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Windows Phone 8: 3 Things Microsoft Needs to Do to Catch Up



Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 is a thing of legend. Having completely and utterly reached a breaking point with Windows Mobile, Microsoft later spent the next four release cycles building a new mobile operating system from the ground up. It was a calculated risk that, in the end, mostly paid off.

Microsoft might have counted on iOS gaining a foothold, but it seems it didn’t see Google’s Android juggernaut coming at all. The reset left Microsoft with an operating system that was well designed and could be just as intuitive and useful as Apple’s iOS. It also left Microsoft in a perpetual game of Android catch-up that still plagues it to this day.

To be frank, the gap is clearly evident when comparing Android and Windows Phone. Here are some of the steps Microsoft needs to take to make Windows Phone an actual true alternative to Android.

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Move to Windows Core Faster

Most Windows Phone flagships like the HTC 8X, have decidedly mid-range specs thanks to the operating system.

Most Windows Phone flagships like the HTC 8X, have decidedly mid-range specs thanks to the operating system.

When Microsoft first announced that it would be getting rid of the Windows CE underpinnings it had used to create Windows Phone and replace it with the Windows core, many industry watchers hailed it as the moment when Microsoft would finally be able to give Windows Phone the same scale and breadth of Windows.

To date, that’s hasn’t happened. Instead, Windows Phone device makers are still stuck on a constant treadmill of waiting for specific updates to Windows Phone before they can introduce their advanced devices. According to Nokia, that’s why it took it so long to release the Lumia 1020. Microsoft needs to move quicker in transitioning Windows Phone to using the kernel and code from Windows, preferably Windows RT.

Rethink App APIs & Add a File System

At no time does Windows Phone display it’s immaturity more than in dealing with applications. Like Apple’s iOS, Windows Phone sandboxes applications, meaning that (excluding actions that are allowed by the operating system) apps on Windows Phone are completely unaware of each other. On paper, that’s great. Apps can’t interfere with other apps and can’t harm the operating system. These are both good things.

On the other hand this leads to all sorts of strange, and decidedly bad, experiences for users. For example, a Bit-Torrent application can only download information if it’s open, barring that Windows Phone suspends the application. Even worse, even when that file is downloaded other apps aren’t able to see that file. In a world where smartphones really are hand-held computers, Windows Phone should be a little more computer like and a little less device like.

Introduce Accessories Program


While Nokia has kept the accessories market interesting with things like it’s wireless charging system, other OEMs and Microsoft have done very little to encourage accessory makers.

How Windows Phone doesn’t have some kind of “Works with Windows Phone” program is beyond me, but more than three years after the platform’s introduction, the accessory ecosystem remains absolutely weak. That isn’t to say that it’s a complete loss — Nokia has introduced a huge line of accessories that integrate with their own applications.

That’s the real shame though. For a platform that prides itself on making it easier for users to transition between devices by mandating a user-interface, Microsoft hasn’t even attempted to bolster an accessories market for Windows Phone. That’s a shame, since products from Apple and Google are all about extending the users’ experience with all sorts of third-party accessories.

Of course, none of this virtually guarantees Microsoft more market share for Windows Phone, but it would mean that the company wouldn’t continue being hit over the head for having mediocre experiences when compared to iOS and Android.

Unfortunately, Microsoft isn’t expected to ship another major update to Windows Phone until early next year. We’ll have to wait until then to see if Microsoft makes any significant progress in addressing the issues holding its platform back.



  1. charlesclarke3

    08/20/2013 at 12:38 pm

    Android needs to catch up to Windows Phone. This post is lame. Office and Xbox games are leaps and bounds beyond iOS and Android. Just saying.

    • lol

      08/20/2013 at 10:10 pm

      Are you just saying?

    • Ezhik

      08/21/2013 at 3:28 am

      I’m a Windows Phone owner myself, but come the hell on, man! Do you even use Office on your phone? It’s VERY limited!

  2. Steve Jobs

    08/20/2013 at 5:44 pm

    If you ran a bittorrent program on windows phone 8, you would kill your battery.

    This post is not well thought out.

  3. powershell

    08/20/2013 at 6:01 pm

    That’s some b.s reporting from someone who knows f*** all about kernels, OS’s or the idealism behind windows phone. Sent from my Lumia 920 beyatch.

    • Ezhik

      08/21/2013 at 3:29 am

      It actually shows some good ideas. WinPhone does have issues, you know. Sent from my Lumia 920 too, asshole.

  4. how

    08/20/2013 at 6:39 pm

    i want a file manager, please 1!!

  5. Ezhik

    08/21/2013 at 3:35 am

    I hope Windows Phone will improve and gain some good features from Windows 8, such as file and sharing APIs.

  6. Jakob S.

    08/21/2013 at 3:38 am

    I want to see who is calling if the caller’s number is not in my phone book. I could get this info by letting a CallerID app pick up the number from the phone’s phone app and run an online check with my favorite Number Look Up Service. This is currently not available in WP8 nor iOS.

    This is very handy in countries where Number Look Up Services are not wanted and in any case if you get many phone calls from unknown people.

    • henry fonda

      08/21/2013 at 6:04 am

      That sounds interesting! Can android do that?

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