Microsoft focusing on increasing Windows Phone volume with GDR2; features coming later
One area where it’s always difficult to please your audience is in regards to technology. Between hardware and software advancements you have a public who not only yearns but demands frequent updates for their devices. Some of it is rational and some of it resembles the tantrums of children. But somewhere in between, there is the truth.
Microsoft is in a precarious situation with Windows Phone as they have a lot of so-called 'chicken versus egg' problems to solve. For instance, they need more mainstream apps. But in order to get more apps, they have to have enough devices in user’s hands to convince developers to get on board with Windows Phone. But how can you convince people to buy your phone if you don’t have the apps (either real or perceived)?
With Windows Phone 8 build 10327 (GDR2), Microsoft is pushing out their second minor update for their new operating system this year (the first was GDR1 aka Portico). The concern for a lot of current users is GDR2 doesn’t really bring much to the table in terms of new features. Sure FM radio and an improved Xbox Music library are nice to have, but it’s far from the dozens of features people are demanding on Microsoft’s UserVoice forum.
The GDR2/GDR3 gambit—grow device availability
Part of the problem is also a misunderstanding of Microsoft’s strategy: GDR2 is less about new features and more about enabling new hardware. Same thing with the GDR3 release, expected around October, empowering next generation Qualcomm chipsets and 1080P displays.
More specifically, devices like the Nokia Lumia 1020 are built around GDR2. Sure, current Windows Phones will benefit from GDR2 but the Lumia 1020 needs it. Things like “dual capture” were not possible before within the OS, but Nokia wanted it badly in order to bring their 41MP vision to Windows Phone. As a result, Microsoft had to devote development resources to make that happen. In fact, a lot of the camera ability is a result of the Microsoft-Nokia partnership e.g. setting the default camera app.
This is one reason why Nokia is happy with the Microsoft deal, because they can focus on building great hardware while Microsoft worries about the OS.
That’s not to say everything is great between the two companies, as recent comments by Nokia vice president Bryan Biniak to the International Business Times suggest. Biniak publicly criticized Microsoft for dragging its feet on getting big name apps to Windows Phone. While Redmond seems content on getting apps on a schedule, Nokia is more about the right now. As Biniak states:
Nokia gets it, but evidently Microsoft is still adapting. Still, as a whole, the two companies are working together and shaping the ecosystem based around what Nokia and the other OEMs want. Think LTE, think low-cost devices. Windows Phone was shockingly not going to get LTE support until Windows Phone 8 and Nokia is clearly eating up the entry-level handset market with the Lumia 520, Lumia 620 and Lumia 625. Both of those changes in strategy are partner-influence in action.
More boats for more passengers
It should now be clear that Microsoft’s strategy in 2013 is about enabling more hardware options for their OEMs partners. More chipsets, more display options, deeper level access to the OS plumbing, etc. The idea is to flood the market with many levels of devices, from mid-range to high end “wow” gadgets like the Lumia 1020 to what actually sells en masse, the Lumia 520.
Is the strategy working? At least one analyst thinks so. Dominic Sunnebo, over at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech notes in today’s market report:
Microsoft’s corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone Program, Joe Belfiore, admitted as much when responding to a recent complaint on Twitter about the company not moving fast enough with OS updates:
Ding ding. While it has always been speculated the reason Instagram won’t release an app is due to low Windows Phone market share, it now appears to be confirmed. Microsoft needs to get more phones in more people’s hands if they want those apps.
That’s why Microsoft is devoting so much to GDR2 and GDR3, seemingly paying more attention to their OEM partners than current customer demands (we say “seemingly” because we know Microsoft does care, but priorities, folks).
And that’s just it: In order for Microsoft to focus on enabling new hardware and radical innovations like the Lumia 1020, they had to take their resources away from straight up “feature updates” akin to what Windows Phone 7.5 Mango did earlier, packing 500 new functions or improvements.
Mind you, we’re not trying to justify their strategy, but merely explain it as we see it for a better understanding.
Windows Phone 8.1 Blue appears to be the big overhaul of the OS, where new features and functionality to bring it closer to Windows 8.1 desktop will become evident. Things like syncing of Accent color across devices, more location services, actionable notifications for developers, notification center and more are all being considered for that update due in early 2014.
So what's better: Have Blue's features on fewer handsets earlier or Windows Phone Blue on more devices, but later? That's an interesting question.
But why not do both, you say? We’re not privy to how Microsoft operates, their budget nor how their strategy meetings progress, but it seems to us from observers on the outside that like most organizations, they have limits on resources preventing them from doing everything at once.
Clearly some market research firms, like Kantar, see the benefit of going for entry-level devices before Apple gets in there (see our earlier editorial “Nokia well positioned for approaching smartphone price wars as costs plummet”). Others though will disagree, noting that Microsoft should beef up the OS and that will sell devices.
Microsoft does have a lot of problems to solve with Windows Phone. The user base is rightly getting frustrated with the lack of frequent feature-packed OS updates, the delays from carriers approving those updates and the seemingly far off Windows Phone 8.1 Blue update. It also gives a lot of ammo to critics and detractors. Will Microsoft prevail? We hope so, but some recent market share numbers suggest they still have a long way to go.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
PS: I didnt read the Article so lets read. :)!
I for one hope MS realsies the mistakes they are making and everyone is pointing out to them and fixes the upgrade pathto something that attracts people to WP8 not encourages them to look at a different OS.
WP7 was trying to catch up with features.
