Happy Birthday, Windows Phone; Microsoft's mobile platform celebrates its third year

The head of Windows Phone at Microsoft, Joe Belfiore, took to Twitter today to announce the birthday of the company's mobile platform. Windows Phone indeed turns 3 today. That's not all, not only has it been three years since the first Windows Phone, but also since the Metro (or now "Modern") UI was released into the world.

Back in 2010, Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 at that year's Mobile World Congress (care to check out an old podcast to relive some memories?), with device going to market in October. Fast forward to today and Windows Phone is everywhere (not in terms of sales, mind you). Xbox, Windows 8 and Microsoft's general approach to design stems from the Modern UI, which was first implemented on the mobile platform. 

Joe Belfiore B'Day Tweet

Since initially released, the platform has grown. Gone were the days where market share reports painted bleak pictures with Windows Mobile being difficult to surpass. Nokia jumped on board in 2011, launching its first Windows Phone, the Lumia 800 in September of that year. We've been called out for favouring Nokia over other OEM partners, but it's incredible how much Nokia has provided the platform - marketing, brand awareness and a superb Lumia line of products.

HTC HD7 / our old website - bringing back memories?

Back then there weren't many apps around and you found yourself continuously playing "Spot the Windows Phone owner" when out and about. It has also changed for developers too. You could release an app and it was much easier to get featured in the Windows Phone Store than it is today. That said, the array of tools and quality of apps have both significantly improved. The best part of this story is that we're not yet done.

Microsoft is in the process of snapping up the devices and services division at Nokia. We've also got Nokia World 2013 just around the corner where tablets, phablets, phones, accessories and more will be unveiled to the world. So that's three years scored away, here's a toast to the next three. 

Have you been with the platform since the beginning? What are your thoughts on how Microsoft has evolved Windows Phone, as well as its other products? Be sure to sound off in the comments.

Source: Twitter

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

356 Comments
  • Just wish they would back the xbox side alot more than they do!
  • 3 years, and the tiles are still ugly interface. Bring back WinMo 7!
  • Are you high? There is nothing more beautiful than the tile
    Interface. You have terrible taste, go use Android
  • Touche much? While nice, it could use a little improvement (mainly with more tile sizes, setting your own background image like in Windows 8.1,etc).
  • I also wish transparency was an option on the tiles. My GF loves her L920 but feels as though tiles lack some femininity or the "Yin" in yin and yang.
  • Wow, people are against that comment! I used a WP7 launcher on Android prior to switching to WP8 and it allowed custom backgrounds and transparent tiles. It was a very nice feature and something I do hope comes to WP8. It annoys me when people dismiss WP8 without trying it and it's sad to see so many fellow WP8 fans go off on you for making a good suggestion.
  • Why would you want a background image when 95% of the home screen is covered by the tiles? Now different color backgrounds would be nice though..
  • +1, the ability to keep your background any color would just be so cool! It would add a large amount of customization without compromising on the metro ui.... I really hope this is included in future updates
  • I would really like to see the live tile color options to include a custom color picker.
  • It wouldn't be if the tiles were transparent...
  • Transparent tiles....u mean widgets? Go use android or something. The Metro UI isn't for you it seems.
  • how would being able to choose the tiles' transparency compromise the integrity of the metro ui? is transparency some exclusive selling point of android that only android users can use? you're sounding an awful lot like an ios user. WP8 isn't the pinnacle of mobile OSes.
  • Transparency does in fact compromise the metro UI, the metro UI is about clean  and sharp representation of the foreground, though I would have no issues with the feature to add transparency being implemented (I just wont use it, and neither would most of the user base) it would be a complete waste of time and money when there are many REAL issues with the WP OS Microsoft needs to be working on!
     
