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Microsoft attempts to solve the Windows Phone app problem with web apps

Microsoft has had to endure complaints surrounding an issue since Windows Phone originally launched back in 2010 - not enough official apps. It's true the platform is still missing a number of official solutions, but since Windows Phone 8 was released, support has slowly been growing at a slow, but steady rate. The Windows Phone Store now has more than 160,000 apps.

We've seen banks, mobile operators, broadcasters and more pop on to the Windows Phone Store, but there's always that one app you need but it's just not there (and there's no decent third-party alternative). Microsoft is looking to address this problem by packaging mobile websites and packaging them as web apps.

You'll notice official apps appearing from the developer "Microsoft WebApps." Brands include SouthWest Airlines, Booking.com, TMZ, Lowe's, and the Food Network. The webapps themselves are simply mobile versions of said websites packaged into a Windows Phone experience. Here's how Microsoft explains the WebApps team:

"We are helping people access great mobile experiences on Windows Phone by creating pinnable Web Apps that show up in the app list. These are not a replacement for native apps. In most cases we hope that usage of the Web App will encourage the ISV to publish its own native app."

The above quote makes it clear that Microsoft is not set out to replace official, native apps, but the plan is to encourage developers to get on-board and start building content. This latest move suggests a state of desperation for Microsoft regarding its app issue. 

Microsoft WebApps

It's an interesting way to bring official brands to the store. We're not sure how this will be received by the community since Windows Phone consumers generally favour true, native experiences. That said, it's good to see Redmond attempting new techniques.

Head on over to the Windows Phone Store to check out the availabe web apps.

via: ZDNet

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.

197 Comments
  • Most people will complain and say that they are not native. I on the other hand welcome this until the publishers from those websties make a native app, which could never happen btw
  • +1...totally agree. It also pushes the respective owners of the service to make something better. They don't want to be represented incorrectly :)
  • Well, they should've done this earlier on. Now, as expected, they're getting torn apart on tech sites like The Vag. They're saying MS is just getting really desperate now.
  • LOL! Hope that was an autocorrect.^^
  • Also, this Webapps app itself is handy.
    http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=49e97b4c-7715-4103-8519-066244fc9e2f To me this is better because you can make a "webapp" from any mobile website. Plus with voice activation, you can launch by saying lets say, "webapp, open Lowe's".
  • Most people don't even know what native is. I think the will help more than hurt. Most mobile versions of sites are great. This is the trend anyway, as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS can do more the need for native will lessen.
  • Step 1.) Package web apps. Step 2.) Force every website designer to use metro design on their site. App problem fixed.
  • Force them to make the website metro? If Microsoft can't convince them to make an app, what makes you think they can force them to design the website using metro style design?
  • I think it was a joke ;)
  • Actually not so far fetched. look at Google Plus and various other sites mimicking the Metro design. Minimalism is in, and many placed besides MS have turned their sites into more "Metro-like" schemes. Sliding windows, gestures to open features. Here in Japan the Star movie channels have these stark, lots of white space tile-inspired graphics. So while the comment was certainly tongue-in-cheek, fact is, it is happening.
  • Doesn't the app WebApps already do this?
  • Sure, but doing it this way means they're more easily searchable and identifiable by logo.
  • agreed; web apps is a great app.  they even added my local bank at my request which really sold me on their app so i bought the unlockable features.
    But you are correct, this makes them searchable in the store and like the article states it gives firepower to get a native app.  i applaud this move!
  • It also makes the app visible in the app list where this isn't possible in webapps
  • This may do some good.. Whatever shuts the hatters up..
    Maybe these companies can see how many WP users are visiting their mobile websites, and that will encourage them to build official apps for the platform..
  • Actually, some people might prefer the mobile website, so I would encourage MS to go ahead and even make web apps for existing official apps that are already in the store.... There's nothing wrong with this if you look at the big picture..
  • Yes your right when wells Fargo hadn't made a official app Webb apps did! So when wells Fargo did come out with a official app I did delete the Webb apps one but I will NEVER delete the actual Webb apps ! They were there when needed them
  • They would have more success attracting developers if they led by example with their own apps for the platform and made the OS more competitive and thus more attractive to consumers and increasing market share. But they prefer to prioritize the iphone and android like everyone else so this shouldn't surprise anyone .
  • I truly don't get how they don't have a massive team to support their own product. Its almost like they don't really care.
  • Can't say I disagree, really. Seems insane to me when they release new apps elsewhere and ignore WP for weeks or months at a time.
  • You are god damn right, if Microsoft wont even do it why do they expect others 2
  • No one expects any developers to launch on WP first. At all is nice. Remember these apps on other platforms are fuelling Windows Phone by bringing in extra money to Microsoft.
  • Bing apps, xbox games, Office, etc, etc it's rare anything comes to iOS or Android first. Some Skype features, but Skype is a product they bought so a lof of development will have been planned months or years in advance and they have big teams dedicated to that platform. Remote Desktop was a product they bought recently repackaged for iOS and Android tablets (Windows 8 tablets having had RD for years), so again a non-issue. So stop with the bs about them not prioritising for WP, they do on the whole and when they don't there's valid business reasons.
  • How would windows 8 tablets have it for years if windows 8 has only been out for one year?
  • Again, this is valid to MS too:
     
