Hey Windows phone fans — ignore the haters, use what you love

Windows phone fans are a hardy bunch. We've endured broken promises, broken platforms, broken communities and if the harsh, inconsiderate and outright mean words of some had their desired effects, broken spirits would be part of that list.

But that's not the case. Despite the name-calling, Microsoft's lack of interest, the platform's shortcomings and its uncertain future, we use what we love. And we love Windows phone in all of its troubled glory.

The fluidity of the UI, the uniqueness of Live Tiles, the integration of Microsoft services and more are things we've chosen not to live without.

Windows 10 Mobile Home screen

Windows 10 Mobile Home screen (Image credit: Windows Central)

Sure rival platforms are more popular, better supported, tied into smart home hubs and intelligent automobiles and are solidly positioned for the foreseeable future. But we love using Windows phone, and it works for us. It's neither intellectually unsound nor delusional to use the platform one loves to use if it works for them. It's simply a choice.

We're not naïve to the platform's problems nor Microsoft's failures either. We're painfully aware of the roller coaster ride of promises and disappointments that has been the Windows-on-mobile journey. And even though the promise of Windows 10 Mobile has devolved into a platform in "sustain mode," we still love Windows phone as we anticipate what's next.

Troubled, but not broken

Windows 10 Mobile was intended to be a successful iteration of Windows 10 on smartphones and small tablets. That didn't happen.

In its current state, in use with several million enthusiasts, it is not a mainstream OS and isn't marketed to the masses. Ironically, it is, however, the official representation of Microsoft's mobile platform and powers Windows phones like the HP Elite x3 and Alcatel Idol Pro, which are currently in the market.

Upon its initial release, it was infamously plagued with problems that irked consumers of the Lumia's 950 and 950 XL. Though it has since improved, the overarching theme of this relatively unpopular OS, which has only been emphasized with Windows phone's decline, is that Windows 10 Mobile is an incomplete work in progress. And not because the OS is an ever evolving software-as-a-service.

See more

For many fans, however, Windows 10 Mobile serves their needs, and they'll remain committed to the platform despite Microsoft's using them as free beta testers for continued development of ARM and cellular connectivity that is meant to benefit some future product. We've endured so much already after all, and if using what we love helps to bring something we'll love even more to fruition, so be it.

Part of the process

Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley asked Windows Chief Terry Myerson "why is Microsoft wasting time updating Windows Mobile when the market share is one percent?" Myerson replied:

Technically, there are really two things that are unique about Windows Mobile. One is cellular connectivity, and the other one is the ARM processors…both cellular connectivity and ARM processors have a role in the technical landscape of the future. So we're going to continue to invest in ARM and cellular. And while I'm not saying what type of device...we'll see devices there, Windows devices, that use ARM chips...that have cellular connectivity. When you stop investing in these things, it's super hard to restart.When you're investing into growth, it's easier, but when you're investing for technical strategy...sometimes people can question it...especially among your readers.

Yep, we're "beta testers" sure enough but who cares?

See more

So be proud folks, because as we Insiders and Windows 10 Mobile users get our hands on new builds, we're part of the process (or technical investment) of bringing whatever new ARM-based and cellular-connected devices, Myerson referenced to market.

A platform without friends

As Microsoft executed its controversial retrenchment strategy, Windows phones became even harder to acquire. Markets where the platform previously abounded saw their availability plummet dramatically. As many carriers stopped carrying Windows phones, Microsoft Stores became one of the few outlets where consumers could handle one before buying.

Ironically, Microsoft Stores no longer sell Windows phones but they do sell the Samsung Galaxy S8 Microsoft edition.

Ironically, Microsoft Stores no longer sell Windows phones but they do sell the Samsung Galaxy S8 Microsoft edition.

The obstacle there, however, was that the phone had to be purchased at full price without an installment plan which was uncommon for some markets. Many fans dug deep and continued supporting Microsoft's vision through these changes. Whether they turned to Amazon, eBay or some other avenue fans found ways to get a Windows phone.

To add insult to injury, all of the struggles Microsoft and loyalists endured over the years have occurred within the context of a cloud of negative media coverage and social media activity that has been consistently harsh on Microsoft, and often insulting to fans.

See more
See more

Surprisingly, Windows-Phone-is-dead themed articles date back to 2010, the very year it launched, and haven't let up since. A lot of coverage praised Windows phone but ended with a negative summation and the obligatory, "there are no apps."

Despite these challenges, we die-hard fans held on and passionately promoted and supported the platform nonetheless.