    *ON TOPIC*
    Huge windows phone fan, been a fan of metro since the ZuneHD (why does no one ever mention that the metro UI started with the poor ZuneHD? T.T) it took me a long time to get in on the windows phones do to finacial issues, otherwise iw ould have bought the first era of windows phones =D
  • you're right, it wouldn't look as clean, but the overall interface, UX, and originality would still be there.
    actually the earliest inspiration of the metro UI that i've read is from xbox live.
  • I think there's a good chance that'll be offered with WP8.1, along with some other Windows 8.1 features.
  • why why why why why WHYYYYY???
    i dont understand why people wanna customised their backgrounds? R they just spoilt since the old desktop era?
    Do u customize ur every single picture frame in ur house with some wallpaper wrappers? Do u customise ur car paint job n sofa with wallpaper like wrappers n so? NO u dont cos it will look ugly with so many things going around, certain things r meant to leave as negative space to look tidy n nice. If u insist, do it on android, n that's where bunch of ugly icons floating n BLOCKING ur wallpaper behind....what's the whole point at the end of the day where u cant really see the bg while doesnt gel with ur app icons????  To me, let the designers n creators do their job. U dont hired an interior designer n end up throwing ur junks n do ur own sketch n simply call it a masterpiece. N that's the magic of Metro UI. Mona Lisa is Mona Lisa, if u fiddle with it to make it look like the Mona Lisa that u wish she looks like then that's not Mona Lisa anymore
    Having a wallpaper on my lockscreen is all i need. Want nice pictures? I always use the Photos tile in largest size to "decorate" my main screen, n best? The tiles even rotates ur favorites. If u r so stick with the "customizable bg" idea, u hav not been thinking out of the box.  
  • Nicely said my friend.
  • agreed with you Dare2Blink
  • Ok major douche
  • You sir are an idiot
  • If they do, wp become ios/android
  • There was never a WinMo 7.
  • I hope that was sarcasm.
  • As I remember there was Windows Mobile 6.5. Then Windows Phone 7 in 2010.
  • I usually come here to argue with fanboys (ye, I know it sounds too douchie) but the tile as an interface is something you can't hate.
  • Other, non WP users: I just Hate the sqariness of wp's, PLUS there are no apps! And the weight of the 920 just strains my wrist!
    ^^^ the internet
  • Yeap!
    3 years and still far from being smartphone.
    Still missing basic features. Great achievement for MS being world slowest OS updater.
    Still amaze to see WP fanboy who think this is the best OS.
  • You are just plain stupid if you think windows phones are not smartphones. Fuck off.
  • Yeah! a smartphone that can't save username and password in IE.
    No, auto rotate screen on/off.
    Can't close app directly from multi-tasking screen.
    Very poor multi-tasking.
    No-filemanager.
    Etc...........etc.....etc......
    you know even Nokia S40 is more smarter than WP.
  • That's cold.
  • no,
    That's truth.
  • Win Mobile is dead. Are you from mars?
  • Xbox Music doesn't seem to be working well today, and yes, they need to improve this app on the phone. The Music app in Win 8 & 8.1 is very nice, as is the browser version of Xbox Music.
  • I second this. I was disappointed with Xbox music when I upgraded from WP7. I feel Zune provided a much better experience in both syncing (WiFi, drag n drop among other things) and in app experience. I synced songs from my iTunes library and Xbox music app fails to recognize the artist and doesn't display pictures and other relevant info for the artist.
  • Zune interface was awesome!
  • In my opinion they should have kept the UI from Zune applications and jst changed the name and color scheme to Xbox haha woulda been soo much easier and there would have been less complaining
  • If Lumia 800 was the first windows phone than Im with WP from very beggining. In truth I got it my lumia 800 in june 2012. since than I got Lumia 920 Lumia 920 and of course my baby Lumia 920. 3 920 and also 900 for my mom. Biggest fan of Nokia. :) It's an awesome phones as Lumia 920 and my mom love her 900. after her asha which was breaking down every month once 900 is a terminator and she loves it. Thanks WP, and Happy Birthday. :)
  • The Lumia 800 was the first WP from Nokia. One of the first WPs was the Samsung Focus. Although I didn't get it in October 2010 when they first came out, I did purchase one for me and one for my wife in December 2010. Great little phones.
  • Thats when I got my first WP Samsung Focus and I'm still using it.  I've dropped it at least 50 times and no cracked screens or dents and it works just as well as when I first got it.  I'm on AT&T and hoping the rumored Nokia 1320 5" screen with GRD3 comes there along with the 1520 AT&T is getting.  The 6" screen is too big, but the 5" would be awesome!  Zune is awesome, I don't look forward to XBox Music based on everything I've read from current users.  Maybe that is something they can work on in 2014.
  • I would love to see any background image + transparent/translucent tiles a la windows 8.1 like somebody mentioned. Obviously background image with solid tiles wouldn't work so well but it would be great with see through or mostly see through tiles.
  • I think it will be perfect if they did it like the start screen on W8.1. Maybe if they made the tiles proportionally smaller so the background image can have some presence.
