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Ask Slashdot: Do You Miss Windows Phone? (theverge.com) 284

An anonymous reader writes: After recently switching on an old Windows Phone to create a silly April Fools' joke, The Verge's Tom Warren discovered just how much he missed Microsoft's mobile OS. Two of the biggest features that are hard to find/replicate on iOS and Android are the Metro design and Live Tiles. "Android and iOS still don't have system-wide dark modes, nearly 8 years after Windows Phone first introduced it," notes Warren. "Live Tiles were one of Windows Phone's most unique features. They enabled apps to show information on the home screen, similar to the widgets found on Android and iOS. You could almost pin anything useful to the home screen, and Live Tiles animated beautifully to flip over and provide tiny nuggets of information that made your phone feel far more personal and alive."

Some other neat features include the software keyboard, which Warren argues "is still far better than the defaults on iOS and Android," especially with the recently-added tracing feature that lets you swipe to write words. "Microsoft also experimented with features that were different to other mobile platforms, and some of the concepts still haven't really made their way to iOS or Android: Kid's Corner; Dedicated search button; Browser address bar; People hub; Unified messaging..." Aside from the competition aspect with Google and Apple, do you miss Windows Phone? What are some specific features you miss about the old mobile operating system?

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Ask Slashdot: Do You Miss Windows Phone?

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  • by OpenSourceAllTheWay ( 4894965 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:20PM (#56401927)
    I use my toaster, and wish that it ran Windows. I use my washing machine, and wish that it ran Windows. I use my SmartTV and wish that it... could... be... made... to... Blue Screen Of Death somehow. I miss Windows in my toilet unit the most. How nice would it be to have the Windows Recycle Bin's "undo recycle" function in a toilet?
    • by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @08:24PM (#56403771)

      Do You Miss Windows Phone?

      No. Next question.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Do You Miss Windows Phone?

        No. Next question.

        I occasionally do miss windows phones, sometimes my aim is off.

  • by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:21PM (#56401935)
    Your calendar is surely off 7 days, today it is the 8th of April.
    Do you really need to ask if we miss Windows phone? Are you NUTS?
    • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:34PM (#56402025)
      I ran into an old windows phone today. Then I put it in reverse and ran into it again. I miss that old windows phone sometimes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fly Swatter ( 30498 )
        I am undecided if you are implying the windows phones were big and clunky, or bragging that you still play with matchbox cars ?
      • No gun jokes? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by shanen ( 462549 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @03:43PM (#56402823) Homepage Journal

        If I ever got a mod point to give, I'd probably give that an extra funny, though I was actually searching for gun-related jokes. Something along the lines of "I never miss my Windows Phone as long as I use my rifle. However it's pretty hard to hit it with my revolver." Projecting since my own aim with handguns was never that good?

        Actually I think my first quasi-smartphone about 10 or 15 years back was running some kind of Windows OS. They've rebranded their small OS attempts so many time that I can't even remember what it was called. Fortunately I've mostly blacked out those memories except for lingering fears of Sharp and increased nausea towards my occasional involuntary usage of Microsoft software. Microsoft never understood such concepts as small or elegant, though they are great about stealing ideas and proclaiming "It ain't our fault and even when it is our fault you can't do anything to us. Nyah, nyah, nyah."

        Then again, and as hard as it might be to believe, I was actually hoping Microsoft could offer a viable email alternative to Gmail. The EVIL of the google has become so much fresher and more pungeant... Maybe my memory is playing games, but I don't think I ever had such feelings of fear and trepidation towards Microsoft.

    • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @01:00PM (#56402161)

      My coworker has one and he loves it. It does have a good design, it's nicer than iOS in some ways, and the metro startscreen style works well with touch on a phone or tablet where it fails on a PC.

      • by FuegoFuerte ( 247200 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @09:37PM (#56404013)

        I don't miss it, because I still carry a Lumia 950 as my primary phone. Why do I do this? Because I've used Android, and the OS is slow and clunky and unintuitive to use, even though I've been using Android tablets for several years. And iOS? It looks like a pile of regurgitated icons splattered around a desktop leftover from Windows 95. The hardware may be decent enough, and things might play nice together if one is willing to invest in an entirely Apple household of hardware, but the basic layout and design of the UI on both iOS and Android is rubbish by comparison to Windows Phone.