Built it, but they didn't come

We know Microsoft created a beautiful mobile platform with Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile. Sadly we're also woefully aware that most consumers and developers never embraced Windows phone which left the platform in the perpetual chicken-egg conundrum.

Without developers, users won't invest in a platform, and without users, developers won't build apps for a platform. Now in the summer of 2017, both users and developers are leaving the platform. But not all of us. Many are weathering the storm and are enjoying the platform along the way. If things change for the positive (which we hope/believe they will) so be it. If not, we're living for today.

Still, that hasn't altered our perception of reality; Apple and Google won the smartphone war. We know this and Microsoft knows this though those who like to berate us don't seem to know that we know this.

It's very apparent that Microsoft may be closing shop on "smartphones." Still, there are also indications the company's Windows-on-mobile vision will continue as it phases its smartphone strategy out to phase in its ultramobile PC strategy.

It's not over until it's over

Many fans remain committed while others have chosen to pass on whatever's coming next. They've found shelter from the storm under the umbrellas of other platforms. Still, according to CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft's likely building a device that it hopes will change their minds. Those who remain have likely taken a big picture view, where they perceive the storm we're weathering as one that may eventually pass.

I wonder if the weather does shift on this side of the mobile landscape and the climate proves hospitable to a new category of full Windows on ARM ultramobile, Continuum-powered PC with CShell and telephony, will those who left the platform rejoin we diehards who refused to relocate?

See more

Whatever they choose, there are those here who love and enjoy Windows phone, and the undying rumors of its demise are not enough to provoke us to leave.

Either you'll pry a Windows phone from our cold dead hands, or we'll willingly exchange it for Nadella's ultimate mobile device (that's my tough talk). Either way, if you're in it for the long-haul, that's okay.

Now Read

Does Microsoft still care about Windows phone loyalists?