Now WP8 is trying to catch up with features and then story will continue with WP9.
Im not sure what MS is thinking, i wish Nokia and other OEMs would have more impact on MS speed, creativity.
WP7 was the begining -> WP8 was the feature catchup -> GDRs are spec catch up -> Blue reach 90% feature parity +what we have that others don't (eg: live tiles, buttery smooth, updates that generally don't destroy your phones performance, etc...)
Other than my email, calendar, phone (messages and missed calls), and text tiles the "live tiles" do not work 99%of the time. The forums show many others with same complaint. I love the idea, but MS needs to fix this if they want to use it as a selling point and something that differentiates them from other operating systems.
Is anyone else frustrated with MS not addressing this?
MS never gave Windows away. Bill Gates is no longer running the company.
Windows Phone isn't losing money, it just doesn't make as much money as the Android patent payments :)
Ballmer has just totally re-orged the company for speed.
Microsoft are in this for the long haul. They seem to be pretty certain RIM/BB will fail, and lose the enterprise (and I can tell you lots of BB houses are moving to WP in my sector)
They do appear to be frustratingly slow, but I suspect they are also waiting for iOS 7 and its non-eventfullness to blow over before telling the world what it has to offer. I really hope custom tones, better calendar, notification centre, better Xbox Music app, proper DEEP skype integration and proper DEEP Xbox live messaging (and working live tiles for once) all come to the platform. Or I may find myself moving to iOS (I'd never move to Android, its horrible)
See also: IE6 until Firefox, WM6 until iOS, Xbox One original plans until PS4, etc etc. Except in moments that rarely last, and generally exist while a product is Ballmer-free, this is what happens. It always feels as though they're trying to make cash cows, and not just great products.
Windows 7, WP7&8 user.
Watching the keynnote on the 2012 WP devcon now is almost like watching a 'what could have been'. So much mentioned there simply never made it in or was so watered down it was not even funny. One of the biggest ones was how OTA would free you from carrier dependencies.. That now turn out to be one of the biggest jokes of them all together with the claim made that developing apps between W8/WP8/RTwould basically be a matter of a different setting on the compiler.
We're not talking about pie-in-the-sky features that the unreasonable public demands, basic dumbphone/media device stuff is missing! How on earth does one intend to attract audiences with a screamingly subpar software offering? It looks like Microsoft thinks that promises are enough. Just you wait, we'll rewrite the OS to another kernel and then all the cool stuff is going to happen. Just you wait, we'll gather a critical-mass level of device support, then the cool stuff is going to happen. Well, guess what? Nobody cares to wait that long! In the mean time, Google's EAS/CalDAV curfew is running out and in two days I can't sync my calendar to Google. The deadline extension was known for six months! But no, the GDR2 will arrive "any week now".
But no, sir Steve-Jobs-Wannabe-Joe feeds us more promises and prances around preaching meaningless blabber about "shut-up-and-ship mode", timely updates, that there are enough "apps" to go around...
Sorry to say this, but I feel mighty stupid for buying into all these great promises and "potential". Not sure if I have the patience to wait for the next "cool stuff" deadline in "the first half of 2014".
I peronally think that windows phone doesn't lack a lot of stuff, but my problem is particulary GDR2, for one reason, and one reason only, and that is new google protocol support.
Support for AciveSync is nearly over, and the update is not on everyones phone, which in practice is not a big problem you can sync to outlook and all, but it shows a lack od responsobility from MS, because it's been a long time coming, they knew about it, yet they did nothing.
2010 - WP7 Release. "Tango" and "Mango" fixes with major upgrades coming....Fall 2011 - WP7 "Mango" release - "Apollo" coming with major upgrades..Fall 2012 - WP8 Release. Wait until WP Blue/9 for major upgrades....
Not to bash on Microsoft as I love the WP O/S, but they need some help with thier marketing and setting expectations for their customers. I feel kind of silly to have recommended WP8 to a few friends who want to know why certain apps aren't available, or why the alarm, music, and ringer have to be the same volume. Regardless of the validity of many industry/customer complaints, MSFT does a fairly poor job of communications, regardless of the high quality of the O/S.
And where are the ads for WP? Why does every store rep (ATT/VZ) I speak with steer me away from WP and to Android/iOS. Last time I was a BBY I heard that song and dance, pulled out my WP8, and they said "Wow I didn't realize it was like that, and that you could do X, Y,Z with it". Again, these problems easily solved by MSFT. Some of us are brand evangalists and want to help, but find it difficult due to lack of support by MSFT on many levels.
As a layman who doesn't understand the software development, I'm just wondering why should we have a GDR3 and a WP8.1 update. Why can't they come as one single update during this fall?
I agree that WP8 can run smoothly with a dual core processors. But, think of the possibilities the quad core could bring in. That will give the OEMs an upper hand in developing products like phablets for which the market is still open.
But yes, MS needs to committ now, we know right now there must be lots of turnmoil within the walls at MS due to all the staff changes, but just like my old captain used to say: "son, get your sh#^* together and do your Job, if every soldier stopped firing 'cause his buddy just got shot we'd all be speaking german". It still baffles my mind that first we lost Zune and then we couldn't even get something even descent looking for WP8. I always felt that if Microsoft's marketing team was half as good as the Zune team was at theirs we'd be in business right now. Here's to Windows phone not going the Dreamcast route.