        Microsoft made a LOT of blunders with Windows Phone, for sure... killing Project Astoria was probably one of the last nails in the coffin for the OS, as that would have allowed for the app ecosystem everyone wanted. Letting people get used to nifty features like truly unified messaging, and then pulling them back out, also was a big blunder, IMO, though possibly driven by the companies (facebook, etc.) that they originally had integration with.

        Many of the features Windows Phone had are still not in any other mobile OS, and several have even (sadly) been stripped from the current versions of Windows Phone. Even so, if I could by a current handset (say, a Nokia 8) and load Windows Phone onto it instead of Android, I would do so in a heartbeat, because for everything I *really* need a phone to do, it just works.

    • by cyberpunkrocker ( 1649121 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @01:32PM (#56402319)

      My dream phone would be one with a Windows (Metro) frontend build on top of an Android backend.

      I really think the Metro design was, at least in theory, much better than the IOS/Android basic design ideas. Of course MIcrosoft did make a horrible blunder with the Metro design in Windows 8, which put many people off (me included at the time)

      • IF the thing you like in Windows' Metro design are the "Live Tiles" :

        - the concept of mobile app that still display useful stuff while in overview mode isn't new at all, HP/Palm webOS (full blown GNU/Linux, not Android related) used to do it. Whenever in "card" overview (looking from affar to all opened tabs, using the "deck of cards, grouped in 'hands' metaphor" specific to webOS - each card can still display its content).

        - Jolla's Sailfish OS pushed the concept further: when in "peek mode" or on t

    • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @01:54PM (#56402417) Homepage

      While the interface was unusable on a desktop it worked well enough on a phone. I picked up a phone on clearance and used it for a while. It was a $99 phone reduced to $19.99. For a low end model the interface was fast and never felt bogged down.

    • I have used Android for the last few years, but Windows Phone was a far superior OS in almost every way EXCEPT the one that really mattered, app ecosystem.
  • Yes I do (Score:5, Funny)

    by aglider ( 2435074 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:28PM (#56401977) Homepage

    That feeling that you were going to wait 30 minutes to do an SMS: "Don't turn your phone off while an update is being applied..."

    • Re:Yes I do (Score:5, Funny)

      by Fly Swatter ( 30498 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @01:30PM (#56402309) Homepage
      Good thing there are no pesky updates to get in your way anymore. It is now the perfect phone.
    • by maxrate ( 886773 )
      I use two phones, iPhone6s and Lumia 950XL - I prefer the 950XL, but there is one app I -need- that works on iPhone only (not available on Android) (It's called ForeFlight and its for aviation). It's a shame Windows Phone isn't being developed - MS had a number of great features and 'firsts' over iPhone/Android with the Windows Phone series that I enjoyed. I guess I always fall for the loser phones; first BlackBerry, now WP. Everyone always said 'apps' is what killed Windows Phone. I agree. Although
    • Are you talking about IoS, Android or windows phone here? All 3 did or still do the same thing. My last major S7 update was almost 45 mins.
  • by spywhere ( 824072 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:31PM (#56401997)
    ...I replaced my Lumia 1520 with a Nexus 6p, and recently replaced that with a Samsung Note 8, but the best phone camera I ever had was in the Lumia. We compare photos taken with it to those we took alter, and the Lumia captured much better images.

    I liked WIndows Phone just fine -- and I make my living supporting Windows, so learning that OS was a good fit -- but I did not enjoy the two-year forced vacation from available apps. When I bought the Lumia, I lost access to SiriusXM, Square credit card payments, and other applications I had been using daily. I spent almost two years trying to find replacements with mixed results, and finally solved all the problems by ordering a Nexus 6P from Google.
  • by DemoLiter3 ( 704469 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:34PM (#56402021) Homepage

    No, I'm glad it's dead because it killed Nokia.

  • What? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Proudrooster ( 580120 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:37PM (#56402035) Homepage

    Are you kidding? I still have my Windows phone, it is called Windows 10. They dropped the phone hardware and moved the "live tiles" to their Desktop OS. However, I have to do all of my text messaging through Google Hangouts. It's a strange phone.