  • Bought my focus day 1, then a N900, now a 920. What's next??? Hmmm...ill now that this spring... Still love my 920, and nothing else new out there has enough of all the advancements all in one for me to "upgrade"
  • Exact same steps I have gone too, looking forward to the next device. I have to wait till march though, not buying another phone off contract this time around.
  • The Samsung Focus was an awesome phone. Picked up mine in November 2010 after seeing it demonstrated at a Microsoft dog food conference. I still use the Focus today as a music and media device but jumped on board with Nokia when the Lumina 920 released.
  • Nok music isn't bad, radio feature in Xbox music is good too
  • me too man, kind of miss the days when the guys up here were all acting in hormoney of excitement when seeing other ppl on the street with a wp and challenging the carriers to do more, it was interesting but i also love the fact that we are finally past that point and into making the platform go big (oh the contradtiction of feelings...)
  • 3 years and we are stuck with the most basic un-friendly native calendar in any platform! Office apps are almost un-usable. MS act quickly pls.
  • While I personally find the calendar to be very useful (It's even better than the native one on Windows 8), but I have to agree that the Office apps are too basic for my taste. The formatting options are a joke.
  • I find that the calendar is not very user friendly at all. I would have expected to be able to see my appointments when looking at the calendar in month view, but no, we have to drill down into day view to check that.
  • 3 years and we still don't have a full notification center or the ability to quickly toggle settings from anywhere in the system. Can't edit playlists on the phone, can't add a song to a playlist or even to the cloud from the phone. This past year of wp8 all we got from Microsoft was some vague ability to pin albums easier. Maybe they should uncouple Xbox music from the system and make it an app like IOS/Android so we'd see faster updates rather than waiting 12 months...
  • Get it off yo chest son!
  • I do agree, progress has sucked recently
  • Hate to admit it, but this is true.
  • Several things I'd like to have on my baby 920. The Desktop as on RT. If I could put the apps there and widgets a little bit Androidstyle(although I don't like the platform). A bit more smoothness and beauty as iOS7.(hate to admit it but the iOS came out really beautiful). Notification center is awesome of course, but what I can see from what suggested NC ass an app and a tile, not for me. But telling you what guys, I love WP and how it is getting updated is ok for me. Player could be nicer though and a lot more, but yet again, not much of difference for me. my phone is my phone, reading news instagram calls and sms. Enough for me. Also never-mind my mistakes in whatever I wrote I just came back from the club and certainly im DRUNK :)
  • Yep, you are drunk for wanting the desktop on a phone. Who needs that? If you mean a file system, then I understand.
  • No not the file system. Although that would be nice, I just don't like tha applist on WP sometimes it's quite hard to find the apps over there the ones i need, but the ones I don't want to pin to start. Anyways I just think that desktop would be nice, not Windows 8 style but modified to widgets and a bit of apps.
  • Apps hard to find? Do you see that little magnifier when you swipe to the left from your Start screen? It allows you to search, and bring results as you type. It is magical :-) I find pinning less used apps at the bottom of my start screen is also helpful. At the beginning I was concerned of having a mess there, but it is not messy at all as long as whichever way you order the tiles makes sense to you. In my opinion, a desktop on the phone just for that would not really make much sense.
  • If you cut down the drinking, I promise you'll find the hidden apps that you can't find. :p
  • Magnifier Glass doesn't work for me coz sometimes people tend to forget the names of the apps they want to use like "avirall" for instance. Have no troubles locating soundhound and speeedtest. But for quite a while when I was using the stopwatch I was sliding back and forth over the whole list of the apps to find that one. and the more apps everybody hets the more hard it gets. Telling it not as poweruser who remembers every of his app names. Start screen pinning doesn't work for me as well. The other day something happened like a bug or something causing two of my tiles just disappear living two blank spots in the place the were pinned, no idea how it happenend though, anyways I couldn't even remember which ones are dissapeared. Pinning will cause the mess for most of the users, I'm not talking about those power users which will probably bash up on me for this comment but then again i never had a problem to find an app on my iPad or my MacBook for that same reason as they have similar patern of the applist thingy. Once again, I'm not an apple fan, but some convinience over the applist on WP would be great. May be if they could offer like an option (Nokia had it before on Symbian) over the app arrangement like list or grid.
  • agreed, search button is not entirely viable
  • They didn't disappear they just blacked out. Unpin and pin again.
  • kids corner kind-of works like a desktop...
  • Preach! It's true MS is slower than molasses going uphill on a winter's day regarding WP.
  • Yep. And these excuses about Microsoft being too busy working on enabling cheaper devices to broaden the sales base instead of getting functionality up-to-par to RETAIN the customers they already have are ridiculous.
     
