Windows Phone is a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft as replacement successor to Windows Mobile which unlike Windows Mobile was built for a consumer market rather than as an enterprise software.
Its first version Windows Phone 7 was released in November 2010, but at that time Android and iOS had already marked their presence in the market and the users found this operating system, with a completely different user interface somewhat difficult to use.
Moreover lack of some basic features like slide down notification bar, no tool bar which made even the simplest things like toggling WiFi, a difficult task for new users.
Finally in April 2014 Microsoft released WP 8.1, an OS which finally gave some competition to the other operating systems, with new features like a notification center, separate volume controls, Internet Explorer 11 and option to add a third column of live tiles.
WINDOWS HAS BORROWED FEATURES FROM ITS PARTNERS
It also adds Cortana, a voice assistant much like Siri and Google Now. The main feature which users liked about the devices was the responsiveness, Windows Phone was extremely smooth, no freezes and it worked without any noticeable lag on all its devices right from low priced Lumia 520 to the high end devices like Lumia 1020 at a time when lagging and freezing was a major problem in all the low priced Android devices.
One of the biggest cons of WP is that its App Store still needs to catch up with the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Windows Phone isn’t as popular as its competitors. This makes developers more cautious when developing applications or providing device support.
Inspite of the fact that Android has more games, Windows Phone has few Xbox games such as FIFA and Age of Empires for free and all of them run smoothly even on low ram devices. If you own an Xbox, Windows Phone has the perfect Xbox integration to help you get the most out of your games. Microsoft has worked hard to integrate Xbox functionality, meaning you can work with your console avatar to gain points, check your Gamerscore, message your friends and see your avatar.
Windows Phone still has a long way to go. Especially for users who don’t consider their smartphones their main gaming center. The integration with Xbox is no big deal for them. Android, iOS have a bunch of exclusive games for its users.
Arrangement of all the apps alphabetically makes the OS extremely user friendly and makes them easy to find. Unlike Android, there is no app drawer.
Instead of widgets windows phone provides live tiles for almost all its apps which provides a glimpse of things going on in the apps and the wallpaper behind the tiles gives a window like effect.
Microsoft is ahead when it comes to customisation of lock screen which allows you to select between various apps like Bing and Facebook. While Bing displays the picture of the day, Facebook allows you to display pictures from your albums.
Some of the core system components can’t be changed, while this thing may not bother some of the users, it is annoying for those who like to have a different keyboard or use a different messaging app.
The area where Windows Phone scores the most is its integration with Microsoft Apps.
Microsoft integration is handy for on-the-go professionals as it comes with preinstalled office in the OS itself, you can view and edit your Power Point, Excel, and Word documents any time on your Windows Phone and sync it with One Drive which makes viewing documents on your PC easier.
It is great if you want to make a last minute change or need to fix a typo in word. You can even start a new Word, Power Point or an Excel file or just jot down an important note on OneNote.
Here Maps with offline navigation
Here Maps is a great alternative to Google Maps as it comes with features such as offline navigation. All you need to do is download the map of the country you are in and you can navigate across the country without worrying about internet connection. Some Android smartphones also have offline navigation but Google Maps can download maps of smaller areas only.
Ease of Use
Windows Phone also allows you to pin specific parts of apps. For example, if you chat with a person on WhatsApp frequently, you can just pin him to start and a tile appears on your home screen which will directly take you to that persons chat. There is no need to open WhatsApp and search for his contact.
You can just pin a product which you found online. This tile will take you to the shopping site if you wish to buy the product later. Pretty useful, but even bookmarks offer the same feature.
Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant is just like Siri and Google Now. Maybe better than Siri.
Cortana can track news topics, plan your travel among other things.
Cortana is available from Windows 8.1 and will soon be coming to Android and iOS.
CORTANA KNOCK KNOCK
Frankly speaking, Windows Phone is a solid piece of software. Maybe because of its different UI, it initially got bad reviews.
We have seen people who switched to Windows from Android. They love it and are not willing to go back to Android.
Most of the bad reviews are by the ones who never used the OS or due to WP 7 which sucked big time.
We would have to agree that Lumia phones offer good value for money. If you want excellent specifications, high customizability or a lot of apps then maybe Windows Phone is not for you.
Microsoft recently released Windows 10 for Mi4 as a custom ROM. The good thing is that Microsoft is moving away from its comfort zone. It was never a fan of open source but things are moving in a different direction now.
- Fluid and responsive
- Excellent integration with Microsoft Apps
- Poor collection of apps
- Limited number of phones running the OS
- Difficult for new users to get used to the UI