No, they have had plenty of time to add features to WP8 but they have chosen not to. They are pushing ALL features for a future update. Why? Probably because the update is too radical to split into earlier releases. It's all or nothing. It sounds a lot like what they did going from WP7 to WP8 but hopefully this update will be truly new instead of a rewrite of the same functionality from 2010.
Sometime I wish Stephen Elop is the big guy in MS. He's doing a great job in Nokia.
so it does look like MS's strategy is to just put a huge pile of devices at all price points and hope customer would pick one of them.
Are apps the only question potential customers are asking? or is that the main question?
GDR2/3 enable high end not low end, they don't enable any volume whatsoever. I agree polish features are not what is keeping people from buying new devices however whatever market research or development strategy they are employing is obviously wrong judging from results
It is a way for average Joe to make his mind on OS capabilities: "Your "smartphone" OS cannot do such a simple things? It must be really-really primitive". And minimalistic live tiles only adding value to this suggestion.
These are point in OS where developers are largerly overidealising their customers and usage cases for their smartphones. Plainly saing they a missing points.
Average Joe cares about power user features like custom sms and independent volumes, calls it a smartphone OS and primitive when buying a phone. That's funny. People care about the hot new apps, a few cool selling points, if they can afford it, if it's fast, and if it doesn't keep losing connection. Most likely in that order. Now - after they have the phone they may notice some things missing if they had a up to date phone before. I doubt they would return it over something so small. My cousin is still using an OG Evo and I don't believe that has independent volume levels. it's better to discuss what should come next and not hyperbole with "OMG MS IS FAILING SO FAST" nonsense all over your keyboard.
I am not talking about the existing wp users, is is about percieved OS capabilities for those who consider the way to go (android, wp, or ios) When you hear such basic things are missing will you even try to dig deeper? Many would not, they have no time.
e.g. how should I suggest windows phone when it's the only OS that can't connect to many secure WiFi protocols. And the fact that MS might get a fix out (in 2014) sure doesn't help.
On one hand I'm sure it's great getting new customers on board and enabling newer devices to be built, but to have people recommend the system to new users involves making the current users happy too and not throwing them out (wp7) or suggesting great new features that take years to come (wp8).
I also disagree with those who say that Microsoft shouldn't pay for apps for their platform. I would have launched a 10 million dollar campaign to drive the absolute best apps & games and built an unmatched exclusive stable of games. Couple that with targeting the lower end of the market and the results i have no doubt would have been a lot better.
Now the deal with Best Buy in the U.S. can be substantial as they get to control the narrative to customers but they have to focus on that. I would've hired former Apple exec Ron Johnson to head up that initiative.
And if you're a google-service user, you get discriminated for useing those.
And trying to force me to use M$-services "only" is not the way you should treat your customers.
If you let me choose a new phone now i would'nt buy a WP again.
I could develop in C# on all other plattforms too, all major features are there already and if you want something "special" you can do it your self.
At the moment i do'nt see any advantage of a WP, and if they're not getting their ass up soon - i'll switch plattforms when my contract runs out.
And stop offending me, just because you've got anoter opinion.
I think Microsoft thought they could handle WP8 as W8 and forgot basic features required of all mobile, even to update the OS, this is not a PC, I do not want Windows Vista on my Lumia920...
Its the indie developers, geeks, and power users.
And if you don't get these ppl. on your plattform, or make them stick to your plattform,
because its missing major features, you wont get the apps.
I personally don't have problems with WP8, I really love, and the only thing I miss is multiple volume profiles, like the ones on Symbian.
My 920 is still on GDR1 (GDR2 phones were launched 2.5 months ago and released in market almost 2 months ago).
By objective updating track records (WP7-7.1-7.5-7.8 & 8-GDR1-GDR2) both Nexus and iPhone seem waay ahead and Samsung flagships on par.
Still, I think they should have at least taken the time to implement a calender which isn't just a joke in all the time since 2010. Or real IMAP folder support. Just basic features, I'm not even talking about fancy stuff like screen rotation lock or notification centres.
I prefer to do everything possible in the browser, but to a public that has been conditioned that they "need an app for that" it won't fly.
And the (seemingly) artificial and stupid restrictions Microsoft has applied to the app developers combined with the smaller userbase means that there's even less incentive for the developers to sweat over WP apps.
I have a nephew who works on the WP team, and he has assured me that 8.1 Blue will blow me away. He won't break any NDA with me, so I don't have a clue what is actually coming, but unless it finally gets the attention of (1) the public and (2) developers, I don't see much changing here. So my high hopes from 2012 are currently very low, having been replaced by High Cynicism and a longing for delivery on the promises of years past.
See, that's just it right there... WP needs to improve on the enterprise side seriously❕... With that said,, everyone sure has a different expectation, and use, for a smartphone.. I respect your choice, which you've been threatening for years, because you have more serious needs than the average smartphone user... I hope I, and your nephew, are right about this coming year, and what to expect from WP... It would be nice to have you back at some point..
Saying that though there are a lot missing on the OS that in my opinion should ahve been there in the first place. Simple tihngs like attachements in reply email, document attachments via email. Sound profiles, custom sms tones. Stuff like that. I don't get why these things are missing in the first place.
Sure there's lots of flashy things that would be nice but in reality I would have just been happy with some of the basics.
Actually, high-res screens were probably a top requested feature in 2011, so we did get that.
The existing userbase is screaming that they're being left unsatisfied and they want to focus on new customers.