    You should be able to do both. There should be larger releases like GDR2/3/whatever that enabled new device factors. But there should be small point releases constantly coming refining the experience as it exists now.
     
    After all, the biggest advertising for Windows Phone are the CURRENT devices out there. If people are turned off to the OS by missing apps and missing functionality, they're simply going to go get locked into Apple or Google's ecosystem. 
  • Agree 100% Microsoft suck in the mobile department
  • Knew this would be said by someone.
  • Its the truth.
  • Werd.
  • My biggest issue with the phone currently is Xbox Music...give it to Rudy H....
  • Hey Rudy Hyun is currently working on a project for Microsoft could be a possibility.
  • Don't hold back Mate, tell us how you really feel....
  • You'd think a company that's as big as Microsoft would be able to get it on par with the other OS's by now...but I guess not.
  • Yeah I know right!! Its not like they make anything other than a phone OS! Lazy bastards!
  • And what does that have to do with it? Microsoft rakes in the money, it's not like they can't hire more people to work on WP.
  • I can create playlists from Xbox Music. I must have a magic phone.
  • No week view in calendar, no silent toggle, no ability to silence alerts so I can use it as an alarm clock, most places have to still be bribed to write an app, the one company giving it visible effort was absorbed into the one that wasn't, my phone sometimes gets hot and drains the battery, I don't know how much data I use, they'll probably get rid of my second favorite button (back). All that and its still the best platform out there for me. 920 is the best phone I've owned.
  • While I'm not using week view myself, having this is a good plus. For how much data used, we can now use data sense (although I don't know whether it available on all GDR2 enabled or not).
  • It's important not to blindly add features. They need to properly plan and craft those features so it'll bring the best experience to users while keeping the whole system running smooth so that in the future more important features can be easily added or extend when there's new hardware/software changes.
  • I was one of the first people to get a windows phone when they were released. Samsung Focus which was an awesome phone. I even still remember when the address bar was at top of IE. Good days.
  • With ya, although I got the Omnia 7
  • +1 Omnia 7 when they first came out I got one at expansys, best phone i ever owned until i left it on a convienence store counter and find my phone never found the location. Just dropped my 8x in water and now using a fugly lumia 822 on verizon. Still like he omnia best because of the homebrew apps and tweaks.
  • The Focus was one of the best phones I've ever had. That thing took a ton of abuse and just worked. I wish Samsung took it's investment in Windows Phone seriously. I would love to see what they could really do if properly motivated.
  • I got my focus in June '11 and was abused broke the screen 3 times, accidentally tore out the speaker, and just started to to have problems with the power button. So I finally replaced it Wednesday with a 920.
  • I loved the HD7. I wished HTC would have continued its legacy. But we all know HTC. They love putting out products with different name, different skin, but same innards.
  • Dell Venue Pro where I had to actually go to the Dell site and order it straight from them and then pester them from no end when their shipments dates continually slipped. I went to hell to get a Windows Phone from day one.
  • I got my dvp the first day they had an att version. Loved it.
  • I have the 928 but my focus is my Zune player
  • Ohh my poor focus, it finally died on me...alas...
  • Me too. I had 2 LG Quantum's. Then I got the Titan, Titan 2, L920, now I'm rocking the 1020.
  • Got a HTC Mozart on day one. It still runs well. It took a while for me to understand how MS weren't trying to make a palm computer rather they were wiring to redefine the smartphone experience. I think after three years they can tick that box. The other OS's are just butt ugly, BBM so much so that it has tanked. It has been interesting watching the smartphone perceptions evolve over the years. Nokia has been great and given us cheap stylish and useful handsets. Rocking 620 now, i anticipate I'll wait for a 2014 wp8.1 flagship.
  • DVP from the Microsoft Store (the first Microsoft Store) the day after Christmas. That phone was simply amazing, nothing has compared to it's physical functionality and feel since :-(
  • Samsung focus made me love windows phone, after had it I just couldn't be separated from the platform, now I have a L822 God, I love this phone!
  • Whoa man u r soo kooooool!
  • Together since HTC Trophy came out! Through Lumia 800 to 920 even got onto Deadmau5 gig in London. My favourite platform, can't wait to see what's next (for me Lumia 1320 most probably!)