    There are somethings that might be adjusted:
    1. Indie Devs tends to prefer ( I don't know why) to opengl, instead of Directx.
    2. They love webkit, and we do not support.
    3. There are several api's restrictions that might offer a so limited experience, that developers prefer to not develop a limited app and get all the bad reviews on marketplace ("The iOS have that, we don't' Android got that, why we not)
    4. The restrictions are so high, that business apps, will suffer from that. You can't save files (like recips and etc, from money transaction) in file explorer. In order to get it and send by mail, you have to do inside the app. If by any reason you reset the app, u lost everything. Sad , but true.
    6. HTML5 is the  way, but for MS weird reason they don't support properly on Windows Phone.
    7. The worst, that developers (big ones) started to developer apps to iOS using the new architeture 64bits (that android might follow) and MS even in 8.1 didnt consider that, that might need to enable it for new hardware. So they are lazy.
    8. No unified store, developers needs a balance between their teams to developer in RT, Windows 8 and WP8 store. This costs money.
    9. Restricted API's is only offered to OEMs, specially nokia.
    10. Thats all
  • 7-64bits app ios for real 0_0 plz call be back when you know how many real 64bit program you have on your pc lol this is bs marketing at its finesse. 8- you only need two version, one for rt/win8 (same app) and one for wp8 which is the same on ios ( iphone and ipad).
  • Wow, you really have no idea do you - I'm going to summarise some of the repsonses, but I can go into far more accurate detail f you really want....
     
    1. I'm an indie developer and I'm actually not at all bothered by either opengl or directx - it really comes down to personal preference.
    2. Webkit is horrible - it is something that everyone has been forced to use for years - having said that, it is for browser support, not for apps
    3. iOS is more locked down than WP - Android is riddle with useless spam/malware aps due to having no restrictions. As nice as it would be to trust that all developers will make legitimate apps, there are many who won't - locked down is good for the end user.  Developing is about overcoming challenges, it is part of the fun of it - just deal with it, it hasn't stopped me producing the app I want to make for my users.
    4. Quite simply, I wouldn't want business files being saved to a device.  Much better if the file was sent across to my corporate network - then again, there is always connectivity to SkyDrive, which then resolves the issue of lost files on the uninstalling of the app, but again, if I have a business app, I think there is a sense of safety in the knowledge that the files will be removed when uninstalling the app.
    5. - I think you might have missed this number, guess it can't have been important.
    6. HTML5 is really a matter of opinion.  I for one don't believe that it will ever be able to become a standard frontend development language for mobile devices.  Each OS will have it's own quirks - the issues we see with cross browser compatibility will be nothing compared to HTML5 being standard across phones.  Not only that, there are so many implementations of various things anyway, it is hardly a standard.
    7. 64bit is completely irrelevant to WP development.  If MS ever decide to allow this it will be done because thre are some OS benefits, nothing else.  Anyway, when I develop for Win8, i can package for 32/64/ARM all in one go, with no differences to my code, so really not an issue.
    8. Interesting, but more for the user, not for the developer.  I have over 80% of my code shared between WP and Win8 (RT/Pro) - The only stuff that isn't shared is the UI, but this would need to be different anyway due to the diferent form factors of devices, so really it is irrelevant.
    9. This really goes back to point 4
    10. I don't see any of your poins as valid, but this is just my opinion.
  • http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/03/windows-phones-app-problem/
    “To me, it’s an unproven platform, so why would we take all the risk if it’s going to take us $50,000 to rewrite the apps just to use DirectX [Microsoft's proprietary graphics platform]. It’s an unknown if we’d recoup that in sales,” said Noodlecake co-founder Jordan Schidlowsky. “The people that I talk to, and what it seems like, say that the sale numbers aren’t quite there yet. It wouldn’t be profitable for us to go there.”
    Schidlosky also pointed out a purely technical drawback. All of Noodlecake’s games, including the incredibly popular maker of the popular Super Stickman Golf and Super Stickman Golf 2, are based on OpenGL, an open and cross-platform graphics SDK supported by iOS, Android, Linux and even BlackBerry. But Windows Phone 8 doesn’t support OpenGL. As much as Microsoft is lowering barriers to entry with its many middleware partners, that doesn’t always work out for indie game developers like Noodlecake (which also happen to make huge, hit games).
  • None of you know what you're talking about...
  • Please work on to make a better and faster Facebook app.
  • When did you use the app last? if ever? what exactly is wrong with the current app or the available beta?
  • Notifications
  • ^ This.
  • +1020
  • I use both FB apps, and they are very slow, compared to other apps.. They do have plenty of features now, but they are seriously slow to load, or transition through...
  • App's (touching) responses.
  • Using the beta right now.
    problems so far,
    Slow when tapped on notification, messaging, friend request bar at the top.
    Messaging text or attaching photos with in the facebook app is atrociously slow.
    Problem loading post with many comments.
    Pull to refresh only works when pulled slowly. New news feed icon is clumsy
    serious features missing when compared with iOS/android app
     