Take a hint, first create a complete competitive OS. This strategy doesn't make logical sense since GDR2 doesn't enable any volume sellers, neither will GDR3. Nokia nailed the low end already. Both GDR2/3 enable high end experiences which should have been enabled from the start with switch to NT. EVERYONE knew 1080p and multi core support beyond 2 cores would be needed somewhere down the line. Why is RT has support for things like BT4.0 when WP doesn't. The massive lie was the one OS thing for developers. The "ONE OS" was meant to help app ecosystem and speed up updates. Yet 2013 is the year of disappointing updates. The core reason as a developer is that while Apple and Google have 2 OS platforms each. MS has three. They lie to your face by saying "one OS spanning 3 screens". They have 3 different *current* UI paradigms on different sized screens.
The WP UI
The Metro UI (Windows 8 and WinRT)
The Desktop UI (Windows 8) They also have 3 different app ecosystems
The WP apps
The RT/8 Metro apps
Desktop apps No other company follows this nonsense. They are either leveraging their efforts in mobile or desktop (mostly mobile). MS has a nonsensical tablet strategy with their only chance of success coming from........Intel (and when Intel enables ARM like tablets with Bay Trail which can run full Windows, full Office and not be compromised in thinness and battery life). MS is going to obviously do the stupidest thing possible again this year and release an RT and a Haswell tablet.
Hopefully Nokia releases a Windows 8 Bay Trail tablet and rescues the Tablet ecosystem. It should give Nokia some breathing cash too
4 ecosystems: iPhone/iTouch, iPad, Desktop app store, standard desktop software
2. Desktop (the store and the desktop apps are not different, delivered in different ways but not different unlike Metro apps and Desktop apps on Windows 8). Some developers change the Store apps slightly to comply with regulations but its the exact same codebase with less than 1% change. MS has different code and different APIs across the 3 app ecosystems. MS vs Apple is 3 vs 2 ecosystems.
Google arguably has only one: Android which scales across everything. Chrome OS is a second OS but that's web based, you don't have to "target" it. Basically WP is unlike RT/Metro which is entirely unlike Desktop.
iPad and iPhone are infact almost the same (indeed they both run iOS)
OS X is just one ecosystem.
I code once for Phone and Tablet and slight adjustments is all I make.
I publish and target one ecosystem to get my app in front of people To target Apple's Phones and Tablets:
I code once for Phone and Tablet and adjust the UI for the tablet (90% of the code is the same, in fact almost 100% of the core code is the same, only the UI is adjusted)
I publish again to one single unified iOS ecosystem To target MS's Phones and Tablets:
I have to code for WP, I cannot reuse the UI for tablets. I cannot reuse most of the code (the API calls and everything are different, the way the OS works with the hardware is different, the way it grants me access to features is different)
I have to publish for WP. I then have to code for RT (ARM). Different code. Different UI. Can recycle minimal code.
I have to Publish in RT store separately I then have to recompile and rejig it for Metro (x86/64). Different processor. Same UI. Almost exactly same code I then have to code entirely separately for desktop. Different code. Different UI.
Publish it separately again. Infact, MS has 3.5 ecosystems, not just 3 WP - ARM Touch
RT - ARM Touch
Windows 8 Metro - x86/64 Touch
Windows 8 Desktop - X86/64 Mouse and KB WP, Metro have separate stores and Desktop is separate again. It's nothing like Apple and certainly nothing like Google.
You still would have had to make modifications to certain bits and parts of your code beyond just UI layout. This will likely be the case until at least 2014. This has not been the case for Android or iOS since 2011. The devil is in the details and implementation. If it truly was so easy to to build WinRT apps across WP8/Windows RT/Windows 8, every developer would publish across all 3 to get maximum exposure. That simply isn't happening. The *potential* synergies are not being realised. You are infact dealing with two different sets of APIs. RT is useless since it is Touch UI/ARM architecture, the same as WP but without any ecosystem or competitive advantage. To make matters worse, its APIs are actually better than WPs. So which one should supplant the other? Clearly they need to merge. RT was DOA from the very beginning. WP8 wasn't done the way it should have been. It should have been everything RT was from an under the hood standpoint and this idealised WP8 (or call it 8.1 or Blue or indeed RT) and full Windows 8 should be the 2 ecosystems.
MS is close to the one ecosystem promise. But it implemented it in a half assed way in late 2012 when it should have achieved it in one swift conversion. Now we have a painful transition of about 24 months instead and perhaps 2 clean breaks. Clearly the way forward is for Windows RT to move down and replace WP (from a developer perspective). From a user perspective, it will look and behave just as current WP does..
start screen: notifications sorted by apps.
notification center: notifications sorted by time.
I expect more from Microsoft.
They collected my money and got a handset on the streets. Their #1 goal is to move more phones, so my concerns are probably much lower on their radar. Keeping carriers happy is probably #2.
We've had the User Voice forum for quite a while, but that hasn't really gotten us tangible results. Instead of notifications in WP8, we got DataSense. Did anyone vote up DataSense and ask for it to be locked to Verizon for the first 8 months of existence? I didn't think so.
Unfortunately, no one walks into a store and says, "How's the notification framework on this phone?" So it always comes back to apps. Personally, I can't recommend WP until it has Instagram. I think Instance is great, but I'm not going to tell friends to spend more money on apps that aren't even guarenteed to work in the future.
But certain lacking features are just mind boggling. They could have easily put "App close in card view" in GDR2. Battery percentage? Disable auto-rotate? Disable haptic on Windows key? It's kind of insane they're not already there, let alone in GDR2.