What iPhone and Android phone users need to know about Windows phone

No, Windows phone isn't dead - and it may never die

Seeing Microsoft's mobile strategy requires big picture perspective

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

253 Comments
  • Thanks for reading folks!!! Keep in mind, life is much bigger than phones, so use what you love while you love life, and let's be nice to one another along the way.🙂 So Windows phone fans use Windows phone fans use Windows phones as long as they work for you, and if you happen to find an iPhone or Android phone appealing, well, its just a phone - use it. But after you switch, be nice to those who remain on this side of the fence. Like you we're just using what works for us😉. For those who didn't read, please hop back in the article before commenting, everyone else LET'S TALK!!! (Nicely 🙂, it's nice to be nice.)
  • Windows phone is dead, literally. I own a Lumia 950xl. The battery of the phone is completely swollen. I bought it about 1,5 years ago at a cheap price. The phone falls out when the battery is 50% still full. I hardly dare to charge it anymore. I can't find another battery in Europe and I don't plan to invest in another battery for my windows Lumia 950xl, regardless of what the gossip is saying like this article. And this for the following reasons:
    1. If Microsoft would be committed to the operating system and the hardware, it would have COMMUNICATED about that. It did not. Instead we get some vague indications about a CEO who has completely cancelled its phone business and has moved to CLOUD business. For him a phone is a phone. He does not care about mobile, he does care about his cloud business. 2. I also own a Nokia 1520, which is still in a good shape of 5 years!!!! Unfortunately, Microsoft had the arrogance not to communciate to anybody that the support of this phone would be halted, and that the new WM10 OS would not be upgraded anymore on this phone. So my conclusion is that Microsoft has completely lost ground with its audience, and is completely on the wrong path. The damage done is irreversible, and I don't need a Ninja CAT or any Twitter feeds from Mr. Joe to convince me that Microsoft is doing a tremendous terrible job in serving its customers. So, keep hustling microsoft and I hope you can convince me some time for me to come back. But right now, this is the last phone that i will ever buy, and the last Microsoft PC that I will ever buy. And if Mr. Nadella thinks that the ultimate phone is something that will make the audience come back, then he is a liar or naive. Maybe both.  
  • Well put.
  • Yep
  • Still using Windows Phone... The app situation is horrible, but besides that W10 mobile is very nice after several updates. Mainly because Apps like Outlook, OneNote, and Groove, are terrific now.
    No new devices don't help the situation either, but as long as this 950 is working I have no need to go out and get another phone... If the 950 breaks, and there are no new WP out, then I'll have to get something else... Until then, I'm still using WP like it's nothing.
  • "Still using Windows Phone... The app situation is horrible" Im using a Nokia Lumia (WP8.1) with Outlook, Whatsapp, Slack, Phonly, Spotify, Fitbit, Here Maps, Xing, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quizduell (the only game on my phone) and two SIM cards. I dont miss any app. What freakin apps you guys need which arent there on WP?
  • Dish Network Sling all woud be great - tht's about the only app I'm missing personally.
  • LOTS!....glad you don't...
  • Charter Spectrum
    Nest - some 3rd party apps are ok
    Insteon - app exists on Windows, but its quriky and doesnt support everything
    MyfitnessPal
    Kindle reader
    Garmin Connect that actually works. App exists but will not sync reliably to my Garmin watch.
    Strava
    Asus Router
    App for parking meters in my town. App not required, but its handy
    Public transit app in my town that lets you purchase tickets and plan routes
    My primary bank is on WP thankfully, but others like for my car loan and other accounts are not.   In addition, pretty much every new device, IOT thing, etc will require an Android or iOS device. I've even seen some new home routers that are configured via app instead of html interface now. That trend will continue. MS has been effectively cut out of the future for consumer technology. 
  • Besides MS's terrific apps we do have,, my three most used apps are this one, Facebook, and I was using 6tin.... Mobile Nations won't even update our WC app, the Facebook app is all but abandoned, has serious bugs, and is in dire need of an update.... And, 6tin is completely broke as we speak... Rudy will not answer us on twitter, because he doesn't have time for WP -1k% market share right now... So, the app situation sucks... But, the rest of the WP experience is actually pretty great, that's why it's so frustrating. What a waste of a terrific OS. SMDH
  • Are you nutz?.. There's ZERO apps.. And the ones we do have are broke, leaving, and have horrible performance.. You can be a fan, but at least be honestly... With the app situation the way it is It's a slap in the face when some of you downplay it like the problem doesn't exist... ****, in 2017 if you don't have Amazon, EBay, LinkedIn, Snapchat.. Those are just the popular apps. Popular apps are just a fraction of all the real world usage apps people need to get things done with everyday. Do you own a home? Numerous amounts of security, and home automation, apps are not there. Literally hundreds of thousands. Buy a Mercedes. Tell the salesman your phone doesn't have the link app. He'll move on to something else.. The thing is that nowadays you have to have an app to unlock the full potential of most products, and services. Is the ADT app there? Fort Worth Community Credit Union app? Can we deposit checks from all of the thousands of banks people may have? What about all of the university apps students need?.. Flight attendants for America Airlines have a mandatory check in app that they have to use when they get to the gate. Do we have any of those? What about the thousands of other required apps for work, school, CHURCH, municipality.. Come on, man.. Pretty start screen we got, but apps we don't. Get real