    makes me wonder if you used it yourself
  • oh yes and NOTIFICATIONS!!!!NEVER WORKS!!
  • Lag compared to the IOS and android versions. Also, it doesn't have the chat circles. My sister complains, as she just switched from the 4S to the 1020. She loves the camera though, and thinks 6tag is better than the official app, which is true. :)
  • Lots of things are wrong with the Facebook app. Notifications fail, messenger fails, clunky and unresonsive navigations, hard time tapping on Like, can't upload photos when apps is sent to background, etc etc. No offence, but have you try the Android / iOS version? WP version is miles apart!
    MS is just so poor when comes to developing apps for windows phones, which makes me wonder if MS really care about its platform at all. Now with this web apps excuse, I think this platform is going to die sooner than I expected.
  • Idk, I think they should just get Microsoft to replace the Facebook apps on iOS and Android since Facebook would pretty much rather have someone else run the show for them... =P
  • +1020
  • I do not really use Instagram and I still bought 6tag because of how wonderful an app it is. I would pay again for a Facebook app designed by Rudy (6tag creator).
  • Hate apps like these. All it does is clog up your app list. If you need to access the website that much, just bookmark it.
  • Average consumers don't know this though. Like my 34 year old sister with two kids who doesn't have time to visit wpcentral. Or my 19 year old cousin who would rather use snapchat than care about os releases
  • Favorites aren't backed up.. Apps are.. But, it would be nice to have them populate ,like text messages do, when you get a new device
  • I recently flashed my 820 and after restoring everything I found that my favourites list was populated as well, so I think that maybe your Favourites are actually backed up.
  • Unless that's a new feature in update 2, no.. I've recently had my 920 replaced twice, before we got update 2 in US, and my favorites in IE were not backed up.. And yes I have every backup option selected.. Now, phones in other regions might act differently..
  • Possibly, my 820 is updated to preview GDR3 so maybe its a new feature that no one has picked up on yet
  • Maybe so❕
  • Doesn't that also take up space somewhere like Storage, History or..? =[
  • So they couldn't partner with "Webapps"?
  • No.
  • Because?........ It'll never be the same without you around.
  • Is... Is Rodney dying?
  • I'm dead on the inside... That's what she said❕❕❕❕❕❕
  • Hey, why not? They know how to reach us. ^AS
  • Web-wraps. Pathetic has just hit a new level.
     
    Because users really like that...just look at Microsoft's YouTube App. Such great reviews.
     