At this point I'm more of a Nokia customer than a Microsoft one. I use a Lumia because it's the best camera I can get on a phone. If an iPhone had OIS, I'd probably go back to it.
They must do it with GDR3. Ok new hardware but a little bit more new features for us until 8.1 comes.
BTW: Great article, appreciated the read.
WP8 is not a bad platform, but it's barely competitive in its current state. And Microsoft NEEDS to be competitive. They are the underdog.
Great article by the way. This site has been voice of people and I am hoping Microsoft is ready how people feel here because this is a hard core wp peeps.We all want wp to succeed.
He's talking to you.
So the low end of the spectrum is just as important as the high end in terms of gaining appeal, and if the apps continue to flow the way they have been then awesome, what's the reason to leave?
Honestly, if anything, it compels the competition on all sides to work that much harder and faster, because customers can (at least in theory) upgrade much sooner and sooner and on a whim of "zomg this phone suckz!" Although, honestly, I don't think people are going to pay double/triple pricing to have the luxury of upgrading sooner. Only the gadget junkies like us.
The apps flowing is the major problem. They're coming, but they're far from flowing. Yes, some big and essential apps have come out and the landscape looks much better than it did nearly a year ago, but Instagram isn't out, Snapchat isn't out, Vine isn't out (the most likely to come out soon), YouTube isn't out (if ever), on and on. That doesn't even include games. The phone market is increasingly younger and younger, so also by focusing on bringing key apps and games to the platform, you appeal to the younger 'buyer' (or the one who yells at their parents to by them that awesome new phone) who is more fickle than, say, you or I. It sounds kind of crazy to put emphasis on that, but I believe by proxy if you focus on appealing to the younger people who mostly Snapchat and whatever else that drives these other platforms, you'll grow the market share for this one as well.
And with the early upgrade and paying more just to upgrade sooner, it's very important to note the appeal of programs like JUMP! goes far beyond "gadget junkies" -- I'm not sure about the other carriers, but T-Mobile's $10/mo program doubles as insurance on the phone in case the phone breaks (etc). For what is just insurance, you're looking at $8/mo, so for an extra $2 you have the option to upgrade your phone early. That's appealing to most people who will view that as a nominal price to pay for protection and the ability to upgrade whenever they want without penalty. I opted into the JUMP! program for that reason alone when I got my 925. I wouldn't have normally, but when I held it I was worried that if it fell I would definitely be screwed (despite Nokia's reputation for indestructable phones). I just wanted the insurance but it made sense to have to option to upgrade sooner for just a few bucks more per month just in case another high-end WP device came out in that time (I'm not counting on it at least).
Side note: my un-cased 925 fell off the side of my standing desk the other day, an approximate 4.5ft drop, and after a bit of cleaning the polycarbonate it was surprisingly near-perfect (the aluminum has very minor but nearly unnoticable damage). Despite it holding up amazingly (but not surprisingly), I'm still glad I got the insurance because that scared the hell out of me.
Just fine tune the OS, its way to many buggs!
Are we really "the user base?" Most people grabbing a phone at Ye Olde Mom & Pop's corner phone mart are not thinking about this. They simply want a device that does the job. However, they do listen to the snot-nosed kid down the block who tells them one platform does it all while another is missing the Holy Grail of apps and therefore doesn't even work.
I am sick to death of the Instagram saga. Meanwhile, other devs are abandoning the platform, not because something hasn't sold, but I believe due to politics and likely disinformation. We, my friends, are not the userbase as such. We are a slice of dedicated fanboys, enthusiasts and first adopters. Grandma and grandpa could not care less about QuadCore, MicroSD, NFC or even Bluetooth. They want to send group email jokes, get calls from the bridge club (will that bridge NEVER get built) and watch cutie kitty videos.
Someone put it succinctly this week, maybe Paul Thurrott. He said sadly most users would rather make a good photo look like a cheap Polaroid and slap it onto Instagram than worry about having the finest camera on any current smartphone. So while we argue about how soon 1020 resolution and 5" screens are coming, most folks just want something to throw in their bag at the cheapest price and the lowest learning curve. Forget that 90% of them wll never dig deep into what Android may allow them to do with their OS. The reason for the different UI slapped on top of that is to give said user the simplest and flashiest way to get to the most often used (and sellable) features. The same is true os WP8.x. If they never get past opening email and using the messaging, the real core of users will never get past the 2-4 recommended apps the sales guy dangled in front of them.
One vulture to the next: "Patience my ass. I'm gonna kill something."
If they decouple the hubs and settings from the core OS (or at least modularize them for updatability via Store), then they can satisfy both needs... update frequently in between OS updates AND save OS core/hardware updates for those GDR releases. Less carrier involvement in the software side is a good thing for all of us, and this allows them to bypass carriers for the software app side of things.
That said, I understand and appreciate the strategy, but they need to do a better job of explaining that strategy, and they need to throw us bones now and again too... and not little things like FM radio.
I put all my music on my phone without issue...
I like my Windows phones, Surface Pro, etc... but will can't help noticing they competition has nice, if not nicer products. Time to step it up, Microsoft!
I know that many people on 7.x phones disagree, and rightly so because of being stuck on contracts, but it would have been better, because they'd have a smaller number of pissed off users than what they have with the past and current generation phones not getting what is needed.
Seriously, how hard is it to add Orientation Lock? Custom ring tones (I don't care about them, but it's a common complaint)? Even something a little bigger like volume profiles? How long could these things possibly take?