  • by mdsharpe ( 1051460 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:41PM (#56402055)
    Love my Lumia 950, it works very well, does everything I need. Occasionally there's an app I wish I could use, but not enough to be a deal breaker. Microsoft did a great job making its apps responsive and I enjoy using the same software on my laptop and phone. I'm sure this will be an unpopular opinion but there was and still is nothing technically wrong with Windows Mobile. Sadly it looks like it won't be getting any further feature updates but the current version is still supported for quite a while yet.
    • by t0y ( 700664 )
      Same here. I dread the day it dies and I have to choose something else.
      Yesterday some of my friends were taking pictures and were particularly praising the small live video thingy taken together with the photo on iOS and I simply thought about what else they have been missing these last years (two and half, I think).
    • I don't miss my Windows phone. I'm using it right now. What kind of idiot writes this kind of junk?
  • "is still far better than the defaults on iOS and Android," especially with the recently-added tracing feature that lets you swipe to write words.

    So...like Swype and the thousand other such apps? Yeah yeah, Swype was discontinued a couple months ago - doesn't mean you get to tout it as a unique feature suddenly.

    If that's the sort of crap I was missing with the microsoft phone, then no - no regrets :P /P

    • Heck, Google themselves have offered Gboard for years as a replacement for the default on Android. It does swipe-typing, voice-to-text, etc. And without the risk of exposing all your typed information to a third party (Google presumably already spies on you as much as they want, with or without Gboard installed).

      • Re: wait, what? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I stopped using Google keyboard when I noticed that my e-banking account number (which begins with a letter but is mostly numbers) started to show up in the autocomplete suggestions when I was in other apps. Now I know it's somewhere on their servers, and who knows, it could appear on someone else autocomplete. So nice.

        • In other apps, or on other devices?

          Either way is worrying, since wherever it's stored is vulnerable to compromise. But other devices would mean it's stored on their server, whereas other apps could be a local private database. Not that I'd trust Google to go that route.

          But then, I avoid doing anything financial on my phone. I decided it was a choice between being able to explore the app ecosystem, or use my phone for secure purposes, and the latter just wasn't that important to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'll replace it when it's dead. For a long time nothing beat the camera. I like the simplistic UI, the tiles and I don't give a damn about app stores. Also the confounded looks I get from colleagues are amusing when they realize that... yes, I'm a *nix and network admin who uses a windows phone. Clear phone calls, text with great pictures, I've got everything I need. Only 2 complaints... outdated browser and it phonebook/contact UI isn't very intuitive.

  • No. Most definitely not.

    You're welcome.

  • by DCFusor ( 1763438 )
  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @12:59PM (#56402153)

    Today I learnt there are people who not only liked live tiles but actually miss them too. I guess it takes all kinds really.

    • Really. I can't imagine anything more ANNOYING and STUPID than a collection of constantly changing/animated "tiles." Reminds me of extremely annoying animated website ads.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Well, that's the thing about design; people's response to a design is subjective and emotional. People who don't understand that invariably believe that anyone who doesn't like the same things they do must be stupid.

  • I'm still using Windows Phone, so I can't really miss it.

    I'd rather be using almost anything else though.

  • by nomadic ( 141991 )

    I miss it a bit. The interface was head and shoulders above iOS or Android, and performance was amazing on low-end hardware.

    I do not miss having access to 95% of the apps that I wanted.

  • System-wide dark mode: numerous screen filter apps exist
    Tiles, etc: many custom launchers to try

  • Schadenfreude (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <oarigogirdor>> on Sunday April 08, 2018 @01:16PM (#56402249) Homepage

    As someone who was hyped for MeeGo back then, the absolute commercial failure of Windows Phone has a bittersweet taste of justice.

    • They were so commercially unsuccessful that I've never even seen a Windows phone. Why would I miss them?

      After all, I already deal with the frustration of MS products on a regular basis, why would I want more of that?

      • I've actually seen one or two in the wild, here in Brazil. For a brief moment WP was heavily discounted and sold well. But of course, "carriers dumping old stock that no one wanted at full price" is not a sustainable business model.

  • The big mistake with windows is not making the windows phone compatible with windows software.

    here people will say "imcompatible hardware" to which I can respond with "emulation" to which they'll respond with "it will be slow" to which I can respond with "the phones are so much more powerful than older windows computers that even with inefficiency they can emulate all sorts of old windows programs"...

    To this people will then say "why would anyone want to run old windows software on a phone"... well, a lot o

    • To this people will then say "why would anyone want to run old windows software on a phone"... well, a lot of that software is actually really impressive. Furthermore, it expands the liberary of programs that can be run on the phone beyond what the android and iOS has which would make Microsoft competitive with android for a lot of things that they otherwise can't be due to a lack of software.