    Besides, if I want to pin webpages, I rather use Skinery Themes. At least I can create a full custumizable tile and make it open the webpage.
  • But, isn't this a good idea for those who want prefer the mobile site over the official app?.. What is the harm in this❔❔
  • Sadly. Until the developers care about wp8 this is the garbage we will be stuck with. It still is better than nothing though.
  • Do you know any smartphone owner who prefers mobile versions of sites to a full functional app? I honestly don't. The harm is that it makes the platform look pathetic. "Oh...we don't have Apps. We can't convince developers to develop for out platform...but we have IE...you can always access the sites through it". It's like "look...we're too poor to afford cow meat...but we have here this piece of dog meat...it's also red...so...hurray?"
     
    Besides, as I said, there are plenty of offers in the Store to allow you to create these web-wraps. Why is Microsoft wasting time and money on this when they could be using that time and money to try and bring developers on board.
  • Yeah, but that's only because their webapps look horrible...don't these have a certain appeal? To be frank, to always criticize and seriously do nothing for us is getting quite tiresome. You make considerable points but what else do you have...any apps? =D
  • I wasn't aware WP users were required to have Apps?
    No I don't do apps. I don't have the knowledge for that and even if I were to acquire it, MS has made sure I couldn't develop from W7. Still, I've colaborated with several developers before (and intend to continue doing it in the future as long as I have a Nokia device). So yeah. I think, even though I've absolutely no obligation to provide the WP Store with anything, I've done more than my share for the OS without even having been paid for it. The web-wraps only look good if the website has a specific mobile version prepared for it. But that mobile version works for any platform. If a certain brand has a poor mobile version of their websites, that'll certainly not change just because WP is doing web-wraps to replace the Apps.
  • You haven't used the Plenty of Fish app have you❔.... Lol❕
  • Plenty of Fish.....must have missed that one.
  • I think this could be a good move as long as the sites themselves get info about how many visits actually are from within those webapps, otherwise its quite pointless.
  • The whole point of this is to show usage numbers to developers. By downloading these you're showing demand for an official app. Downloading these is a good way to support the OS. It will help Windows Phone in the long run. Not downloading these is like saying to developers that you don't care about their apps. Sure they aren't perfect but I for one am going to support the OS and hope it helps.
  • Thanks mr. Common sense
  • Yes, you are right, sir.. This is the whole point❕
  • Hopefully, but will it just serve as a substitute instead of them actually creating WP apps? Will they just make these web-apps and be done with it?
  • """Face Palm""
  • I don't care. I NEVER look in the marketplace anymore. Don't know why, I just don't.
  • Same here oddly. I blame wpcentral though. They inform me of nee releases and whats worthwhile to download
  • Not even when a number pops up on the tile for updates? =[
  • That's pathetic.
  • Why❔
  • You're pathetic! "ooh, killer comeback...whatever dude!" =x Lol, just kidding ;)
  • Lol..
  • Pathetic that MS is having to do the work for them? Yes it is. WP can't catch a break at times. MS made an amazing YouTube app only to have it gutted and reduced to pointing to the mobile site. MS is trying. So they get points for that in my book.
  • That still frustrates me.
  • Hey, I tipped you in the Ikea 'app' months ago!
  • Looks like this is only available in the US or the North America region.  Tried looking for the apps in the Australian store and says "You can't get apps in this region".
  • Your doing something wrong bud, im Aussie and all is fine with store, try webapps for pin able apps, also change your region to us and restart
  • Eight million Nokia WP sold this quarter. Isn't that enough to tell the freak developers that its time to join? This reminds me of wells fartgo app. Bug them long enough and they will respond with a yes.
  • Yep⬆⬆⬆
  • Rodneyej. Not sure how you did it but I'm in complete agreement. +rodneyej
  • Yes, yes, yes❕❕❕❕❕
  • There are somethings that might be adjusted: 1. Indie Devs tends to prefer ( I don't know why) to opengl, instead of Directx.
    2. They love webkit, and we do not support.
    3. There are several api's restrictions that might offer a so limited experience, that developers prefer to not develop a limited app and get all the bad reviews on marketplace ("The iOS have that, we don't' Android got that, why we not)
    4. The restrictions are so high, that business apps, will suffer from that. You can't save files (like recips and etc, from money transaction) in file explorer. In order to get it and send by mail, you have to do inside the app. If by any reason you reset the app, u lost everything. Sad , but true.