How hard is it to fix the bug that doesn't properly detect the anamorphic video flag that is in video files and display them correctly wihtout distorting the image. Every other video player I have had in the last 10 years has no trouble with these files... this is likely a two line code fix, just passing a parameter correctly, but MS appears not to give a shit and it will just be in there forever.
Hire a couple devs, set them loose on the User Voice site. Let them tackle the easy ones first... fix the few bugs that are listed, implement some minor features that people have been begging for. There is no reason to exclusively dedicate all resources to these hardware support issues. I agree, they are of paramount importance, but you can't ignore your existing users in the meantime. There will ALWAYS be new types of hardware that needs to be supported. You simply HAVE to do both to be competitive... no excuses. At least until your feature set is comparable... then you can rest on your laurels for a short time. But we are pretty far from being there.
The issue appears to be with the OS somewhere.
Its decided that it wants to get devices into the hands of people who text and call and not much else. That's fine. So if I have to wait for improved Xbox music UI, a video store, notification centre, a decent Bluetooth stack, a stable os and even something as simple as separate music and ringer volume because they want Juan to buy a phone. Cool
I only took a years contract. And Im not waiting for 2014 for the phone I should have had in 2013. So whilst they chase Juans Peso, Ill be jumping platforms. They wont make as much money from him as they will from me. Hope it works out for them. Great call
YES, it is definitely important to prioritize low end market devices, and that's not to say "Mexicans" but anyone on tight budgets across the globe. We're not all a bunch of rich American snobs that can afford to pay $600 on a phone and break 2-yr contracts to upgrade annually. I'm an IT guy, so I upgrade because I want to and can afford it... but I have many family and friends who can't or just don't want to do it. Want to get your feet wet? That'll be $600! Umm, no thanks! Want to get your feet wet? That'll be $150! Hmm, wow, okay, I'll try that and if it's good I'll get the better version later!
I just dont know if anyone else is having this issue. Could I have a defective phone?
Sorry, though you may not believe it I DID READ the article, I dont know why my brain spazzed out and went to the other end with updates instead of device quantity... may have read it wrong. Again, apologies because I do like this article.
In another note though, since you do have the L925 (international) and we are already in this discussion, are you having any issues with your call volume?
I have read that this has occured on the L920 for some people and wanted to check if this occured due to an issue with the device or due to the carrier.
Thanks @netstatinfo for this as I had not even though about exchanging the phone yet since I thought it was a T-Mobile issue (been with Sprint for years and did not know what to expect from another carrier).
I agree with some of what you say but the facts remain - Microsoft MUST try harder and MUST show progress even if thats not the most efficient way to progress it is what the current client base demands. Until you have happy customers promoting the product to friends and family you have to work harder than required finding new clients.
I love my Windows phones, on my 4th or 5th but even I accept that it has more holes than swiss cheese.
It would seem that either MSFT is clueless here or OEMs like Nokia, who have a long and broad experience in these areas, should bang on the door even louder. If Nokia would somehow be able (or enabled) to make their Lumia line work with Nokia Suite for offline sync that would be a HUGE deal and an instant sale to many, MANY people.
Personally I am perfectly happy with wireless sync but a serious boatload of people would like to see this change, again especially in the emerging markets and historical Nokia strongholds. MSFT seems to think people will get over it, I think they are wrong and are missing a humongous marketshare because of this.
Personally I hope they put their time into a very well managed scheduler for quad core SOCs as well as a better battery management (including that Windows 8 SDK energy management for developers), that WP will profit very well from it...not as bad as the Android counterparts.
Ignore the fanboys. Wonder why you're not selling loads of phones. Thickos
I don't mind waiting for updates from Microsoft, what pisses me off the most is then having those updates delayed or refused by the carriers. Microsoft needs to do the updates on its own and not bow down to carrier pressure and their stupid useless testing of the updates. Microsoft should test the updates and push them out without any hinderance from anyone else.
Still waiting for WP7.8 on my Sansung Focus on ATT!!!
If this carrier update blocking continues with WP8 and WP8.1 I might do the unthinkable and start looking at alternatives, I have stopped recomending WP from the day ATT refused to release WP7.8 on my old Focus. And until Microsoft takes control of the update process there is no point in recomending WP8 either, I guess the big test will come with the release of WP8.1.
Honestly, it wouldn't hurt them much, take every phone that they currently offer for 100.00 or less on contract (across all carriers) and take every phone that is less than 150.00 to buy outright and offer them free with 1 of those purchases. Maybe not everyone who buys those items wants a WP, that's fine, they will sell them on ebay or wherever to people who do want them. Run that for 6 months, Put another 50 million phones in the hands of consumers and now you've got the momentum and press coverage you really need.
On a side note, my Father is 1 of those that has been holding out because of 1 app. It has been driving me nuts, I could never imagine choosing a platform because of 1 app but tons of people do, and he was 1 of them. Wouldn't go with WP without the Xfinity app. Thankfully it finally came out, he will be joing us in WP land soon. Just in the nick of time too because it was just making me go insane that he wouldn't come over because of the 1 app. I think I aged a year everytime he said it.
Microsoft is a multiple billion dollar company that can hire an army of engineers to work all sides of the equation at the same. Failing to due so will only result in Microsoft and its partners getting run over by Android and iOS.
Whatever Microsoft's reasons, telling consumers to wait more after one year into it's release is a bad strategic move.