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?
  • I have all the apps I need and more. Okay, if you don't then move on, that's pretty simple. We're not stopping you. My apps that I love and use everyday: Whatsapp, Banking, Microsoft To-Do (fantastic), Harvester, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Messenger, Skype, Converge, Disqus, Tube cast, Edge, Store, Camera, people, News, One Drive, Word, One Note, Groove, Continuum, FB, Weather, Pin it, Add to Contacts, Flixster, Speed Test, Telegram, Windows Central, MS Power User, Calculator, Cortana, Flipbook, Yammer, Movies/films, Microsoft Lens, LinkedIn, TED, WeChat, Duolingo, AppRaisin, The Machine (game), 6Tag and Instagram, Photos, City Art Search, Pocket, Translate Me, Reading List, Currency Convertor, (PayPal & Ebay pinned to screen - perfect!), Twitter, MyerSplash, Avianca, One Cast, Steam, SkyScanner, Air, Blackboard, BitPay, Awesome Tube, Casa.it, Coccoc Browser, Denna BETA, Evernote, Excel, EZDictionary, Fitbit, GroupMe, HP Apps(7), Matissa, Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Teams, Mini Radio Player, Money, MusixMatch, Perfect 500px, Planetarium 3D, Realtor.com, SalesForce, Scorp, Sport, TripIt, Uber, View 3D, Voice Recorder, Wordament, Xbox. So, there are more, but these are my most used.
  • I use tripit as well, until several weeks ago when it stopped working.  I open it, it starts to update my account then shuts off.
  • He's still hankering after that new live streaming all fir cats, I bet.
  • Even my start screen isn't pretty, I use a lot of MS(yes Microsoft) apps and MS doesnt even bother to provide transparent tiles to their apps, on their own OS.
  • WOW rodney...that is the most sense you have made in a post since I started reading them!  I agree with you 100%.....look no jokes, jabs etc.  
  • Not many but critical, like an Israeli local parking app, my SickFund app (the Israeli health care system has Sick Funds), my Bank app not many but critical. And as long as MS is going to stupid about it F them.
  • Some of those apps you mentioned lack so much funcitonality to their iOS/Android counterparts you can hardly claim WP8.1 has those apps at all...
  • Banking Apps?
  • Just use Edge.
  • Bank of America
  • My bank, my credit cards, Directv, Facbook app and its messenger that work properly, Flickr, Amazon video, Snap Chat, ........
  • I presume that they are talking about those chat apps that all of those teenagers are using to send selfies to each other, or maybe the ones that let you live stream yourself having a burger to total strangers? The app hap us largely a myth, except fir a few banking or bus timetable apps W10 is well stocked fir most things. I would like the iPlayer though, and maybe something to let my cat stream selfies to Portuguese speaking rabbits.
  • Aside from rate my fish and that one obscure bus timetable for that small town in Wales, mist things are covered.
  • I replaced my battery for under $20, now my phone runs great! I have the 950XL as well.
  • My headphone jack is jacked.. Lol. I'm pretty sure that it's part of the board. I'm going to check EBay, but I doubt if I'll be able to fix it.
  • Don't you know? Not having a headphone jack is an awesome, new innovation. You're so lucky!
  • Oh, yeah.. I want an iPhone so bad, so bad I tried to make one of my own.
  • You just need #courage
  • This ain't The Wizard of Oz, man... I need MS to hurry the F$%# up.
  • lol it wouldn't be so bad if Bluetooth actually worked... Oh and don't even get me started on Edge. Biggest POS mobile browser I have EVER experienced. It hardly ever works amd is the largest battery hog. I just want a phone that works, and that is exactly why I am switching to Android come Christmas. It's over Windows phone. It's been almost 2 years and have failed miserably to fix the most basic bugs on W10M. I don't care about apps, I don't care about social media, but what I do care about is that the phone... well... works. For that reason alone I am leaving.b
  • Exactly people have had enough of Microsoft,its not the lack of apps that turned me away from windows phone it was the way they treated their customers and loyal fan who defended ms and stood by them since windows phone 7 only to be treated as second class citizens on there on platform." We don't need you for the surface phone to be a hit" well that's fine by me cause I don't need you to make a phone call.
  • MS never said "We don't need you for the Surface Phone to be a hit"... That was Jason Wards perspective in his editorial... I'm just sayin be realistic, and fair. We all knew WP had slim chances years ago, but we decided to stay.
  • I'm just the opposite. For me its 100% about the apps. I loved WP and it worked great for me up until recently. I have no ill feelings towards MS. They gave it a good run and the market didnt respond. That's life. Yeah, we can monday morning quartback and nitpick at all the things they did wrong, but it doesnt really matter now. I dont expect them to dump huge sums of money into something that keeps failing just to make me feel good. Its business, not a marriage. 
  • I'm in the UK, i had exactly the same problem with my 950XL, so i bought a new battery from Amazon......
  • https://stellatech.com/en/microsoft-lumia-950-xl-battery-li-ion-bv-t4d-3... Here is a link for you to buy the battery in Europe. And many other parts for your 950XL.
  • Sorry, die gesuchte Seite konnte leider nicht gefunden werden. Vielleicht können Sie den von Ihnen gesuchten Inhalt über unsere Startseite finden: https://stellatech.com/de/   Sorry - page you wanted is currently not available. Please check our homepage to find the wanted page: https://stellatech.com/en/