    6. HTML5 is the  way, but for MS weird reason they don't support properly on Windows Phone.
    7. The worst, that developers (big ones) started to developer apps to iOS using the new architeture 64bits (that android might follow) and MS even in 8.1 didnt consider that, that might need to enable it for new hardware. So they are lazy.
    8. No unified store, developers needs a balance between their teams to developer in RT, Windows 8 and WP8 store. This costs money.
    9. Restricted API's is only offered to OEMs, specially nokia.
    10. Thats all
  • The excuse was, I swear I heard many times before, devs will not develops until WP increase market share. Nokia is the evidence. I'm no developer but some of your points have never been heard of as if they are the case that you say, why has not devs come out and complaining about this. It would be in tech news! Yet all I read is no WP until increase market share. At this point, I disagree with you.
  • http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/03/windows-phones-app-problem/ “To me, it’s an unproven platform, so why would we take all the risk if it’s going to take us $50,000 to rewrite the apps just to use DirectX [Microsoft's proprietary graphics platform]. It’s an unknown if we’d recoup that in sales,” said Noodlecake co-founder Jordan Schidlowsky. “The people that I talk to, and what it seems like, say that the sale numbers aren’t quite there yet. It wouldn’t be profitable for us to go there.” Schidlosky also pointed out a purely technical drawback. All of Noodlecake’s games, including the incredibly popular maker of the popular Super Stickman Golf and Super Stickman Golf 2, are based on OpenGL, an open and cross-platform graphics SDK supported by iOS, Android, Linux and even BlackBerry. But Windows Phone 8 doesn’t support OpenGL. As much as Microsoft is lowering barriers to entry with its many middleware partners, that doesn’t always work out for indie game developers like Noodlecake (which also happen to make huge, hit games).
  • It seems as though there are devs that have no problem with WP and those that either make excuses or you have made valid points. Whatever their take, WP is growing and MS is improving.
  • Microsoft should start offering license discounts on their enterprise software (which most of those businesses probably use for day to day operations) in exchange for businesses building really great native WP apps. That would be the ultimate level of putting their money where their mouth is.
  • We actually develop our in house apps as web apps around the Windows Phone style. The nice thing is they work everywhere. Well, almost. Some companies haven't gotten out of the dark ages and aren't running html 5 browsers.
  • Just search web apps in the store. I use them and like them. Nothing but pinned websites. Stop complaining. Dont like them dont use them.
  • This⬆
  • There's a couple apps I'd like to see, like a USBank app, but for the most part I don't complain and cannot figure out app-whores. 160,000 apps? Seriously, plenty.
  • It's plenty until you need one that isn't available.
  • There's been a lot of times I've wanted an app and it's not there, as I mentioned USBank, but I usually just get over it and use the mobile site. Most the time it's just trivial stuff though.
  • Is this somewhat similar to the Youtube app?
  • WANT AN OFFICIAL FLICKR and dropbox app
  • Finally, a Blockbuster app.
  • Old webapps app has been doing this for a long time, what's the big deal?
  • What will it take for all the big apps on other platforms to join us? zzz
  • All the worst apps you can find...multible "facebook" apps that are mobile versio of fb. Now we can see many Gta5 "apps" cheats. Also there are many low performance apps. It looks like Windows phone is taking android app store style. Alot of apps but bad ones
  • Again, Microsoft is beating around the bush. The solution to their problems is not dual booting with Android and it's definitely not more web wrapped apps. As was mentioned before, look at the backlash from the YouTube "app". You want more app developers, got to get more users. Give people real reasons to switch instead of "it can do most of what the other platforms can". They can make XBox Music much better. Syncing is absolutely terrible, you can't edit playlists on the phone. XBox Video is still non-existent. It should be a killer app to let you download and watch movies anywhere. XBox Video gets a lot of movies early, but you can't experience them on a Windows Phone. Come on. IE needs to adapt to the websites out there instead of hoping web developers adapt to it. Drop down menus don't work correctly on many sites, videos cause errors midway through, and some pages are formatted perfectly in iOS and Android but won't display right (cut off, etc.) in IE. XBox Games is a wasteland and it doesn't help that several are Nokia exclusive. Make the certification process a lure, not a repellent. Don't give up on the WP-360/XB1 save file sync. They were going to do it with Sonic 4 Ep 2 but that game never materialized. Simply being "more secure" and having a more streamlined interface than the competition isn't going to cut it. They have the tools. Use them!