      The problem isn't that some software can be run on a phone. The problem is that some software shouldn't be run on a phone. For example, it's impressive if you run Photoshop on a phone. But with a tiny screen how effective can someone be at using Photoshop. Then there's the other problem with UI. Fine controls with photoshop at a minimum require a keyboard and mouse, but many pros use pressure sensitive pens and Wacom pads.

      If we narrow our software only to type that people generally use and not specialty sof

      • As to what should and shouldn't be run, I'll be the judge of that thanks.

        As a customer, if MS had made an effort to offer this as a feature on their phones, I would have bought one instead... I am not alone in this matter.

        I'm a customer. It is what I want. Business 101 would suggest that you simply not argue that point since your objective as a business is to get me to give you money. So... enough.

        As to your windows mobile 6~8... I'm talking about making it compatible with Windows DESKTOP versions 95~Window

        • As to what should and shouldn't be run, I'll be the judge of that thanks.

          So what you're saying you should be able to dictate to developers like MS, Adobe, and any independent ones what they should make because you are the judge of things? Hey if you want to port all the Windows programs you like onto your phone, you can get a mobile developer license. But telling companies that they have to develop according to your needs and not what makes them the most money is a little egotistical.

          As a customer, if MS had made an effort to offer this as a feature on their phones, I would have bought one instead... I am not alone in this matter.

          If "Windows compatibility" was an actual selling feature of phones, you'd think MS would jump on

  • Sure, my 2017 Android phone has all the apps, sure, but it's less responsive, less stable, buggier, and generally harder to use than my 2011 WP8 Nokia.

  • I used to carry two windows phones, one for work and second for testing and other nonsense.
    My testing phone ran the latest WP version at the time 8.1 or something.

    I came across a situation where I had to call emergency services. I tried calling with my primary(testing) phone and WP failed, the phone just crashed.
    My second phone did work and the situation was solved. That was the day I decided to abandon WP platform and bought my first iphone.
    Though I still use the work assigned WP, the sound quality i
  • Next thing you'll try to get me to believe is that there was a Microsoft media player.
  • What I miss is a competitive ecosystem but not the MS, Palm and Blackberry products in particular.

  • This post is an excellent detector of Microsoft fanboys.

    Anyone who claims to be using a WP today by choice is clearly a diehard Microsoft fan.

    App support for WP was always bad and in recent years, important apps, such as banking apps have been withdrawn.

    • I didn't use an Microsoft product by choice for about twenty years. But I just bought my third Windows phone.

      First was a Lumia 635 that I picked up for $40 to use until I could get around to fixing the screen on my Moto G. I never got around to fixing the Moto. Kids still use the Lumia.

      Next was a Lumia 650 that I got for free from Cricket as part of a promotion.

      And then just last week I grabbed an Acer Jade Primo for $100 (including a case, dock, keyboard and mouse)
      Why? Because Windows Phone sti

  • The only thing I miss about Windows Phone 8 was the smoothness of sliding everything with my finger on the home screen. Apple has stutters here and there, Android has stutters by design as far as I can tell. I don't know what MS did there, but they should take a patent on it so these other two guys can license it, because they don't seem able to come up with a solution by themselves.

  • I run a Nokia with stock android and updates, whatsapp (runs faster + more features), HERE driving works better, firefox browser with blocker which is a huge improvement over the locked down Edge, microsoft tools (mail,onedrive,word et al) all do work at least as snappy and stable.

    I postponed migration from Windows Mobile until banking apps where phased out and the Lumia started to get slower and slower (even after factory reset) and was not keen on Android after v1 v2 experiences.

    WM had some nice features

  • I have an iPhone, some Android devices and a Windows 8 and Windows 10 phone. I iuse the W10 device as a backup phone and I really do like it. Lots of things in Windows Phone is much better than the iOSDroid way of doing things.

    Inter-application navigation is vastly better for one, and I like the tiles.

    Read a book called "The Smashing Mobile Book Addendum"''s chapter on Windows Phone to see a good descript of how W10 phone works vs iOSDroid to see why it is better.

  • With my Verizon contract ending days before the new 'droid phones came out and with a 30-day return policy, I accepted the Windows phone to give me something to blog-rant (brant?) about until the droid phones arrived. The experience was amazing until Ballmer killed the device by announcing the merge-to-windows-8.

