack of complexity makes it easy for users who would be confused with all of the apps and options available for other platforms. If you still need apps or customization, stay clear of WP7 for now.
2011 Original Post:
Let me just start by saying that I am very pro-Microsoft. I think Windows 7 beats any other current OS out there. Microsoft Office is still the top office productivity suite to use. There are a lot of things that Microsoft has done right; but there are also a lot of things Microsoft has done wrong.
The Windows Phone falls into the “things Microsoft has done wrong” category.
Normally, a smart phone focuses on a couple features that it does really well and it keeps users for those features.
I haven’t found any of those on the Windows Phone 7 OS.
It sucks for Business workers.
- Windows Phone 7 only allows ONE calendar per account. Yes, that means if you have multiple calendars on one account to keep track of your activities, tough luck!
- It has less ActiveSync support than previous versions of Windows Phones (Windows Mobile).
- Multiple Email Accounts cannot be combined into one Inbox. Each account always has a separate Inbox.
- The phone encourages you to use your primary account that’s the same as you Xbox Live account. There is no way to stop syncing of contacts and calendar from this primary account, so I ended up with a ton of old Messenger Contacts that I cannot remove.
- And the only way to switch the primary Live Account on the Phone? Wipe all your personal data!
It sucks for Obsessive Music collectors.
- The Zune software has a simplified rating system for music. Instead of the 5-star music rating system iTunes and every other music player uses, Zune uses a “Like It” or “Hate It” rating system. There is no way for someone like myself, who has all of the music rated on a 5 star system, to make a playlist based on stars. Any song between 3-5 stars is automatically “Like It”, which is a crappy system to force on anyone who has properly rated their music.
It sucks for App lovers.
- When you’re competing with other smart phones, you need to compete with apps as well. Windows Phone marketplace is a ghost town of Apps.
- Only a few high-profile apps were available as of this post for Windows Phone.
- Wander beyond the top apps and all you’ll find are crappy free apps or apps that cost 3x more than the same version for Android or iPhone.
- I couldn’t find Windows Phone apps for over a quarter of the utility apps that I use (and that are available for both Android and iOS).
- Scrolling through one long column of apps has to be one of the worst browsing interfaces imaginable.
It sucks for Entertainment lovers.
- Your only choice for Books: Kindle.
No Barnes and Noble/Nook, no iBooks (obvious), no Stanza / Aldiko.
- Your only choice for TV/Movies: Netflix.
No Hulu Plus, no Network Specific (ABC/CBS/NBC) apps
- Streaming Music: No Pandora, but there is Slacker, and Last.fm
It sucks for Games lovers.
- As of this post, there still isn’t even a version of Angry Birds for the Windows Phone. That alone tells you the state of their games marketplace.
- Most games cost between $3-5, much more than the Free and $0.99 prices of most games for other smartphones.
- There may be one or two fun games you could find, but you better like playing just those because overall selection is SLIM!
Zune Software is just as bad as iTunes
- I didn’t think I’d ever find software as bad as iTunes.
- By default, Zune syncs to your Windows 7 libraries, and you have to manually turn that off if you want to configure media outside of that.
- The installer was a 120mb download, and it still had to download additional updates before it could install.
- After the install, it said I had to restart before I could use it. If I remember right, iTunes didn’t even require that!
- App preview screenshots only display vertical, even if the game is a landscape format.
- The column interface is also one of the most annoying and inefficient UI designs I’ve ever seen in my life.
- Wireless sync will only happen after your phone has been plugged into an AC outlet and idle for 15 minutes.
If there is one thing that I think the phone does right, is that is integrates Facebook REALLY WELL with your existing contacts. Photos, additional information, the ability to write on their wall right underneath an option to text them… all of that is integrated well. Too bad that’s not a good enough reason to keep using the Windows Phone. :\
That said, I’m hoping Microsoft can fix their glaring issues, and get 3rd parties on board to build apps for their phone.
I’d like to see a Microsoft Phone succeed, as I’m not a huge fan of Apple nor of Google. Those two companies need a little more competition.