  • Lots of great points.
  • Is it kinda like when you pin windows phone central on windows 8.1 ??????
  • The average consumer doesn't even know what a native app means. I think this is a good strategy, an even better one would be official apps.
  • 1. Indie Devs tends to prefer ( I don't know why) to opengl, instead of Directx. Indians are the Natives
    We need to get the Indians to develope using the Metro UI, Xbox One, RT, WP = DotNet
    Ugh!
  • JetBlue app! Need it.
  • Does this mean we will eventually have capitol one web apps along side capitol one official apps or will one replace the other ???
  • And of course this is just more flame bait for the anti-microsoft fanboys and clickbait creating blogs.  The excuses for all these companies not making an app is total BS.  It wasn't enough at 10k apps to get in, it wasn't enough at 50k or 100k, or 150k apps.  It still isn't enough for them that year over year windows phone has been growing steadily and has reached even more markets.  Honestly, at 19 and free developer tools, how hard is it for one of these companies to just assign some random intern to half ass an app? 
    I'd rather these companies or heads of development just man or woman up and come out and say they don't want to develop for MS based on their own personal bia's, instead of hiding behind the shit excuse of marketshare or whatever they've pulled out their butts this week.
  • I'm with you, this is exactly what I'm saying... =/
  • If ms took a billion an started courting app developers, I wonder if we would still have an app gap ????
  • They have NO valid excuses, these "developers" just want to see Windows Phone go away... >=/
  • Exactly.  Becoming a developer only costs $19.  The tools to write an app are free.  They've run several contests for app development and have used cash as an incentive for developers.  They've even offered to write the app in some cases.
    It just boils down to professional "fanboyism" on the part of these resistant devs.
  • My only beef about this is some ridiculous story I read stated that Windows Phone could only do web apps and not mobile apps, as if the platform weren't capable of doing so...it irritates me to NO end to see fools spreading misinformation out there! >_
  • Dear TD, stop being lazy. make a wp app. DO IT!! and please no excuses about market share.
  • Excuse the snark, but can't MS just pay to have key apps made? They have billions. This web-app solution comes across as really half-azzed.
  • If Geico ended up in here, I know my mother would be really grateful. She likes her Lumia 620 and WP but has complained about the lack of certain apps.
  • So...uhhh....the same thing as just pinning a website like I do wig my bank and my timecard for work. Okay.....
  • Web apps don't work for me if a login is required :(
  • I still don't see a sirius app
  • There was an excellent 3rd party one but siriusxm locked dev out of it. The only answer I get from them regarding a WP app is pretty much "when the demand is there".
  • I would hope most of these are temporary stopgaps and that Microsoft has these guys on the hook for real apps that are in progress. I can actually understand doing this for southwest in particular since I don't expect a real app from them (nor big updates to their app on other platforms) until they finish changing over to their new reservation system next year. A solution like this for them is actually a good idea for them in the interim.
  • Some of these web apps actually have a live tile. Impressive. Way to be proactive Microsoft
  • Good attempt that will not pay off in the end because consumers will complain for lack of apps and companies won't make apps because they will think that these will work just fine.
  • This is not good news folks.
  • I couldn't agree more. How in the world can they dedicate a team toward this when there is still so much lacking in the OS. Different teams? Ok, so make your own apps better then, Bing Sports is already just the web wrapped in a pretty shell. Its so tedious checking anything OTHER than a score. Stats are useless in that app.
  • This is awesome, now let's get official apps and have companies really care to contribute to the windows phone community.
  • No thanks
  • How many of these companies still make BB apps? If they do, they certainly don't prioritize based on market demands, more like some kind of nostalgia...
  • Valid... The Modern IE is the only browser with multi-touch support
  • Being new to the Windows Phone ecosystem I can say the 'lack of apps' argument has been wildy exaggerated. Nearly every major app exists. And for the ones that aren't 1st party, the 3rd party version is literally better (Instagram - 6tag, Youtube - Metrotube, etc.). It's refreshing to see the the 3rd party developer support and creativity that I found non-existent in Android. Apps also tend to look much better in WP8