  • I bought a focus first day they were available at at&t.  Also should out to wmexperts.com :)
  • Happy birthday windows phone!! I been here since say one. HTC hd7 all the way up to the 920!!
  • It hasn't yet been three years since launch, yet, though. My birthday, Oct 21, was launch daily outside the US, while the US launch was in November.
  • The rest of the world is bigger then USA, so why are the American launch so much more important than Europe or the rest of the world? We got the money you know ;)
  • Well, he did mention the launch outside the US was Oct 21, which is not for another week, which was his point.
  • Can you please point out where I made any implication at all that one launch was more important? Jumping to conclusions based on something that isn't there makes one look foolish.
  • Relax we can too assume the same for this person that since he/sh isn't from US, he/she sucks at English comprehension lol.
  • Because English is only spoken in the US since it originated there, right? Grow up...
  • I don't have expectations that high.
  • Buddy read what Tafsern said and go back to what I said. Maybe you should grow up to read the full convo before jumping into conclusion.
  • Read what he wrote. I don't know if his date is correct but you clearly didn't understand it.
  • The date is correct. It was my birthday - I remember it clearly, as I had been awaiting Windows Phone's launch for about six months.
  • MS likes to use the rest of the world as guinea pigs ;-)
  • Also in the 3 years I went from HTC HD7, Radar and Titan to Lumia 900 - (don't get me started on that rant) and now a Lumia 920. I made a promise no more investment in WP until.i see some meaningful updates. GDR1 was a joke. GDR2 mostly Nokia improvements. GDR3 looks like more hardware stuff with the user experience mostly staying the same (more tiles aka more clutter) sighs...
  • What are you using now?
  • 8.1 well be delivering the updates you're looking for. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until Q1 of 2014.
  • dont be so sure, we might be asked to wait for WP9 by MS
  • I went from an HTC HD7S bought on launch day, to an HTC TITAN, to a Lumia 920 to a Lumia 1020. :) Needless to say, I'm still quite enjoying WP.
  • I've been with Microsoft's mobile platforms since I got the Cingular 2125, then the Samsung Blackjack, then the Samsung Focus at launch, and now the Nokia Lumia 920 since its launch.
  • I've had every one of those phones lol
  • lol, me too except the Cingular 2125.  The Blackjack was my first WinMo phone.
  • Yey, with WP since HTC HD7, with wm since wm3.1
  • I started with WM6.0, 6.1, 6.5 then skipped Windows Phone 7 platform altogether then went right into Windows Phone 8 GDR1, GDR2, GDR3 and can't wait till future WP8.1!
  • Happy birthday WP!!!
  • your the only person who actually wished it a happy bday lol. i started with the hd7 myself and ran through alot of windows phones. happy birthday windows phone.
  • Happy Birthday Windows Phone!
  • I remember the whole purpose of the app "I'm a WP7" (now Outsider) was to show you people who had Windows Phones, now that's just a minor part of the huge app. Crazy.
  • Awesome app, used to get my WP news from there, alot of their articles came from here, thats how I found this website. Before it was I'm a WP7 and windows phone searches on google.
  • I started with an HTC Trophy, now on a Lumia 822!
  • I still only know one other person with a windows phone after being a WP user for 2 1/2 years. Though I do live in the bay area, so I guess you could say even one person is an accomplishment when I am just half an hour from either google or apple.
  • And the Microsoft campus down the street from Google ;)
  • Now you know two, focus, focus flash and the 920. Sporting the 1020 and loving its camera. Windows phone users are deemed ignorant by iPhone and Android users and don't have a clue what they're missing.
  • And three. LG Quantum at launch, for the screen and keyboard. Now Lumia 920. Had an app in the store at launch, too!
  • Many happy returns
  • Happy Birthday, Windows Phone. My first smartphone is a WP8, so I'm not there since the beginning, but I'm very pleased with it since I have one, and with the updates it got better. I'm looking forward to the future of Windows Phone, and I hope it'll have many more birthdays to celebrate. ^^
  • Been with it and loved it.. Love my windows phone.
  • Got my Samsung Focus in November, 3 years ago. Now proudly sporting my Lumia 920 and I couldn't be happier about my choice to side with Microsoft.
  • Been with it since the Arrive hit Sprint. Jumped to ATT for the 920. There's been progress, but it's been way too slow. 
     
    Microsoft still has no cohesive strategy to leverage all of their assets to make mobile work. Their music servic