  • I jsut checked and it shows a battery for 25 eurod.
  • https://batteryspecialists.com.au/stryka-battery-to-suit-microsoft-lumia... My wife got this battery and it's been very good.
  • The link works from Norway fyi. Maybe it was just temprary down.
  • Try Mobile supplies.nl. Be careful though. If they send you a battery not wrapped in a original microsoft wrapper it's an previously returned battery and is broken. Ordered one last month and again one last week (return)
  • I will only order from known sites. I don't want junk from China who have cheated me already many times with copy cat products.
  • Sorry to say it Sven, but 99% of products are mad in China now - even Mercedes.
  • Don't buy a surface....lots of parts inside it are made in china.  
  • If the 'ultramobile PC' device is targeting at the W10 users instead of the W10M users, then the audience never left.  They are here and growing.  The developers are still here making UWP apps or converting Win32 apps.  If MS will market it as a pocket tablet with foldable screen and phone features, I expect many OEMs will join the parade.  Since for them, it is just another W10 form factor which is far more versatile, convenient and productive on the go than the fixed tablets.  W10 users will welcome such a device.  The key is that MS has to make the foldable screen work and work well.  People don't have to carry their bulky table/laptop all the time.  It is all in the pocket, at least for the ligher jobs.
  • :)) which devs are making UWP? which ones are converting win32? you dreaming again mate?
  • You can buy a new battery for 30 euros from coolblue.nl https://www.pdashop.nl/product/750511/microsoft-lumia-950-xl-accu-3340-m...
  •  thanks!!!! I'll check that!
  • Android phones also have many problems with batteries and Apple, well don't even go there. Lucky to get a half day with their rubbish.
  • Genuine Microsoft battery from bol.com https://www.bol.com/nl/s/elektronica/zoekresultaten/N/4035/sc/s_elec_all...
  • Sven_Van_de_Velde - A sad truth, but a truth none the least.  Well said.  I still have my 950XL, but I have lost all respect for the Mobile division and the CEO at MS.  Once my 950XL goes, I will not be back.
  • I understand, what you're saying. In case you change your mind about a new battery, one transformed my 950, different phone completely with a new battery! Check out item142454317766 on uk ebay but watch out for chinese fakes though!  
  • Batteries die on all phones. I used about 30 sec tracking down both original and unoriginal batteries. So there's that. MS tried abd it was a good effort actually, but the people did not join in on the fun. Easy as that. They can't throw money out the windows supporting a few users. Annoying yes, still understandable. Lack of communication is bad, saying stuff you can't follow up on is worse. MS cant go all in on a mobile device atm, no matter how good it is. They can't even promise to keep working on phones, nor can they say Windows on phones are dead. Why is this? MS need to bypass the chicken and lay the first egg. And they are using and old dinosaur to achieve this task. Windows. MS are using Windows to leverage UWP development. Nobody knows how this will turn out, how fast the snowballs going to roll, if at all. But I dont see MS doing much on the phone side of things before W10ARM, CShell and perhaps a decent amount of developers on board. Then there is the part where MS want to bring something new to the table. Communicating what this is now would not be vice as Apple, Google, Samsung and others would be able respond to those news in a time where MS are forced to wait and do things in the right order.  Yes, I'd like to know it all, now. Still I understand the challenges MS need to conquer. I'll keep using my 950XL as long as it lives. I choose to be a part av this as I do believe MS are more committed than one would think.      
  • I think you are right. Microsoft is not dependent on us "die-hard" Windows Phones fans. They are probably workiing on a device/økosystem that will get the masses to go to this device. And we can all see that this is no simple task. But is it impossible? No I don't think so. But we can guess and guess and the chance for us to guess right is slim, I will think. But Microsoft have so many cool technologies, and are working on so many fronts, so some day they will success in getting the device right, just as they did with Surface Pro. It may not be a Surface product, and my not be just a phone. But it has to be something that allmost everybody wants. So lets wait for that. In the mean time my Lumia 950 XL works just fine. But since some of the local apps for Norway now will disapear from Windows Store this August/Septembre, I have ordred a OnePlus 5, as a backup. Maybe I will like it, maybe not. We will see. However since this blog/magazine is called WindowsCentral, it is strange that you can not use MS Edge to comment. If I try I get something like this: [{"command":"settings","settings":{"basePath":"\/","pathPrefix":"","ajaxPageState":{"theme":"wpcentral2","theme_token":"nM_eITxm3i-oiNH0RTm-MMaZlRXCmzIepT-mn7lPrkY","jquery_version":"1.10"},"video_filter":{"url":{"ckeditor":"\/video_filter\/dashboard\/ckeditor"},"instructions_url":"\/video_filter\/instructions","modulepath":"sites\/all\/modules\/video_filter"},"ckeditor":{"input_formats":{"filtered_html":{"customConfig":"\/sites\/all\/modules\/ckeditor\/ckeditor.config.js?","defaultLanguage":"en","toolbar":"[\r\n    [\u0027Source\u0027],\r\n    [\u0027Cut\u0027,\u0027Copy\u0027,\u0027Paste\u0027,\u0027PasteText\u0027,\u0027PasteFromWord\u0027,\u0027-\u0027,\u0027SpellChecker\u0027, \u0027Scayt\u0027],\r\n    [\u0027Undo\u0027,\u0027Redo\u0027,\u0027Find\u0027,\u0027Replace\u0027,\u0027-\u0027,\u0027SelectAll\u0027,\u0027RemoveFormat\u0027],\r\n    [\u0027Image\u0027,\u0027Flash\u0027,\u0027Table\u0027,\u0027HorizontalRule\u0027,\u0027Smiley\u0027,\u0027SpecialChar\u0027],\r\n    [\u0027Maximiz