Why Microsoft hasn't hired any of you to replace Balmer I'll never know.
No features that aren't on the other platforms? Does iPhone have an FM radio? No,no it doesn't.
If you read the article, it also explains that GDR2 isn't really about new features, it's design to enable new hardware (like stuff the 1020 needed) and tweaking existing features. As the article says GDR3 will also have hardware as it's main focus (multicores, higher screen resolution.
You'll have to wait until "blue" to get new OS features and updates. Or just go buy one of those "other platforms".
How hard is it for MS to give us a few features with GDR2 that every user/fan id asking for over on the UserVoice Forum? I agree with Daniel there is a balance of placating exisiting users and adding new customers but it's obvious that MS doesn't understand the the speed and urgency of mobile environment. By the time blue comes out they will still be behind at least a year on features the competition offers. And Joe will stand on stage and tell you that such and such feature just wasn't able to be included in this update because they didn't have enough time but it will be included in the next year's update. My patience with MS is waning.
What I'd like to see the most is a break away from carrier approval. Just give me the updates. I've yet to find a reason as to why I shouldn't get GDR (pick a number) or any of the firmware. I'm looking at you TMO.
Do you use ESPN? There notifications pop up and are gone forever, no number on the tile.
Do you ever play games that get notifications like Words with Friends? I suppose you pin every game to to the start screen.
Have you ever got a notification on your live tile from Skype? I haven't.
Ever seen a notification on your tile from Instance? I've never seen one of those either.
Ever seen a breaking news notification show on a news app tile? I haven't, unless its the top story at the moment - but that's not exactly the same.
Windows Phone needs a notification center, as is evident when they addressed it being absent from the beginning.
Frankly, I'm not that concerned with separate volume controls, it's never been a issue for me.
Everyone has their own opinions and needs, and Microsoft cannot please everyone immediately.
They really should be using that fact to leverage these other companies to develop apps for WP.
I mean, basically say this, but tweak the language from the lawyers so it is not technically black mail "want your website to run properly on the 2 billion windows desktops? well, we want an app on our phone OS".
Think of it as building a house. You want to get the foundation right so that the house can withstand a tornado, a hurricane, or an earthquake.
It doesn’t matter if your house is nicely decorated if it can’t withstand a storm. They are building a future proof OS. Once they are done with the foundation, it is easier to decorate the house however they want to. It’s very easy to decorate a house, but it’s hard to build one right. In this case, it will be very easy for Microsoft to add all the features they want once they are done working on the WP foundation.
Performance is Solid
Security is Solid
Networking is in the work
Features are in the work
WP phone wouldn’t be anything without building a strong foundation on performance and security. The experience is the same of all devices. The same cannot be said for Android.
Maybe they couldn't read it with all the tears in their eyes, because as usual there is a lot of uninformed crying in here.
You said (in a probably speculative tone from your part):
But why not do both, you say? We’re not privy to how Microsoft operates, their budget nor how their strategy meetings progress, but it seems to us from observers on the outside that like most organizations, they have limits on resources preventing them from doing everything at once.
I couldn't help but chuckle after I read this....I mean..for a company that might have "limited" manpower resources...don't you find it pretty strange it can afford to send $900 million down the drain? =D
I think the strategy is idiotic because to get devices in people's hands in volume, you need features. basic ones... like I don't know a seperate volume rocker for apps? at least for music? anyone? Microsoft are just drugging people hoping they would just wait for updates a little bit longer, this will not happen, in the coming month you'll see Twitter exploding with updates demands even after GDR2 gets released.
- decouple core os from apps (like in windows 8)
- bypass carriers at least for simple feature updates like rotation lock (why has to carrier testing for that?! do you need oem testing for windows (security) updates or windows modern app updates?!)
- most requested features need very, very little developing time (e.g. disable haptic feedback, even week view in calendar).
- so, if they're facing a lack of developer they have to hire new ones or bull from other ms departments. mobile success is key!!!! they are millions of (externals) developers out there.
- wp is lacking features since its introduction and even with wp8 almost no new features where introduced. people dont care about the underlying architecture (switch to windows core), they care about apps and functionality.
- how cares about datasense and kids corner?!? focus on things that matter (in reviews and for new and existing customers)
- this volume vs feature pr won't work. they have to deliver both quickly! i love ms and wp. but the people that have been in charge there (at least for wp) shouldn't be in charge any longer. look how fast other companies are moving. just once again: MICROSOFT, WAKE UP NOW!!!
I have a Linux desktop at work and have a Nokia Windows phone, a very weired combination, I have a Windows Phone only because it is one of the few Native mobile operating systems out there and is supported by Nokia. The only solution for me is Jolla Sailfish, but without the backing of a company like Nokia I am stuck with Windows phone. If they are slow like this, then Nokia will have no options but to buy back Jolla again and continue the Meego ecosystem, I would be glad to move to Jolla.
- battery percentage in status bar (personally hope this will come as an option!)
- week view in calendar
- close apps in app switcher
- shortcut to disable connections like wifi
- blinking led support
- vibrate and (then) ring
- disable auto-rotate i would say for each of them: between 1 day and 2 weeks. including extensive testing not more than 3 months for sure! NO MORE EXCUSES MICROSOFT!!!!
If MS simply announced what features were in development, the public would be a lot calmer about future updates, and more inclined to give the OS some time to develop.
People are aware of the approximate GDR update cycle (something MS should be equally open about), and this creates anticipation. People's expectations are then raised, and then left disappointed when key features are not present.