    Metro wasn't a cosmetic touch up of Windows, it was a do-over. It was a UI entirely built around the phone/tablet from the very ground up, and it was as delicious, delightful, intuitive an experienc

  • I don't miss Windows Phone, because I never had one. But I think the market misses it. This two-horse race between Android and iOS is boring, predictable and uninspired. Each copying the other (look ma, I've got a notch now too) to implement the other's latest features on their own grid-of-icons based OS while ignoring the inherent flaws. Android is a mess of an OS that rots over time until you have to do a factory reset, and iOS is a shrine to Apple's arrogance.

    The phone market is HUGE and could easily

  • Still have fond memories of my iPaq 6315 rocking the Windows Mobile 2003 OS.

    It could (natively) create office documents, do mapping, take pictures, had push email, etc. a few years before the iPhone and Android were a glimmer in the publics' eye. Any apps created for the .NET compact framework could be run without modification on desktop windows.

    Them and the Treos were ahead of their time.

  • No, I don't miss it. I didn't even miss it when it was alive.

  • The Windows 'ecosystem' was a vast wasteland punctuated by the occasional pile of steaming horseshit.

    You could every app except the one you actually wanted or needed. But Microsoft made up for it with lots and lots of "fart" and flashlight apps.

    They had a calendar that couldn't make or set appointments, meetings, or add notes. You couldn't mark a day or set a reminder because it was a view-only calendar, period. It was both utterly worthless AND the #1 rated calendar app in the Windows app store.

  • My Lumia 950 still meets my needs, and I really enjoy the interface, I have it set up just as I like it and the live tiles definitely add value. As mentioned by others, the search button and ease of switching between apps makes using it a breeze. Good camera too, and integrates well with OneDrive. If/when it dies, I'll miss having such a nice UI and will probably go to Android (I find iOS obtuse and WTF is up with having a UI hardward with all the flexibility of a toaster ?)
  • I don't miss anything about Windows Mobile in particular (and I detest how it was allowed to influence the desktop OS in some weird, genetic abortion of design failure), but I do miss the time before it was released, when the ecosystem was full of promise. I miss the idea of a mobile OS which wasn't a walled garden, but also wasn't a cluster-f of unpatched, vendor "optimized" garbage, with tons of bloatware and more persistent bugs and usability issues than anyone would have thought possible. I miss the pro

  • I have one still around and may pop a SIM into it if I break my current phone. The combination of things that made it non-viable early on was a mix of "No Decent Apps" except the MS ones and no decent browsers to use mobile websites/webapps instead (Edge was too immature, other alternatives were few and also immature).

    It's still getting the occasional insider update and software updates, and Edge is much more capable and mature now than it was a few years ago.
  • At least with every bullet so far.

  • I miss it because I think there should be more competition in the mobile OS sector. I also miss Firefox OS and Sailfish (though it's sort of still alive) and all of the other small-fry alternatives to Android and iOS. Google and Apple have become way too complacent and are resting on their laurels. There is no real innovation in phone UIs, and the Windows Phone tile layout was a very interesting idea.

  • I miss it because, without it, there is no alternative for Android to compete against. All Android has to do is not be IOS from Apple. Android steams ahead of that happily but Microsoft's offering might have given some options to those of us who remember Apples' legal shenanigans of past years. No tech giant is completely innocent of hiring lawyers but Apple did it to such an extent that it ruled itself out of doing business with anyone who can remember back more than 5 years.

    I hoped that some of the of

  • I have a Lumia 928, and have already done a few repairs to keep it going. I can't stand Android or iOS, and for one time in its history, Microsoft got something like presenting a large amount of information almost ambiently.

    I love the thing. I wish they had not abandoned it after flooding the market with cheap pointless phones, rather than present a decently priced flagship that worked well.

  • Do I miss what?!

    I never used it and therefore don't miss it. When Balmer was in charge of MS, he totally screwed the pooch on this. He was blinded by his hubris about so many things. It was a mistake leaving that guy in charge. I wonder how Bill felt about leaving his company in the hands of that guy.. I'm sure Nokia was happy to see MS buy up their company and then ditch everything as well.. Nokia made a mistake hiring their CEO from MS and should not have been surprised to see where things went after that

  • Is it 'a' phone or 'the' phone that I miss? And yes, I miss it a lot as I am a terrible shot.

  • I am not talking about fancy features. I am talking purely about thumb typing. Windows Phone Keyboard was much superior. Much fewer mistypes.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court