This leads to customer attrition, and as a guess, I expect MS will lose the most number of customers after GDR3, when customers who have been with the OS longest - over a year - will be up for contract renewals and consider moving to other OS's (either to allow WP time to mature before trying again at their next contract, or indeed leaving the OS permanently after too many disappointments).
The public doesn't need to know their manpower, operational strategy, or whatever else. Neither should MS or Nokia release information about planned USP's or secret innovative features. But simply, a statement to say commoditised expected features are definitely coming:
- "We will release independent volume controls in 2014"
- "WP8 will get multiple email attachments in an upcoming update";
- or even just "We are hoping to release a file manager in the future
I really like the WP8 operating system, and completely agree with Daniel's article. However, neither will stop WP8 customers' frustrations - too many features missing on WP8 are now the expectation and not the exception.
Honesty in this case, really would be the best policy.
Like WPCentral said, well certainly its half told truth. The actual facts are:
1. Nokia's VP: "If someone doesn't work then we cant be dependent upon them & need to move on our own." referred to MSFT 2. TheVerge on Lumia 1020 Review "A great device hampered by the OS" 3. Its Nokia who mostly gets the worthy apps & games that are Lumia exclusive which not MSFT, HTC, Samsung does 4. Nokia has released more devices than WP features. Since last November, Nokia made 12 devices since announcement of WP8 OS 5. Bryan(Nokia's VP): "It all comes down to the APPS at the end, Regardless of great phones being made we cant ask ppl to switch because the app that they use daily is not available on WP OS why consumers would compromise with their comfort, which is an opportunity missed & phone not sold". Whereas Daniel said Nokia is happy with Nokia-MSFT relation where Nokia can make great Hardware & MSFT worries about OS 6. In fact, Its true that most words used by the WPCentral about MSFT working for 1080p screen & having Quad core processors, sounds valid. But what is this deeper level access to OS, same accent color throughout, I never heard APPLE, ANDROID or even BB mentioning these things as features 7. As Daniel Rubino said: "Nokia is happy because they can focus to built great hardware & MSFT worries about OS "
Ok first Steven Elop himself cant say it directly, so it was an indirect way of lashing out on WP OS features list + all over progress, by making Nokia's VP Bryan say that: "Microsoft needs to realise the essence of time" which clearly are the words of shame for Windows & WP OS 8. Truth is as per the INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES Nokia is DEEPLY worried being tied down to WP OS. As the fact is WP OS is not the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd priorities of MSFT. As MSFT have bigger fishes to fry like: Windows 8, Office, XBox, etc. And now Nokia is worried as they are the only ones who are totally dependent upon MSFT for future.
FM radio and FM TRANSMITTER was a deal breaker for me, Deal breaker features and apps differs country by country,
Another problem is that of carriers, i think they are forcing hardware manufacturers not to put more or enough storage on devices so that users can use cloud/skydrive - data connection - more cash for them.
Microsoft must tell us which update are they going to address common features found on other platforms which users think every cell phone must have, that are lacking on WP8 e.g. separate volume control, ringtones on SMS etc.
I am happy with howb Nokia treats its customers, they repond, but MS it another story,
For us who do not depend on carriers for updates, why don't we get them now (unlocked phones bought thru shops like Clove Techn etc)
I strongly question why MS is wasting development time producing two metro interfaces (Windows 8 and Windows Phone) when they could be focusing all of their energy on 1.
They need to double the amount of PM's and Dev's on that team. There is no reason there should be resoure overlap between interface updates, feature updates, and system updates.
Hopefully that is what comes out of the recent reorg at MS.
The most affective marketing they get is from customers that tell other people to buy it but it's hard to justify buying a WP instead of something from the Android or Apple side because it does not matchup in fetures. If Microsoft updated more regularly (every 2nd month or so)and focused let's say every other update on features and the other on "pipeline work" WP would be a much more attractive platform for customers.
The flaw is, that we're discussing *Microsoft*, one of the largest publicly held software firms in the world. Didn't they post revenue at around $50 Billion just recently? We're not talking about some indie start-up here, working out of somebody's garage.
They should have unlimited resources for their mobile OS, which should be one of their top priorities.
If there are limited resources to devote to Windows Phone, then Microsoft has consciously restricted the number of those resources for this area of their business. It's a business decision to not devote a large amount of resources to this.
Seriously people, if you bought a device on release date and then complain there are no bug fixes within a random time frame that you have decided, you get pissed. Just like any piece of tech that comes out there is always bugs, glitches, loopholes etc. Every piece of tech produced in the world isn't "perfect" out of the box...most aren't "perfect" after a year or two. I put perfect in quotes because, as it is well known in the posts on wpcentral, perfect is a relative term and different for every single person. I.e. Feature missing here and here, xyz official app(s) missing, 1080p, 5"+ screen size, quad core or octo core processors, etc etc etc.
If it's not one thing, it's another...people will always find something to complain about.
The whole impatience for updates can be chalked up to our "fast food and microwave society"...if we can't get xyz when we want it we go somewhere else to get it.
Good things come to those who wait....
*stepping down off my soapbox now*
Great article as ALWAYS Daniel!!! Thank you!
I'm afraid in WP8.1 we will get a customized wallpaper and WP9 will provide us with a built-in flashlight. Thats it!
Windows phones are just not visible enough. If this strategy is going to result in me seeing 7 windows phones on display at my local Telus store, as opposed to just 2 then it will have been the right strategy.